All posts by Kit

West Ham lining up shock January move for Chelsea star Olivier Giroud

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West Ham United are reportedly considering making a bid for Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud in January.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini sought to bolster the Hammers’ front line in the summer with the acquisitions of Andrey Yarmalenko and Filipe Anderson but, if the report by The Mirror is correct, he is seeking further reinforcements.

Giroud moved to Chelsea from London rivals Arsenal back in January for £18 million and has scored 5 goals in 26 appearances for them. He also played a central role for France as they won the World Cup in Russia in the summer.

While Giroud initially struggled to nail down a starting place in Chelsea’s side, he has played more regularly this season as a foil to the in-form Eden Hazard.

However, the 32-year-old has less than a year left on his deal at the Blues, and there has been no word yet if they plan to offer him a new deal. This leaves the door open for a club to come in for him in a potentially cut-price deal.

While Chelsea paid £18 million for Giroud in January, they would be unlikely to get anything near that due to the remaining length of his contract and the fact that a club could sign him for free if they wait until the summer.

West Ham’s interest in Giroud also calls into question Andy Carroll’s future at the club. He is also out of contract at the end of the season and while the Hammers have an option to extend his deal by another two years, they have yet to take that up. Given his injury record in recent years, their reticence to do so thus far is understandable.

If Giroud were to arrive, then in all likelihood Carroll would have to find a new club in the summer.

Alexis Sanchez looking to quit Manchester United in January, say reports

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Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez is contemplating a move away from Old Trafford in January having struggled for form and game time since he joined.

Sanchez joined United from Arsenal in January but has failed to find his best form since then and has been regularly left on the bench by United manager Jose Mourinho this season.

Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that the Chilean’s agent has been contacting top clubs across Europe to gauge what sort of interest there would be in signing him.

While Sanchez is a fine player who would attract interest from leading clubs, his wages – said to be £450,000 per week – could be a stumbling block. Likewise, United would demand a hefty fee for the 29-year-old, given that he is less than a year into his contract.

Neymar wants Barcelona return – reports

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Brazilian star wants to leave Paris St-Germain and return to his former club Barcelona at the end of the season, according to reports in Spain.

While it has long been reported that Neymar is less than happy with life in Paris and wants to move back to Spain, it had been widely thought that his destination would be Real Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo is reporting that he wants to go back to the Nou Camp as he wants to get out of the shadow of strike partner Kylian Mbappe.

Neymar and Mbappe moved to PSG at roughly the same time, but the Frenchman has had the better time there. Mbappe’s star has risen – including a starring role for France at the World Cup – while Neymar has suffered injuries and criticism for her perceived tendency to dive.

When he moved to PSG in a world record £198 million deal in 2017, Neymar was promised that he would be number one at the side. However, Mbappe’s emergence has meant that this hasn’t happened. Ironically, one of Neymar’s prime reasons for leaving Barca in the first place was said to be to escape the shadow of Lionel Messi.

Surely, if Neymar was to return to the Catalan capital, there is risk that he would find himself in the same position again.

In terms of a transfer fee, it would no doubt take another world record to tempt PSG to part with Neymar. Barcelona can afford it, but it might mean they have to sell one of their existing stars – Ousmane Dembele springs to mind – to avoid falling foul of Financial Fair Play regulations.

Real Madrid considering bid for Manchester City star Raheem Sterling

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Champions League winners Real Madrid could step up their interest in signing Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to reports.

Sterling caught the eye in England’s 2-3 win against Spain in Seville on Monday night, scoring his first international goals in 27 appearances. He was watched at that game by scouts from Madrid, according to the Daily Mail.

Madrid have a long-standing interest in the 23-year-old, having monitored him before his switch from Liverpool to Manchester City in 2015, with then-manager Zinedine Zidane confirming their interest.

Sterling has 18 months left on his current deal and, while talks over a new contract are ongoing, an agreement has yet to be reached.

City bosses will be aware that Sterling’s value will quickly diminish after January 2019 if they cannot reach an agreement. With this in mind, Madrid may come in with a big money offer to tempt City into parting with him.

If City cannot agree terms with Sterling, then there will likely be a host of top clubs interested in signing him. Madrid could wait until his contract does run down, but then run the risk of another club coming in for him first.

Sterling has put in some impressive performances for City in the past 18 months, adding regular goal scoring to his game; he scored 23 last term when City waltzed to the Premier League title and already has 7 goals to his name this season. In today’s transfer market, he is likely to be worth north of £100 million – which would be no object to Madrid.

Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona for free in 2020 – but there’s a catch

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Barcelona legend Lionel Messi could leave the club on a free transfer in 2020, but he couldn’t join another ‘elite’ club, according to reports.

The Argentine striker is believed to have a clause in his contract that says he can leave the club in 2020, but only if he joins a club outside of the ‘big five’ leagues in Europe – La Liga, the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue Un and the Bundesliga.

Messi’s current deal at the Nou Camp runs until 2021, and the club are believed to want him to sign an extension to that for at least another season.

If reports of the clause are correct, then one possible destination could be a club in his homeland. Messi has spoken before of his desire to play for his boyhood side, Newell’s Old Boys, before he retires.

Another potential destination could be the MLS and Inter Miami – the new side that David Beckham is a co-owner of. It has previously been reported that Beckham would like Messi to be the club’s marquee player when the team makes its MLS debut in 2020.