Were it to come off, it would be the daddy of all transfers but Kylian Mbappé and his move to either Real Madrid, Liverpool or whoever else wants to pay €200m-plus may be approaching. Or it may not, as there is a growing sense that the flying Frenchman may choose to stay at PSG for the moment while continuing to explore his options for escape. Were Mbappé to stay in Paris, then he might have a new teammate in Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger, who may be set for a loan move or even sold for the cash that could bring Declan Rice in from West Ham.
Whatever happens with Mbappé, Liverpool seem likely to be busy in the closing days of the transfer window both with ins and outs. Harry Wilson is linked with Burnley, and Rhian Brewster is with Sheffield United. Georginio Wijnaldum looks for the off, too, having turned down a new contract and with Thiago Alcântara added to Jürgen Klopp’s squad. Ousmane Dembélé is also said to be the subject of a loan enquiry to Barcelona.
A centre-back is also wanted and Kalidou Koulibaly, so long linked with Manchester City, may end up at Anfield, a move that would look to have a big bearing on the Premier League title race. Liverpool are said to be using Sadio Mané, a compatriot of the Napoli player, as their middle man to get the deal done in their favour.
Following Rüdiger out of the Chelsea door on loan are Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley, seemingly surplus to Frank Lampard’s requirements. Aston Villa must decide which of them they would like to loan since Premier League rules prevent them borrowing both.
Will Manchester United fans’ growing panic over a lack of signings be soothed by the arrival of Alex Telles from Porto? Probably not, and there is no guarantee he is going to arrive just yet as United transfer guru Ed Woodward is trying to drive the price down. Meanwhile, Ed is haggling with Roma over the price United will sell Chris Smalling for.
Arsenal’s evolution continues, and to nobody’s particular surprise, it will not fit Mesut Özil, who Mikel Arteta has again said will find it difficult to get into his team. After Wednesday’s defeat of Leicester, Arteta said: “You can see that it is very difficult – not just for Mesut, but for some to make the squad. Every week, we try to pick the right players.” Meanwhile, in what used to be Özil’s position, Philippe Coutinho has emerged as a potential target, very probably on a loan deal from Barcelona.
Another club whose fans are clamouring for something – anything – in the transfer market is West Ham, and the word is the club have made a bid worth up to £33m for Saint-Étienne centre back Wesley Fofana. A cheaper option, though one that may end up in a bidding war is Joe Rodon of Swansea, who Manchester United also fancy, and the Hammers are also mulling over a loan move for Arsenal’s Calum Chambers.
Meanwhile, Burnley are set to sign Dale Stephens from Brighton, a player Sean Dyche says “fits with the financial thinking at the minute”. Lazio and Southampton are close to sealing a deal for Wesley Hoedt that would see the Dutchman return to his former club.