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January 23, 2022
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Transfer Talk: Barcelona want Sociedad’s Isak if Haaland not possible

The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here is the latest gossip and speculation.

TOP STORY: Barca see Isak as Haaland alternative

Barcelona are interested in Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak, according to Spanish outlet AS.

The Catalan club are eyeing a move for the 22-year-old as a cheaper alternative for Erling Haaland in an attempt to add more firepower in the striking department.

Haaland, 21, is available in the summer through a £75 million release clause that has put a lot of Europe’s top clubs on alert for a potential move. While Barcelona were a club interested, it is reported that their current financial situation would prevent a move for the Norway international.

Just a year older at 22, Isak has shown his strength in LaLiga with Real Sociedad, who reached the top of the table at the weekend with victory over Mallorca. He has struggled to score this season, interfered by a hamstring injury, he has scored 34 goals for Sociedad since joining from Borussia Dortmund.

A potential move could occur as Barcelona made room in their wage budget, moving on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Miralem Pjanic. Reports claim that such movements would give the club some more room to work some arrivals in either the January window or next summer.

Another player who has been linked with the club is Raheem Sterling on a potential loan, as Ronald Koeman’s side look to step up their scoring in front of goal in the upcoming windows.

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11.37 BST: Defender Samuel Umtiti has said his exile at Barcelona has brought him to tears but said he is adamant he does not want to leave the club despite not being part of boss Ronald Koeman’s plans.

Umtiti, 27, was jeered during a preseason friendly by Barca supporters who felt his decision to stay this summer was one of the reasons the club could not afford to keep Lionel Messi, who later joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

The France international, who is yet to make an appearance for Barca this season, said it has been a difficult time but wants to honour his contract at Camp Nou, which runs until 2023.

“The whistles hurt,” Umtiti told Mundo Deportivo. “I never thought that would happen at this club because it’s the club that I love.

“[Mentally] it’s tough. There have been tough moments with injuries but I am better physically now. I am happy, but I would like to play and help the team. The coach makes the decisions and I must show I am good enough to play. I have to keep training hard.”

10.41 BST: Wayne Rooney would be interested in taking over as manager at Newcastle United if the position becomes available, according to The Chronicle.

Steve Bruce marked his 1,000th game as a manager in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Tottenham, Newcastle’s first match since the takeover by the Saudi-backed PIF investment fund.

There has been plenty of speculation over Bruce’s position, with Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and Villarreal boss Unai Emery among the any names linked with the job.

However, local news outlet The Chronicle reports that former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney would be keen on stepping into the breach “on a short-term basis.”

Rooney is currently at the helm at Derby County, with the club in administration and the team struggling at the bottom of the Championship

09.49 BST: Gerard Pique has revealed that he spoke to Vinicius Junior about joining Barcelona before a last-minute change of plans saw the Brazil winger join Real Madrid.

Barca’s former South American scout Andre Cury said earlier this year that a deal was in place for Vinicius to move to Camp Nou in 2017, saying the club were “stabbed in the back” by the player’s agents.

“Do you know he almost joined Barca?” Pique told Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos on Monday. “[Real Madrid] offered him double. I spoke to him personally before he went to Madrid, and the guy admitted it was done with Barca. It was done.”

“I don’t remember why [I spoke to him], it was to welcome him into the dressing room,” he added. “It was done. Madrid arrived at the last second and offered him everything.”

08.54 BST: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Mohamed Salah would “finally get recognition” if he wins this year’s Ballon d’Or, but that he has no idea whether the forward’s incredible form makes it more or less likely if he will sign a new contract at Anfield.

Salah, 29, has scored in nine of Liverpool’s 10 games in all competitions so far this season and he can score in a third successive Champions League game if he hits the target in Tuesday’s group clash against Atletico Madrid in Spain.

Klopp billed the former Chelsea forward as the best player in the world and right now following his impressive display in Saturday’s 5-0 win at Watford. But with Salah still to agree a new contract to replace his existing deal, which expires in June 2023, Klopp said he has no idea if his form boosts Liverpool’s chances of extending Salah’s stay at the club.

“I don’t know,” Klopp said. ‘”We will see.”

08.00 BST: Kevin De Bruyne said he has sympathy for Raheem Sterling as he battles for his place at Manchester City.

Sterling has been in and out of the team this season and has suggested he could look to move abroad if he cannot find regular games at the Etihad Stadium.

Manager Pep Guardiola said he cannot guarantee the place of any player but De Bruyne admits he can understand Sterling’s frustration.

“Rotation is important because playing four competitions and mostly going far in them, it’s a tough ask sometimes,” De Bruyne told a news conference ahead of the Champions League tie with Club Brugge.

“I understand the frustration because I’m a player and you have some players who need more rhythm to get into it and maybe Raz [Sterling] is someone who needs more, I’m a player that needs that also. Sometimes it’s tough to play one game yes, one game no.

“Obviously it’s the manager who has to make choices and it’s very hard. We have a group of 22, 23 internationals who are unbelievable. Whoever you pick, you will be right a lot of the time. Whenever the team plays good there’s not a lot you can’t say as a player.”


Manchester City are considering Ansu Fati as a possible replacement for Raheem Sterling, if the England international leaves. According to journalist Ekrem Konur, Pep Guardiola’s side view the 18-year-old as a potential successor to Sterling. The winger has one year left on his deal with the club holding an option for an extra two-years, however they have recently opened negotiations for an extension.

– Manchester City are set to reach a verbal agreement over a contract extension with midfielder Phil Foden, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.The prolific 21-year-old has seen a rise in his game time and influence at the club and will reportedly be rewarded with a new deal until 2027 with an increased salary.

– Borussia Dortmund have decided upon Sebastien Haller as the successor to Erling Haaland next season according to Calciomercato, in the likely event that the Norwegian leaves the club next summer. The ex-West Ham United striker has impressed since his switch to Ajax, scoring five goals in two Champions League appearances and is on the radar of the Bundesliga club.

AC Milan are interested in a deal for Marseille‘s Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer in the summer, writes Calciomercato. The midfielder would be a potential replacement for Franck Kessie, who could leave the San Siro on a free transfer himself this summer. It’s reported that there would be an agreement over the contract due to talks already held, but the Serie A club would have to fend off Premier League interest.

Juventus, AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur are all eyeing a potential move for Paris Saint-Germain‘s Mauro Icardi, says a report in Gazzetta dello Sport. The 28-year-old has struggled to break into the frontline in the French capital since his move, made even harder by the introduction of Lionel Messi. His current deal lasts until 2024, but he could move on sooner with all three clubs interested in the striker.

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