Thursday, January 27, 2022

January transfer window: What’s next for Barcelona? Are PSG buyers or sellers? Where will Dusan Vlahovic land?

The January transfer window is in full swing, and while this month will be less active than in years past due to lack of finances in a heavily COVID-influenced market, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be storylines and moves to look forward to. We take a look around the world at a mixture of transfer rumors and with moves that we as a staff would also like to see happen.

From Americans on the move to trying to fix Barcelona, we’ve got you covered on what’s going on this winter. So, let’s get into the storylines.

With Daryl Dike, James Sands and Ricardo Pepi already getting their moves abroad to open the window, who do you think will be the next American to move this January?

Jonathan Johnson: Given the importance of regular minutes in a World Cup year, I think that a Zack Steffen loan could be on the cards this month. Chances will be limited with Manchester City and a six- to 18-month loan to a club where he will be guaranteed minutes could make a lot of sense. Alternatively, if we look at coaches, Jesse Marsch could be in demand depending on the next managerial vacancy with a potential landing spot in Ligue 1 emerging in Lyon already.

Chuck Booth: I may steal Roger’s thunder here, but until MLS season opens with him in the lineup, all of my eggs are in the basket of Miles Robinson moving this January. He has nothing left to prove in MLS and with his growing performances on the international stage, it is a good time for him to make the jump. A Bundesliga move feels like it would fit best for Robinson but with his mentality and stature he could hold up in the Premier League as well if the Newcastle connection is still there with new ownership coming in.

Roger Gonzalez: That is an interesting one, Chuck, but I don’t think we will see Miles move. Despite Atlanta United having claimed they didn’t have any offers for him, I’m told that isn’t true. Several European teams have been courting the former Syracuse man. Defending is at such a premium in MLS, with such an imbalance from attacking qualify to defending, and I’m told Atlanta are doing what they can to keep him. While I think he stays unless a crazy offer comes in, I could see his teammate George Bello leaving. The young fullback has reportedly received interest from Spain and has had a great start to his young career in MLS. I suspect that if he doesn’t move in January, then he is out by the summer.

Moving abroad, should PSG be considered buyers or sellers this window?

RG: It’s always tricky with PSG. I think they are always buyers when they can stay within FFP. They are always looking to boost a stacked squad in pursuit of the European glory that has escaped them time after time. With that said, they did so much in the offseason, and there are players that appear to have one foot out of the Parc des Princes like Georginio Wijnaldum and Mauro Icardi, following Raphina out the door. I expect the departures to be more notable than any arrivals during January. What do you think, JJ?

JJ: The French giants are almost exclusively sellers this month. Rafinha has already been moved on and there are so many names still cluttering Mauricio Pochettino’s squad such as Layvin Kurzawa, Thilo Kehrer, Julian Draxler, Sergio Rico and Mauro Icardi to name just a few. Still hopeful of keeping Kylian Mbappe beyond this summer, PSG are in need of a cull and some serious direction more than additional big names for what is already a star-studded squad.

CB: It’s hard to see PSG buying anyone unless it falls into their lap but when you’re backed by as much capitol as they are and FFP is all but gone during COVID, you also can’t rule out buying. I’ll call thirds on mentioning Icardi heading out the door but goal scoring is at a premium worldwide making him too valuable of an asset to sit on.

From one club that needs to make moves this window, to another. Barcelona walked a tightrope to register Ferran Torres this month. What else is in the cards for them?

CB: If getting 75 percent of Phillipe Coutinho’s wages off the books wasn’t enough this is going to be a tough window for Barcelona. Since they did their business backward, they have no leverage when it comes to moving players leading to things like Samuel Umtiti’s contract being extended to lower the year-over-year value. They’d hope that this will now bring Umtiti’s wages to a point where he can be loaned out so more deals can be pursued in the market. As Barcelona are shedding wages left and right, this also puts the future of Sergino Dest in doubt. 

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

JJ: Seeing as they suddenly have money from out of nowhere, they may try to address many of their weak areas. However, the issue for Barca in doing that is not signing the players — it is registering them. Coutinho joining Villa should help with Ferran Torres, but that is only the start. There could be some unexpected casualties this month as Xavi takes radical action and somebody like a Memphis Depay being made available would not shock me. Newcastle may well want to keep an eye on what happens at Camp Nou these next few weeks.

RG: They obviously have to balance the books, and that starts with offloading some pieces. Samuel Umtiti will hopefully find a new club for both Barca’s sake and his own, and one would think that getting rid of Coutinho and then Antoine Griezmann earlier would allow a little wiggle room. I suspect we will see a lot of movement from Barca this window, and getting so many players on a free transfer over the summer helped. But, there is certainly a ways to go. Finding clubs willing to take on their past-prime players will be key.

Newcastle have already brought in Kieran Trippier but who do you see them targeting next?

CB: I’m going to take the tee-ball answer off the table with Newcastle still chasing Sven Botman while Lille is playing hardball. While he is a dream target, they’ll need to offer the world but they also have the resources to do that. After watching their FA Cup loss to Cambridge United, I’m convinced that Newcastle also needs a keeper. In the relegation race, good keepers and good forwards add the most value and while Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow were a good duo in the past, they aren’t getting it done. Calling up Manchester United for a loan move for Dean Henderson is a move that would make a ton of sense for both sides but what are you thinking Roger?

RG: They need to buy some quality ASAP. That loss to Cambridge in the FA Cup was shockingly bad in terms of the performance, but the result really wasn’t surprising. I do like some of the quality they have going forward, but they certainly need to boost the striker position and get some players at center back. But you can’t win if you can’t score, so I would love to see them bring in a striker who can make a difference. I don’t think many players are going to want to go there right now, but two guys I fancy are Raul de Tomas of Espanyol and Umar Sadiq of Almeria.

JJ: I think that they will look to make a statement signing with an attacking name. Aston Villa have already taken Philippe Coutinho out of the equation in what appears to be a move which makes the most sense for the player at this time while the Magpies will be a risky option for someone as in-demand as Dusan Vlahovic. It could be that the Saudi-backed Premier League strugglers push the boat out for somebody in the Ousmane Dembele or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang range unless a wildcard candidate becomes available later this month.

Is there a big-name striker potentially on the market and where will Dusan Vlahovic be playing when the window closes?

CB: While Arsenal seems more likely to move for a top striker in the summer, I’m wondering if Vlahovic will still be available then. It may be too ambitious of a signing for Newcastle but nothing would scream that they mean business more than getting the top striker on the market. With all the money lying in the Premier League and Fiorentina also needing to cash in at top value, the dark horse move that I’d back is West Ham United finding a way to at least pull off a loan to buy move. Realistically, he’ll likely complete the season in Italy before moving over the summer as Manchester City sets the market by adding one of Harry Kane or Erling Haaland.

JJ: Fiorentina certainly appear to be preparing for life post-Vlahovic and there is no truly credible suitor in Serie A at this time which makes a Premier League club favorites to land him. It will be a challenge, but Arsenal could potentially create space for him — especially if a miracle taker for the problematic Aubameyang is found.

RG: Would love to see him get a chance at Arsenal, even if Alexander Lacazette has played well. I agree with JJ that it feels like England is the spot. One would think all those goals he’s scored has earned him a big-money move to a massive club, but I predict he will stay at Fiorentina until the end of the season before moving to Engand in the summer.

What’s one move that we haven’t mentioned you’d like to see happen?

RG: It would be for Icardi to get the heck out of Paris. There have been links to Juventus, but I wonder if his former youth club Barcelona could make a loan work if they can get some more players out of there. He just needs consistent minutes, and Barca really need a striker. I get that it is unlikely to happen, but boy would it be intriguing.

JJ: Coutinho to Villa has already surpassed my expectations for this month and has me very excited for the future under Steven Gerrard. However, if I was to be greedy, I would love to see the Villans show further ambition by trying to get a deal done for Denis Zakaria this month. Alternatively, Angers SCO’s Angelo Fulgini is a highly versatile player I have been linking with the Premier League for a while now and perhaps this is his moment.

Selfishly, I’d like Tottenham to figure out how to get Franck Kessie from AC Milan now instead of in the summer on a free transfer. He’s exactly the type of player that Antonio Conte needs to make his system tick. Looking at other moves, I’d love to see Real Sociedad bring in reinforcements to add to their challenge for top four in La Liga. Some defensive improvement would go a long way to ensuring that they can hang on. 

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.