The dust sheets are off, some engineers in overalls have hit various bits with a large spanner and the giant lever has been pulled. Yes folks, after months on the sidelines that clunk-whirr-clunk sound you can hear is the sound of the Rumour Mill cranking back into action after wheezing its way through a late fitness test.
With English football’s transfer window due to open tomorrow, our return hasn’t come a moment too soon; fighting fit, raring to go and ready to bring you daily digests from the frontline of transfer speculation, much of which will inevitably prove to be misguided, if not downright incorrect.
Of course, following the UK’s undignified exit from the EU last night, this will be a window like no other. Various governing bodies in English football have been forced to dream up a byzantine set of entry requirements that will restrict the number of foreign players Premier League and EFL clubs are able to employ.
While the new points system is unlikely to affect the kind of big-name box office signings that make fans of Premier League clubs lose their minds, clubs from the English lower tiers may find it difficult to bring in players from abroad. Still … blue passports, eh? And something about fish.
Having commandeered more than his fair share of column inches to no avail during the last window, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho looks ready to steal plenty of headlines again. Chelsea have joined Manchester United in the chase for the signature of a player whose German employers insist is not for sale. In the event of the apparently unsettled Sancho leaving Dortmund, the Bundesliga club have lined up PSV Eindhoven’s young Dutch prospect Donyell Malen as his replacement.
In the market for an experienced central defender due to their well-documented injury crisis, Liverpool will almost certainly be forced to pay top dollar if they are to land one of their targets. Jürgen Klopp is believed to be interested in Brighton’s Ben White, Ajax’s Per Schuurs and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano. While centre-halves don’t come much more experienced than Leicester’s Jonny Evans, the Northern Ireland international won’t be going anywhere. He celebrated New Year’s Eve by signing a contract extension.
Meanwhile at Arsenal, Mikel Arteta says he’ll need to trim his squad before bringing in any new recruits and has already freed up one training ground parking space by shipping Sead Kolasinac out on loan to German crisis club Schalke, who are still looking for their first Bundesliga win of the season. Shkodran Mustafi looks likely to follow him out the door, while the dilemma over how best to solve a problem like Mesut Özil will continue to perplex the Arsenal hierarchy. In the Emirates arrivals hall, fans will be keeping their eyes peeled for Real Madrid playmaker Isco.
Manchester United are eager to ramp up their efforts to sign Max Aarons from Norwich, having failed in their attempts to lure the 20-year-old full-back to Old Trafford in the summer. A starter in each of the Championship leaders’ 22 league games this season, Aarons seems unlikely to leave in the current window. Having agreed a deal with Atalanta for Amad Diallo last summer, United are expected to welcome the 18-year-old winger in the coming weeks. That’s your lot for today, have a very happy new year.