Werner, Toney, Henderson ... Mbappe? The key players set for possible Premier League transfers
It has been a slow start to the January transfer window in the Premier League.
Expect that to change pretty quickly.
Deals are being mooted, speculation is starting to fly, sought-after stars — like Kylian Mbappé and Ivan Toney — have chosen to talk about their future to the media.
Here's a look at the situation surrounding a number of key players and teams:
Timo Werner might have won the Champions League during his time with Chelsea from 2020-22 but it was still an underwhelming stint in English soccer for the Germany forward.
It looks like he'll be returning to England — to London again, too — in a bid to ignite his career ahead of the European Championship.
Werner is widely reported to be close to joining Tottenham from Leipzig, initially on loan but with a view to a permanent move. In the short term, he would plug a gap left by the departure of captain Son Heung-min to the Asian Cup potentially until mid-February.
“It’s right that Timo wants to go on loan," Leipzig coach Marco Rose said over the weekend, without name-checking Tottenham. “Timo would like to go to the European Championship.”
Ivan Toney's eight-month suspension for breaching betting rules is almost over, with the Brentford striker available again from Jan. 17. It is interesting timing, with a number of top teams seemingly in need of a proven scorer for the second half of the season.
Toney would fit the bill — he was third in the Premier League's scoring charts last season, behind only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane — and he has been heavily linked with Arsenal, which is in the midst of a scoring slump that is perplexing manager Mikel Arteta.
Toney gave an interview to British broadcaster Sky Sports, published Monday, in which he said he owes Brentford for sticking by him during his long ban. Brentford manager Thomas Frank has said Toney won't be sold in January, and the team needs its star striker after plunging into relegation danger in recent weeks.
Money talks, though, and Toney's future could be a talking point right until the end of the window.
Jordan Henderson took plenty of flak when he decided to join the exodus of players moving to Saudi Arabia on lucrative deals, with advocates of LGBTQ+ rights feeling let down by the former Liverpool captain because he has been an outspoken supporter in the past.
Six months later and it appears he wants out, with sections of the British media reporting he will consider a return to the Premier League this month after struggling to settle in the Middle East. Similarly, Roberto Firmino — another former Liverpool player — is reportedly willing to leave the Saudi league and Karim Benzema could yet be enticed back to Europe to return to playing at the highest level.
Tottenham and Chelsea could be options for Henderson as they have been light on central midfielders at times this season.
Something has to give soon in the ongoing transfer saga involving Kylian Mbappé, arguably the world's best player.
His contract at Paris Saint-Germain is up at the end of the season, when he can leave for nothing. PSG is saying the club will not let him go for free. Mbappe appears happy to stay until the summer, and scored a hat trick in PSG's 9-0 win over sixth-tier side Revel in the French Cup on Sunday.
The widespread belief is that Mbappé will end up at Real Madrid, though there is scope for a team from the lucrative Premier League to come in for him.
Liverpool has long seemed the most likely destination for the France international if he did move to England. The departure of Mohamed Salah, potentially to Saudi Arabia, would leave a gap in Liverpool's forward line but that won't happen before the summer, by which time it could be too late.
A move to Manchester United, a team that could afford Mbappé's wages, as the centerpiece of a new era for the club seems fanciful given it is far from assured of playing in the Champions League next season.
Chelsea has spent more than $1 billion on players over the past three transfer windows. It doesn't look like the club is about to stop there.
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken of the need for more reinforcements this month, with the team languishing in 10th place in the Premier League at the halfway point of the season and in danger of missing out on qualifying for European competition for a second straight year.
A striker might be required — the club has long been linked with Napoli's Victor Osimhen and Toney — while a midfield playmaker is a possibility if Chelsea decides to move on Conor Gallagher.
Chelsea might need to sell before it buys in order to meet financial rules.
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