World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 18
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With the hustle and bustle of the World Cup still in full flow, transfer news continues to fly under the radar but as the January window rapidly closes in, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are already formulating plans behind the scenes. Amid a surprising shift in the Premier League’s balance of power, there is plenty of incentive for sides to strengthen after the New Year.
United are within touching distance of the top four but manager Erik ten Hag still has plugs to fill in his squad, not least due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s bitter departure. Liverpool, meanwhile, are rumoured to be eyeing up a midfield reinforcement with Sofyan Amrabat and Jude Bellingham both in the crosshairs.
Chelsea spent frivolously over the summer and Todd Boehly could reach for his chequebook once again to back manager Graham Potter, who is still relatively new to the job. Manchester City have said that it’s unlikely they venture out into the January market, while table-toppers Arsenal may wish to spend and give themselves the best shot of lifting the title.
With developments coming thick and fast, follow Express Sport‘s live updates below as we keep you up to speed with the day’s latest transfer stories…
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Sofyan Amrabat has attracted plenty of attention with his imperious midfield performances at the World Cup.
Against all odds, he shut down Spain’s talented midfield to help Morocco towards their first-ever quarter-final in the tournament’s history.
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte tried to sign him in January and the Italian’s desire is reportedly still there, but he’ll have to fend off firm interest from Inter Milan and Liverpool.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly held talks with Amrabat’s representatives before the World Cup and more have been planned afterwards, although Fiorentina are sure to drive a hard bargain for the 26-year-old.
Chelsea face £77m hijack
Chelsea’s interest in Croatia centre-back Josko Gvardiol is no secret by now, but they could have all their work undone by Real Madrid stepping into the equation.
According to Italian football expert Alfredo Pedulla, Los Blancos are readying a mammoth £77million bid to try and nab him off Chelsea’s toes.
This is a matter of ‘priority’ for Madrid with Gvardiol putting in a string of hugely impressive performances at the World Cup, helping Croatia to a quarter-final clash with Brazil.
Man Utd target has ‘soft spot’
Juventus star Adrien Rabiot has made no bones about his soft spot for the Premier League.
The Frenchman, who has been a regular under Didier Deschamps at the 2022 World Cup, was heavily linked with Man Utd during the summer and John Murtough held high-profile talks with his agent.
“I’ve always said that I would like to play in England in my career,” Rabiot admitted during a press conference this week. “Will it be at the end of my contract at Juve [in June]? I don’t know, but I know that I have this desire, this objective to evolve in the Premier League.”
It remains to be seen if United bite on the back of Rabiot’s eyebrow-raising comments.
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