Gabigol can return to Europe; the farewell of Gerard Pique – an end of an era in Barcelona; Milan Skriniar, it’s time to decide the future. Here are some of the main stories over the last few days of the transfer market from TribalFootball’s transfer expert Rudy Galetti.
GABIGOL IS A SEVILLA PRIORITY TARGE
Not even time to sit on the Sevilla bench but Jorge Sampaoli has already made one thing clear: in the January transfer market, the main target for the Spanish club has to be Gabriel Barbosa.
The former Inter Milan and Benfica striker could therefore come back to play in Europe, after the parenthesis at home with Flamengo. However, it will not be so easy for Sevilla to sign the striker, the route is full of obstacles and various questions.
The first is linked to the price set by the South American club, around 20 million euros, which at the moment appears to be too high for Monchi’s spending power. In addition, Flamengo don’t want to lower their request, considering that the contract of Gabigol expires in December 2024.
Anyway, the amount of the possible transfer is not the only issue that Sevilla would have to navigate in order to please their manager. Currently, in fact, the Spanish club doesn’t have a non-EU slot available and therefore the Rojiblancos will first have to think about some exits, to free space in the squad for Gabriel Barbosa.
Meanwhile, with Sampaoli on the bench, Sevilla have not lost yet: 2 draws – with Bilbao, in LaLiga, and Dortmund, in the Champions League – and a win at Mallorca, making it clear that the wind has changed. And that with Gabigol, probably, the sun could finally return to Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
BRUNO LAGE, WOLVES AND THE COADY CASE
On the 8th of August the road between the captain Conor Coady and Wolverhampton was interrupted, due to the former manager Bruno Lage who let him go, destination Everton, because the English centre-back wasn’t part of his tactical plans anymore.
After a few weeks, Lage had been sacked, due to his poor performance, and now Wolves are just kicking themselves. Yes, because Coady is playing extraordinarily well at Everton and his current manager Frank Lampard can’t get enough of him. So much so that the Toffees are already thinking of meeting – in advance – the buy option of the loan. A very low figure, as far as the player is showing on the pitch: only £4.5 million. To date, there seems to be no doubt that Everton will decide to make Conor’s transfer permanent in the coming weeks.
Despite Everton’s last two defeats against Manchester United and Tottenham, the Toffees defence remains among the tightest in the Premier League and much of the credit goes to the English centre-back. At Wolves, however, chaos reigns: Lage sacked, Julen Lopetegui – the number one name on the list to replace Bruno – refused due to personal stuff, and now the most accredited profile to take the team back is Nuno Espirito Santo, who certainly didn’t leave a nice memory in the West Midlands.
ROMA HAVE MIDFIELDERS IN THEIR SIGHTS FOR JANUARY
A few days ago, Gini Wijnaldum completed the first phase of his recovery, removing – after several weeks – the plaster that helped him reduce the tibial fracture occurred in August during a training session.
In the first months of 2023 he will gradually be back with his Roma teammates, but Jose Mourinho cannot wait for Gini’s full recovery and needs at least one player immediately ready after the World Cup break, to remain at the top of Serie A.
Nemanja Matic, Bryan Cristante and, if necessary, Mady Camara, are not enough to play in the championship, in the Europa League and in the Italian Cup: this is why Tiago Pinto is keeping an eye on three profiles that could help the Giallorossi in midfield rotations.
The main names on the list are Douglas Luiz, who renewed his contract with Aston Villa, Houssem Aouar, who after a summer spent one step away from Olympique Lyon to Real Betis, remained in France waiting for a new opportunity, and Dani Ceballos, who is ready to leave Real Madrid to embark on a new adventure.
AS Roma will do their best to give Mourinho a reinforcement on the midline: it won’t be easy, but they will work to do that.
IS SKRINIAR READY TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT HIS FUTURE?
In the victory against Salernitana in Serie A, and even earlier in the sparkling draw (3-3) at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, Milan Skriniar wore the captain’s armband of Inter. An important recognition that coach Simone Inzaghi has decided to give to the Slovakian defender, after the “real” captain of the season – Samir Handanovic – was overtaken in the hierarchy, several days ago, by Andre Onana.
However, Skriniar’s situation for the future is far from clear: in the coming weeks, the Nerazzurri will meet the player’s agent (by the end of October) to propose 6 million euros as a contractual extension. Skriniar, whose contract expires in June 2023, is followed both by PSG and many English clubs, to which – as we have already mentioned – he winked.
Inter refuse to lose the player as a free agent in the summer and will try to convince him to sign a contract renewal before leaving the player free to accept a proposal from abroad, if a suitable offer (more than 90 million euros) will arrive.
The decision is now over to the centre-back: will he agree to renew long-term with Inter at €6m per year or will he wait for a free agent offer and maximise his earnings elsewhere? Who knows if the captain’s armband will play a decisive role in this difficult decision.
PIQUE-BARCA, GOODBYE AT THE END OF THE SEASON: THE END OF AN ERA?
Gerard Pique could leave Barcelona at the end of the season. The contract of the Spanish centre-back will expire in 2024, but in the next weeks the discussions on his future will already start.
It’s no secret that this season the performances of the historic player of the Blaugrana have plummeted, hitting the lowest point in the Champions League match against Inter (3-3) played at the Camp Nou stadium.
Despite the second place in La Liga, the 2-time European Champion with Spain seems to be no longer in the tactical plans of the coach – and his former teammate – Xavi. And, unsurprisingly, Pique watched the Clasico against Real Madrid from the sidelines.
If for the summer the rumours of the sensational return of Lionel Messi to Barcelona are becoming increasingly insistent, it’s even more likely that in the same period Gerard will farewell his much loved fans after 15 years.
Possible destinations? At the moment the hottest lead seems to be the one taken by another outstanding centre-back like Giorgio Chiellini, landing in the MLS for the last years of his career. At 35, Pique is ready for a new adventure, perhaps accepting the proposal from David Beckham who tried to convince him to sign for Inter Miami last summer.