In the latest Transfer Notebook for Inside Football, it's time to look at the situations of a host of big names with the January transfer window approaching.
Could Salah soon leave?
There has been an inkling for some time at Liverpool that Mo Salah will be the first big star to leave their title-winning team.
Sources indicate that very few at the club were surprised to hear him linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid on the back of an interview with Spanish outlet AS — as they know playing in La Liga is a big ambition of his.
Liverpool began thinking about the next version of their attack a year ago. Takumi Minamino and Diogo Jota have been added so that they have time to learn from Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and help the team evolve more seamlessly when the squad starts to change.
Salah’s drive to keep proving himself as one of the very best players in the world is one of the reasons Liverpool privately accept he could be the first to leave. They are confident he’s not going to actively push for a transfer at this stage but he is a decisive, game-changing type of player and that means there will always be interest in him from the very best clubs.
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It is not impossible that Salah leaves Liverpool in the summer of 2021 but it will depend on how situations open up elsewhere. Barcelona are waiting on an election that will help decide Lionel Messi’s future and whether they need to replace their star man. Madrid are waiting to discover if their attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe from PSG will be successful, or if they look to other options.
Salah’s comments are interesting and might just be a play towards landing a new contract. But, equally, this might mark the beginning of the end of his stay at Anfield.
He will be advised to tread carefully as he begins to weigh up his next career move. Liverpool are still seeking more success in the Premier League and Europe and he knows any move is a potential risk that could harm his dream of becoming a Ballon d’Or winner.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Image credit: Getty Images
Tarkowski attracting plenty of interest
There are plenty of clubs looking shaky in defence this season and Burnley defender James Tarkowski is beginning to emerge as an interesting player that could be on the move in January.
He is not entertaining talks over a renewed contract at Turf Moor at the moment and with 18 months remaining on the current deal, other clubs are paying close attention.
Tarkowski, 28, is already of interest to West Ham and Leicester City but it is felt there are a couple of other top-half clubs also keen.
He would be a huge loss to Burnley as they battle against relegation but there is some hope around the place that a club takeover might yet give them fresh hope of agreeing terms.
Isco seeks January exit from Real Madrid – Euro Papers
Time for Jones to move on?
Phil Jones will have various offers on the table in January with Derby and West Brom now showing interest.
We reported recently how Newcastle have been making checks on the current condition of Manchester United defender Jones but they will have competition to sign him.
Sam Allardyce is being given the green light to add some experience to the squad at West Brom, as they look for short-term deals to help turn around the season. Allardyce himself is being motivated by a £2m bonus and 12-month contract if he keeps the side up - and they are willing to put incentive deals in front of signings too.
Wayne Rooney’s Derby are interested, and could be an interesting move if Jones wants to escape the Premier League spotlight to help recapture form from years gone by.
Celtic eyeing McCarthy
Celtic need new life and purpose injected into their squad in 2021 and the club are working hard on a recruitment plan to land James McCarthy.
They have long-admired the Crystal Palace midfielder and feel his style of play and enthusiasm could help invigorate the side, who currently trail Rangers by 16 points.
McCarthy grew up as a Celtic supporter and is aware of the interest. Sources say he would be keen on the move as he is currently not figuring for Palace in the Premier League.
In order to bring in McCarthy though, Celtic need to make space in the squad and free up some cash. It is believed they will consider selling Olivier Ntcham, while the club also have a decision to make over striker Odsonne Edouard, with a couple of Premier League club showing interest.
James McCarthy of Republic of Ireland during the UEFA EURO2020 Qualifying Play-Off Semi-Final match between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland
Image credit: Getty Images
Llorente needs new challenge
Remember Fernando Llorente? The former Spurs man is in need of another new lease of life as he seeks a fresh challenge in Italy.
He has scored just four times for Napoli since joining from Tottenham in August 2019 and has not played a single game so far this season.
The 35-year-old striker feels he still has plenty to offer the game and is weighing up a proposal from Sampdoria, with talks expected over the next week to determine whether a move will become possible.
Brentford need to tempt Forss to stay
Brentford are considering a six-year contract offer for Marcus Forss in a bid to ward off interest from Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund.
The Finland international has started just two Championship games this season yet his potential is so great that scouts from clubs all over Europe have been monitoring him, with Spurs and Dortmund’s interest most serious.
The form of star striker Ivan Toney has meant Forss has had to remain patient but Brentford are adamant they want him to stick around and have big plans for him in the coming years.
They will attempt to back the 21-year-old forward by putting a long-term deal on the table with a promise he will get his chance to shine for them.
Image credit: Getty Images
Can Hammers sign Dia?
West Ham are joining the battle to sign Boulaye Dia, the Reims forward who has become one of the most lethal players in Ligue 1.
His performances at French club Reims have been superb this season and he has scored nine of their 20 goals.
Everton and Arsenal have both been linked recently but the Hammers have also been scouting him as they consider bulking up their attacking options in 2021.
Boss David Moyes knows he won’t have mountains of cash to spend, as the club focus on retaining their top talent, but the club are starting to consider where they can make additions and 24-year-old Senegal international Dia is on the radar.