Transfers that could cause chaos: Mbappé to Madrid and more


Not all transfers are created equal, especially midway through the European season in the January window. Indeed, some moves would cause shock waves through the game if they happen. They probably won’t, but here are some that could do just that.

Kylian Mbappé: Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid

The big one. Mbappé’s contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires in the summer and, as yet, there are no signs he is set to pen a new one. The 24-year-old reportedly wants to move to Real Madrid, but is loath to do so on a free transfer out of respect for his club, so that means the January transfer window is likely to be the last chance he could do so for a fee — unless he agrees to a new deal with an achievable release clause, of course.

Madrid are expected to make him a pre-contract offer to sign in the summer when Jan. 1 arrives, reportedly with a 15-day deadline to accept it. Things could get messy if he doesn’t. Or if he does. Either way, chaos ensues for the next few months. And if he decides to move in January for, say, €80 million, then he could get a shot at finally winning the Champions League with Madrid, as a player can no longer be cup-tied.

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Mohamed Salah: Liverpool to Al Ittihad

Al Ittihad are fifth in the Saudi Pro League table and unlikely to make up the 16-point gap on leaders Al Hilal, but a January move for a major star could help their efforts. In the summer, the club made a £150m offer to sign Salah, which was rejected. Liverpool, with title ambitions of their own this season in the Premier League, would be foolish to let the 31-year-old leave midway through the season. But if a world-record bid of £200m were to arrive, could they really turn it down?

If Salah were to leave, then Liverpool would need a replacement, and they’d have £200m to get one. Mbappé would be a long shot, given his clear preference for joining Real Madrid, but Borussia Dortmund’s Donyell Malen, Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sané and Barcelona’s Ferran Torres have all been linked with a move to Anfield recently.



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Victor Osimhen: Napoli to Chelsea

Chelsea have spent more than £1 billion in the past three transfer windows, so what would another £120m be? Despite all that cash being thrown around, the Blues have struggled to land the one type of player they really need: a central striker.

Osimhen, 24, is probably the best young exponent of that craft in the game today, and his goals for Napoli (66 in 116 total games) helped win them the Serie A title last season for the first time since 1990. But in September, the Nigeria international was left furious after being mocked by the club’s official TikTok account — a situation that has likely left their relationship irreparably damaged. If this transfer goes ahead, how it all plays out on social media will be box office.

Joshua Kimmich: Bayern Munich to Manchester City

City need a new midfielder as they look set to move on Kalvin Phillips, and Kimmich has fallen out of favour at Bayern under Thomas Tuchel. The 28-year-old is still one of the best in the world and, much like Germany legend Philipp Lahm, moved from full-back to central midfield to showcase his incredible versatility — something that would surely be of great value to Pep Guardiola.

The move would lead to Bayern likely needing to seek two new midfielders — pick from Fulham’s João Palhinha, Tottenham’ Hotspur’s Eric Dier, Nice’s Khephren Thuram, Nottingham Forest’s Ibrahim Sangaré and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone — and would strengthen City’s bid to repeat their treble success from last season.

Evan Ferguson: Brighton & Hove Albion to Manchester United

It would take a transfer fee upwards of £100m, given the 19-year-old has just signed a new contract until 2029, but with new investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe coming in to oversee Man United’s transfer business, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Ferguson is considered one of the top young strikers in Europe and has been compared stylistically to Harry Kane — ironic, given the England captain was a top target for United before he opted to move to Bayern for £88m from Spurs last summer. He is still learning the game but, alongside £72m-man Rasmus Højlund (who is only 20), the pair could be key to getting the Old Trafford club back to the top of English football.



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Douglas Luiz: Aston Villa to Arsenal

Villa’s rise to join the Premier League title race this season has been nothing short of sensational. But one surefire way to undo all that good work would be to let one of their best players join a rival.

Arsenal want to move on Thomas Partey, and had a number of bids to sign Douglas Luiz rejected last summer before he penned a new contract. The Brazil international is still on their radar and it appears that Mikel Arteta has made signing another midfielder a priority. Yes, Villa could ask for a transfer fee of around £50m, but the upheaval would likely put the brakes on what could be a priceless campaign.

Barcelona signing anyone

With 18-year-old Brazil striker Vitor Roque set to arrive from Athletico-PR in January for a fee of €40m, there is no money left at Camp Nou due to their continuing financial issues. That means that if the club want to bolster their struggling squad then players will have to be moved on first.

So, take your pick. There are very few stars who the club wouldn’t consider letting go for a massive transfer fee next month, but the most likely to raise significant enough funds are Robert Lewandowski (linked with clubs in Saudi Arabia), Frenkie de Jong (Man United) Jules Koundé (Chelsea) or Raphinha (Arsenal). With Gavi’s injury keeping him out for the rest of the season, some reports have suggested that Barca will make a move for Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimarães. If they manage to sign anyone it will be impressive, and it will be even more impressive if they manage to register them under the LaLiga salary cap.

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