Transfer deadline day is in full swing. We’re providing live, quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals – and rumors – until tonight’s 6 p.m. ET deadline.
DONE DEAL: Eriksen returns to Premier League ?
- Details: Short-term contract until end of the season (Read more)
The feel-good story of transfer deadline day.
Almost eight months after going into cardiac arrest during Euro 2020 – one of the most harrowing scenes in recent memory – Christian Eriksen is set to return to the pitch after signing a short-term contract with Premier League side Brentford until the end of the season.
The Dane mutually agreed to terminate his Inter Milan contract in December after Italian health authorities ruled that he was unable to play in the country due to the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) that was fitted in his chest. With no such rule in England, though, he was free to return to the league in which he previously spent seven seasons with Tottenham Hotspur.
The 29-year-old had been training with former club Ajax to regain fitness.
“He is fit but we will need to get him match-fit and I am looking forward to seeing him work with the players and staff to get back towards his highest level,” said Brentford boss Thomas Frank, who worked with Eriksen earlier in his coaching career with Denmark’s U-17 team.
“At his best, Christian has the ability to dictate games of football. He can find the right passes and is a goal threat. … I expect him to have an impact in the dressing room and at the training ground.”
DONE DEAL: Manchester City sign Alvarez ?
- Details: Striker joins for reported €17M initial fee (Read more)
Sound the alarm: Manchester City signed a striker.
Pep Guardiola’s team beat a host of suitors to the coveted signature of 22-year-old River Plate phenom Julian Alvarez. The Argentine, who already has five caps for his country, will remain on loan at River Plate for at least the rest of the campaign.
The arrival of Alvarez, one of the most exciting young forwards in South America, doesn’t necessarily take the Citizens out of the running for the likes of Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, either. Don’t be surprised if Guardiola is suddenly flush with strikers next season.
Money, obviously is no issue at the Etihad Stadium.
Auba’s move to Barcelona collapses
Not even flying to Barcelona was enough to facilitate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure from Arsenal.
The Gunners outcast landed in Catalonia this morning hoping to complete a loan move to the La Liga outfit, but the switch reportedly collapsed due to issues with his gargantuan salary. The Gabonese forward earns £350,000 per week in north London, a figure that cash-strapped Barca simply can’t handle.
Barca were hoping to ship oft-injured winger Ousmane Dembele out as part of the deal, but the Frenchman’s status is now up in the air with only hours remaining in the transfer window.
Rumors of Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in Dembele – as part of a potential swap with Mauro Icardi – are wide of the mark, according to Fabrizio Romano, meaning it’s back to the drawing board for Barca.
DONE DEALS: Busy day for Tottenham ?
After missing out on Adama Traore and Luis Diaz earlier in the window, Spurs finally sealed a pair of deals, with director Fabio Paratici tapping into his Juventus connections to sign Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski from the Italian side.
Bentancur’s arrival coincided with the departure of midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, whose difficult spell in north London mercifully ended with a loan move back to Lyon.
The 24-year-old Uruguayan international will add an energetic presence to the Tottenham midfield. If given license by Antonio Conte, he could add a spark that’s been missing in the center of the pitch this season for Spurs. Bentancur played primarily in front of the defense at Juventus, and he often anchors the Uruguayan midfield at the international level. However, he’s at his best when he’s covering ground and hunting the ball down, and not necessarily when he’s tasked with making the first pass to launch an attack.
Meanwhile, Kulusevski showed as a teenager at Parma that he has all the tools necessary to become a thrilling attacking star. At his best, the Swede is quick and powerful, and he can combine that athleticism with excellent ball skills.
He stagnated after joining Juventus and has looked particularly off the pace this season, but his talent is undeniable. Conte, then, might be the perfect manager to harness it. His loan comes with a €35-million option to buy that becomes an obligation if certain conditions are met, giving Tottenham time to examine whether they believe Kulusevski can rediscover his best form.
DONE DEAL: Juventus win race for Zakaria ?
- Details: Midfielder joins for €8.6M from Monchengladbach (Read more)
Speaking of Juventus …
The Bianconeri arguably own the clubhouse lead as “winners” of the January transfer window after snapping up Denis Zakaria, adding the in-demand Swiss midfielder just days after nabbing Dusan Vlahovic.
Zakaria, 25, was poised to become a free agent this summer.
The Italian giants had desperately tried to address their subpar midfield for several years, largely to no avail. But Zakaria brings some much-needed athletic ability and ball-winning prowess in front of the backline and, together with Manuel Locatelli, could be the foundation of a functional positional group in Turin.
Everton’s retooled midfield
It’s no great surprise that Frank Lampard, the highest-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, has quickly set to work on the center of Everton’s lineup following his appointment as manager.
Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek and Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli, two players who need to kickstart their flailing careers, are expected to arrive at Goodison Park on deadline day.
Van de Beek is still an unknown quantity to many supporters in England due to his year-and-a-half residency on Manchester United’s bench. He’s only started four Premier League matches – none this season – so he has yet to fully showcase his intelligent, all-round game that pushed him to the fore at Ajax. The 24-year-old is expected to agree to a short-term loan with the club, which is an arrangement that looks good for all parties.
Alli, 25, presents the biggest risk despite arriving on a free transfer until appearances and add-ons potentially drive the fee up to about £30 million, according to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano. His most productive period as an attacking threat from midfield was during the 2016-17 Premier League campaign when he logged 18 goals and seven assists, but the spark from his game has long been extinguished.
Amazon’s “All Or Nothing” docuseries, which tracked Tottenham’s 2019-20 season, famously included then-manager Jose Mourinho branding Alli “a f—— lazy guy in training.” Alli usually responded with a smirk like a naughty schoolboy in response to Mourinho’s criticism.
Alli has started only eight Premier League matches this term and hasn’t won his past six. He’s now tasked with helping to drive Everton out of a relegation battle. In all likelihood, this is the move that will either correct or kibosh Alli’s career.
Other potential deals to watch …
- Jesse Lingard to Newcastle
- Aaron Ramsey to Rangers