David Luiz remains in Antonio Conte’s bad books, having reacted badly to being substituted during Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Roma in the Champions League in October. The Brazilian appeared to eff and jeff in his manager’s direction after seeing his number hoisted by the fourth official and has played in only four of Chelsea’s eight matches since.
Reports on Wednesday suggest that Real Madrid are monitoring the breakdown in relations between player and manager with interest and could try to sign the Brazilian in January. David Luiz has been ruled out of Chelsea’s match against Swansea City on Wednesday evening with a knee injury, while his manager says the club hierarchy have not yet spoken to him about his transfer needs for the next window. “I think about this topic but it is better if my club ask me what I need to catch them up and then I will answer, but in a private way,” said Conte, who was left frustrated by Chelsea’s dealings in the transfer market during the close season.
The word from Italy is that Chelsea will move for the Juventus left-back Alex Sandro in January, while the Italian champions will sign his Atlético Madrid counterpart Filipe Luís as a replacement. Atlético’s Croatia right-back Sime Vrsaljko is also reported to have told the Spanish club he wants to leave on the back of well-documented interest from Manchester City and Napoli. The Spanish newspaper Marca claims Naples is the player’s preferred destination.
Having drawn another blank, against Brighton, on Tuesday night, their 10th in 17 matches in all competitions this season, Crystal Palace are desperate to get a striker on board in January. With 11 goals in 60 appearances for Bournemouth to his name, Benik Afobe may not be the most prolific of goal-getters, but beggars can’t be choosers and Palace are rumoured to be lining up a £15m bid for the DR Congo and former England U-21 international. Afobe has started only four Premier League games this season and is below Josh King and Callum Wilson in the Bournemouth pecking order. For £15m, Eddie Howe might very well drive him to Selhurst Park himself.
The future of another Bournemouth striker, Lewis Grabban, also remains up in the air. The 29-year-old has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances on loan at the Championship strugglers Sunderland and has a January recall clause in his contract. Should Afobe move to Palace, Grabban may be recalled to the Vitality Stadium to sit on the bench as back-up, although Wolves and Fulham are interested in signing him up and Sunderland would be extremely sorry to lose him.
Liverpool and Leicester City are both giving the West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi the glad eye, while Watford have warned suitors such as Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea off Richarlison, who has turned no end of heads since arriving at Vicarage Road for £11.5m during the summer. “We want Richarlison to be here for many more seasons,” said Scott Duxbury, Watford’s chief executive, in an interview with the London Evening Standard. “We are building a very competitive squad, we have no need to sell.”
Having been largely limited to a series of substitute appearances since his controversial move from Chelsea to Liverpool in search of first team football, Dominic Solanke is now being linked with a January move to Swansea City. Celtic, West Brom and Wolves are also understood to be interested in signing the Reading-born striker, who was handed his England debut earlier this month despite having made only one senior start in English football. Along with Juventus, Solanke’s club Liverpool are interested in signing the Sporting winger Gelson Martins.
And finally, Manchester City are ready to offer David Silva and Leroy Sané bumper new contracts, while Eliaquim Mangala will almost certainly be sold next summer having made just three starts this season.