Having scored two goals, ostentatiously appealed for VAR in a match in which it wasn’t being used and missed an absolute sitter only to have his blushes spared by the linesman’s flag, Álvaro Morata had an eventful afternoon playing up front for Chelsea against Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Whether or not it was the Spaniard’s final match under Maurizio Sarri remains to be seen.
Sarri is hoping to bring Gonzalo Higuaín, currently on loan at Milan from Juventus but eager to sign for Chelsea, to Stamford Bridge and could send Morata to Milan to help grease the wheels. However, reports in Italy suggest Sevilla might throw a spanner in the works by offering the unsettled striker – Morata, that is – the chance to return to his native Spain. Chelsea are also after Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, but will have to fend off interest from Tottenham Hotspur if they are to land the £40m-rated Ivory Coast international.
Roma’s 27-year-old centre-back Kostas Manolas is wanted by Manchester United, who could trigger a £32m buyout clause in his contract at the end of the season. United also want Porto’s Brazilian right-back Eder Militao, but could struggle to get the 20-year-old, who may have his head turned by Real Madrid. Back in Italy, Inter and Milan are ready to duke it out for the affection of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, a one-time Rumour Mill staple whose agent insists he will not be going anywhere in January. Meanwhile in Turin, Torino are hoping they can convince Watford to part with Roberto Pereyra, who knows his way around the Italian city having spent two years at Juventus.
The agent of young Sunderland striker Josh Maja has told the club his client won’t be signing a new deal, despite reports the League One side offered to increase his salary by 700%. Stewart Donald, frontman of the consortium that bought Sunderland last May, remains quietly confident the 20-year-old will ink a new deal despite reports linking him with a move to Crystal Palace. With 14 league goals to his name already this season, Maja’s chances of moving to Selhurst Park anytime soon appear remote … not least because Roy Hodgson confessed on Saturday that he had never actually heard of him.
Following his tearful Stamford Bridge farewell on Saturday, Cesc Fàbregas is due to sign for Monaco any second now after flying to the south of France. A fee of £10m has been mooted and the Spaniard may be joined on the payroll by pantomime villainy’s Pepe. The 35-year-old free agent is understood to have turned down an approach from Arsenal in favour of moving to Monaco to play for Thierry Henry. Arsenal will also have to plan for a future without long-time target Cengiz Under, having had a £35m bid for the 21-year-old winger rejected by Roma.
Wolves have finalised a deal to take Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea and it is up to the player to decide whether or not to leave Aston Villa for a return to the Premier League. Chelsea have accepted a £13m offer for defender Davide Zappacosta, while Bayern Munich will attempt to lure Callum Hudson-Odoi to the Allianz Arena with the promise of Arjen Robben’s No 10 shirt next season.
And finally, having secured the services of winger Oliver Burke on loan from West Brom, Celtic are working on the £2m purchase of striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo from Slovakian club Dunajska Streda. Brendan Rodgers is hoping to further boost his striking options by taking Timothy Weah, son of Liberian president and former footballing superstar George, on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.