Football transfer rumours: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah to join Real Madrid?

Niall McVeigh on 24 January 2018

Roll up, roll up – the January sales continue at pace, the totaliser is ticking towards £500m and there’s still another week to spend, spend, spend! But what’s this? Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin wants to spoil everyone’s fun. He’s planning talks with Europe’s elite clubs about putting the brakes on big spending on transfer fees and wages. Boo! The Mill has to pay the rent, you know.

Ceferin’s plan to politely ask Europe’s super-clubs to stop spending quite so much money looks a gold-plated sure thing, and one manager who will be pleased is Antonio Conte. The Italian is stuck at poor, penniless Chelsea, unable to keep up with the Manchester clubs having spent barely £175m on new players this season. But who will pay for Roman Abramovich’s steampunk thunderdome, or fund the crafting of the world’s smallest violin? Oh Antonio!

Conte must continue to work through his Football Manager search of tall, affordable strikers, and is having a whip-round to bid for Moussa Dembélé, left out by Celtic at Partick on Tuesday night – though Crystal Palace are also keen. There’s always Islam Slimani – unwanted by Leicester but also pursued by Rafa Benítez, who could tell Conte a thing or two about tight transfer budgets. That said, Newcastle are apparently closing in on Feyenoord’s £20m striker Nicolai Jorgensen, who has banged in, er, seven goals in the Eredivisie this season.

We haven’t heard from Real Madrid in a while, have we? They’ve been very quiet this month. Almost too quiet, in fact. Zinedine Zidane’s transfer plans have been given a boost from an unlikely source – the Egyptian FA president, Hany Abo Rida. He has said Real will bid for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the summer – and that the player should go. “If an Egyptian plays for a club as popular around the world as Real Madrid, it’s going to be great for Egyptian football.” No pressure, then.

Much like, well, everyone else at PSG these days, Lucas Moura is “not happy” in Paris, and has no shortage of suitors. Arsenal, Spurs, Napoli and Shandong Luneng are all prepared to offer a comforting shoulder to the Brazilian winger. Javier Mascherano is heading off to China after eight years to join Hebei Fortune, who have been kind enough to include his prospective salary in their name.

Speaking of Arsenal, they have eyes on Porto’s Danilo Pereira, the versatile Portuguese international who can attempt to fill the gaps in either midfield or defence at the Emirates. Manchester United are sniffing around, too. Danny Welbeck, slowly squeezed out of both clubs, is wanted by Besiktas and Crystal Palace. Arsène Wenger says the striker isn’t going anywhere, but we’ve heard that one before.

Wenger is also warming to the idea of signing Jonny Evans now that Manchester City have moved on, with Alan Pardew keen to pump that capital straight into deals for Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe and the Egyptian centre-back Ali Gabr. Only two teams have scored fewer goals in the Premier League than the Baggies, and one of them is Brighton. They’re hoping Aleksandar Mitrovic can solve that problem.

Finally, could we see O Fenômeno in a Championship directors’ box soon? The Brazilian legend Ronaldo has revealed plans to buy a second-tier club in England or Spain. “I want to do something innovative. I think I’m prepared for the challenge,” he told Folha de S. Paulo. Green-and-gold wearing Norwich City seem as good a bet as any.

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