The January transfer window closes at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Thursday. Yahoo Soccer will be rounding up the latest news with an aversion to baseless rumors.
Unai Emery has found his playmaker for the rest of the season.
Arsenal has completed a loan deal for Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez until the end of the season, with an option to buy over the summer.
Suarez played for Emery as a loanee with Sevilla in the 2014-15 season, and together they won the Europa League. The 25-year-old Spaniard has four goals in just 11 appearances this season, primarily in the Copa del Rey, but that speaks more to Barca’s ungodly depth than any lack of ability.
Emery clearly sees Suarez as the kind of attacking orchestrator who can make surging runs forward, take on defenders and play adept passes that will fit perfectly into his system. He doesn’t seem to see it in the out-of-favor Mesut Ozil, the Juventus-bound wantaway Aaron Ramsey or anyone else in the first-team squad at the Emirates.
The Arsenal board has repeatedly stated it only has loan deals available to sign players this window due to financial restrictions, so Emery and Co. did what they could. But if Suarez helps lead Arsenal back into the Champions League, it’s hard to not see him in the club’s shirt for the foreseeable future.
Chaos, club records and Acosta in MLS
What an eventful end to the transfer window for Major League Soccer.
Wednesday night, news broke that Toronto FC had sold star striker Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. And boy do those constitute the very basics of it.
Giovinco blasted his former club in an Instagram post speaking directly to teammates and fans. The 2017 MLS Cup winner said he and his family wished to stay in Toronto, but management had a “change in direction” with their plans:
“Recently, after refusing to exercise the club option for 2020, I was offered terms that I deemed unacceptable. They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case. Their offer and lack of transparency is a clear message. It seems management prefers to focus on things other than the pure desire to win. After having grown the brand and elevating the overall reputation of TFC both at home and abroad, it seems I no longer serve a purpose.”
Giovinco leaves Toronto FC, which faltered and missed the playoffs last season, as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 83 goals in 142 appearances across all competitions.
He joins the most successful Saudi club in history, as Riyadh-based Al-Hilal has won almost twice as many Saudi Pro League titles as anyone else. The fee was reportedly between $2 million and $3 million.
It was a happier day for Miguel Almiron, who completed his move to the Premier League’s Newcastle United and set some records in doing so.
The 24-year-old Paraguayan playmaker joins Newcastle for a reported fee of $27 million, which makes him both the club record signing and the most expensive MLS player ever. The Magpies had been after the 2018 MLS Cup champion for some time and finally reached an agreement with Atlanta United.
Finally, budding D.C. United star Luciano Acosta appears destined to join a European club on Thursday. We just don’t know where yet.
The Daily Mail and others are reporting that Paris Saint-Germain is lining up the 24-year-old Argentine to be Neymar’s stand-in while the superstar misses the next 10 weeks due to injury. But Steven Goff of the Washington Post is preaching patience:
Acosta has arrived in Paris for a physical that would be accepted by any European club that wants to buy him. Any report that says a deal has already been consummated is incorrect. Long day ahead.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 31, 2019
The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer, meanwhile, is reporting there’s plenty of smoke to the Acosta-to-PSG fire:
United GM Dave Kasper is in Paris w/Acosta as we speak trying to carve out a deal. The two sides worked out the basics yesterday and PSG made an offer but as of now, nothing is finalized. I’ll keep you posted.
— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) January 31, 2019
Wherever Acosta winds up, MLS has to be enjoying the return on its outlays not just as the window closes, but ever since last summer. Notable sales have includes Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich, Zack Steffen to Manchester City and Tyler Adams to RB Leipzig. Perhaps the league’s reputation is shifting from retirement destination to incubator of genuine talent?
Updates for Manchester United, Chelsea and Peter Crouch
As pie-in-the-sky rumors involving Marcus Rashford emanate from tabloids, another Manchester United mainstay has confirmed his future.
Anthony Martial has agreed to a new deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until June 2024, according to an official club release. The 23-year-old attacker has 10 goals and an assist in 28 appearances this season, and has started five times since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as interim manager.
Meantime at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea still has plenty to sort out with its attackers. Olivier Giroud, who is out of contract this summer and figures to be second fiddle to Maurizio Sarri favorite Gonzalo Higuain, has reportedly turned down a lucrative offer to play in China as the Frenchman wants to stay in the Premier League.
PSG, meanwhile, is pushing to acquire Willian from the Blues, although they insist the Brazilian is not for sale. Willian wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Neymar (who would be?) but he could offer an approximation of his countryman’s threat from the wing as well as set-piece prowess.
Michy Batshuayi, back after a miserable loan spell at Valencia the first half of the season, could be loaned back out to West Ham or Real Betis, but wage demands remain an obstacle. Ideally, Chelsea would like to sell him for nearly $40 million to Everton, but the Merseyside club has reportedly laughed off that number.
And Bayern Munich appears to have waved the white flag in its pursuit of Chelsea youngster Callumn Hudson-Odoi, who starred in the FA Cup last…
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