Here we go, January has arrived and the transfer market has restarted in high gear with plenty of action on the American market as USMNT striker Daryl Dike sealed a permanent move to West Bromwich Albion and 18-year-old Ricardo Pepi is expected to join FC Augsburg on a permanent move. German sources tell CBS Sports it'll be an MLS record fee at $20 million, plus add-ons, pending a physical on Sunday.
Wolfsburg were in pole position for Pepi for several weeks but failed to reach a definitive agreement with FC Dallas. Pepi drew suitors from different countries but FC Augsburg ultimately came out ahead of the pack and soon will complete the deal. The young American striker from El Paso, Texas, will join his agent Jaime Garcia on a flight to Munich, Germany, to undergo medical tests and complete his definitive transfer.
Dike's transfer from Orlando City is particularly interesting because he drew interest from clubs outside of England. An Italian club had taken information on the 21-year-old striker without ever having made an official proposal. His next step is the Championship, an intriguing return to England where he is reunited with his old coach.
With Dike and Pepi crossed off the January transfer list, we now await updates on Sergino Dest, even if Barcelona have not yet received offers for the right-back.
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Toronto FC, on the other hand, continue to dream of Lorenzo Insigne. I can confirm all the figures of the proposal that we have told on CBS Sports in recent days: A guaranteed salary of €11 million and net for the next five-and-a-half years, in addition to €4.5 million add-ons and personal benefits for the Insigne family. The contact negotiation will continue in the next few days to reach an agreement, but it would only be valid from June because Insigne does not plan to leave Napoli mid-season in January. Toronto will insist on having him as a new star from June.
Barcelona are very active on the market after completing a move for Ferran Torres. Xavi has personally contacted Alvaro Morata and would like him as his new striker, but Juventus will only let Morata leave if they find another top striker on the market. Signing players like Dusan Vlahovic in January is extremely challenging. This is a fundamental step to be able to see Morata at Barça, as well as the agreement between the Blaugrana club and Atletico Madrid who own the striker. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are focused on Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger as a free agent, but a definitive agreement has not yet been reached. It's worth noting that Paris Saint-Germain have also taken information about Rudiger for some time, but Real are the frontrunners in this negotiation. Meanwhile, work is underway on the new contract that will allow Luka Modric to stay at Real Madrid until 2023 without forgetting the dream of Kylian Mbappé as a free agent. But in this case we will have to wait to see.
In the Premier League, the most talked-about storyline centers around Romelu Lukaku, who recently spelled out his frustrations in a Sky Italia interview. What will happen with the Belgian striker after his revealing comments? Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is obviously not pleased with what was said. The situation is not easy but a very clear version comes from Chelsea: The club does not want to sell Lukaku in January and Inter have no plans or economic possibilities to bring him back to Italy immediately. This is why staying at least until the end of the current season is still the guaranteed scenario, according to sources close to the player and Chelsea.
Manchester United are preparing Axel Tuanzebe's loan to Napoli until June: the agreement is completed, the player has accepted and will immediately leave Aston Villa where he was on loan. Finally, Tottenham want to give at least two new signings to Antonio Conte in the January transfer market and priority also goes to new contracts: Hugo Lloris is in advanced negotiations for an extended agreement for another year with Spurs.