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Many Chelsea fans will be disappointed after two bad results in the space of a few days, with defeats away to Manchester United and Everton. That’s now just one win in the last five games in all competitions for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, and of course that kind of form is not good enough and needs to improve.
Still, there is nothing is specific as of now in terms of targets for Pochettino – the general concept is that this long-term project is still being protected and backed by Chelsea. I’m not aware of any specific pressure to finish in a certain position in the table this year or anything like that.
Of course they need to change this situation, it’s obvious; but Chelsea insist on their position with the manager, supporting him and trusting his ideas for the long term.
Staying with Chelsea, I’m aware there have also been some fans wondering about transfer rumours involving Noni Madueke. My understanding is it’s one of the situations Chelsea will discuss in the next 2-3 weeks.
Nothing has been decided yet for Madueke, but obviously he’s not playing as much as he’d love to. He’s also been injured and this is a topic to consider, so internal talks will take place soon to try to resolve things, for sure.
In the last 24 hours some of the reports from Germany have been really strong, with reports that Bayern Munich are going all in to sign Ronald Araujo from Barcelona. As is often the case, there are multiple sides to this story.
Firstly, the reality is that Bayern really want Araujo, Thomas Tuchel considers him the perfect player for the present and future, so he keeps coming up in internal discussions, because they want to try, they want to know if they have a chance of getting this deal done.
From Barcelona’s side, the message is very clear: they don’t want Araujo to leave, and certainly not in January. They have no intention of letting Araujo leave in January – never say never, but for now the club’s position is very clear.
Then there is the player’s position – at the moment, from what I’m hearing, Araujo is really happy at Barcelona. He is waiting for Barca to make a new contract proposal soon. His current deal expires in 2026, but there have already been some contacts and more should take place soon. It’s not an imminent problem for Barcelona, but one of their priorities for the next months is to give Araujo a new contract with an important salary.
So, for now a move in January looks really difficult because of Barcelona’s stance, and also because of the player side, but Bayern really want to try. We’ll have to see how the discussions between Araujo and Barca will go – it will be crucial to see how much money they will present the player in the new contract, so let’s see what happens, but for now the message is very clear, with the player very happy at Barcelona.
One final point on Bayern is that I expect them to be busy, as their director Christoph Freund has also said publicly. We could see them make two or three signings – midfield, right-back, and centre-back, though it could be just two signings if they are able to find a player like Benjamin Pavard was – someone able to play as a CB and RB.
It was another disappointing weekend for Manchester United – you simply can’t lose 3-0 to Bournemouth at Old Trafford, especially after just beating Chelsea, so it’s a really strange moment at Manchester United.
But, I want to clarify something about the transfer market, because we heard in recent weeks, directly from Erik ten Hag as well, that he doesn’t expect them to do anything in the January transfer window. What I can say is that this is kind of “lying” – I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s normal. There will also be some changes at the club with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and a new board, so that’s probably why Ten Hag doesn’t want to talk too much about transfers now, but the scouting department have already discussed some names for the January window.
Some names discussed have been strikers, such as Timo Werner, Serhou Guirassy, Donyell Malen – these have all been discussed internally, as well as a new centre-back, depending on when Lisandro Martinez will come back from his injury. Still, the feeling overall is that United will do something this January.
Arsenal – Marcos Leonardo will leave Santos in 2024 for sure, there’s no doubt and it’s not even about the club’s recent relegation; they already decided that months ago. There are many links, every week Leonardo is linked with five or six clubs but it’s still at the early stages with agents meeting clubs. There’s nothing concrete or close with Arsenal so far, despite speculation.
Man Utd – Talks are taking place behind the scenes to pick the best solutions for the new Manchester United board, but no major update yet as the lawyers are working to sign all the documents before Christmas. It remains a work in progress, but for sure, in terms of CEO, Jean Clause Blanc remains close and the big favourite for the job.
West Ham – I expect West Ham to be busy in January as they’re looking at opportunities around, though it’s still too early to say anything about specific names. Nothing is advanced, but the owners and directors are working on it.