Kevin de Bruyne is the dream of Al-Nassr for next season; Chelsea are working on some complicated contract renewals; Jose Mourinho, is this the right time for Saudi? Here are some of the main stories over the last few days of the transfer market from TribalFootball's transfer expert Rudy Galetti.
DE BRUYNE WANTED AS AL-NASSR PLAN SUPER SQUAD
Second in the Saudi Professional League, first with 3 wins in 3 games in their AFC Champions League group, Al-Nassr are achieving excellent results on the pitch after their pharaonic transfer session last summer.
However, the Saudi club does not want to stop and wants to continue growing: so, after Aymeric Laporte, Alex Telles, Marcelo Brozovic, Sadio Manè, Otavio and obviously Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr aim to convince new football stars to embrace their ambitious sporting project. The latest target on the list is Kevin De Bruyne: the attacking midfielder is certainly experiencing a difficult time at Manchester City, with a muscle injury that has forced him out since the beginning of the season.
His future is far from clear: the only certain thing is that his contract with Man City will expire in June 2025 and – to date – there are no meetings scheduled to discuss the renewal. That's why Al-Nassr are in touch with Kevin to set up a meeting soon: the purpose for the club is to explain in detail its long-term project, trying to convince the Belgian player to land in Saudi and strengthen a squad already full of stars.
CHELSEA, BETWEEN INCONSISTENT RESULTS AND RENEWALS TO MANAGE
Chelsea's difficult moment seems not to be over yet. The two consecutive victories against Burnley and Fulham – and the subsequent draw with Arsenal – had given the impression that the Blues had really found the right balance on the pitch, but the defeat against Brentford has undermined part of these certainties.
Even on market issues, there are few sureties regarding the future of some players, with situations still evolving. Like Ian Maatsen, for example: although Chelsea have started contacts for the extension of his contract expiring in 2024, the Dutch player - in the end - may not renew. That's why the chances of his possible transfer in January are slowly increasing, considering that the Blues wouldn't want to lose him as a free agent at the end of the season.
Burnley - which already tried to sign him last summer - and other English and Italian clubs continue to monitor his situation.
A situation also in progress is with Conor Gallagher: the will of Chelsea is to continue together with the English midfielder, who - on his side - is open to evaluate a proposal to renew the contract. In the next few weeks, the Blues are planning to start talks with Gallagher to discuss everything. Anyway, this does not exclude that some clubs could take concrete steps in the next winter transfer session: Tottenham and Newcastle – with the Magpies also having Kalvin Phillips, of Leeds, on their list of midfielders – are among them.
MOURINHO, IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME FOR SAUDI?
With 4 defeats in the league – out of 10 games played – AS Roma are experiencing a difficult period. Josè Mourinho struggles to give to the team a good quality of play and the latest loss against Inter demonstrated once again how wide the gap is between the Giallorossi and the level of the other big clubs in the Serie A.
With a contract expiring in June, to date everything suggests that the 2023/24 season will be the last on the AS Roma bench for the Special One: not for nothing, Dan and Ryan Friedkin are monitoring other coaches for the future.
So what will be Mourinho's fate? After confirming in an interview – a few weeks ago – that he had turned down a monster offer from Saudi Arabia, the Portuguese coach could soon have another opportunity to land in Asia: Al Hilal – the club of Neymar, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Bono and Aleksandar Mitrovic – started contacts with Josè to explore the room for negotiation about next season.
Taking advantage of his final year of contract and the will of AS Roma and the coach himself not to continue together, the Saudi club aim to persuade the Special One with a huge proposal – more or less like the one received last summer – and now the possibilities of convincing him are growing.
MAN UTD, BETWEEN CONFIRMATIONS AND POSSIBLE FAREWELLS
Another Premier League club in trouble is undoubtedly Manchester United. In addition to the fluctuating performances in the EPL and in the Champions League, which have highlighted some tactical problems that Erik ten Hag is trying to solve, the Red Devils are working in parallel - off the pitch – to fix some contractual situations.
To date, there doesn't seem to be any critical issues in the discussions underway with Victor Lindelof and Hannibal Mejbri - whose contracts expire at the end of the year - for their renewals: both negotiations are now advanced.
With Aaron Wan Bissaka - another player in the final year of contract - the first contacts for his extension are expected soon and also in this case there is confidence of reaching an agreement leveraging on his will to stay. As well as Christian Eriksen who, despite some rumours, has no intention of leaving the club.
The players who could leave instead - potentially in January - are Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire: the French is followed with attention by West Ham who are looking for a striker and have already asked for preliminary information, while with the possible farewell of the centre-back, Man United are already evaluating a list of potential replacements: among others, Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP), Jean-Clair Todibo (Nice) and Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), who is particularly appreciated by Ten Hag.
GUIDO RODRIGUEZ, EUROPEAN POWERS WATCHING SITUATION
Despite the numerous proposals received in the summer, Guido Rodriguez – as we know – decided to stay with Real Betis. Immediately after the conclusion of the last transfer session, contacts began between the Spanish club and the midfielder to discuss the terms of the renewal, given that his contract expires in June 2024.
After the positive sensations of the first weeks – even on more "complex" aspects such as the reduction of the release clause – at the moment, the talks are still ongoing, not yet finalised, with no certainties in the future of the Argentine player who is still evaluating the offer received from his club.
However, the agreement reached – for the next season – between Real Betis and Internacional for the American midfielder born in 2001 Johnny Cardoso protects the Verdiblancos from the possible farewell of Guido, who – as just seen this summer – continues to have many admirers.
Atletico Madrid, Inter and Juventus – above all – are monitoring his situation and it cannot be excluded that already in January there could be a concrete approach by one of these European heavyweights.