Julen Lopetegui is ready to land in Saudi Arabia; Marcos Leonardo is not only wanted by AS Roma; and Kalvin Phillips has many clubs in Europe now chasing him. Here are some of the main stories over the last few days of the transfer market from TribalFootball's transfer expert Rudy Galetti.
AL ITTIHAD CHOOSE FORMER SPAIN COACH
Al Ittihad are certainly experiencing a difficult moment in their season. The less than exciting performances in the League and the recent lost in the AFC Champions League against Air Force (2-0) saw Nuno Espirito Santo lose his job, sacked by the Saudi club.
Now Al Ittihad are desperately looking for a replacement: there were several profiles on the list - evaluated and approached - like Alfred Schreuder, the coach who terminated his contract with Al Ain days ago, and Laurent Blanc, but the real target of the Saudis is – from the beginning - Julen Lopetegui.
After rejecting the first proposal - explaining that he doesn't like leading a team once the season has started - the Spanish manager said yes, on the salary, to the second richer proposal. Now, the Saudi club and the coach are discussing the duration of the contract and will try to take advantage of the international break to close the deal that - unless a sensational twist – is just a matter of time.
Not for nothing, the management of Al Ittihad booked tickets for the former coach of the Spanish National Team to land in Saudi soon and finalise the agreement.
MARCOS LEONARDO - ITALY ON THE HORIZON
Marcos Leonardo continues to be a very followed profile by Italian teams. Last summer, AS Roma made a serious attempt to convince the Brazilian to land in Italy, but the difficulties in negotiating with Santos led the Giallorossi to turn their attention to other profiles.
However, AS Roma are ready to get back in touch with the Brazilian club as early as 2024 for a new attempt which - this time - they hope will be decisive. In the meantime, AC Milan also began to have an interest in the striker: the Rossoneri - still looking for a "real" deputy to Olivier Giroud - have contacted the entourage of Marcos to explore the margins of the negotiation.
Despite this attempt of AC Milan, the Giallorossi are still leading the race for him, thanks also to a general understanding reached with the player at the end of August. Anyway, that's not all: it's important to pay attention also to Real Madrid. The Spanish club is starting to move for a new striker for next season and the Brazilian is on its list of preferred names. However, as told, the most likely destination – as of now – for the Santos forward seems to be Serie A, even if the concrete call of the Blancos could soon arrive, changing everything.
ALEX SANDRO, GOODBYE JUVE - IS TIME FOR A BRAZIL RETURN?
There is only one certainty in the future of Alex Sandro: he will no longer be a Juventus player next season. The Bianconeri, in fact, have informed the Brazilian that he is no longer part of the team's plans and for this reason there will be no proposals to extend his contract which expires June 2024.
After 9 seasons in Turin, Alex Sandro is ready to say goodbye to the Juventus fans: starting in the next few weeks, the defender will be able to sign a pre-agreement with a new team to which he can move as a free agent in the summer. At the moment, there are several clubs that are monitoring his situation: one in particular - Flamengo - is very interested in the Brazilian player and is planning to increase the pressure on him in the coming months.
The Rubro-Negro supporters are hoping that the transfer can take place: the player, who should recover from the injury after the international break, is much loved in Brazil and could decide to return to his homeland 14 years after his experience at Santos.
LUKA MODRIC, A NEW SAUDI ATTEMPT FOR JANUARY
Saudi Arabia will not give up on Luka Modric: after the attempt made this past summer for the Croatian, Al Ahli and Al Ittihad are ready for a new assault for the Real Madrid player.
Modric, who in August decided to refuse a contract of over 100 million dollars to sign an extension until 2024 with the Blancos, could now choose to leave the Spanish club at the end of the season to embrace a new experience elsewhere.
Carlo Ancelotti's farewell and Modric's farewell in June, then? A very likely scenario, even if the two Saudi clubs interested in Modric would like to convince him for a transfer as early as January. In the next few days, both teams will get in touch with Modric's entourage, to understand the margins of negotiation and try to get a green light already for the winter session.
In the event of a positive negotiation with the player, it will then be time to discuss with Real Madrid: it won't be an easy task, but they will try anyway. Always remembering that, in the summer, they will only have to convince Luka, as he will be - if things don't change - a free agent.
KALVIN PHILLIPS, WILL HE STAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?
One of the most talked about players during the upcoming winter transfer window will undoubtedly be Kalvin Phillips. Already now, without waiting any further, he is a much discussed name, given that he could leave Manchester City in January.
His current club, in fact, is willing to let him go - also given he is practically out of the plans of Pep Guardiola - but this does not mean that the player will be sold off. On the contrary: the Citizens are open to selling Phillips, as told, but only if a suitable offer arrives.
Currently the clubs most interested are in the Premier League - Tottenham and Newcastle - but other top European teams are also monitoring his progress. Among these, there are Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, both looking for a new midfielder to give to their respective coaches and thus have more options in the rotations.
Juventus, as is well known, have recently been linked to the English player, but actually the Bianconeri don't consider him a primary profile to include in their squad, also due to the possible high costs of the entire operation.