January transfer window 2024: Jordan Henderson leaving Al-Ettifaq for Ajax – live | Transfer window

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“I think Jordan Henderson chose Ajax because he wants to clean up his image,” writes Peter Oh.

Afcon’s been fun so far, hasn’t it? One player who has already earned a big-money move is Cameroon forward Faris Moumbagna. According to Fabrizio Romano, the Bodø/Glimt striker is heading to Marseille, having undergone a medical at the tournament.

Napoli’s title defence hasn’t exactly gone to plan this season: they’re currently eighth in the table and could be on to their third manager of the campaign soon, with Rudi Garcia sacked and Walter Mazzarri struggling to turn things around. They’ve been active in the transfer market, with Pasquale Mazzocchi arriving (and getting sent off on his debut) and Eljif Elmas leaving for RB Leipzig.

More incomings are expected soon: Verona striker Cyril Ngonge is set to join for €20m, while Sheffield United’s Anel Ahmedodzic, Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah and Torino’s Alessandro Buongiorno are reportedly on their defensive shortlist. Matteo Politano is also set to extend his contract in Naples, with the club fending off interest from Saudi side Al-Shabab.

🚨🔵 Excl: Matteo Politano has agreed to sign new deal at Napoli. It’s all set to be signed very soon.

Positive meeting took place today with Napoli president who doesn’t want to sell him to Saudi side Al Shabab.

🔒 New three-year deal agreed, salary around €2.8/3m per year. pic.twitter.com/mhtlfdbnTc

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 17, 2024

That’s quite the come-and-get-me plea from Ivan Toney – and not the first time he’s said some things in public that his current club might not be too pleased about.

Toney wants to join ‘top club fighting for titles’

Ivan Toney, whose suspension for breaching betting rules has come to an end today, has given his first interview to Sky Sports – and stated his wish to “play for a top club that is fighting for titles.”

The Brentford striker added: “You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere. Whether it’s this January, who knows? But my main focus is to do what I do on the pitch.”

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A couple of Premier League outgoings to report. First, Pharrell Johnson has left Nottingham Forest to join League Two side Swindon Town. The defender has featured for Forest in the EFL Trophy this season, despite being without a contract since the summer.

Meanwhile, highly-rated Crystal Palace forward John-Kymani Gordon is heading out for another loan spell in the lower leagues with Wimbledon. Gordon impressed at Carlisle last year but failed to find the net in League One with Cambridge in the first half of the season, and has now returned to League Two with the Dons.

Luton sign Reading defender Tom Holmes

Luton Town have signed Tom Holmes from Reading, with the 23-year-old defender returning to the troubled League One side on loan until the summer.

“Tom’s a good young player who is very experienced already,” said Rob Edwards. “We are really looking forward to working with him, but we feel the right thing for him is to stay at Reading on loan for the rest of the season and continue to help there.

“Getting that game time there this season is still the right thing in his development, but he’s someone we see as having a long-term future at the club.”

Thanks, Dom. I’ll begin with news that a Premier League club have just announced a signing – and a disclaimer to manage your expectations …

I’m off to grab a late lunch but I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Niall McVeigh, once again.

Where will Kalvin Phillips end up this month? It feels inevitable that he’ll leave Manchester City, most likely on loan, but there’s been an impasse when it comes to negotiations, despite significant interest in the England midfielder.

Crystal Palace, West Ham, Everton and Atlético Madrid are all interested but Juventus are said to be the only club to have formally bid for Phillips, while it seems Newcastle may back away from a deal.

Claims that City want a hefty loan fee and an obligation to buy as part of the deal have been rubbished, with it reported that “City are open to a deal structure to suit all parties”. Phillips just wants game time.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips – very much in the background at Manchester City. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

Done deal: Devine loan to Plymouth

Alfie Devine has now agreed a loan switch to Plymouth Argyle, having been recalled from Port Vale by Tottenham as mentioned earlier. He will join up with the Championship side straight away and will wear No 16.

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster (who is clearly a big fan of the midfield talent) said:

I’ve known Alfie since his Wigan days, when I was working for the FA. We had a lot of players coming through the pathway at Wigan. When selecting Alfie for England teams, he played a year up, which shows you the level of confidence I have in him, in terms of his ability and his character.

Bringing him here was a no-brainer in terms of knowing what I’m getting from the person and the player. I know how talented he is, I know how hard working he is, and it gives me a little bit of a head start because he knows the role and he knows exactly what I’ll be asking him to do. Regardless of the shape, he understands the principles of play.

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Not everyone wants out of the Saudi Pro League, it seems.

🚨🇸🇦 Roberto Firmino, not planning to leave Al Ahli in the January transfer window despite recent reports.

Very clear message from his camp: he’s set to stay at Al Ahli. No changes expected. pic.twitter.com/2FHq25AK9o

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 17, 2024

Trying to make sense of Chelsea’s transfer business since 2022 has been harder than trying to understand the end of a Christopher Nolan film, but reader Justin Madson has a good go:

Guys. I know FFP is a thing, and all the journos are currently very concerned about how Chelsea will balance their books, but this is just madness. We are being presented moves like Conor Gallagher in order to buy…. Luke Shaw? Then sell Levi Colwill to Liverpool because… FFP?

Meanwhile Chelsea are also going to be trying to buy Victor Osimhen this window too? But also sell Broja because of FFP concerns? And Chelsea somehow also want Branthwaite? But are looking to sell Colwill because FFP? It’s enough to make someone log off until February.

Us too, Justin. Us too.

That email came with the subject line “Schadenfreude” I should add.

Meanwhile we all await the next exciting instalment in the Henderson to Ajax saga. I guess it’s nice for him that he’s swapping Saudi Arabia for the Dutch cold air, cycle lanes and coffee shops.

An email from Kev McCready regarding two midfielders who were once at the spine of Liverpool’s team:

As a Liverpool fan, Henderson sold whatever his legacy could have been at Anfield for ten million barrels. Hopefully, he’ll find his principles alongside that pair of rainbow laces.

As for Thiago as a replacement, his best position is on the bench. In Sefton Park.

Cameron Carter-Vickers to Nottingham Forest? I for one am shocked that he’s no longer contracted to Spurs and on his 171st loan spell. But he’s done well since signing permanently for Celtic in 2022 and his USA teammate Matt Turner is at Forest, of course.

It would be remarkable if Gonçalo Ramos left PSG on a permanent basis, given his initial move there from Benfica was a loan and was only made permanent itself in November. But things haven’t quite worked out as planned for the striker who broke out at the 2022 World Cup.

PSG open to offloading Gonçalo Ramos, as per @lequipe. Another “too much too soon” transfer. The likes of Renato Sanches, Fábio Silva, Fábio Vieira & Ramos would have been better served (a) staying longer in Portugal, or (b) choosing a club where they are guaranteed starters. pic.twitter.com/JweKx1UpX0

— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) January 17, 2024

Spurious transfer story of the day: Luke Shaw is wanted by Chelsea, according to a newspaper report today.

The England international is, when fit, one of the first names on the teamsheet at Manchester United but Mauricio Pochettino has long been a fan of his – after giving Shaw his senior debut at Southampton. So United will be loathe to sell, but Chelsea are short in the left back area with Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella injured.

Luke Shaw during Manchester United training
Luke Shaw to Chelsea? We think (probably) not. Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

Wolves have gone from Danny Ings to Armandro Broja in the space of a week. That’s an upgrade for sure. But they’re also facing a fight to keep Rayan Ait-Nouri amid interest from Liverpool and Arsenal, while Che Adams is the latest striker reportedly on Gary O’Neil’s radar.

A busy month at Molineux.

Some non-transferry listening for you here:

Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool … that never really took off, did it? He had the ability to add some ball-playing genius to the nucleus of the Reds’ side but injuries have blighted his progress and he’ll soon turn 33.

And with his Liverpool contract due to expire in six months, it’s no surprise to see Thiago linked with an exit. And even less of a surprise, in truth, that Al-Ettifaq of the Saudi Pro League are leading the interest in him. It seems Steven Gerrard may need a Liverpool-flavoured presence in his side if and when Hendo hops it.

Another Manchester United one, and promising Lille defender Leny Yoro, 18, is said to be likely to leave the French club this summer, with United in the mix – along with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich – for his coveted signature.

No day in the transfer window can be complete without some Kylian Mbappé gossip …

The latest whisper is that PSG are ready to offer their star man a stunning £86m per season to stay. If he rejects it, Mbappé will be able to move for free this summer, with Real Madrid and most of the Saudi Pro League interested.

Gary doesn’t think this one will happen. Can’t think why.

Done deal: Lodi to Al Hilal from Marseille

Another one bites the (Saudi) dust: Renan Lodi has officially joined Al Hilal on loan from Marseille, with an obligation to buy for a minimum of €20m (£17.2m).

From Atlético Madrid, to Forest, to the Saudi Pro League via Ligue 1. That well-trodden path.

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Richard Keogh has left Wycombe out of the blue. Anyone know what’s going on there? He’d been pretty much a regular in the side until December after joining in the summer.

👏 Thank you and good luck to Richard Keogh, who leaves us by mutual consent.

— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) January 17, 2024

Jarrad Branthwaite is trending on Twitter X right now amid suspicions that Everton may be forced to sell their greenhorn centre back to offset their financial issues. Manchester United and Chelsea are the obvious would-be suitors. Maybe Jarrad – still only 21 – would be better off staying put for now?

Said Benrahma didn’t cover himself in glory in West Ham’s FA Cup defeat to Bristol City last night (he wasn’t alone, to be fair). But now it’s claimed that the Hammers have rejected a loan offer from Marseille for the winger.

Brentford, Wolves and Lyon have all been touted for a potential move for the Algerian.

West Ham's Said Benrahma gets away from two Bristol City players
Said Benrahma during West Ham’s 1-0 defeat to Bristol City. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

I’m all for Manchester being the centre of the universe. But… why don’t they just meet for a chat in Amsterdam?

An Ajax delegation is flying to Manchester this afternoon to meet with Jordan Henderson’s representatives and attempt to finalise his contract ✈️ pic.twitter.com/qp4bjbVgfI

— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 17, 2024

Sheffield Wednesday are reportedly keen on signing Arsenal youngster Mika Biereth on loan, the only snag being that … he’s already on loan at Motherwell. The Owls have already signed ex Cardiff striker Ike Ugbo this month but want another forward and the 20-year-old is a highly rated Danish youth international.

Whether his Motherwell loan can be ripped up, remains to be seen.

Inserts joke about Devine intervention.

We can confirm that we have exercised the option to recall Alfie Devine from his loan spell at Port Vale.

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 17, 2024

Thanks Niall. Let’s get straight into it.

It seems Manchester United are perfectly happy to shed their squad of fringe players, with outgoing loans aplenty this month. Facundo Pellistri appears to the the latest heading out of the door marked ‘temporary exit’. The Uruguayan winger is expected to join La Liga relegation strugglers Granada until the end of the season. Amad Diallo is also being linked with a loan this month, with Middlesbrough mentioned, but that seems unlikely as it would leave United alarmingly short out wide.

Time to hand over to my colleague, Dominic Booth, who will guide you through all the latest news, deals and idle speculation.

A signing in Italy: Juventus Women have signed Giulia Bison from second-tier Hellas Verona. The 18-year-old striker has recently undergone ankle surgery and will join up with Juve’s Primavera squad once she has recovered.

Keep tabs on the latest moves from around Europe, as they happen.

Chelsea’s striker wishlist for this month reportedly includes Victor Osimhen, Evan Ferguson, Viktör Gyokeres and Jhon Durán – and there is also talk that Saudi clubs could offer them the likes of Karim Benzema and Aleksandar Mitrovic on loan. All of which means Armando Broja could be squeezed out – with Wolves keen to snap him up.

In another deal completed last night, Celtic have signed the Rapid Vienna winger Nicolas Kühn. The 24-year-old has represented Germany at youth level, and has previous experience in Ajax and Bayern Munich’s development squads.

“Celtic is one of the biggest clubs around and I’m really happy to be here,” Kühn said after signing a 5.5yr deal for a reported €3.5m (£3m) fee. “At Celtic, it’s about doing all we can to win every game, so that is the challenge here. I can’t wait to get going and do my very best for our supporters.”

An official outgoing at Manchester United, announced very late last night. Álvaro Fernández is off to Benfica on loan after his previous spell at Granada was cut short. The Portuguese giants have a €6m option to buy agreed, which will become obligatory if he plays more than 50% of games in the rest of this season. United have a buy-back option and a sell-on clause in place for the young Spanish full-back.

ℹ️ Alvaro Fernandez has joined Benfica on loan until the end of the season.

Wishing you all the best, Alvaro! 💪

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 16, 2024

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Some more Brentford-based news this morning: Tottenham full-back Sergio Reguilón, just back from his loan spell at Manchester United, is set to join the Bees until the end of the season as cover for the injured Rico Henry.

🚨🐝 Sergio Reguilon, on his way to medical tests as new Brentford player today then deal will be signed.

Reguilon joins on straight loan, confirmed; there will be NO option to buy as Spanish LB will return to Tottenham in June. pic.twitter.com/nADvn2cjHl

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 17, 2024

“I think it’s fair to say Henderson hasn’t been a Runaway success in Saudi Arabia and his life there hasn’t been a Bed Of Roses,” writes Tim Woods. “It seems that Ajax Keep The Faith that he’s still able to do it at the top (sort of) level. Maybe there’s still time for one more Blaze Of Glory in his career? Have A Nice Day.”

There have been plenty of big moves in the Women’s Super League and around Europe already this January. Catch up with our interactive guide.

Chelsea have their eye on a couple of strikers, and plenty more besides, in Wednesday’s Rumour Mill …

Look who’s back: Ivan Toney’s ban for breaching betting rules ends today, and he could feature for Brentford this weekend against Nottingham Forest. As things stand, the striker looks likely to stay put until at least the summer, but that could still change.

Henderson set to leave Al-Ettifaq and join Ajax

Some early news for you: Jordan Henderson is reportedly leaving Al-Ettifaq, after the Saudi side agreed to terminate his contract. The former Liverpool captain is heading to Amsterdam, and could complete a move to Ajax by the weekend.

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As Jon Bon Jovi once sang, we’re halfway there. The January transfer window closes on 1 February so there are 16 shopping days left in this 32-day spending spree. Last year, by the time the shutters came down, 18 of the 20 biggest signings were headed to Premier League clubs.

It’s been a very different story this time – Radu Dragusin, signed by Spurs for £25m, is the only big-money arrival so far. Financial fair play concerns, weird winter breaks and international duties are stalling the market, but this is the Premier League – wallets will surely spring open eventually.

Meanwhile, the rest of Europe’s “big four” (outspent by the English top-flight by more than £650m last January) are enjoying an unexpected transfer renaissance. Can we keep this blog rolling without Premier League’s usual largesse? As Jon Bon Jovi once sang, we’ll give it a shot.

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