The Five Biggest Questions Ahead of Next Week’s Transfer Deadline

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With one week to go before the winter transfer deadline, there will be plenty of rumors, uncertainties and last-minute dealing to be had yet. But one thing is certain: Even if the window ended today, the last month would go down in history. 

According to Deloitte, more than £440 million ($542.7 million) has been spent in the current transfer window by Premier League clubs alone, making it the biggest winter transfer window in league history. Of that massive sum, nearly half has been spent by one club. It’s an absurd fact from an absurd window that has once again shaken up the global transfer market.

Yet lots can happen in seven days, especially as Deadline Day is where the bulk of the action occurs during the winter window. Here are the biggest questions heading into the final stretch: 

Where does Chelsea’s spending stop?

The short answer: It doesn’t. This has been an extraordinary transfer window in all senses of the word for Chelsea and the Blues look to be just as busy before the deadline. To catch up, Chelsea has signed Benoît Badiashile from Monaco (£35 million), David Datro Fofana from Molde (£8 million), Andrey Santos from Vasco da Gama (£18 million), Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk (up to £89 million), Noni Madueke (£30 million) and João Felix (on loan for £11 million).  

All included, Chelsea has committed nearly £200 million during the winter window after setting a Premier League record by spending more than £260 million in the summer window. Todd Boehly & Co. may also be ushering in a new era of transfer tactics by offering lengthy contracts never before seen on this scale in the sport (six- to eight-year deals) in order to potentially avoid Financial Fair Play rules.

And Chelsea isn’t done yet. Reports across Europe confirm that Chelsea is preparing a bid for Lyon’s Malo Gusto, a 19-year-old right back that is valued at around £35 million. The Blues are also on the hunt for a central midfielder with links to Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister. Those players are, of course, a backup plan if the club can’t land its top target in a certain Argentina World Cup star …

Enzo Fernández (right) is back playing for Benfica amid a drawn-out transfer saga 

Will Enzo Fernández stay put?

All of a sudden, Chelsea is reportedly back in the running for Fernández. At the start of the transfer window, it looked all but certain that the Blues were going to splash out £106 million to activate the Benfica star’s release clause after reportedly agreeing to personal terms with Fernández. And then, the mind games began, with Chelsea reportedly trying to negotiate a lower fee as Benfica accused the Premier League club of trying to turn the midfielder against Benfica in order to force an exit. 

Now, outlets across England report that Chelsea is prepared to restart talks this week for Fernández, who was named Young Player of the Tournament at the World Cup after helping lead Argentina to victory. Benfica is holding out for nothing less than the full release clause, and if Chelsea ends up signing that check, it would put their winter spending near an outrageous £300 million. Currently in 10th place in the league table, the only thing that Boehly can’t buy is points at this stage.

Will Tottenham be the only Premier League team without a signing?

When the day started, with just one week before Deadline Day, there was nothing concrete over Tottenham’s winter transfer plans. Despite the usual tabloid rumors, Spurs were still the only team in the Premier League to not have made a signing in the winter transfer window. With a Champions League knockout stage, the FA Cup and a tight battle for a top-four position, one would expect a struggling side like Spurs to make a move.

But, according to reports, it appears as though Tottenham is closing in on a move for Valencia’s Arnaut Danjuma with the Dutch international reportedly on his way to London for a medical. Danjuma looked set on a loan move to Everton before Spurs reportedly swept in with a late offer in the hopes of boosting its attack. After a solid debut season with Valencia last year (16 goals in 34 appearances), the 25-year-old has cooled off this year with only two league goals. Meanwhile, the club remains linked to a move for Sporting Lisbon right back Pedro Porro. 

But the biggest move Spurs could make during this transfer window may not even come in the form of a signing. Harry Kane said he’s expecting talks to commence over a new contract at Spurs while manager Antonio Conte’s contract runs out over the summer, leaving two massive question marks that need addressing in the near future. If Tottenham can open lines of communication for either (or both) soon, it would be a big step in the right direction. 

Weston McKennie playing for Juventus.

In a busy World Cup year, Weston McKennie has been one of Juventus’s top performers.

Does Weston McKennie make the Premier League jump?

With Christian Pulisic out for a few months after suffering a knee injury, McKennie now appears to be the U.S. men’s national team star most likely to make a move this winter, although even that appears unlikely. Juventus recently suffered a 15-point deduction for financial irregularities after its entire board resigned, putting the club down into 10th place. Selling one of its best performers this season in the middle of the year in the midst of so much turmoil would be asking a lot, especially this late in the window. 

Still, that hasn’t kept the Juventus midfielder out of the transfer rumor mill. The latest rumors have linked McKennie with Leeds United. The FC Dallas product shares an agent with USMNT and Leeds winger Brenden Aaronson, and McKennie would have plenty of American company at Leeds with USMNT captain Tyler Adams and manager Jesse Marsch. He has also been linked with Aston Villa and Arsenal, although a move could cost as much as £35 million. 

What’s up with the Europe’s best?

While the Premier League has set a new record for winter transfer window spending, the biggest clubs in the world have remained not just relatively silent, but completely silent. None of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid nor Barcelona have made a signing this month. In Barcelona’s case, given its recent financial turmoil and subsequent restrictions, it makes sense, but PSG’s only transfer business was selling Pablo Sarabia to Wolves while Real only loaned out a single player. 

Bayern Munich, meanwhile, was forced into a couple of signings due to season-ending injuries to two starters. After defender Lucas Hernandez ruptured his ACL at the World Cup, Bayern brought in Daley Blind from Ajax on a free transfer. And with the news that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer broke his leg in a skiing accident during the winter break, the club signed Borussia Mönchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer.

And then there’s the case of Manchester City. Until yesterday, the Premier League champions were without a signing until they signed Máximo Perrone in an £8.2 million move from Argentina side Velez Sarsfield. Still, the move for the 20-year-old is one for the future, and it’s expected that the midfielder will go into the U21 side upon his return from the South American Under-20 Championship. All things considered, it’s a quiet winter for European champions.

This post was originally published on Sports Illustrated

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