The January transfer window is officially open and, as is often the case, some of the world’s biggest players are being linked with moves both to, and from, the Premier League.
To get the lowdown on some of the biggest football news stories, such as Lionel Messi potentially joining Manchester City, Kylian Mbappe and David Alaba being linked with Liverpool, the futures of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Dele Alli at Tottenham and much, much more, I spoke to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, who gave GiveMeSport this exclusive 30-minute interview.
So, get yourself primed for what is set to be a fascinating and perhaps, rather unusual, transfer window by watching our interview with Fabrizio... Here we go!
Fabrizio Romano on Lionel Messi...
Q: He’s been linked with PSG and Manchester City. Can you tell us? Is he likely to leave Barcelona? And if so, where do you think he's going to end up?
A: So what he said to his father, to his manager, and people he has around him is ‘I want to wait for the new president, for the new board, for the project they have for the future of Barcelona’, because Messi wants to win, he wants to be back at the top level, not just by himself, because as you say this one of the best (players) in the world, if not the best one and for sure, he wants to win with the club.
So he's going to talk with the new president, who will be elected at the end of the month, and then he will make a decision on if (he and his family will still) live in Barcelona, or if (he’ll be) joining another club.
So it will be, I think, in one or two months, (when) we will understand if he will leave Barcelona and then till the summer, he will start talks with other clubs and decide where is going if he will leave Barcelona,
I'm not sure he’s leaving just because as I said, it's up to the player and when it's up to these kind of players, it is really difficult to understand what will be part of the future if you have the elections of the club, because when you have the elections, it’s going to change the president and we know that Messi has a lot of problems with the president, the last one, (Josep Maria) Bartomeu and the board.
If I have to tell you about these rumours about Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, it is true that they are the two clubs who can afford the salary of the Messi, the project of Leo Messi because when you sign your Messi, you're not signing a player. I still remember when I was speaking with people around Juventus when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, they said, ‘we are not signing the player, we signed like a company’ because Cristiano Ronaldo is not just a player and this is the same for Messi. So who is going to sign Messi? We don't know at the moment but for sure these two clubs, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, they can try for Leo Messi. So they are ready if Messi decides to leave the club, they will try. If not, he obviously will stay in Barcelona.
Fabrizio Romano on Kylian Mbappe...
Q: Do you expect Kylian Mbappe to sign a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain and if not, is a move to Liverpool something that could be on the horizon?
A: He’s negotiating with Paris Saint-Germain, he's negotiating, and Paris Saint-Germain’s president (Nasser) Al-Khelaifi, is always so optimistic, and, you know, having a lot of money makes it so easy to try (to tie Mbappe down to a new deal). But obviously, it's up to the player to find an agreement on a contract and when you talk with players like Mbappe, like Neymar, it is not a normal contract.
If Mbappe will not stay at Paris Saint-Germain, obviously, we have to keep (up with) all top clubs trying but I won’t mention like Liverpool or Barcelona, or others, or Real Madrid (because) all the top clubs will be ready to try for Mbappe.
So, at the moment I see Paris Saint-Germain really pushing to try and, when you talk with Paris Saint-Germain about new signings, they say ‘our new signings will be keeping Mbappe and Neymar at the club’, so they are working with all (their) energies on this deal and they are convinced they will go till the summer trying to keep Kylian Mbappe for next season and for the future of the club.
Fabrizio Romano on Liverpool's transfer plans...
Q: Do you think Liverpool will be in the market this month?
A: So Jurgen Klopp said, I think is being honest and it's not usual for a manager but he has been honest, just because they will like a centre back, for sure, they need a centre back, as you say because of many injuries, but you know, a lot of players are like worried (thinking) ‘I'm joining Liverpool, I go there for two months, I play, then (Virgil) van Dijk is back, stars are back, like (Joel) Matip and other players, Joe Gomez, and I’m not playing, I’m on the bench for the next season’ and everything.
You mentioned some names. For sure, Kabak has been scouted also Botman. About Botman, we heard a lot of talks about possible medicals and something but it's absolutely not true at the moment. For sure, Liverpool appreciate the player but they have not done anything with the manager, the player the agent or with the club, with Lille in this case.
They (Liverpool) are among the five clubs trying for David Alaba but Real Madrid are leading the race so it's difficult in this moment, but Liverpool is trying and this is (what they mean) when they say ‘we want to do something interesting’ - good opportunities because, in this market, it is so difficult to do as Chelsea did last summer, it is easier to go for good opportunities.
Fabrizio Romano on Mohamed Salah...
Q: Is there any chance that Liverpool and Salah could consider a move in this summer?
A: In this moment, interest? For sure, because, obviously, we're talking about a fantastic player so it’s impossible for any club not to be interested in him. But at the moment, there is nothing advanced with this agent or with Liverpool. Liverpool have not received anything from these clubs, so they were a bit surprised but they know that what Salah said is 'one day I would like to play in these clubs' (and this) is normal because we're talking about two major clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, also to change leagues.
His agent is negotiating with the club to understand what's going on for the (new) contract. They are not negotiating right now but, for sure, the concept of Salah will be something they talk about, like in the next year. So we will see, but, for sure, at the moment, Liverpool are really calm about the situation of Salah, they are happy with him and they are concentrating more on other players like Fabinho, Van Dijk, extending their contracts and then we will see what's going on with Salah.
Fabrizio Romano on Georginio Wijnaldum...
Q: Do you think Wijnaldum is going to leave Liverpool this summer and, if so, is he going to go and join Barcelona?
A: I have to be honest with you. Talking with people around Gini, I've been told that he has been respectful to Liverpool. So he said. like before Christmas, he spoke with the club, he received a new bid from Liverpool, like in the first week of December, to try to extend his contract and it was not an amazing bid in Gini’s idea. He was expecting something different but he said 'okay, let's take some time. I want to speak with my family. I want to decide in the next week, so give me some time to decide and I won’t talk with any other clubs’.
If he will refuse Liverpool, for sure, Barcelona will be one of the options because as you said, like last summer, they were pushing and pushing to get him. Pay attention to the situation of Koeman, because the man who wanted Wijnaldum at Barcelona was Ronald Koeman and (still) is Ronald Koeman. He loves Wijnaldum, he had him, obviously, training with the Dutch national team, but if the new president of Barcelona will change the situation, and will go for a different manager next season, I don't know if Barcelona will go for Wijnaldum.
Fabrizio Romano on Sergio Ramos...
Q: Is Ramos likely to leave Real Madrid or do we know what's happening so far?
A: He wants to stay at Real Madrid. He wants to stay but he wants a two-year contract and Real Madrid, they're offering always one-year contracts. So it’s a different position until they change their position, Real Madrid or Sergio Ramos, or he has the chance to leave the club to listen to other bids.
So it’s the same situation we’ve said for other players, they are still focusing on the club because Sergio has the dream of playing in the new Bernabeu, to be the first player, the first captain to be in the new and in the old Bernabeu. So he's in love with the club. He is Real Madrid, as you mentioned, it's crazy to see Sergio Ramos in another club. But if they won't change their position or if Sergio won’t change his position as Modric did, because Modric always wanted a two year or three year contract but he understood the moment and he said ‘Okay, let's do it for one year' and he's close to signing his new contract. But Sergio Ramos is different. He wants two years of the contract, so let's see.
Watch the full interview to see what else Fabrizio had to say about the following:
- Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s contracts at Spurs
- Dele Alli’s potential move to join Mauricio Pochettino at PSG
- Christian Eriksen’s future
- Arsenal’s pursuit of Emi Buendia
- Folarin Balogun’s Arsenal future
- Diego Costa’s next club
- Sami Khedira to Everton
- Arkadiusz Milik’s future
- Moise Kean to PSG
- Julian Draxler and Rodrigo de Paul to Leeds
- Wilfried Zaha to AC Milan
- Diego Laxalt’s future