Transfer rumor roundup, Jan. 2: Leon Goretzka is off to Bayern ... or is he?

Leon Goretzka’s agent and others have denied reports that the Schalke midfielder has chosen Bayern Munich. (Getty)

Every weekday afternoon throughout January, FC Yahoo will weed through the topsy-turvy world of transfer gossip and bring you a roundup of the top rumors of the past 24 hours. But first, a note on what the roundup will entail. Because it won’t just be pure aggregation.

Not all transfer rumors are created equal. Some deserve your attention. Some don’t. So every roundup will be divided into four sections.

First, there are the reports – news on a player and clubs, usually from reputable sources, that appear to be substantive. They often include specific information, like a timetable, a potential transfer fee, a meeting location, a negotiation obstacle, or other details.

Second, there is chatter – details regarding previously reported or rumored negotiations that are interesting, but don’t include concrete suggestions that a deal could be near.

Third, there are the rumors – the links between player and club(s) that are probably just speculative and unfounded. They’re usually from tabloids that have a long history of, for lack of a better phrase, spewing BS. So you probably should ignore them. But just in case you want to indulge, we’ll have you covered.

And finally, at the bottom of every roundup will be a running list of the done deals that have caught our attention – the ones officially announced by clubs.

Tuesday, Jan. 2


Leon Goretzka | Schalke —> Bayern Munich — According to multiple reports out of Germany and Spain, Goretzka, whose contract expires at the end of the season, had chosen to join Bayern on a free transfer in July. But Schalke, Goretzka’s agent and Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes have all denied that a final decision has been made. Heynckes said that “the Spaniards” – Barcelona – “are still in the race.”

Cenk Tosun | Besiktas —> Everton — Everton had reportedly agreed a £25 million deal for the 26-year-old Turkish striker. Tosun appeared to have said goodbye to Besiktas fans, and even posted a picture of himself in London on New Year’s Eve. But now Besiktas has reportedly raised the asking price to £27 million. Everton manager Sam Allardyce addressed the situation Monday: “We’ve done all we can, so I would presume we’ll know in the next 24 hours if [the bid has] been successful or not.”

Alejandro Grimaldo | Benfica —> Napoli — According to reports out of Italy and Portugal, Napoli is close to sealing a €30 million deal for Grimaldo, a 22-year-old Spanish left back who moved to Benfica in 2016 after seven years in Barcelona’s youth and B teams.

There have been suggestions that the Grimaldo signing will pave the way for Faouzi Ghoulam, Napoli’s current starting left back, to leave for Manchester United. The 26-year-old Algerian reportedly has a €60 million release clause in the contract he signed last month. But the United link seems to be more of a rumor than a report.

Kepa Arrizabalaga | Athletic Bilbao —> Real Madrid — Arrizabalaga could – and probably would – sign for Real Madrid on a free when his contract expires this summer. But according to MARCA, Real is prepared to trigger his €20 million buyout clause to get the deal done in January.


The aftermath of Nike’s Coutinho gaffe — It’s now been three days since Nike ran a Philippe Coutinho promotion on its website suggesting the Brazilian was already a Barcelona player. Nike has not offered an explanation for the unthinkable mistake. Coutinho, meanwhile, missed Liverpool’s trip to Burnley, apparently with a minor injury. Jurgen Klopp was asked about the Nike gaffe, and said, “I heard about it. I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world. But somebody told me and I thought, ‘Wow.’ Top story.”

Top story, indeed. In the wake of it, the Telegraph reported Liverpool will now demand an “astronomical fee” – upwards of £130 million – for its highest-paid player. There have been more rumors that Coutinho’s camp is continuing to push for a move. The most trustworthy source on the matter is Guillem Balague, and here’s what he has to say:


David Luiz | Chelsea —> Arsenal — Luiz, out of favor at Chelsea, was linked to Arsenal by British tabloids, but Arsene Wenger recently dismissed the rumor.

Lucas Moura | PSG —> Manchester United — Moura, who has barely played for PSG since the additions of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, was reportedly close to a move to China. But now, according to a report out of France, United has made an initial approach for the Brazilian winger.

Toni Kroos | Real Madrid —> Manchester United — This is just one point on a crazy, almost-certainly-false line of rumors peddled by a Spanish outlet that doesn’t even deserve a mention, and picked up by British outlets. The absurd suggestion is that Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving at the end of the season, therefore Real Madrid wants to buy Neymar, therefore it needs to offload both Gareth Bale and Kroos. So if you see Kroos and Manchester United in the same sentence, don’t believe a single word of it.

Andre Gomes | Barcelona —> Manchester UnitedItalian outlet il Bianconero says the Red Devils are pursuing the 24-year-old Portuguese midfielder, who hasn’t established himself in any meaningful way at Barcelona.

Alex Sandro | Juventus —> Chelsea — This rumor isn’t exactly new, but it’s still alive. The quoted price is £50 million.

Thomas Lemar | Monaco —> Chelsea
Richmond Boakye | Red Star Belgrade —> Chelsea — Several British outlets have reported that Antonio Conte is interested in Lemar, a highly-rated French winger, and Boakye, a 24-year-old Ghanaian striker.

Done Deals

Terence Kongolo | Monaco —> Huddersfield Town (loan)
Virgil van Dijk | Southampton —> Liverpool (£75 million)
Diego Costa | Chelsea —> Atletico Madrid (€60 million)
Vitolo | Sevilla —> Atletico Madrid (€37.5 million)
Adrien Silva | Sporting CP —> Leicester City (£22 million)

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.