It seems there’s no avoiding a busy deadline day these days. Though Leicester City wrapped up their January spending by the 13th, they’ll again be dragged through deadline drama, as other teams leave their business until the last minute.
Despite some Ben Arfa speculation, I’d be surprised to see any more players arrive, but there are a number of possible departures to track.
First and foremost of course is the last minute interest from Manchester City in the Algerian star.
Reports on the matter are myriad and varied, to say the least. Some think City have submitted a £50m bid. Rob Tanner of the Mercury believes that no bids have been received and that £60m would be laughed off.
The Algerian almost certainly will be left out of tonight’s game against Everton, just like he backed out of Algeria’s trip to Zambia over the summer. Exactly like then, it’s just a precaution on his part, unless something comes through. It doesn't actually indicate anything more than interest.
A last minute deal certainly remains possible, but I’m leaning towards Mahrez staying, especially after the problems we had with the last minute Drinkwater deal in the summer. For what it’s worth, Guardiola was “95-99% certain” that their business was over and has admitted it would be “difficult” to sign Mahrez.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: This one’s had some ups and downs throughout the day. The most widespread story was that Man City’s final offer was a cash and player deal (the player was never named) worth a total of £65m.
Since then it sounds like the chairman has said no, which is very much his right, and in response Man City have apparently dropped their interest. Doesn't mean it can't happen still, but it looks like he’s staying.
Deal off. Manchester City give up on trying to sign Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. Made four bids— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 31, 2018
Michael Owen thinks its “madness” to reject anything above £60m, but then he’s an idiot.
Will be interesting to see what becomes of reports that Riyad’s absence was stirring up changing room disharmony. He did reintegrate fine after the summer, but never skipped out on a game (though Van Dijk, Coutinho etc all did and no one seemed to think that was a problem).
Sky Sports are reporting that a loan deal for the rest of the season has been agreed. Meanwhile the Chronicle believe that Leicester may be holding out in hope of a permanent deal, although would raise work permit difficulties. Nonetheless, most parties seem pretty confident that this one will be completed at some point today.
Asked source close to Islam Slimani if West Ham were in for him. Response: NEWCASTLE— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 31, 2018
UPDATE: By all accounts Slimani has landed in Newcastle for a physical. Expected to be a loan deal until the end of the season (some are saying with a £2m fee) and it’s likely to be done.
The Sunderland Echo believe the black cats could be lining up a move, likely another loan, for the Foxes goalkeeper. Jakupovic was signed as a backup, but hs struggled to beat Ben Hamer for the position, so to see one of them leave wouldn't be a big surprise.
UPDATE: Latest reports are that Sunderland made an offer and were willing to pay his wages in full, but Leicester rejected it. Suggests that no other loan out is likely either.
Andy King :(
John Percy of the Telegraph believes Nottingham Forrest are interested in taking King, again on loan. there have also been reports that Middlesbrough and possibly Sunderland could make a bid.
UPDATE: Swansea have apparently joined the list chasing King today.
Those are all the big rumours for now, but we’ll make sure to keep updated as anything else comes through.