Day four of the new year, day two of the new Rumour Mill, and already the new Newcastle thing feels long in the tooth. Zenit St Petersburg striker Sardar Azmoun is the latest name on a shopping list that already features Lille defender Sven Botman, Atlético Madrid full-back Kieran Trippier, Everton’s Lucas Digne, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, River Plate attacker Julián Álvarez, and south Devon utility man Thomas Cobley. We’re all going to have to get used to this quick-smart. It’s going to be a long month.
Meanwhile the fuss and furore over Romelu Lukaku’s love letter to Internazionale is giving cover to a couple of Chelsea defenders making a bolt for the door marked Do One. Andreas Christensen, out of contract in the summer, may leave for Barcelona in a cut-price deal, while Antonio Rüdiger is eyeing a move to Real Madrid but will consider Bayern Munich, PSG or Juventus should talks turn sour.
Barcelona also claim they’re in the mix for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, presumably having found a loose £200m down the back of that tatty old settee. Perhaps the Catalan paupers will raise the cash by offloading Ousmane Dembélé to Newcastle, whose latest mention may lock the Mill into a screeching feedback loop, so turn down your speakers and/or take out those buds you got for Christmas.
Barça are also hopeful of securing the services of Álvaro Morata, currently on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, and offloading Philippe Coutinho, though that story is as old as references to Widecombe Fair.
Arsenal are in the mix for Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, whose dream move to Paris Saint-Germain has turned into, if not a nightmare, then a fitful sleep on a hot evening under nylon bedsheets. The Gunners are also reportedly close to a deal for Real Sociedad and Sweden striker Alexander Isak. Ainsley Maitland-Niles could pass him on the way out, heading for a loan spell at Roma, while Bukayo Saka fancies a move to Liverpool, it says here.
Manchester United want West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, and are willing to spend upwards of £100m for his signature. They’re also in for Barcelona and Uruguay defender Ronald Araújo, who is desirous of a pay rise at his current club but has yet to trouser one. Liverpool are also interested.
Watford plan to snaffle defender Samir from Udinese, and may send Christian Kabasele the other way. Two days down, then, 27 to go.