Gonzalo Higuain's pending move to Chelsea remains at the forefront of the winter transfer buzz, while a prolific replacement is on his way to AC Milan.
The January transfer window is open for 10 more days across the biggest leagues in Europe, meaning just over a week remains for clubs to mobilize and make the moves that will fortify their squads for the rest of the season.
We've already seen a few big names on the move, with Chelsea landing Christian Pulisic from Dortmund (before loaning him back for the rest of the season); Real Betis signing fellow Concacaf rising star Diego Lainez from Club America; Monaco signing veteran midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Chelsea; and Fulham turning to Ryan Babel in hopes of staving off relegation. This January has been devoid of an abundance of big moves so far, though, unlike last winter, which was full of them. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi, Ross Barkley, Theo Walcott, Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte and Lucas Moura all were part of an unusually active January in 2018, and there's still time for upper-tier players to change scenery before the window shuts.
Here are the latest rumblings around Europe as the days tick away:
- Chelsea is inching closer to its loan move for Gonzalo Higuain, which will have a domino effect in Italy. Milan will be able to offload Higuain (who is on loan from Juventus) after securing his replacement, in Genoa star and Serie A second-leading scorer Krzysztof Piatek. The clubs, who played one another (Piatek and Higuain were both absent) on Monday, are expected to meet Tuesday to finalize the £31 million (plus bonuses) deal. Once Piatek is in the fold, Higuain will be free to reunite with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. (Sky Sports)
- Making way at Chelsea for Higuain would be Alvaro Morata. The Spanish forward is nearing a loan move to Atletico Madrid, where he'll try and find his consistent scoring touch and join another former Chelsea forward in Diego Costa. Atletico Madrid will have the option to buy Morata at season's end. (Sky Sports)
- Kevin-Prince Boateng has completed a surprise loan move to Barcelona from Sassuolo, adding more bite, depth and experience into Ernesto Valverde's squad, albeit in the form of a player who is well beyond his prime days. The well-traveled Boateng had his most prolific scoring days during his one previous season in La Liga, when he scored 10 times for Las Palmas in 2016-17. (FC Barcelona)
- Denis Suarez's loan to Arsenal could accelerate following Boateng's arrival at Camp Nou. Manager Unai Emery indirectly indicated that there was an interest in bringing Suarez in on loan when addressing reporters after Saturday's win over Chelsea. (Mirror)
- Juventus is closing in on a loan for Manchester United's Matteo Darmian for the rest of the season, after which Juve could be the Italian fullback for £8 million (Gazzetta dello Sport | The Guardian)
- Chelsea and U.S. center back Matt Miazga is cutting his futile loan to Nantes short. According to comments from Nantes manager Vahid Halilhodzic, Miazga left the club without permission and was untruthful in claiming he had a back injury in order to depart. (Ouest-France)
- Another American who could be on the move is the versatile Matt Polster, who appears headed for Rangers after a successful trial that has caught manager Steven Gerrard's eye. Polster spent the last four seasons in MLS with the Chicago Fire but missed most of 2018 through injury. (Daily Record)
- Callum Hudson-Odoi has reportedly rejected another contract offer from Chelsea, with the 18-year-old winger desiring a move to Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga side has been vocal about wanting to sign the England international, much to Chelsea's dismay. (Sky Sports)
- Ashley Cole will be reunited with former England and Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, after signing a six-month deal with Derby County, aiding in the club's quest for promotion to the Premier League. (Derby County)
- West Ham has received lucrative offers from China for Marko Arnautovic, but it won't sell its Austrian forward in the winter window, instead sanctioning a summer departure. The Chinese transfer window is open through the end of February. (The Evening Standard)