Arsenal cancel Sokratis’ contract

The 32-year-old joined the north London club from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 for an undisclosed fee and went on to make 69 appearances.

Sokratis helped Mikel Arteta’s men win the FA Cup last August – with the final against Chelsea proving to be the Greece international’s last first-team appearance for Arsenal.

In a statement, the Gunners said: “Working closely with Sokratis and his team, we have decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent.

“This gives Papa the freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club and return to action as soon as possible.”

Sokratis was out of contract at the Emirates Stadium this summer and technical director Edu sent his thanks to the departing defender.

“On behalf of Mikel, our coaches, players and everyone at the club, I would like to thank Papa for his contribution to the club,” Edu said.

“He has been an important part of our group and has been a model professional throughout. The negotiations to end his contract have been collaborative and we wish Papa and his family well for the future.”

Mesut Ozil is set to follow Sokratis out of Arsenal, with the playmaker in Turkey ahead of a move to Fenerbahce.

Sead Kolasinac has joined Schalke on loan and William Saliba will spend the rest of the campaign at Nice.

Crystal Palace land Mainz man

The Eagles have landed the French forward on an 18-month loan deal from the Bundesliga club with an obligation to buy.

That fee is believed to be in the region of £13m, and it comes as no real surprise considering loan deals of that length almost always signal a permanent move.

Roy Hodgson is in need of some more firepower in attack and the 23-year-old may provide much needed competition to the misfiring Christian Benteke up top.

Benteke is out of contract in the summer and will likely leave Selhurst Park, whilst fellow striker Michy Batshuayi is on loan from Chelsea and hasn’t had much game time.

Jordan Ayew is also an option going forward but with just one goal so far this season, his form has dipped.

There appears to be a movement at Crystal Palace to bring in younger talent – in the 2019/20 campaign, the Eagles had the highest average age of any Premier League squad.

Recent additions including Ebere Eze and Nathan Ferguson highlight that – with Mateta another who could make a name for himself at Crystal Palace.

This move has yet to be confirmed by either club, but it has been reported by ever-reliable transfer expert Fabrizio Romano on Twitter, which is good enough for us!

Aston Villa continue Morgan Sanson chase

The midfielder has been linked with a move to Villa Park in recent days, with reports suggesting that manager Dean Smith is closing in on the capture of the French international.

It’s believed no deal has yet been agreed between the Ligue 1 club and Aston Villa but talks are ongoing around a £15m switch.

The 26-year-old has been at Marseille since 2017 after signing from Montpellier and helped guide the South-of-France club to a 2nd place finish in the French top flight last season.

Marseille boss – former Chelsea and Tottenham gaffer Andre Villas-Boas – said of Sanson recently:

“Sanson is a player who is highly rated.”

“He is a boy who interests English teams because of his characteristics, and it is possible that something could happen.”

With 23 goals in 148 appearances so far for Marseille, Sanson has been an influential player – but with 11 days remaining in the transfer window it remains to be seen whether he will be plying his trade in the Premier League come the end of the month.

Transfer Latest: Premier League deals and gossip from Sport Social

Wolves bring in attacking option | 20th Jan 2021 19:47 | Jim Salveson

Nuno Espirito Santo has bolstered the Wolverhampton Wanderers attack with a loan deal for Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose. Jose has bagged 60 goals in 169 La Liga appearances and The Daily Mail are reporting that Wolves have an option to make the deal permanent should all go well in the West Midlands. Wanderers have looked short of goals since the injury to Raul Jimenez earlier in the season and Santo will hope that Jose can provide another option to record signing Fabio Silva who has struggled to find the net since his move to Molineux in the summer.

Arsenal make second approach for Odegaard | 20th Jan 2021 19:39 | Jim Salveson

Mikel Arteta is keen on brining Norwegian attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard to the Emirates and has gone back to Real Madrid with a second offer according to Sky Sports. The player is expecting to leave the Spanish giants this Transfer Window in search of first team football but Real don’t want to lose the talented youngster on the cheap despite him only costing them around £2.7million from  Stromgodset back in 2015. Arsenal are facing stiff competition for his signature however including interest from at least one other Premier League club.

Sayonara Sokratis as defender’s Arsenal contract cancelled | 20th Jan 2021 15:43 | Niall McCaughan

There has been a flurry of transfer activity at Arsenal this week, with sporting director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta looking to rearrange the Gunners squad. They haven’t pulled any punches either, with Sokratis Papastathopolous (that’s tough to type) the latest to be shown the Emirates exit door. The Greek defender has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent, meaning he is now free to find another club as and when he pleases. Sokratis’ last game was the FA Cup final win over Chelsea – not a bad way to go out. Elsewhere, Mesut Ozil is set to finalise his Fenerbahce move on Friday after a period of self-isolation in Turkey, whilst William Saliba and Sead Kolasinac have been loaned out.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been keen to move on those players surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium. Photo: PA

Mainz man Mateta heading for Crystal Palace | 20th Jan 2021 15:29 | Niall McCaughan

Bundesliga club Mainz has been the home of some top talent in the past. Liverpool gaffer Jurgen Klopp cut his teeth there and Sadio Mane also got a Premier League switch off the back of some impressive displays. Now Crystal Palace have plundered the German side of striker Jean-Philippe Mateta, who signs a loan deal at Selhurst Park with an option to buy. Palace have had their eye on the Frenchman for some time, expressing interest in the forward in previous windows, but now look to have finally got their man. This one hasn’t been officially confirmed by either club as yet but transfer guru Fabrizio Romano says it’s a done deal – which is good enough for us!

Aston Villa closing in on Morgan Sanson deal | 20th Jan 2021 15:18 | Niall McCaughan

With just over 10 days left of the transfer window, things are finally starting to hot up. Over the past week or so Aston Villa have been strongly linked with Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, and it looks like they are close to getting their man. With Conor Hourihane’s loan departure to Swansea yesterday freeing up some room in Dean Smith’s midfield, the France international could well swap Ligue 1 for the Premeir League. Burnley have also been interested in the 26-year-old in the past, but we will be surprised if Sanson’s destination is anywhere other than Villa Park.

Sheffield United in a fight to land Jesse Lingard | 19th Jan 2021 16:27 | Niall McCaughan

Jesse Lingard has only played 3 times for Manchester United this season, so naturally the rumours surrounding his Old Trafford future are swirling. The Blades are reportedly interested in taking Lingard as they battle to stave off relegation, but as Sport Social’s Marley Anderson writes, Tottenham have now entered the race for his signature. Could Lingard be tempted to link up with former boss Jose Mourinho?

Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard – is he on his way to Spurs? Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Spurs youngster Harvey White joins Pompey on loan | 19th Jan 2021 14:01 | Niall McCaughan

One of the smaller deals that took place yesterday was Tottenham’s 19-year-old midfielder Harvey White joining Portsmouth on loan. White made an impressive first start for Spurs in their recent FA Cup game with non-league Marine, and links up with the League One side to gain valuable first team experience with Pompey currently in with a shout of automatic promotion to the Championship.

Hourihane heading for Aston Villa exit door | 19th Jan 2021 12:33 | Niall McCaughan

We wrote yesterday about a number of promotion-chasing Championship sides being keen on Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane. Well now it looks like Swansea City have won the race for the Republic of Ireland international, with a loan deal until the end of the season looking most likely. Hourihane hasn’t played for Villa in the Premier League since November and AFC Bournemouth were another side interested in his services, but after the Cherries signed free agent Jack Wilshere yesterday there was no real need for them to bring in the Irishman.

West Brom keen on Turkey international | 19th Jan 2021 10:02 | Niall McCaughan

West Brom may have secured a huge three points against rivals Wolves last time out, but defensive worries continue to be of concern for the Baggies. Despite them having conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season, it is in fact a midfielder who they have been linked with over the last 24 hours rather than defensive reinforcements. Albion are said to be in talks with Celta Vigo’s Turkish international Okay Yokuşlu, according to the player’s agent. You can hear more about West Brom’s pursit of the La Liga man here.

West Ham turn to Spain for Haller replacement | 19th Jan 2021 09:30 | Jim Salveson

West Ham continue to be linked to seemingly every striker in Europe as they search for a replacement for Sebastien Haller, who signed for Ajax earlier this month. The Athletic are reporting that the latest name on the Hammers’ hitlist is Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri. Some sources are claiming however that the West Ham board have remained true to form and only offered 50% of the fee demanded by the Spanish club which means, once again for the Hammers, that transfer is unlikely to get over the line. Sport Social’s Niall McCaughan has more on this story which you can read here.

Chelsea look to steal march on Premier League rivals to land Haaland | 19th Jan 2021 08:27 | Jim Salveson

Chelsea are trying to beat the pack of Premier League clubs chasing Norwegian star Erling Haaland by attempting to agree a deal for a summer transfer. According to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante, the Blues have two main targets for their summer spending; Declan Rice and the Dortmund striker. The players’ release clause does not activate until the summer of 2022 but Roman Abramovich is allegedly prepared to break the clubs transfer record to seal the deal.

Erlin Haaland has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs (PA)

Dele Alli awaits decision on French future | 19th Jan 2021 07:59 | Jim Salveson

Dele Alli will find out this week whether Jose Mourinho will grant his wish and let him leave Tottenham for PSG. Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino wants Alli as part of his new look PSG side but the London team seem reluctant to part with the player who has only had a bit-part role so far this season. The Mirror are reporting that a decision will be made this week on whether to allow Alli to move to Paris on loan for the rest of the season.

Harvey White joins Portsmouth on loan

The 19-year-old made his first start for Spurs in last weekend’s FA Cup 3rd round tie against 8th tier Marine AFC.

White impressed in the middle of the park as Tottenham went on to blitz their non-league opponents 0-5 on Merseyside.

The academy graduate has been training with the first team on occasion this season but Jose Mourinho has deemed the time is right for the youngster to go and get some regular match minutes.

League One club Portsmouth is White’s destination, with Kenny Jackett’s side going good guns in the third tier of English football.

Pompey are currently third in the table and are once more chasing automatic promotion to the Championship this season after back-to-back playoff failures.

Blues boss Jackett spent some time coaching in Tottenham’s academy setup before taking on the managerial role at Fratton Park and no doubt used his connections in North London to sanction this deal.

It will be a good opportunity for white to play some more first team football in a competitive and physical division.

Interestingly, White has already scored a goal at Pompey’s Fratton Park home – a sumptuous free-kick in to the top corner in an EFL Trophy fixture in 2018.

Championship clubs keen on Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane

The Republic of Ireland international is on the radar of second tier frontrunners AFC Bournemouth and Swansea City.

The 29-year-old has amassed over 100 appearances since his arrival at Villa Park from Barnsley in 2017 and is one of few players in the English game to have scored in all four divisions of the EFL.

Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall – whose side are currently third in the Championship – is reported to be keen to add extra creativity to the Cherries’ midfield.

However, with Jack Wilshere’s recent arrival at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth are well stocked in that area and thus may have to ship out some players to squeeze Hourihane in.

That is, of course, if Aston Villa are willing to sell.

Dean Smith has overseen a huge improvement in his side this campaign after narrowly avoiding relegation from the Premier League last season – but Villa’s upturn has largely been without Hourihane’s involvement.

The Irishman has played just 4 times in the top flight this season and hasn’t played a minute of football for Aston Villa since November.

You could argue therefore that Hourihane has been surplus to requirements at Villa Park in recent months and may well fancy his chances elsewhere.

Ozil Completes Gunners Exit

Ozil and Arsenal had agreed to a mutual termination of his contract, allowing the German international to move to the Turkish club on a free transfer. The player reportedly gave up much of the £7m owed to him by the Gunners in order to make the move.

The 32-year-old leaves as one of Arsenal’s all-time leading assist makers, with only Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas recording more in the Premier League era.

Ozil has long-spoken of his desire to play for Fener, as he grew up supporting the side as a child. Ozil’s grandparents are from Turkey, although the player himself was born in Germany and opted to represent his birth country on the international stage.

The former Real Madrid midfielder has held close links with Turkey for some years, and President Erdogan was even Best Man at Ozil’s wedding in 2019. This led to criticism from German nationals, who blamed Ozil for the country’s poor display at the 2018 World Cup.

The move to Turkey should free up a sizeable chunk of wage budget for the Gunners, who have been quiet in the transfer window so far. Reinforcements are expected more in the summer, with the focus now on continuing their revival after a poor first half of the season.

West Ham face tough talks over Sevilla striker

After the departure of £45m signing Sebastien Haller to Ajax earlier this month, the injury prone Michail Antonio is left as the Hammers only recognised first team striker.

As such, West Ham have made the capture of a replacement for Haller a top priority in the remaining two weeks of the transfer window.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein has suggested that Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri, who has scored 12 times in 25 games so far this season, is a target for David Moyes.

Ornstein claims that West Ham have been putting together a €30m package to bring the Morocco international to the London Stadium, but according to local Seville newspaper Estadio Deportivo, the La Liga side are after a much more substantial fee than the one the Hammers have been readying.

As picked up by website Sport Witness, the article translated in to English claims that West Ham would need to go ‘significantly higher’ in order to secure El-Nesyri’s services.

Furthermore, Sevilla are keen to have a replacement sorted before sanctioning any possible move to London.

With 12 days to go until the transfer window closes, this deal is currently looking quite unlikely – but as we saw two summers ago with recently-departed Seb Haller, West Ham haven’t been afraid to spend good money on forward players in recent times.

West Brom eyeing Turkey international

The Baggies are in a battle to remain in the Premier League this season and no doubt manager Sam Allardyce will be exploring his options in the transfer window in order to maximise their chances of staying up.

Although defenders appear to be of priority to West Brom, Celta Vigo’s Turkish international midfielder Okay Yokuşlu is catching their eye.

Yokuşlu has earned 29 caps for his country and has played in La Liga since 2018, with Celta Vigo enjoying a good season so far as they sit 8th in the Spanish top flight.

However, the midfielder has barely been involved this campaign after falling out of favour with a previous manager and failing to impress his replacement.

The lack of game time this season has meant that Yokuşlu’s chances of being involved with the Turkey squad for the rescheduled Euro 2020 are slim – but a move to the Premier League may be the catalyst he needs if he is to be selected for the national team.

Last week the Daily Mail reported West Brom’s interest in the 26-year-old, and the player’s agent this week confirmed to news outlet AS that talks are ongoing between the two clubs over a possible switch.

Although there is still a fair way to go before any sort of agreement is reached, Celta Vigo are open to letting the ill-fancied Yokuşlu leave the club in order to reduce their wage bill, particularly as they hunt for a new striker this month.

West Brom are interested but there is still a fair bit of negotiating to be done before a deal is struck.

Tomori closing in on Serie A switch, Drinkwater departs

According to reports, the Blues defender is on the verge of linking up with the Serie A club for the remainder of the season.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard recently admitted that he was not averse to allowing the centre back to head out on loan this month.

Tomori has found himself further down the pecking order this season, with the summer signing of experienced Brazilian defender Thiago Silva squeezing the 23-year-old out of favour.

AC Milan have been the frontrunners to secure Tomori’s signature so far this transfer window and according to Italian website Mediaset, the Rossoneri are in pole position to get the deal over the line.

They claim an agreement for a loan move with an option to buy is on the verge of being completed, with Tomori set to finalise the deal either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

The two clubs have done loan business in the not too distant past when Tiemoue Bakayoko had a spell at the San Siro for a season in 2018-19.

The details of the deal are believed to be a €3m loan fee with the option to buy stipulation in the contract set at €25m.

Tomori no doubt has a bright future in the game, highlighted in his performances at Stamford Bridge last season – but it remains to be seen if we see him back at Chelsea after this move goes through.

One player who has confirmed their departure from Stamford Bridge today is Danny Drinkwater.

The exiled midfielder has signed a loan deal with Turkish Super Lig side Kasimpaşa until the end of the season.

Drinkwater hasn’t played for Chelsea’s first team since featuring in the 2018 Community Shield against Manchester City.

Roma after Everton’s Bernard

The Serie A side are eyeing up a move for the Toffees winger, with Carlo Ancelotti believed to be open to letting the Brazilian leave Goodison Park this month.

Everton have a large squad and it has been suggested that the club are keen to trim their numbers if possible.

According to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Roma are keen on bringing a new winger to the club, with Bernard and Stefan El Shaarawy top of manager Paulo Fonseca’s wish list.

However – as translated by Sport Witness – it is suggested that the Italians also need to trim their squad too before any swoop for Bernard is considered.

Furthermore, Roma believe that Everton’s demands in terms of a transfer fee for Bernard are too high and thus El Shaarawy has become their primary focus.

The Toffees have been doing well in the Premier League this season, but 28-year-old Bernard has barely been involved, featuring just 6 times in the top flight so far this campaign and playing just 10 games in total in all competitions.

There appears to be several obstacles in the way before any move for Bernard can materialise, but with almost two weeks remaining until the transfer window closes there is still time for a deal to be agreed.

Leicester striker set to leave club this week

The Algeria international joined the Foxes from Sporting CP in the summer of 2016 for a then club record fee of £28m.

However, the 32-year-old has never really lived up to the heights expected of him at the King Power Stadium, amassing just 8 goals in 36 top flight appearances since his arrival.

Pitching up at the club whilst Leicester were Premier League champions perhaps increased expectations on the forward, who has spent time out on loan at Newcastle United, Fenerbahce and most recently Monaco in his four and a half seasons at the Foxes.

Now he is set for a medical at French side Lyon, who have been in advanced talks with Slimani for a while according to their director of football Juninho.

As picked up by Sport Witness, French news outlet Le Progres claim the Leicester man is due to be offered an 18-month deal at Lyon and the Foxes have convinced Slimani to depart the club on a free transfer.