Man Utd gear up for intriguing striker signing as Chelsea’s first January deal reaches ‘final stages’

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The latest Premier League transfer rumours from Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal as January deals near completion.

Welcome to Tuesday's round-up of the biggest and sometimes strangest transfer rumours to have done the rounds in the past 24 hours, and it has to be said that Europe’s football media are really getting into their January stride now, flooding the market with predictions of money being splashed and shock swoops being sealed – and one or two of them might even turn out to be true, if only by accident. Manchester United fans will certainly be hoping at least one of today’s transfer titbits turns out to be on the right track.

TBR Football reckon that Erik ten Hag has switched targets as he seeks to sort out the situation up front, and will now launch a bid for Lille and Canada striker Jonathan David. The 25-year-old wants a new challenge, apparently, and United like his combination of express pace and a proven goalscoring record. They reckon that Aston Villa could be interested in the Brooklyn-born forward, too.

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And David isn’t the only player on the radar – 19-year-old Porto midfielder Ussumane Djaló could be the subject of a January bid, although Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton and Everton are keen as well. He has an £8m release clause, according to the Daily Mail, although they reckon he wouldn’t cost quite that much despite some impressive performances in the UEFA Youth League.

The 3AM Verdict: David has a fantastic record over the last few seasons but did tail off a bit towards the end of 2023, and he only has five goals in 17 Ligue 1 games so far this campaign.

Nevertheless, he's a proven scorer, fast and technically adept and would be probably be fairly priced if he wants to move on – although we suspect FFP restraints could put this one on the back-burner for now. As for Djaló, he’s a fairly big talent by all accounts, but as he doesn’t have a senior appearance to his name we’ll have to withhold judgement for now.

Maatsen on the move as Chelsea battle for United target

Chelsea are close to completing their first business of the transfer window, according to the internet’s favourite one-man rolling football news service, Fabrizio Romano. He reckons that wantaway left-back Ian Maatsen will be a Borussia Dortmund player this week, with an initial loan move for the Dutchman in the 'final stages' of negotiations., and going as far as giving the deal his trademark 'Here we go' status. Maatsen has made it clear that he wants the first-team football that he isn't getting right now, so his departure won't be a shock.

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Once that’s out of the way, Chelsea are apparently thinking of turning their sights to Jean-Clair Todibo, the hugely impressive OGC Nice centre-half who has been heavily linked with a move to United or Tottenham Hotspur. The Frenchman has been a key performer for the best defensive side in France and The Hard Tackle reckons that Mauricio Pochettino wants him at Stamford Bridge. Previous reports have suggested that he would cost something in the region of £40m.

The 3AM Verdict: Chelsea had the chance to make use of Maatsen after an impressive season on loan at Burnely, decided they didn’t fancy it, and now it’s probably just a question of striking the best possible deal – and Dortmund is likely the best deal for the player, at the very least.

As for Todibo, he’s brilliant and we’ve massive fans of his, but the big issue is that once Ineos’ investment in United is rubber-stamped by the FA, he’ll basically be owned by them already. One would imagine United will find it easier to negotiate with themselves than anyone else would. He seems likely to end up wearing red.

Arsenal dismiss Napoli’s double dealings

Finally, an interesting nugget from Sport Witness, who have picked up on some reports from Italy that reigning Serie A champions Napoli have been on the phone with Arsenal – and they’re attempting to tie up a double transfer with both Jakub Kiwior and Takehiro Tomiyasu on their shopping lists.

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Apparently Arsenal have firmly rejected both approaches, which may be somewhat surprising, but perhaps the money isn’t right for them yet. The article cites a wonderfully florid translation which describes Tomiyasu as the main target – “the true passion of the Campanian management,” apparently – and also notes that AC Milan could be keen on young Poland international Kiwior as well, but perhaps the Gunners aren’t in too much of a rush to sell when they need bodies for the second half of the season.

The 3AM Verdict: It’s been a common assumption that Tomiyasu is for sale for a while now, as he hasn’t really made all that much of an impact at the Emirates. Clearly Arsenal value him to some degree, but we still wouldn’t be shocked if a deal was done somewhere down the line.

Kiwior, we suspect, will stay for the rest of the season at least, despite his disappointing recent performances as a stand-in left-back, simply because Arsenal will probably get more money for him in the summer and really can’t afford to lose too many players in January. They could recall Kieran Tierney from loan at Real Sociedad to provide the necessary cover, but have told the press that they aren’t keen on that option.

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