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Key events

Match alert!

The first game of the calendar year in England will be Sunderland v Preston in the Championship. These two grand old clubs meet at 12.30pm with four places separating them, but only two points (Sunderland seventh with 37, Preston 11th with 35). Here are the teams, hot off the Press Association.

Sunderland Patterson, Alese, O’Nien, Ballard, Hume, Ekwah,
Neil, Pritchard, Bellingham, Clarke, Rusyn.

Subs: Pembele, Burstow, Mayenda, Ba, Aouchiche, Seelt, Triantis, Bishop, Rigg.

Preston North End Woodman, Potts, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes,
Whiteman, Frokjaer-Jensen, Browne, McCann, Millar, Evans.

Subs: Cunningham, Keane, Ledson, Jakobsen, Woodburn, Cornell, Holmes, Osmajic, Best.

Referee Oliver Langford.

Back to Donny van de Beek. Here’s how our Manchester expert, Jamie Jackson, sees the story.

Donny van de Beek has joined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season with the German club paying a minimal fee, and having an option to buy for €11m + 3m add-ons.

While the Bundesliga club will also pay the majority of the midfielder’s circa-£120k-a-week salary, this is the second loan of Van de Beek’s disappointing United career, having joined in September 2020.

The Dutchman has never established himself at the club, making only two appearances this season in a overall total of 62, which has featured two goals and two assists. Two years ago he signed for Everton for the second part of the 2021-22 season and played seven times, scoring once.

Wishlish latest: we’re into the Cs. The choppy Cs. The Chelsea paragraph – which could well have been a book – comes with a very elegant sign-off.


Christopher Nkunku and Roméo Lavia still feel like new signings, but we do need another striker. Toney would be ideal as he knows the league and could hit the ground running – we don’t have time to bed in another newcomer to Premier League football. Goalkeeper is another position in focus: Robert Sánchez isn’t at the level for a top club. Aaron Ramsdale would be ideal, though it’s hard to imagine Arsenal nodding that through – but a wildcard option could be the vastly experienced David de Gea. Elsewhere, Reece James and Ben Chilwell’s persistent injuries are a concern, and I’m not convinced Marc Cucurella is a full-back, so cover remains an issue. Paul Baker in memory of Trizia Fiorellino

Crystal Palace

A solid central midfielder has become essential given Cheick Doucouré’s long-term injury, and a striker of quality would make a difference – but it’s unclear if PSG’s Hugo Ekitike would solve that problem area. A right-back is also needed, but realistically I’d expect nothing more than a couple of incoming loans to fill the gaps. Kalvin Phillips would be ideal for us – but he will surely seek brighter lights than those in SE25. Chris Waters @Clapham_Grand

And here are the details. The option to buy puts a price on van de Beek: before add-ons, he is valued at just £9.5m, down from about £33m when United bought him from Ajax. A January bargain?

🚨🔴 Official. Donny van de Beek has joined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan deal from Man United.

As revealed weeks ago, Eintracht will pay small loan fee and cover majority of Donny’s wages.

Buy option not mandatory: €11m plus €3m add-ons.

Exclusive story, confirmed.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 1, 2024

An actual signing!

It’s only a loan, but … the words “breaking news” have at last been heard on Sky Sports News. As expected, Donny van de Beek is joining Eintracht Frankfurt on loan after enduring another few months of nothing at all at Man United. He’s such a clever player on his day, it’s a mystery why Erik ten Hag hasn’t used him more while struggling to break down stubborn defences. Let’s hope this move goes better for him than his last spell on loan, which was at Everton in their late, unlamented Lampard period.

Time for some more of those Premier League fans’ wishlists. Here are the rest of the Bs. For the full set, click here.


Tony Bloom never likes to spend in January so it will be interesting to see what happens as Roberto De Zerbi is reported to want a full-back and a winger. We are missing so many players through injury that even before Kaoru Mitoma, Joël Veltman and Simon Adingra were injured recently, De Zerbi wondered if Jason Steele could play full-back. Valentín Barco of Boca Juniors is said to be a target, but expect other clubs to jump in because we’re after him. Ansu Fati and Julio Enciso are likely to be fit well before our next Europa adventure, and it was great to see Pervis Estupiñán return for the second half and score a wonder goal against Spurs. Steph Fincham


We need a left-back, a strong midfielder and a striker, but no more wingers. I think we’d need to find a way to improve in all three of those positions in January to give us any sort of hope of avoiding the drop. I’d like a tenacious Joey Barton-type for the centre of midfield, with strength, organisation and desire. Up front we’ve still not replaced Ashley Barnes; we’ve been linked with Southampton’s Ché Adams, though I’m not sure there’s much in that – I’d rather see a stronger player. And I’m certain we’ll make another attempt to bring Ian Maatsen back in from Chelsea to fill the gap at left-back. Tony Scholes; @utcdotcom

When the window opens, our thoughts naturally turn to Chelsea. They’ve spent the last few windows carefully compiling a billion poundsworth of mediocrity. What do they have in mind next? Maybe this classy centre-back, but he’s highly sought-after.

🚨EXCL: 🔴⚫️🦅 #Ligue1 |

◉ Chelsea have opened talks to sign Jean-Clair Todibo in January. He’s high on Blues list ‼️

◉ Tottenham made a very concrete approach and Todibo is keen on Spurs’ project. But for now Nice don’t want to sell him

◉ Still on MU’s list


— Santi Aouna (@Santi_J_FM) January 1, 2024

Are you old enough to remember when Manchester United were pinning their hopes on Frenkie de Jong? According to this transfer guru, they still hold a candle.

🔵🔴 Frenkie de Jong: “I’m at the club of my dreams, Barcelona”, told @NOS.

Manchester United is still there, always interested. A new league could bring you new impulses?

“Possibly. But I’m very satisfied at Barça. It’s always difficult to say. For now I feel good here!”.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 1, 2024

All is quiet on New Year’s Day

In journalism, the most important question is always the one asked by Marvin Gaye. So far today, the answer comes from U2.

Happy new year everyone and thanks Niall. Esteemed colleague? I’m new to this transfer-window game, and could well turn out to be the worst signing since Antony.

Time for me to hand over to my esteemed colleague, Tim de Lisle, for the next couple of hours.

Fábio Carvalho is back at Liverpool after his loan move to RB Leipzig fizzled out; he made only three starts in Germany and is expected to head elsewhere for the second half of the season. One reported option is Leicester, where I imagine he’d have a lovely time in Enzo Maresca’s slick attacking side.

Let’s continue our look at fans’ January wishlists with two teams moving in different directions – Bournemouth and Brentford.


Defensive cover at left-back and centre-half is still a must, especially if Lloyd Kelly departs. Patrick Dorgu is very highly rated at Lecce, or Bonke Innocent from Lorient could be an option. With Alex Scott and Tyler Adams on the way back the midfield depth is looking healthy, and out wide we have plenty of options. We might renew interest in Patson Daka at Leicester as potential cover for Dominic Solanke, or Morgan Gibbs-White from Forest, who may feel his face doesn’t fit in the post-Cooper era. Jeff Hayward @afcbpodcast


With Bryan Mbeumo out till April and no date put on Kevin Schade’s return, I’m not expecting us to sell Toney this window unless a team (did someone say Chelsea?) pops up with a wheelbarrow filled with £100m in cash. But I do expect us to line up a striker to replace him in the summer. Meanwhile, Rico Henry’s injury has highlighted our longstanding lack of alternative left-back options. I wouldn’t be surprised if we delved into the loan market for some experience if our injury list doesn’t improve soon. We’re also chasing the winger Assane Diao from Real Betis, among others. Billy Grant Beesotted podcast and blog

Hugo Lloris said goodbye to Tottenham fans at half-time during the 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday. He hasn’t featured for Spurs this season and is now off to the MLS after signing for LAFC. Here’s a nice video of the France keeper on his 11-year stay at the club:

The Observer asked fans of all 20 Premier League clubs for their January wish-lists. Let’s take a look, starting (predictably enough) with Arsenal and Aston Villa.


FFP is a factor here. If we can’t count on the fitness of Thomas Partey, perhaps the Saudis can tempt him. I’m hoping we’re not forced to flog the homegrown likes of Emile Smith Rowe, but frankly, with everyone chasing a proven goalscorer, selling Fábio Vieira etc won’t make much of a dent in the fee demanded for Ivan Toney or Dominic Solanke. Elsewhere, Douglas Luiz won’t be the only Villa player coveted by plenty of clubs, but I just can’t see how we stump up £100m for him. Based on his impressive pre-season form, I’d settle for Jurriën Timber’s early recovery from the ACL injury he suffered in the opening game; he’ll feel like a new signing and might well energise our squad in the finishing straight. Bernard Azulay

Aston Villa

Do we stick or twist? Does swinging the bat now risk overpaying and disrupting a harmonious dressing room, or is it irresponsible not to have a proper go when this might be our best chance of the Champions League – or even the title – for years? We have good cover in most positions apart from the hardest two to fill: reserve keeper and back-up centre-forward. Solanke is a great age, it would mean we could slightly adapt styles and he seems like a nice boy. But he’s not cheap and would he come to initially play second fiddle? Personally I’d play 13th fiddle for anyone if they doubled my wages, but anyway. Unai Emery will have lined up two or three fine Europeans I’ve never heard of, and of course the really good teams strengthen in areas where they’re already strong, so I won’t be overanalysing his logic, such is my unconditional faith in the man. I’ll be happy whatever he does. Jonathan Pritchard

Let’s catch up with the latest news on the first morning of the transfer window, with Fabrizio Romano.

Thilo Kehrer is expected to leave West Ham and move to Ligue 1 side Monaco this week.
Lyon are interested in signing Everton winger Arnaut Danjuma, but talks are in very early stages.
Pape Matar Sarr is set to sign a new long-term Spurs contract, tying him to the club until June 2030.
Claudio Echeverri’s move to Manchester City is almost done; he will stay at River Plate for 2024.
PSG are still planning to sign Gabriel Moscardo despite the Brazilian talent requiring surgery.

The Women’s Super League transfer window also opens today, and it could be a busy month. Those Mary Earps to Arsenal rumours are back in the headlines, while West Ham and Leicester have already made eye-catching moves. Catch up with our guide …

“I might be late to the party on this one but I’ve just spotted Sean Dyche and the tough-tackling Vinny Samways breakfasting together in a trendy Liverpool cafe,” writes Darrien Bold. “Rumours of a cool £2m swoop doing the rounds in these parts…”

Which strikers are on Arsenal’s shortlist, and who might leave in order to fund a move? Up the road at Tottenham, defensive recruits could arrive shortly. It’s all in 2024’s first Rumour Mill, by John Brewin.

The biggest deal completed so far is Barcelona’s capture of Vitor Roque. The 18-year-old striker was expected to join up with Xavi’s squad in the summer, but the move was brought forward with Gavi’s injury freeing up a place in the squad.

“I want to win as much as possible at Barça,” he said at his unveiling. “I will do everything to help my teammates … and to help the team climb the table. My biggest dream is to win the Champions League.”

You can read more about Barça’s new recruit here.

Vitor Roque takes part in Barcelona training on Saturday. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Even though the transfer window is officially just a few hours old, there have been a fair few deals done in advance. Catch up with our interactive guide …

Happy new year!

The decorations are still up, the leftovers are still in the fridge and someone, somewhere is still letting off fireworks – but January 2024 is here, and with it, the transfer window swings open once again.

Clubs in Spain and Italy won’t officially start doing business until Tuesday, but Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 teams are already on the clock. Most English top-flight sides are recovering from a busy run of festive fixtures, but plenty will have wish-lists drawn up in advance.

Will Tottenham or Newcastle move to strengthen their injury-hit squads? Can any of the promoted trio in the bottom three find a key recruit who can lead a great escape? Just how much money will Chelsea spend? And who wants to rescue Kalvin Phillips from the Manchester City bench?

All questions to be answered in time, so stick around – and let me know who your club needs to sign, or sell, via the usual channels.

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