It doesn’t seem five minutes since the door to the summer transfer window was slammed shut, but here we are just a few days away from the winter window opening for business.

Though some deals don’t get done until the 11th hour on the final day of the window, you can be assured that Europe’s big clubs have been working around the clock over the last few months to position themselves at the head of the queue for available talent.

Often termed as ‘tapping up,’ it’s a fact of football life that players will be courted by other teams, discreetly in the main, so that no time is wasted once deals are allowed to be rubber-stamped.

La Liga will be no different to any of the other top five European leagues, and there are already rumoured deals on the table.

 

Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: Ernesto Valverde, Manager of Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 18, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Although he was only signed in the last January window, Jean-Clair Todibo looks like he might well be on the way out of the Camp Nou.

The young French centre-back has looked good when given the chance, but his first-team appearances have been few and far between. To that end, it’s believed that the player himself has asked for a move.

AC Milan are rumoured to be interested with Barca allegedly asking for €25m and a buyback option for a fixed amount built into any potential deal.

Another player that could be on the move is Ivan Rakitic. He has appeared to be back in favour with Ernesto Valverde over the last few weeks, but suggestions are that this is purely a ‘shop window’ exercise so that potential buyers can see what they’re getting for their money.

Manchester United are believed to be amongst a clutch of clubs interested, and despite his advancing years, the Croatian won’t come cheap.

His midfield colleague, Carles Alena, has virtually sealed a loan move to Real Betis, managed by former Barca assistant, Rubi. The Catalans want the youngster to get experience and then return in six months time, but the Andalusians prefer to have the option to buy him outright.

 

Real Madrid

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane looks on before the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Club Brugge and Real Madrid CF at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges on December 11, 2019. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Though it’s understood that Brazilian wunderkind, Vinicius Jr., wants to fight for his place at the Santiago Bernabeu, the powers that be at Real Madrid have lost patience with the youngster.

With Kylian Mbappe a longer-term target for Los Blancos, the idea would be for Vinicius to join Paris Saint-Germain on loan initially, with a view to a permanent switch which would then sweeten the deal for Mbappe to end up at Real.

Another young player who was signed in a blaze of glory not dissimilar to Vinicius’ arrival, is Brahim Diaz.

Acquired from Manchester City for £22m last January, he hasn’t made anywhere close to the impact expected, and is as far away from making the grade in the first team as it’s possible to be.

Luka Jovic is yet another recent flop, and West Ham have already made enquiries to partner him back with his former Eintracht Frankfurt attacking colleague, Sebastien Haller.

Both Real and the Hammers would be happy with a loan deal, at least initially, whilst the player would jump at the chance to end his Bernabeu nightmare.

He still has a lot to offer, but Isco isn’t in Zinedine Zidane’s plans and appears likely to depart in January. With Real’s interest in Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen still ‘live,’ the notion of a swap deal or player-plus-cash arrangement would suit both parties.

Similar in style, the midfielders would essentially be like-for-like replacements.

 

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone looks on before the UEFA Champions League football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on December 11, 2019. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

There isn’t expected to be too much in the way of outgoings at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Diego Simeone needing to keep the core of his squad together for the challenges ahead. Not least a Champions League date with holders Liverpool in February.

To that end, the only potential move that appears on the cards at present is a loan deal for Nikola Kalinic to Fiorentina. The 31-year-old is out of favour at Atleti and is currently on a season-long loan at AS Roma.

However, he hasn’t impressed the Italians and is expected to return to the Rojiblancos before an immediate loan out to La Viola.

Elsewhere, there are a handful of transfers being mooted, but one that does seem likely to conclude is Chelsea’s move for Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze.

Unknown to many outside of the Spanish top flight, the Nigerian has been in a rich vein of form for the Yellow Submarine, and his power, pace and eye for goal will complement what the Blues already have in their front line.

His cost wouldn’t be significant, and certainly within Chelsea’s price range, particularly because Frank Lampard has been given the green light to spend after their UEFA transfer ban was overturned.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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