Transfer roundup, Jan. 23: Mascherano departing Barcelona, Manchester United shifts focus

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/javier-mascherano/" data-ylk="slk:Javier Mascherano">Javier Mascherano</a> at his <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/barcelona/" data-ylk="slk:Barcelona">Barcelona</a> unveiling back in 2010. (Getty)
Javier Mascherano at his Barcelona unveiling back in 2010. (Getty)

Welcome to FC Yahoo‘s daily transfer roundup, where we’ll dissect the January market, assess the credibility of gossip, and discuss the likelihood that deals come to pass. Every day, we’ll split the various links between players and clubs into four categories to sift through the BS and direct your attention to the reports that deserve it.

Here’s the transfer roundup for Tuesday, Jan. 23:


Lassana Diarra | PSG — Diarra, a free agent, has put pen to paper on an 18-month contract. He’ll be the backup to injury-prone holding midfielder Thiago Motta. The 32-year-old Frenchman last played for UAE club Al Jazira before his contract was mutually terminated in late December.

Aaron Lennon | Everton —> Burnley — Lennon, whose brief Everton career was in part derailed by a stress-related illness, is off to Burnley for an undisclosed fee. He’s Burnley’s second attacking signing of the window, after Georges-Kevin N’Koudou.

Kenedy | Chelsea —> Newcastle — A loan deal that has long been rumored. Now that it’s official, expect the Blues to tie up the Emerson Palmieri deal soon. More on that below.

Jaroslaw Jach | Zaglebie Lubin —> Crystal PalaceAn under-the-radar signing, reportedly for around $2 million or $2.5 million.

Javier Mascherano | Barcelona —> Habei — The move hasn’t officially been announced. But Barcelona rolled out its side of the announcement on Tuesday, and publicized a big sendoff – an “institutional farewell ceremony” – for Mascherano, who spent seven-and-a-half seasons at the club. He’ll reportedly head to China for around $12.3 million.

The Argentinean was a rock at the back for Barca for years. He became Gerard Pique’s regular partner as Carles Puyol faded, and won 10 major trophies, including two European titles.

The club’s succession plan had been in place for over a year. Samuel Umtiti displaced Mascherano in the starting lineup for good this season, and Yerry Mina was brought in earlier this month as further cover. Nonetheless, Mascherano deserves his farewell. He was one of the more underappreciated contributors to Barcelona’s dominance of the early 2010s.


Emerson Palmieri | Roma —> Chelsea — Player and club have reportedly agreed to a four-and-a-half-year contract. The Emerson deal, therefore, seems a bit ahead of Chelsea’s move for Edin Dzeko. Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco said Tuesday that Dzeko will likely play for Roma on Wednesday. Talks between Chelsea and Roma, and/or between Chelsea and Dzeko, are ongoing.

Radja Nainggolan | Roma —> Guangzhou Evergrande — It looks like it could be a loan move. The reported salary figures for the Belgian midfielder: $14.7 million per year, $24.6 million signing bonus. It’s not a move that will get Nainggolan in Roberto Martinez’s starting 11 at the World Cup this summer, but it’ll certainly get him paid.

Aleix Vidal | Barcelona —> SevillaPer Mundo Deportivo, the two clubs are discussing the possibility of Vidal returning to his former club. The deal is on “stand by,” with Barcelona holding out for $14.7 million, and Sevilla offering $9.8 million plus $2.5 million in potential add-ons. Barca needs to downsize a bit, so it seems likely this gets done. And it’d be a good deal for all parties.


Christian Pulisic, and the side effects of United’s Alexis Sanchez swoop — For months, the Manchester United rumor mill operated without any inkling that Alexis Sanchez would arrive in January. Now that the Chilean has, plans have changed.

Per the Independent, United has moved on from attackers like Christian Pulisic, and now has midfielders – Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri? Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl? Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred? Valencia’s Carlos Soler? – atop its list of targets.

United will still reportedly pursue Mesut Ozil if the German playmaker hits free agency this summer. But Sanchez makes a player Pulisic – and, presumably, Lucas Moura – redundant.

Lucas is leaving PSG, but where’s he going? — United was strongly linked with Lucas before and during the January window, appeared to be the favorites. Now the Red Devils have taken a backseat.

The 25-year-old Brazilian winger, however, is leaving Paris. That we know. How? Because manager Unai Emery said so: “I’ve told Lucas that he will no longer have the chance to play with PSG and that he needs to find another club.” Pretty blunt.

So where will he end up? The latest rumor is that Tottenham and Arsenal are duking it out behind the scenes. There has also been talk of Napoli interest, and previously strong links with the Chinese Super League. There’s no clear favorite, so expect this to go to deadline day. But expect Lucas to be on the move in the end. At this point, he has to be.

Daniel Sturridge | Liverpool —> ? — One day he’s headed to Sevilla, the next day he’s headed to Inter Milan, the next to Valencia, the next to Roma. TuttoMercato suggests he doesn’t want to go to Italy.

Above all else, Sturridge likely wants to go to a club that will give him minutes ahead of the World Cup. In that sense, some of the rumors are puzzling. For example, he almost surely wouldn’t be a regular starter at Inter Milan. It makes sense for Sturridge to leave Liverpool in January. The question will be whether a suitable option materializes.

Javier Hernandez on the move? — His agent seems to be suggesting Hernandez wants to leave West Ham just six months after joining, but with attacking injuries piling up, the Hammers might not be willing to sell.


Fred | Shakhtar Donetsk —> Manchester City — This line continues to float throughout the British media. With United also potentially interested, the thought is that City might want to tie up a deal now, send the Brazilian midfielder back to Shakhtar on loan until season’s end, and then bring him into the fold for good this summer.

Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Bilbao —> Manchester City — The 23-year-old French center back has a $83.9 million release clause, and City is reportedly considering triggering it.

Andre Schurrle | Borussia Dortmund —> West BromAccording to The Times, West Brom – which needs to shed wages, not take on more – is interested in a loan deal for Schurrle if Borussia Dortmund will still pay some portion of his salary. But there would seem to be a long way to go

Jonjo Shelvey | Newcastle —> West Ham — For $16.8 million, according to the Daily Star.

Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla | Montreal Impact —> Barcelona — Barca is the “front-runner” in the race for the highly-touted, 18-year-old Ivorian-Canadian attacking midfielder, per Steven Goff of the Washington Post.


(Chronological order)

Lassana Diarra | PSG (free)
Aaron Lennon | Everton —> Burnley (undisclosed)
Kenedy | Chelsea —> Newcastle (loan)
Jaroslaw Jach | Zaglebie Lubin —> Crystal Palace ($2 million)
Javier Mascherano | Barcelona —> Habei ($12.3 million)
Rafinha | Barcelona —> Inter Milan (loan)
Alexis Sanchez | Arsenal —> Manchester United (swap)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan | Manchester United —> Arsenal (swap)
Leon Goretzka | Schalke —> Bayern Munich (summer, free)

Jurgen Locadia | PSV Eindhoven —> Brighton (19.5 million)
Ezequiel Barco | Independiente —> Atlanta United ($15 million)
Robin van Persie | Fenerbahce —> Feyenoord (free)
Kostas Stafylidis | Augsburg —> Stoke City (loan)
Cedric Bakambu | Villarreal —> Beijing Guoan ($49 million)
Theo Walcott | Arsenal —> Everton ($27.6 million)
Martin Hongla | Grenada —> Barcelona (loan) 
Lisandro Lopez | Benfica —> Inter Milan (loan)
Manuel Akanji | FC Basel —> Borussia Dortmund ($27 million)
Alex Pritchard | Norwich City —> Huddersfield Town ($16.6 million)
Yerry Mina | Palmeiras —> Barcelona ($14.2 million)
Francis Coquelin | Arsenal —> Valencia ($14.4 million)
Fousseni Diabate | Gazélec Ajaccio —> Leicester City ($4.8 million)
Renato Steffen | FC Basel —> Wolfsburg ($2 million)
Mark Uth | Hoffenheim —> Schalke (summer, free)
Moritz Bauer | Rubin Kazan —> Stoke City ($6.8 million)
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou | Tottenham —> Burnley (loan)
Kevin Mirallas | Everton —> Olympiacos (loan)
Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool —> Barcelona ($192.5 million)
Cenk Tosun | Besiktas —> Everton ($36.5 million)
Wesley Sneijder | Nice —> Al-Gharafa (undisclosed)
Ross Barkley | Everton —> Chelsea ($20.3 million)
Marko Pjaca | Juventus —> Schalke (loan)
Konstantinos Mavropanos | PAS Giannina —> Arsenal ($2.4 million)

Terence Kongolo | Monaco —> Huddersfield Town (loan)

Virgil van Dijk | Southampton —> Liverpool ($101.4 million)
Diego Costa | Chelsea —> Atletico Madrid (€71.5 million)
Adrien Silva | Sporting CP —> Leicester City ($29.8 million)

Previous rumor roundups: Jan. 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 22

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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