Barcelona will go into the World Cup break as LaLiga leaders after their stunning comeback victory over Osasuna, scoring both goals in their 2-1 win after going down to 10 men.
To consolidate their position at the summit of the Spanish table, the Catalan hierarchy will have to start laying the groundwork this month and next for January signings.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have confirmed their plans to stand pat with their squad throughout the winter window.
So let’s take a look at the latest transfer news and rumours from around the world.
Barcelona eye Laporte
Barça’s final game before the international break didn’t feature retiring Gerard Pique, but he did receive a red card while on the bench.
Ten-man Barca didn’t need his experience in their fight-back against Osasuna, with two second-half goals from Pedri and Raphinha proving to be enough to win all 3 points.
Nonetheless, Pique’s retirement has left a hole in the side’s back line, and it’s understood Barcelona are looking for his replacement.
As per Spanish outlet SPORT, Aymeric Laporte is on their radar, and a January move could be on the cards should they fail to sign first-choice target Iñigo Martinez.
Laporte, the former Athletic Bilbao centre-back, has made six appearances for City so far this season, and he is viewed as a very good replacement for Pique.
No new arrivals at City
The Sky Blues find themselves 2 points behind Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in the Premier League table, but there’s no panic in the Guardiola camp at this stage of the campaign.
Pep is happy with his squad going into the second half of the campaign, where they will face RB Leipzig in the Champions League Round of 16.
“We are not going to strengthen the squad in January. We have the squad we have, we are pleased with that, that is all,” said Guardiola at his press conference on Tuesday.
Even if Barcelona manage to sign Laporte, City are unlikely to be active in January, having already boosted their defence with the signing of Manuel Akanji late in the summer window.
Chelsea target Leao
Chelsea’s struggles going forward were highlighted in their home defeat against Arsenal over the weekend. The new owners invested heavily in defensive signings last summer but missed out on attackers like Raphinha and Ousmane Dembélé.
The addition of Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t had the desired effect, and Chelsea would do well to bring in another attacking option for Graham Potter.
According to the Daily Mirror, the London-based outfit are targeting Rafael Leao and will be hoping to take advantage of “complications” in AC Milan’s contract extension talks with the Portuguese forward. His current deal runs out in 2024.