Pete O'Rourke column: Man City confident of signing £15m sensation West Ham open Antonio talks, Sancho set for 'huge' Man United move
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My understanding is that City are confident they can get a deal done for Boca Juniors defender Valentin Barco.
He is highly rated in Argentina and has caught the eye for the Buenos Aires-based giants.
Man City explored a potential move for Barco in the summer window, alongside Brighton and Juventus.
Sources say all three sides are expected to move again in January – and the Seagulls are ready to offer him a more direct route to first-team football in a bid to sway his decision.
But City are nonetheless confident of their pulling power and any fee is not likely to be an obstacle for the two English clubs.
Barco currently has a release clause worth around £10million on his contract at Boca, which runs until December 2024.
He may extend that contract in the coming months but I’m told a fee of around £15million would be enough to secure his signature regardless.
Man City see him as a player with real potential and someone who can solve their issues at left-back – where only Sergio Gomez is a natural option.
Talks have opened between the Irons and Michail Antonio over a new contract at the club.
He was the subject of offers in the summer window, with Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq the most interested in prising him away from the London Stadium.
Antonio ended up staying at West Ham, where he is the first-choice striker and a key part of David Moyes’ plans.
The 33-year-old’s current deal is up in June 2024, but the Irons have the option to extend his stay a further 12 months.
Discussions are underway about a completely new agreement, and the striker remains happy to stay as long as he is playing regular first-team football.
I’m told Antonio is settled at West Ham and loves the club – who are set to hand him a small wage increase in any potential new deal.
The striker is keen to sign a longer-term deal which could potentially take him through to the end of his career.
Clubs are still monitoring his situation and ready to swoop if an agreement can’t be reached.
Meanwhile, West Ham could yet sign a new forward in January.
Gianluca Scamacca left after just 12 months at the club and wasn’t replaced in the summer window.
They were in the market for a forward in the off-season but failed with moves for Corinthians star Yuri Alberto and Paris Saint-Germain youngster Hugo Ekitike.
Moyes would love to add another striker option in the mid-season window, with any injury set to leave his side short as things stand.
There is concern about the future of Paul Heckingbottom at Bramall Lane – but I’m told there is no immediate threat of him being sacked.
The Blades have picked up just one point from five Premier League games after late collapses against Tottenham and Man City.
But Heckingbottom will be given time to turn things around after losing key men in Sander Berge and Illiman Ndiaye during the summer.
It is a results business but there is no panic from the owners just yet and the 46-year-old is set to get more time.
It’s looking a long road back for Jadon Sancho under Erik ten Hag.
He has fallen out with the Dutchman and is now training alone.
Ultimately, I’m told Sancho will need to make a public and private apology to Ten Hag in order to be reintegrated into the group.
Sources say he will have interest if he is made available in the January transfer window.
It will take a huge fee for United to allow him to leave permanently, meaning a loan exit could be the most viable route to a new club for Sancho.
Scott McTominay has been linked with Bayern Munich as a potential alternative to Joao Palhinha.
He started his first game of this season in the loss against Brighton on Saturday (16 September), but I’m told the player could have the power to push through a move in January.
There was interest from West Ham and Fulham in the summer, but both sides couldn’t get near Man United’s demands.
However, the Red Devils will need to be savvy to bring in any signings in January – and selling McTominay could be seen as a potential solution.
The player is keen to get regular first-team football ahead of next year’s European Championships.
I’m told Joao Palhinha‘s new contract doesn’t guarantee he will stay at the club past the January window.
He signed a fresh five-year deal with a 12-month extension option last week, which has complicated Bayern Munich‘s interest.
Their interest remains after a deadline-day move for the midfielder fell through.
But the contract didn’t include a release clause, meaning there is no set fee Bayern can land Palhinha for.
Tying Palhinha down is good business by Fulham and a huge boost for Marco Silva, but doesn’t necessarily end the speculation over his future.