Huge news on sensational Liverpool swap, offer twist, West Ham latest

By Pete O'Rourke, Transfer Correspondent

23rd Nov, 2023 | 8:00pm

Pete O'Rourke column: Arsenal target two strikers, big update on Liverpool accepting Diaz offer, West Ham eye striker swoop

Welcome to the latest edition of my biweekly column – bringing you exclusive transfer and contract news, as well as news from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and beyond.

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The Irons are long-term admirers of Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke as they search for a new forward ahead of the new year.

West Ham continue to monitor the England international’s situation but I’m told that the Cherries have no plans to part with him in January.

David Moyes’ side made overtures in the summer which were given short shrift, and sources say they are set to receive the same response in the mid-season window.

I’m told Bournemouth see Solanke as vital to their chances of staying in the Premier League – and possibly even the difference between consolidation and relegation.

Dropping to the Championship would see his valuation shrink and the striker push for a move away, despite recently signing a contract running until June 2027.

But if Bournemouth were to remain in the top flight, it would put them in a good position to demand a huge-money fee for their star forward.

Sources say he could fetch in excess of £40million – and a host of top-half clubs could enter the race if his good form continues.

Meanwhile, some reports have suggested Michail Antonio is possibly set for months on the sidelines following an injury away on international duty with Jamaica.

It would be a big blow if the worst fears are confirmed after Gianluca Scamacca left without a replacement in the summer window.

David Moyes is keen to add a striker in January, and Paris Saint-Germain forward Hugo Ekitike could be an alternative to Solanke.

The France Under-20 international could be tempted by a Premier League move after almost moving to England in the summer.

He’s not getting a look in at PSG and has been completely frozen out by manager Luis Enrique.

I’m told Newcastle are also interested in the 21-year-old – who is likely to be available on loan in January.



Reports have linked the Reds with a sensational swap deal involving Luis Diaz and Barcelona star Raphinha.

I’m told there is nothing in those reports as Liverpool would not entertain parting with Diaz at this time.

Diaz’s father has recently revealed the winger is a “loyal fan” of Barcelona and “dreams” of playing for the Catalan giants in the future.

However, sources say Liverpool have no plans to accept an offer for the Colombia international, or to let him leave.

Meanwhile, Tottenham and Newcastle have also been linked with a move for Raphinha’s services.

I’m told that noise is likely coming from Barcelona’s side as they try to generate interest in the Brazil international.

If he becomes available at the right price, Premier League clubs will likely swoop – but sources say he does not feature highly in any club’s shortlist at this time.

There will be more interest from Premier League clubs, like Spurs, Newcastle and Liverpool, in the summer – when Barca will need to raise funds to sign Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo permanently.

My understanding is that a potential package worth around £40-50million could land Raphinha – two years on from his Leeds United exit.



The Blues are still planning to hand defender Ian Maatsen a long-term new deal despite his lack of recent first-team action.

He has recently seen his Chelsea contract prolonged until June 2025 after a one-year option was activated by the club, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side are keen to see him commit to a longer-term agreement to protect their asset.

Burnley saw a bid accepted for Maatsen in the summer window but the player rejected the move as he wanted to make his breakthrough at Stamford Bridge.

He has recently spoken out about keeping his options open and his desire to play regular first-team football.

Man City have been widely linked and I’m told he would be interested in that move – but a loan exit could be more likely if he signs a long-term deal at Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Marc Cucurella has won Pochettino around after coming very close to leaving for Man United in the summer.

He has even slotted in at right-back in recent games and is now set for a big role in the Chelsea defence this season.

I’m told it would be a big surprise if Chelsea considered allowing him to leave in January.



The Gunners are keen on both Juventus ace Dusan Vlahovic and Brentford star Ivan Toney after deciding to shake up their attacking options.

Both players and their profiles are admired by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who wants a more physical presence in his frontline.

Vlahovic and Toney would provide that when compared to current forwards Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, who are similar in stature.

I’m told Juventus could be forced to sell Vlahovic in 2024 due to their financial situation – but are unlikely to part with him mid-season.

Similarly, Brentford are set to ask for big money to sell Toney in January – meaning Arsenal could have to wait until the summer window to get their man.

However, it is my understanding that they are definitely prioritising a striker in the next couple of windows.