As we near the much-awaited winter transfer window, the rate and range of stories surrounding clubs and their player situations alarmingly undergo augmentation with each passing day.
Talks are being held, as every club across Europe seems to be preparing ahead to reach their respective ambitions for the short or long-term. While the winter window acts as a band-aid for many sides, it also to a substantial extent, moulds outfits and launches them into a better space; a space with better direction.
It is then no wonder, that the fierce competition and ever-increasing demand in the quality of football in translating into larger activity and financial outlay during this phase of the calendar.
Without further delay, let's delve into the top transfer news in Europe, starting with the headline announcement of the CAS regarding Chelsea's transfer ban.
CAS lifts Chelsea's transfer ban
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has officially halved Chelsea's fine for violating transfer rules concerning minor-aged players, as explained by FIFA, from £460,000 to £230,000.
The breaches of the codes were found to be less severe in terms of the magnitude earlier portrayed and exhibited by FIFA. As a result, the Blues are now free to spend in January, having already served half of the ban during the summer.
"In addition, the violations of other rules were found to be less serious than those attributed to Chelsea FC by FIFA," an official statement read. "Accordingly, the sole arbitrator reduced the sanction to one single transfer ban (which Chelsea FC already served during the 2019 summer registration period), and halved the monetary sanction."
The club put forth an official declaration as well, expressing their anguish over the way FIFA treated Manchester City despite the champions having breached recruitment rules as well.
"The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea."
The club's boss, Frank Lampard, although happy with his present crop, doesn't rule out transfers that would add to the quality present within the ranks. Accepting that it's a positive outcome, the Blues legend opened up on potential additions:
"I am not going to sit here and go down too many lines. I am happy with the squad. I am just considering the squad we have got now and in January we can consider our options.
The fact that people have given us a lot of credit is because people expected less from us. So the players deserve credit. But I want more."
Brendan Rodgers pens long-term, improved deal with the Foxes
In all honesty, Brendan Rodgers' work at Leicester deserves no lesser credit than what league leaders are doing at the moment. They're the pack chasing Jurgen Klopp's men, owing to a definite structure, smart transfer activity and a strong core of world-class talent.
They possess the division's best backline, despite having lost the services of Harry Maguire to Manchester United. All the speculation over a probable switch to Arsenal has been blown away completely, as Rodgers has signed a massive five-and-a-half-year deal at the King Power stadium.
Delighted with his commitment, the former Reds boss confessed:
"When I made the decision to come to Leicester City, it was because I was excited about the direction the club was taking and how I could apply my experience to the journey. I came here with a purpose to add something to that and to help the club build for the future."
"Having that ownership here gives you great confidence that you can progress together. I hope we can continue to break records, win some trophies, and ideally be in a healthy position in the table."
Donny van de Beek pulls the plug on Spurs speculation
According to Dutch publication De Telegraaf (via Mirror), Ajax star Donny van de Beek has withdrawn his interest from linking up with Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur. The attacking midfielder has decided so, because of the introduction of Jose Mourinho into the setup.
van de Beek, who has been one of the standout performers for the Dutch outfit, is understood to be waiting for an offer from Real Madrid.
Watford appoint Nigel Pearson as new manager
Watford have snapped up former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson as their new head coach for a contract that for now, runs until the end of the season. He will take charge after this weekend, as the Hornets will aim to salvage something from Crystal Palace.
Watford CEO, on his latest recruitment, stated:
“Nigel is an impressive coach and comes with all of the experience and success we believe can have a very positive impact on our season.
It’s been a pleasure spending time listening to the passion with which he talks about the game. His enthusiasm, organisation and motivation will I’m certain prove essential in driving the team forwards and upwards over the coming weeks and months."
Can he inspire the bottom club to another great escape, just as he did so at Leicester back in 2014-15?
Chelsea set their sights on Ben Chilwell
It's just been a few hours since the transfer ban was lifted by the CAS, but various reports from across Europe, most reliably from the Athletic, claim that their number one target is none other than the dynamic Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell.
The left-back has risen through the ranks and established himself as one of the best defenders in England, if not the world. He's now a regular in Gareth Southgate's England squad, with neat defending, sensational awareness and flamboyant attacking prowess being some of his attributes.
The Foxes are sure to be reluctant to let go of one of their stalwarts, but with £150 million kept on the transfer table to splash at Chelsea, the 2015-16 champions could be tempted with a lucrative offer.
Bayern Munich withdraw from Haaland deal
Erling Haaland, a striker who has set the stage on fire this season with 27 goals in 19 appearances this season, has grabbed every European giant's eyeballs, to say the least. He's one of a kind; a complete striker who is touted to have one of the brightest futures in world football.
Understandably, Bayern Munich happened to be one of the clubs interested in his signature. However, a €30 million price tag has put them off, as reported by German publication Bild. The likes of Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid however, continue to be monitoring his situation.
Guardiola believes Arteta ready to step up as manager amid Arsenal links
Pep Guardiola, who has pledged to not stand in Mikel Arteta's way, has hailed his assistant while adding that the former Arsenal skipper is 'ready' to step into senior management.
Amid ongoing links over the vacant managerial seat at Arsenal and Everton, Arteta could be on his way to being a head coach for the first time. He has been working under Guardiola since 2016 and played a massive role in honing the skills and gameplay of the squad at Manchester City.
Guardiola, although hopeful of his deputy's stay, strongly believes in his abilities. The Spanish mastermind stated:
“He is ready (to be a manager). It’s right when he has an offer and he accepts the offer. But if you ask whether he is ready in his knowledge of the game, as a person, as a professional, then he is ready. I’m not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do."
'We are human beings and everyone has dreams and desires. Hopefully, he can stay this season and the next one – as long as possible in this club.”