LIVERPOOL STEP UP VAN DIJK CHASE
The more time goes on, the more likely it seems that Liverpool will eventually sign Virgil van Dijk. They have had to take things slowly and sensibly after Southampton cried foul in June, but there are finally reports that the chase is stepping up.
The Daily Mail report that Van Dijk is not interested in a move to Chelsea because he wants to work with Jurgen Klopp, and that Southampton have targeted Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt as Van Dijk’s replacement. Liverpool are ‘ramping up’ their chase, apparently.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo report that Van Dijk is set for talks with Mauricio Pellegrino as he attempts to engineer his move away from Southampton.
CHELSEA WANT DRINKWATER. REALLY.
Always nice to have a new name linked to a club, rather than same old cycle. Not as nice for Chelsea supporters when that name is Danny Drinkwater.
Having bought the best of Leicester’s central midfielders – and presumably watched Drinkwater struggle in the absence of N’Golo Kante – you might have thought that Chelsea might look outside of the East Midlands if they wanted another midfielder. It appears not.
It’s actually a little more complicated than that. The Daily Mail (and others, indicating that this is a deliberate leak) say that Antonio Conte has drawn up a list of replacements for Nemanja Matic, and that Drinkwater is on that list. Renato Sanches, Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, three names we have heard before, are also on that list.
With Tiemoue Bakayoko likely to miss the start of the season through injury, Chelsea do need somebody. But paying big money for Drinkwater – who has just signed a four-year contract – is surely not the answer?
LUCAS PEREZ TO NEWCASTLE
Despite Arsene Wenger saying that Lucas Perez was still wanted by Arsenal, it still seems likely that the Spanish striker will leave. In truth he’s been used by Wenger, talked up after his move to Arsenal and then rarely picked. Releasing him back into the world is the kindest thing to do.
Newcastle have emerged as a contender, because they don’t think having one Spanish forward named Perez is enough. Most newspapers report that Rafael Benitez is keen on Arsenal’s striker as he looks to add much-needed depth to his attack.
Unfortunately, Newcastle’s same problem might haunt them again. Mike Ashley is reportedly not prepared to stump up the £13.4m that Arsenal have named as Perez’s asking price. That’s less than a Jordon Ibe, Mike.
AND THE REST
Marouane Fellaini will consider his Manchester United future in January after the arrival of Nemanja Matic… Newcastle risk missing out on Greece international Andreas Samaris… Bristol City are ready to cash in on star defender Aden Flint after signing Nathan Baker… Sunderland aim to bring ex-trainee Martyn Waghorn back… Brighton have signed Leyton Orient youngster Steven Alzate.