MAHREZ IS ARSENAL’S TOP PRIORITY
Well well, The Sun have an exclusive on Wednesday morning, and it’s got a fair bit of poke. Dan King claims that Arsene Wenger is making the signing of Riyad Mahrez his top priority this summer.
As The Sun themselves say, Wenger revealed earlier this season that he turned down the chance to sign Mahrez for just £400,000. The fee Arsenal would now have to pay is surely in the region of £25m.
Here’s the pay-off line: ‘A number of European giants, including Barcelona, are keen on 25-year-old Mahrez, but Wenger has told friends signing the Algerian playmaker is a priority.’
And those naughty ‘friends’ have gone and spilled the beans.
FLORES TO GET SACKED BY WATFORD?
There is no doubt that Watford have taken a turn for the worse since the start of 2016, but this has still been an incredibly successful Premier League season. Having been promoted last May, any form of relegation survival – and the money that goes with it – is a cause for celebration.
It’s therefore slightly surprising to hear the Daily Mail report that Quique Sanchez Flores is in danger of losing his job at Vicarage Road. Watford are 12th in the league, for goodness sake.
However, reports coming out of the club suggest that some players are not happy with Flores’ training methods, and the owners are alarmed by the post-Christmas slump. And if there’s any club that likes sacking managers after only a short time in charge, it’s Watford.
UNITED IN DRIVING SEAT TO SIGN BIGLIA
Manchester United are in the ‘front row’ to sign Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia, according to reports in Italy. Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claim United are the frontrunners, despite interest from Serie A rivals Juventus and Inter Milan.
Lazio haven’t reached an agreement with Biglia over a new deal, meaning he has just two years left to run and the Italian club are looking to cash in. It’s said the defensive midfielder could go for a fee in the region of £20million and he has impressed this term, making 31 appearances and scoring five goals in all competitions.
United are reportedly looking to bring in the Argentinian as a replacement for Michael Carrick – who is out of contract at the end of the season, though reports on Tuesday suggested he was set to sign a new deal with the club.
TOTTENHAM SWEATING OVER POCHETTINO
It’s the inevitable fall-out of the latest Jose Mourinho news/PR leak, namely that the Mauricio Pochettino to Manchester United rumours are back in full swing.
In The Sun, Paul Jiggins’ exclusive is that Pochettino is ‘making Tottenham sweat’ on a new deal. To confirm, we’re still using the word ‘Argie’.
Given that this line is in Jiggins piece, we’re not going to get too excited: ‘Pochettino, who still has more than three years to run on the deal he signed in 2014, said this month he wants to stay. Club chiefs believe Pochettino, 44, is likely to sign his contract but the wait is making them edgy.’
AND THE REST
Roma’s Francesco Totti is set to snub Leicester and make a sensational switch to MLS side New York Cosmos… Manchester City expect to finalise the £23m transfer of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, 25, from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season… Arsenal are reportedly set to make a £16m bid for Inter Milan star Marcelo Brozovic… Crystal Palace are set to reignite their interest in £8m Fiorentina striker Khouma Babacar… Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem, 19, is open to returning to Rangers – where he is currently on loan – next season… Chelsea are set to complete signing of 16-year-old Ajax star Juan Familia Castillo, who had also been wanted by Manchester United… Napoli winger Dries Mertens, 28, is a target for Liverpool, but the Belgium international is reportedly close to extending his contract with the Italian club to 2020… Derby, QPR and Reading are chasing striker Juan Villar, who has scored 13 goals in Spain’s second division for Valladolid this season.