OFF THE RECORD
On Monday, it was reported that Manchester United sent a scout to watch Benfica’s 4-0 league victory over Feirense. The supposed subject of their interest was left-back Alex Grimaldo. By Tuesday, the line has already changed.
According to Portuguese newspaper Record, United were more interested in Grimaldo’s teammate, Goncaldo Guedes. The 19-year-old is highly-rated, has a release clause of €60m, his contract runs for another five years and, most importantly of all, he is a client of one Jorge Mendes. Of course he bloody is.
Record do add the claim that United also watched Grimaldo with a keen eye, but they attribute that to the British press. The Guedes link seems a little more watertight – although by no means certain.
Recent reports claim that Roman Abramovich will hand Antonio Conte a £100m transfer kitty/warchest/fund to strengthen his Chelsea squad in January. But where will the Italian seek to spend his money?
Spanish newspaper Sport believe that Conte will target La Liga for reinforcements. We’re incredibly lazy, so here is some Google Translated copy:
‘Among those intended by the Italian coach are four players who play in the Spanish League: Sevilla fans Sergio Rico and N’Zonzi , Valencia ‘s Joao Cancelo and colchoneroAntoine Griezmann .
‘It seems unlikely that any of them leave their respective team, which have a very important role, but Chelsea is willing to make a big investment and the club ‘s owner, Roman Abramovich , you have already given approval to use the book to close any operation.’
Rico is a goalkeeper. N’Zonzi is, as you surely know, a midfielder. Joao Cancelo is a right-back. Antoine Griezmann is a friend of Paul Pogba. Oh, and a striker. A really bloody good one. If Chelsea can pull that one off, then, well, crikey.
BAILEY TO GO
Manchester United fans already love Eric Bailly. Could Manchester United fans ever love Leon Bailey?
The club will surely hope so, with the Daily Mail reporting that the latter, a Genk winger, is a target. Again, United scouted him in the Europa League last week. They’ll do that; he’s ‘highly-rated’.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester, Sunderland and Newcastle were also at the game, and they will have seen Bailey, who has scored five goals this season, impress against Sassuolo.
AND THE REST
Cesc Fabregas could be set to leave Chelsea and join Italian giants AC Milan in a player plus cash deal…Steve Bruce has been backed for the vacant Aston Villa job, despite his past as a player and manager of Birmingham City, by Alex McLeish…Villa will only turn to Bruce if they can’t persuade Huddersfield manager David Wagner to give up the team he has taken to the top of the Championship…Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte has revealed he spoke with Manchester City for “a long time” before snubbing a move to the Etihad…Chelsea do not have a buy-back clause inserted in Thorgan Hazard’s contract, according to the Belgian’s club Borussia Monchengladbach…Bournemouth and West Ham both sent scouts to check on Leeds left-back Charlie Taylor at the weekend ahead of a possible January swoop.