MATA OFF TO EVERTON?
Everton have emerged as contenders to sign Juan Mata from Manchester United as Jose Mourinho remains unconvinced about the attacking midfielder.
Mourinho sold Mata to United during his second spell as Chelsea boss, despite the Spaniard being the club’s reigning Player of the Year at the time. And the Portuguese’s belief that the 28-year-old is too slow has not wavered since taking over at Old Trafford.
The imminent arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund will push Mata further down the pecking order, and according to the Daily Telegraph, Ronald Koeman hopes he can persuade him to Goodison Park. It would be a hell of a coup.
Everton face competition for Mata – who played under Koeman during his first season as a Valencia player – and are understood to have tabled an offer of around £20m.
LIVERPOOL KEEN ON ILICIC
…but so is everyone else. That’s according to Football Italia, although we can’t help but feel that this is a rumour who has been doing the rounds for a while. Fiorentina playmaker Josip Ilicic is reportedly available for around £38m, and it feels like his agent is trying desperately to generate interest.
The clubs mentioned are Liverpool (most prominently), Leicester, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Watford. Are Watford or West Brom really going to spend £28m on him?
In truth, we’d be surprised if Liverpool made the move either. They are surely sorted in attack, with Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Mario Balotelli, Jordon Ibe and Lazar Markovic all competing for a maximum of four positions.
ENGLAND RETURN FOR VAN PERSIE
Robin van Persie’s first season in Turkey went pretty well, the striker scoring 16 goals in 31 league games. That’s given the Dutch striker hope that he can succeed again in the Premier League.
There have been reports of Premier League interest in Van Persie for the last couple of weeks, but we are now told that both West Ham and Crystal Palace hold serious interest in the former Manchester United striker.
Having cost Fenerbahce only £4m, Van Persie is likely to be a gamble worth taking for any non-elite club that can afford his wages.
AND THE REST
Everton are preparing for showdown talks with Romelu Lukaku and insist the striker will not be allowed to leave the club this summer…However the Toffees will allow John Stones to join Manchester City for a fee of £50million…Former Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink is interested in the England job and wants to hold talks with the FA…Pep Guardiola has ruled out the prospect of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi signing for Manchester City…New Southampton manager Claude Puel is eyeing a £12.5million move for Lille defender Djibril Sidibe.