With talk of Jose Mourinho’s master plan, and the signing of £200million worth of Europe’s finest talent a bid to make Manchester United great again, the Daily Mail provide a sobering possibility. Forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic, could Nemanja Matic be the Portuguese’s first signing?
Adam Crafton brings us the news that Mourinho ‘is keen to sign’ Matic, who he managed at Chelsea. The midfielder was crucial in the 2014/15 Premier League title win, but was abhorrent in the latest season. The Blues would request at least £25million for his signature, which is mental.
Even more crazy is not necessarily the fact that the Mail say another Mourinho target, Everton defender John Stones, would cost £45m, but that Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane would be £10m cheaper. Surely not?
The final line from the Mail is that Sporting Lisbon star Joao Mario would also cost £35m. Players can only be rated at £25m, £35m or £45m, it seems.
On Ibrahimovic, the Daily Mirror’s David McDonnell reports that the Swedish striker will be Mourinho’s first signing. He would receive a slightly warmer welcome than Matic.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Ibrahimovic, 34, is out of contract in France this summer, and ‘is said to have agreed a one-year deal with an option for a further year’.
United are willing to meet his wage demands of £250,000 a week, and the deal could be announced later this week. Will he be assistant manager? Poor Rui Faria.
Another signing expected to be announced in the next 48 hours is that of Granit Xhaka, who will join Arsenal.
John Cross of the Daily Mirror reports that Arsenal will pay Borussia Monchengladbach £30m for Xhaka’s services, and the Swiss midfielder flew into London to finalise the move late last week. The deal was agreed, the medical was passed and photoshoots were completed (and leaked) before he joined up with the national team ahead of Euro 2016.
‘Arsene Wenger is keen to rush it through to try and lift the mood at the Emirates,’ adds Cross, who then discusses the rest of Arsenal’s targets. He writes:
‘They also want a top class striker and centre half as major signings while younger targets like Maxi Romero, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney could take spending towards the £80m mark.’
AND THE REST
Gary Neville and Brian Kidd are among the contenders to join Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff once he is confirmed as Manchester United’s next manager…Tottenham are set to sign striker Jonathan Calleri, with the Sao Paulo player’s agent claiming a verbal agreement is already in place..Manchester City are closing on a four-year deal to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and also hope to sign Real Sociedad ‘keeper Geronimo Rulli..Louis van Gaal received a £5m pay-off to leave Manchester United, who will give Jose Mourinho £15m per year to replace the Dutchman…Alvaro Morata is poised to leave Juventus this summer, with Arsenal leading the race to sign the striker for £51m. A picture posted on Instagram hinted his stay in Turin is coming to an end…Leicester are ready to hand midfielder Danny Drinkwater an £80,000 a week contract to stave off interest from Liverpool…Louis van Gaal learned of his dismissal from Manchester United in a phone call with the man expected to replace him, Jose Mourinho…David Moyes is on a nine-man shortlist for Everton’s managerial vacancy, with Manuel Pellegrini, Frank de Boer and Unai Emery also set to be interviewed…Aston Villa’s managerial shortlist is down to Roberto Di Matteo and Nigel Pearson after they were snubbed by David Moyes.