READY FOR MOURINHO?
Well, you should be. At least according to Neil Custis. The Sun’s man positively revels in Manchester United’s defeat to Sunderland on Saturday, with manager Louis van Gaal under increasing pressure.
According to Custis, United could appoint former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho before the end of the month. ‘United are convinced now that a move for Mourinho would be popular with supporters,’ says Custis. You have to wonder which supporters they’re asking exactly.
United face four fixtures before the end of February, with their two-legged Europa League tie against FC Midtylland, and an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Shrewsbury Town first up. Custis writes that club chiefs ‘believe they will lose nothing’ by appointing Mourinho as manager before their next Premier League game. That comes against Arsenal on February 28. We’re counting down the days until Mourinho’s first match as boss.
JOHN AND PAUL (AND MESUT)
Not heard much of Paul Pogba recently, have we? The Juventus and France midfielder has been constantly touted for each leading European club over the past few seasons, and this summer promises to be no different. The Daily Mirror bring us the latest update.
Despite having struck an agreement of sorts with Juventus over an £85million deal for Pogba in the summer, Barcelona have withdrawn their interest. Ed Malyon writes that the Spanish club’s current financial difficulties have scuppered a move, and Luis Enrique has pulled the plug on the transfer. Manchester City ‘are on red alert’ as a result, with the club long-term admirers of Pogba.
Yaya Toure, 32, out. Paul Pogba, 22, in? Pep would be happy.
Buried within the story is another transfer update, this one on Everton defender John Stones. With Barcelona withdrawing their Pogba interest, the Spanish club are now looking to add a young central defender to their ranks. Stones is on that particular shortlist, but Barcelona believe another Premier League club will sign him this summer.
Buried even further within the story is yet another transfer update, this one on Mesut Ozil. The Arsenal midfielder reportedly wanted to leave the club over the weekend, with a representative of the player adding further fuel to the rumour, claiming that Barcelona were interested. The Mirror’s Malyon writes that ‘sources’ at the Nou Camp deny any interest in the 27-year-old.
BUSQUING IN LONDON
Sergio Busquets is not a man generally associated with exciting transfer battles, but there we go. The Barcelona man was already interesting Manchester City, according to reports. Now Chelsea have joined the fight.
According to Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo, Chelsea ‘are interested’ in Barcelona and Spain midfielder Busquets. All that is mentioned is a passing interest, along with French side Paris Saint-Germain. Frankly, he is no John Obi Mikel.
Feed this line to The Metro, and Chelsea ‘could make a move for the Spain international at the end of the season’. The Express add that Chelsea ‘plan summer swoop for Barcelona star’. We’ll just assume their Google Translate is playing up, shall we?
AND THE REST
Chelsea have targeted Lille midfielder Sofiane Boufal in the summer transfer window…Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has taken a short-term lease on a house over fears he might be sacked…Arsenal have been scouting Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga but face competition from La Liga giants Real Madrid in the race for his signature…Leeds midfielder Luke Murphy is wanted at Blackburn…Watford defender Tommie Hoban is being pursued on loan by Charlton, Leeds, Reading and Brentford.