REAL WANT POGBA AND STONES
The Paul Pogba line comes from The Sun, who claim that Madrid ‘could break the £100million barrier to snatch Juventus superstar Paul Pogba from under the noses of Barcelona and Manchester City next summer’. He also throws in the name of Eden Hazard, because of course everybody knows that Zinedine Zidane loves Hazard. The nominal price for the Belgian is £100m. Which is frankly ridiculous for a player who has barely looked like a £10m footballer this season. As Pete Jenson of the Mail put it the other day, ‘a price tag closer to £50m could still tempt president Perez’, but £100m? Not a chance.
That same Jenson article – looking at possible Zidane galactico signings – said of Pogba: ‘In terms of position on the pitch, Real Madrid need him more than they need Hazard and perhaps with Barcelona apparently out of the race – because they need every last euro to keep Lionel Messi and Neymar at the club – then he could be gettable.’
He would definitely be ‘gettable’ for £100m, but will anybody break the £100m barrier for a midfielder? We have our doubts.
A new article from Jenson on MailOnline suggests that Madrid are also interested in John Stones – on Rafa Benitez’s recommendation – and could spend £40m on a player who could be Pepe’s long-term replacement. He could play at right-back in the meantime.
ARSENAL LINKED WITH OTHER WATFORD STRIKER
A few days after being linked with Troy Deeney (dismissed as “rubbish” by Arsene Wenger), Arsenal are being linked with Odion Ighalo by the Daily Mirror. He is apparently seen as a cut-price alternative to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is valued at £60m by Borussia Dortmund. Yaya Toure must be disgusted.
Ighalo has been linked with Atletico Madrid and Roma but said this week: “There has been speculation from Spain and Italy but I’ve played there and now want to play in England. I don’t think I will be moving but I’m not sure I’d say no if United called. They were my team growing up. I loved watching Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke on TV. They were my idols and playing at Old Trafford has always been a dream.”
KLOPP WANTS BALOTELLI BACK
This is what we dreamed about when Jurgen Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager. According to Tuttomercatoweb, Jurgen Klopp has told Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola that he wants the Italian striker back at Liverpool. According to Google Translate: ‘Indeed, from this sinking boat could escape even Mario Balotelli would return willingly to Liverpool now that there Klopp on the bench. Mino Raiola has had contacts with the German coach who values highly the former cosmodrome and a return to basic English would be a viable solution soon.’
We would welcome back the former cosmodrome.
Meanwhile, reported Liverpool target Mario Gotze has told Bild: “I know Klopp really well, our cooperation was outstanding. He is definitely a very good coach.”
AND THE REST
West Brom are keen to sign forward Gabriel Agbonlahor from local rivals Aston Villa before the end of January…Stoke City are considering making an offer for West Brom striker Saido Berahino…Bournemouth are close to breaking their club transfer record as they are on the brink of signing Wolves striker Benik Afobe for £10m…Everton are looking to bolster their defence in January with Leeds United right-back Sam Byram a possible target…Aston Villa and Norwich remain interested in Lorient defender Lamine Kone…West Ham are interested in signing Juventus striker Simone Zaza