RAIDING THE OLD LADY
It’s Saturday, and it’s a weirdly good day for gossip. Where better to start than the managerial situation at Chelsea? Where better to start than with Shaun Custis’s exclusive in The Sun?
Except, it’s not quite an exclusive. Custis claims that Massimiliano Allegri, current coach of Juventus, was contacted by Stamford Bridge officials at the start of this month with regards to taking over in the summer. This sounds an awful lot like another exclusive, this one from John Cross of the Daily Mirror back in December. Good ol’ Crossy told us back then that Chelsea wanted him.
Custis does have more on other potential candidates. He claims that Chelsea have ‘cooled’ on Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid after ‘research into his methods’, while Pep Guardiola is thought to be headed to Manchester City. Former Chile national team manager Jorge Sampaoli has ‘failed to persuade’ club chiefs that he would be the right option.
Allegri will be offered £6million a year, with his ‘reputation for diplomacy and calmness’ apparently winning him the job.
RONALD’S THE MAN
That’s not all on the Chelsea manager’s job, however. Now to the Daily Mirror, whose man Darren Lewis links Ronald Koeman to the job. Not only that, but he has quotes from the Dutchman himself.
When asked whether he was ambitious to work at a ‘big club’, Koeman’s response was: “If Guus puts a good word in for me, that would be a big influence. I always want to achieve the highest possible level. That has happened in Holland and that’s what I’d really like to achieve abroad.”
This becomes ‘Southampton’s Ronald Koeman wants Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink to recommend HIM as the Blues’ next manager’. As far as we can tell, Koeman was talking about any ‘big job’, not just the Chelsea one. There is no context to the quotes, which is presumably deliberate on Lewis’s behalf. Koeman doesn’t mention Chelsea, and has previous for discussing his future. This is nothing new.
To Liverpool now, and an update on Alex Teixeira. The Reds reportedly submitted a £24.6million bid for the Shakhtar Donetsk forward earlier this week, but The Guardian claim that Jurgen Klopp is considering upping the offer.
The Guardian add that Shakhtar want closer to £37.8million for Teixeira, and the Ukrainian club are keen to keep him until the summer, at which stage his valuation should have increased.
Liverpool are the only team to make a bid so far, but The Guardian say Klopp is aware that he will likely have to increase his bid to stand any chance of signing the 26-year-old this month.
Back to managerial news now, because that’s what the transfer gossip is all about.
It’s The Sun with another exclusive, with Martin Lipton the man in the know this time around. The claim is that Arsene Wenger wants to extend his contract at Arsenal.
The Frenchman’s current deal expires in 18 months, but Lipton says that Wenger ‘has already begun preparing’ for the next decade, making numerous changes behind the scenes. The Gunners’s chief scout has been promoted to head of scouting, while a new youth head of scouting has been approached. These changes, coupled with Arsenal’s title challenge this season, has renewed Wenger’s ‘appetite’, claims Lipton.
It is thought that an announcement on Wenger’s future will be made at the end of the season, but ‘few inside the Emirates’ now anticipate the club legend’s departure.
Remember that time the Daily Mirror claimed an exclusive that Wenger had confirmed he would leave in 2017? We do.
Back to transfers. The big news on Friday was that Ashley Young will be out for “a long time” after injuring his groin against Liverpool. That leaves Manchester United with fewer options at left-back, and Louis van Gaal has already stated his intention to source reinforcements this month. Saturday’s papers, predictably enough, have an idea on where he’ll look.
First, we head to the Daily Star. Jack Wilson reports an exclusive that United are considering moving for Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand. Saints signed Bertrand permanently for £10million this time last year, and his impressive performances have earned him rave reviews. Now an England international, the 26-year-old has 16 Premier League appearances and two assists to his name this season.
It is claimed that Bertrand would cost around £20million. There is not a chance that Van Gaal would go for that. When Young and Luke Shaw return from injury, as well as Marcos Rojo, there would be a few too many cooks.
The Independent join the left-back party, with Chief Football Correspondent Mark Ogden reporting on their interest in Ashley Cole. The former Chelsea boy has been released by Roma, and despite the fact that LA Galaxy were reportedly close to sealing his signature, Ogden believes Cole could be on the United shortlist. United are ‘reluctant to move for the 35-year-old,’ he says, but ‘an inability to secure proven quality could yet prompt a rethink’.
After spending £38.7million – not £58.7million (yet) on Anthony Martial in the summer, Manchester United seem intent on breaking the world record transfer fee for a teenager once again. According to the Daily Mail, they are ‘closing in on’ a move for ‘£60million Renato Sanches’.
Simon Jones and Chris Wheeler are the culprits for this story, and it doesn’t take long for that transfer fee above to be literally halved. Sanches, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder, has a £60million buy-out clause, but United are deep in negotiations. United officials have watched Sanches in each of Benfica’s last four games.
It all sounds very unlikely. Jones and Wheeler claim the deal will be pushed through this month as United wish to avoid an ‘auction’ of the player, who has just 11 first team career appearances to his name. Louis van Gaal has previous in expenditure on young players, but even Martial had three seasons and 72 appearances to his name when United bought him. Luke Shaw had played 67 games before he moved to Old Trafford. Again, Sanches has played 11 games in his breakthrough season. He has been compared to Edgar Davids, apparently, which could be where Van Gaal’s interest emanates from.
AND THE REST
Tottenham have been offered Jackson Martinez as their search for a new striker drags on – but there is major reservation at White Hart Lane about a swoop for the the Colombian…Chelsea are closing to selling midfielder Ramires in this transfer window, with Bayern Munich and PSG interested in the 28-year-old…Robert Lewandowski’s Premier League suitors may have to splash over £75m to sign the Bayern Munich striker this summer…Norwich are hoping to beat Everton and Southampton to the signing of £2.2m Palermo midfielder Oscar Hiljemark…Mark Hughes says Stoke are ready to break their transfer record – but may wait until the summer with the Potters linked with French midfielder Giannelli Imbula…Newcastle are closing in on Tottenham outcast Andros Townsend with Steve McClaren confident of getting a £10m deal done before the end of the month…Arsenal have made a new transfer bid for Leicester’s in-demand starlet Ben Chilwell…Chelsea have made an approach to Thiago Silva’s representatives. The Brazilian defender has a contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2018.