ZLATAN IS OFF
But where to? The worst kept secret in football has finally become public knowledge, and you can thank the man himself.
The usually humble and quiet Zlatan Ibrahimovic has created a furore around his future after posting the following tweet on his Twitter account:
My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes. I came like a king, left like a legend pic.twitter.com/OpLL3wzKh0
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) May 13, 2016
The Sweden international’s contract with Paris St Germain expires in the summer, and this does indeed appear to be actual, bona fide confirmation from the man himself that he will not renew terms in France.
So where now? Manchester United? Arsenal? West Ham? Serie A? Qatar? America? LA Galaxy are 4/5 favourites to sign the 34-year-old, while United are next at 5/2. Perhaps Sam Allardyce can tempt him to Sunderland.
UNITED TO SPEND £75m?
More on United now, and the Daily Star have identified the two players the club wants to sign in the summer. Whether this is with Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal or Roberto Martinez as manager, they do not clarify.
Jack Wilson informs us that Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane is a target, as well as Sporting Lisbon ‘sensation’ Joao Mario.
Varane is bloody good, of course, but United will have to join the back of the queue in that regard. Wilson claims that ‘United big wigs have sat down to try and thrash out a £30m move’. They might have to sit down a little longer and come close to doubling that valuation. Varane is 23, a France international, and a regular at Real Madrid, to whom he is contracted until 2020.
What of Portuguese midfielder Mario? Wilson tells us that he has a £45million release clause in his contract, one which United are willing to meet. The kid is 23, has eight caps for Portugal and has not yet played 100 professional games as a footballer. Is this how United are bouncing back from the Renato Sanches affair?
Over to Mario Gotze, who has been heavily linked with Liverpool in recent weeks. It looks likely that the forward will leave Bayern Munich when Carlo Ancelotti arrives as manager.
Is it a foregone conclusion that he will end up at Anfield, however? Apparently not. The delightfully named Suddeutsche Zeitung report that Arsenal are interested, and the Gunners could land the World Cup winner for as little as £16million.
Further to that, The Sun exclusively report that Chelsea are interested in the German. The Blues could offer up to £35million for Gotze, according to Phil Cadden.
Chelsea ‘have already held talks’ with the 23-year-old’s representatives, and the Stamford Bridge club are willing to meet the demands of Bayern. Liverpool are too, but ‘have been left trailing in the chase’.
Cadden adds that Chelsea are willing to hand Antonio Conte £100million to spend when he arrives as manager, and that the defence will be his priority. A 12-month deal for John Terry is on the cards.
AND THE REST
Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50m in crunch talks with owner Ellis Short next week…Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl says Arsenal are still yet to make an offer for 23-year-old midfielder Granit Xhaka…Everton want Ronald Koeman to replace Roberto Martinez as their new manager…Leicester City look set to miss out on Gianluca Lapadula with the Pescara striker joining Lazio instead. The 26-year-old has scored 24 goals for the Serie B side this season..Nathan Redmond is certain to leave relegated Norwich this summer and the Canaries could receive just £8m…Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin has made keeping £15m midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson his No 1 job…Marseille have put Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham target Michy Batshuayi up for sale…Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin is keen to sign on-loan QPR midfielder Leroy Fer, 26, on a permanent deal…Mesut Ozil is close to a new Arsenal contract which would make him their first ever £200,000-a-week player.