MANCHESTER UNITED TARGET THREE BARCELONA PLAYERS
You really have to take plenty of what Don Balon says about transfer rumours with a pinch of salt, but they aren’t hanging about on Manchester United’s apparent summer plans.
We can just about get on board with a claim that United will sign Andre Gomes, on the basis that at least you can see Barcelona letting him leave. We can also believe that United might want to sign central defender Samuel Umtiti, given that he is young and brilliant. But Barcelona surely won’t let him go?
The most ballsy shout of all is that United will sign Marc Andre ter Stegen’s for €100m if David de Gea joins Real Madrid. Those are some weighty ifs and buts, and we can’t get on board with any of them.
HAZARD LOOKING FOR CHELSEA ESCAPE ROUTE
After watching him left isolated as Chelsea played with a bank of five defenders and four midfielders against Manchester City, you can see why Eden Hazard might not be in the best of moods this week. He’s now publicly told Antonio Conte that he’d rather play on the left.
Hazard could easily ride out the storm at Chelsea, see Conte replaced and flourish again under a new manager, but the alternative is that this is the summer that he finally leaves English football. The Daily Mail say that the Belgian is now deliberately stalling over a new deal to try and tempt Real Madrid to make a bid for him.
Real would surely be tempted, but might their priority lie in buying a central striker? Paulo Dybala or Robert Lewandowski, perhaps.
SOUTHAMPTON WILL SACK PELLEGRINO WHATEVER HAPPENS
Now here is an interesting line in the Daily Mirror. They say that Southampton will sack manager Mauricio Pellegrino at the end of the season, even if they stay in the Premier League. That makes a good deal of sense, but it does beg the question of why they don’t get rid now, given the dreadful run of league form that has taken them close to the edge. What do they have to lose?
Anyway, the Mirror also have a couple of names for us on a possible replacement for Pellegrino. They say Ostersunds’ Graham Potter could get his chance in England, while Fulham’s Slavisa Jokanovic is another option if they fail to get promoted. That sounds like an excellent fit.
AND THE REST
Ramires would like to rejoin Chelsea… Stoke are interested in Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz… Watford want Stevenage defender Ben Wilmot.