LLORENTE LINKED TO ARSENAL AGAIN
It’s not the first time this has been mentioned but it is the first time that Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has claimed that Llorente’s agent has been in talks with Arsenal officials about a potential £8.5m move.
Once again, the suggestion is that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s first choice is Karim Benzema but that is highly unlikely. On Wednesday night, one Spanish journalist suggested that Robert Lewandowski is also a target.
CHELSEA TO RETURN FOR STONES
‘Everton are braced for another Chelsea bid for John Stones of around £30million but are prepared to dig in their heels,’ writes MailOnline’s transfer man Simon Jones, who claims that both Manchester clubs ‘admire’ the defender but are yet to make a move.
Celtic’s Virgil Van Dijk, Swansea’s Ashley Williams and Jonny Evans of Manchester United are mentioned as possible signings for the Toffees.
LAZIO CLOSE TO BALOTELLI
We have had Sampdoria and Bologna linked with Mario Balotelli already this week, but today’s talk of Lazio sounds rather more convincing.
Both La Repubblica and Sky Sports Italia are reporting that talks have begun between Liverpool and Lazio, with the Reds apparently willing to sell for around £7m.
LIVERPOOL REFUSE DIGNE PERMISSION
The rumours about Liverpool’s interest in Paris St Germain left-back have been hanging around for a while, but the latest news is that Liverpool have been denied the chance to talk to him.
That could also be a euphemism for ‘it was never happening and we’re covering our backs’, but the Express quote Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet saying no dice.
Thing I learnt: PSG left-back Lucas Digne’s agent is former ‘Boro, Derby and Forest hall-of-famer Mikkel Beck.
UNITED BID FOR ANDERSON AND DE VRIJ
Well this is all very murky. Let us take you on a journey:
‘Manchester United have submitted a stunning double swoop for Lazio pair Stefan De Vrij and Felipe Anderson’ – Daily Star.
They link to the Express, who say: ‘Manchester United in fresh £42.5m double raid on Lazio stars’
They link to Football Italia, who say: ‘Lazio have reportedly rejected €105m worth of bids for Lucas Biglia, Felipe Anderson, Stefan De Vrij and Marco Parolo this summer.’
Firstly, therefore, these aren’t ‘fresh bids’ as the story is that Lazio have rejected those bids this summer.
Secondly, Football Italia link to Corriere della Sera. Except that they don’t link to any story by that publication. And nor do the Star. And nor do the Express.
So a) the story that the Star and Express are pushing is not true, and b) the original source is proving difficult to find.
Conclusion: United are unlikely to sign either player. As you were.
AND THE REST
Aston Villa have reportedly agreed a fee for Blackburn striker Rudy Gestede… Indian Super League side FC Pune City have signed Adrian Mutu… Mario Gomez has completed a loan move to Besiktas… Newcastle will make a ‘player plus cash’ offer for Charlie Austin… Mohamed Salah is having a medical at Roma… Blackpool have signed former Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister… Queens Park Rangers are hopeful of completing the signings of defender James Perch and goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
YOUNG TO LIVERPOOL
Congratulations to the Daily Star for their wonderful acceptance of grade A bulls**t in order to create an SEO click frenzy. They’re claiming that Liverpool will sign Ashley Young from Manchester United. They won’t. And United wouldn’t sell to them either.
Here are some reasons why Liverpool won’t sign Ashley Young:
1) Philippe Coutinho
2) Roberto Firmino
3) Adam Lallana
4) Jordon Ibe
5) Lazar Markovic
6) James Milner
Well done though, Daily Star. You made it an ‘exclusive’, because everyone else has more shame.
PEDRO DEAL ALMOST DONE
On a day of pretty unsexy gossip, this is steaming: According to Marca, Man United have ‘more or less’ agreed a fee for Pedro with Barcelona. That fee is likely to be around £21m, which sounds awful cheap to us.
It seems Barca will not sell Pedro until after the European Super Cup clash with Sevilla on August 11. That would certainly marry with Guillem Balague’s tweet on Thursday morning saying: ‘On Pedro: LE says he will only leave if United pays the buy out clause, but a source at FCB admits something is “being cooked”….’
NEW RAMOS DEAL
Some might call it the inevitable end to Manchester United’s pursuit of Sergio Ramos, but there did seem a time when United were going to tempt the Spanish defender to the Premier League. There also seemed a clear message from Ramos that he wanted the move.
However, there has since been a U-turn Usher would be proud of, because Marca are now reporting that Ramos will sign a new deal at Real Madrid worth around €9m a year. It will be an extension taking him through to 2020. Sorry, United fans.
The obvious conclusion is that Real made it very clear to Ramos that he wouldn’t be sold at any price, and that they wouldn’t be entertaining any offers. That left Ramos in a position where there was little point in kicking up a fuss.
For all the praise coming Ed Woodward’s way this summer, there is an inevitability to Ramos staying at Real and David de Gea leaving.
UNITED AND CITY ALSO IN FOR STONES
It’s a rumour that makes a great deal of sense, really. We were surprised that Chelsea were the only obvious suitors for John Stones, and now the Daily Mirror say that Manchester City are also interested in signing the defender. That’s great news for Everton, if they want to maximise their price. Not great news if they want to keep him, however. Is his head slowly being turned?
The claims don’t end there. The Guardian also say that Manchester United could enter the Stones race (cue loads of Stone Roses puns), although it’s fair to say that their line is a little wishy-washy. Stones would apparently ‘be welcomed at Old Trafford’. You need to put an offer for that to happen, chaps.
SPURS TO SIGN LAMBERT
Spurs looking like they are clearing out one ageing and slightly immobile striker who struggled last season in Roberto Soldado, so it’s great to hear that they are apparently interested in Rickie Lambert. Erm… why?
It’s the big line in The Times, who say that Lambert is viewed by Mauricio Pochettino as the ideal back-up for Harry Kane. Is he? Is he really?
It’s clear that Spurs’ main competition for Lambert is West Brom. Tony Pulis had this to say yesterday: “Rickie is available. Liverpool have made that known. It’s very important that we get players who will score goals, Rickie’s got a great goalscoring record. From what I can gather from people at Liverpool his fitness levels are very very good, and he is desperate to play football.”
AND THE REST
Leicester City are prepared to pay £11m to sign Chile midfielder Charles Aranguiz from Brazilian club Internacional, with Bayer Leverkusen and Marseille also interested…Swansea have slapped a £25m price tag on captain Ashley Williams to fend off interest from Premier League rivals Crystal Palace…Northampton Town striker Ivan Toney prefers a move to Newcastle United despite interest from Championship clubs…Arsenal have completed the signing of gifted 16-year-old Ajax frontman Donyell Malen…Ashley Young is seeking showdown talks with Manchester United over a new contract.