IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM
“We are in the second year of trying to rebuild a football team you know is not one of the best teams in the world,” said Jose Mourinho after a 2-2 draw with Burnley in December. “Man City buy full backs for the price of a striker.”
Five months later, it looks as though the Manchester United manager is taking that excuse and tearing it to shreds. There is plenty on the line with a £50million move for Juventus left-back Alex Sandro.
The 27-year-old is being targeted as one of what Duncan Castles of The Times describes as ‘a number of Champions League-ready recruits’. The deal will only be finalised once both clubs are finished with this season, so after United’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Sandro can play in any position on the left-hand side, but is likely to be a long-term replacement for Ashley Young in defence. Luke Shaw has failed to grab his few opportunities at Old Trafford, with Castles saying ‘he has disappointed’ due to his attitude and physical condition. Mourinho ‘is open to selling’ him.
While Arsenal continue in their search for a new manager to replace Arsene Wenger, speculation is rife as to who they will sign this summer. The wonderful Richard Jolly of The National has an idea.
According to his exclusive, also in the Sunday Express, the Gunners want Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli. He is the centre-half that scored that bloody lovely goal against Juventus, and helped spearhead Napoli’s ill-fated Serie A title charge. He’s pretty good.
But that unfortunately means he’s pretty expensive. Napoli want £53m for the 26-year-old, a fee ‘which could deter the Gunners’.
A more likely alternative is that of Jonny Evans, who would cost £3m after West Brom’s relegation. It seems inevitable.
AND THE REST
Paris St-Germain forward Neymar says he is “tired” of speculation surrounding his future. The 26-year-old Brazilian wants to wait until after the World Cup to discuss any potential transfers, with Real Madrid,Manchester United and former club Barcelona interested… Everton and West Ham are both pursuing former Hull and Watford boss Marco Silva… Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha, 25, says he has no intention of leaving Crystal Palace this summer… Swansea’s owners have asked Carlos Carvalhal if he is prepared to manage them in the Championship… Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri will look to bring Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 30, with him if he is made Chelsea boss this summer… Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he wants the best for coach Mikel Arteta amid mounting speculation the 36-year old Spaniard is set to succeed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal boss… City have renewed their interest in Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez. The two clubs have remained in contact after a proposed deal for the 27-year-old Algerian fell through in January.