Until Monday morning, the gossip column can unequivocally state that it had never heard of Defensa Central. But our transfer speculation lives are now complete thanks to a link from the Daily Express website.
You might joke that the Spanish outlet must specialise entirely in rumours regarding central defenders. And you would appear to be correct: they exclusively claim that Zinedine Zidane has asked Real Madrid to ‘closely monitor’ three over the coming months. He wants to find the ‘new Varane’.
Zidane, crucial in bringing the Frenchman to the Bernabeu in 2011, is ‘looking to repeat the formula’ and has ‘narrowed the circle’ to Ligue Un once more. Boubacar Kamara of Marseille and Beniot Badiashile of being told to tuck in his chair by Thierry Henry at a Monaco press conference are on his agenda. They are ‘futuristic’ and ‘seduce’ Zidane.
So too does William Saliba, the St Etienne centre-half who Arsenal literally signed for £27m in the summer. Zidane, unperturbed by such frivolities, apparently ‘insists on squeezing’ to sign him.
It’s definitely happening. So what if the source is a Real Madrid fan site?
EMERY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
While Arsenal battle to keep a player yet to feature for them, it remains to be seen which manager is in charge of that fight. The Daily Mirror say current incumbent Unai Emery ‘is facing a make-or-break month’.
While the Gunners ‘are determined to try and give Emery every chance to turn things around,’ there is a growing acceptance that it simply might not work out. There is no ‘immediate danger’ but ‘there is a growing fear that the club could act if they are in serious danger of missing out by Christmas’.
Arsenal travel to Leicester next week, hoping to avoid falling nine points behind fourth. They also face Vitoria, Southampton and Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s on you, Unai.
The last thing Jurgen Klopp needs when Liverpool are preparing to play 427 times a week until the end of the season is for any player to up and leave. Bit the Daily Telegraph report that as a genuine possibility when it comes to Adam Lallana.
The 31-year-old’s contract expires in the summer, with Liverpool prepared to offer him a new deal. But ’emerging’ interest from China and America could change things. The Reds are reluctant to lose ‘his leadership qualities and ability to play in a number of positions’.
Liverpool’s problem is that a longer contract and guaranteed football would be on offer elsewhere. While no potential suitor is specifically named, plenty would be interested.
AND THE REST
Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, previously linked with Arsenal, is the favourite to take over at Bayern Munich following the departure of Niko Kovac… RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick has also been strongly tipped for the Bayern vacancy… Red Bull Salzburg are yet to receive an offer for 19-year-old Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland, who has been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus…eal Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is keen on arcelona’s 21-year-old Spanish midfielder Carles Alena – a target for Tottenham Hotspur – is likely to be allowed to leave the La Liga club on loan in January… Roma are set for further meetings with Manchester United over a permanent deal for England defender Chris Smalling – who is on loan at the Serie A side this season – and are ready to offer 10m euros (£8.6m) for the 29-year-old.