BARCA TO BRING IN STOP-GAP CENTRE-BACK
Barcelona are in the market for a centre-back in January but judging from the two names at the top of their list, they aren’t prioritising pace.
Barca’s primary defensive target remains Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, but he appears unobtainable until the summer. So with Samuel Umtiti set to undergo a knee operation, they want a stop-gap.
Manchester City are likely to rebuff any approach for 32-year-old club captain Kompany, even if the Belgian has spent most of the season on the bench. But Barca might have more joy with former Chelsea defender Ivanovic. The 34-year-old is currently playing at Zenit St Petersburg.
Barca are said to have looked at David Luiz and thought: ‘Nah, you’re alright.’ But there is another Chelsea defender they are more interested in with the longer term in mind.
Andreas Christensen has had a bit-bit role under Maurizio Sarri, reportedly because the coaching staff don’t fancy him in a back four. That doesn’t mean Chelsea will allow him to leave in January. AC Milan are also interested too.
OLD ‘NEW NEYMAR’ FANCIES PREM PAY-DAY
West Ham, Everton and Crystal Palace are all said to be interested in a striker who not long ago was ‘the new Neymar’. It must have been a rough couple of years for Gabriel Barbosa…
‘Gabigol’ is said to be up for grabs for £18million with Inter Milan prepared to sell the Brazil striker who has bagged 22 goals in 38 games on loan at Santos.
The 22-year-old moved to Inter two years ago for £26million from Santos but a fall-out with Frank De Boer prompted a loan return to Brazil after a single start at the San Siro. Barbosa doesn’t reckon he’ll stay there, though, and he – or rather, his agent – told the Daily Mail that he fancies a crack at the Premier League.
Barbosa has two and a half years remaining on an £80,000-a-week contract at Inter, who will consider another loan. But, understandably, they will expect someone else to pay his massive wages.
AND THE REST
Cesc Fabregas says he will stay at Chelsea until his contract expires in the summer… Callum Hudson-Odoi wants assurances over first-team football before signing a new contract with the Blues… Real Madrid want to make sure they do not miss out on Manchester City’s Brahim Diaz… Zlatan Ibrahimovic rejected a move to Man City eight years ago when Pep Guardiola wanted to move him on from Barcelona… James Collins has agreed a five-week deal with Aston Villa.