Gossip: Courtois doubts re-emerge; United eye Mertens

Date published: Saturday 7th October 2017 5:49

Thibaut Courtois wants to return to Spain one day. The Chelsea keeper has never tried particularly hard to hide that desire but rumours of him looking to quit Stamford Bridge have gone a little quieter of later. Well, now they are back.

The Belgium stopper is out of contract in 2019 and approaching the time when contract renewal talks with Chelsea would normally begin. According to Marca, the club may as well not bother.

Courtois, apparently, has no intention of recommitting his future to the champions as he looks to return to La Liga, where he spent three prosperous years at Atletico Madrid before he came back to London and took Petr Cech’s No.1 spot.

Real Madrid appear to be Courtois’ preferred destination and it seems likely that the 25-year-old is prepared to be more proactive in forcing a move to the Champions League winners than David de Gea, though the Man Utd stopper’s contract at Old Trafford also expires in 2019.

Real have been linked with De Gea every summer for the last four years at least and plenty of water has gone under that particular bridge. De Gea, though, is happy with life under Jose Mourinho. Courtois has never appeared quite as content in the Premier League, despite two fine seasons out of three that both ended with a title winner’s medal in his glove bag.


Dries Mertens has been proving his form for Napoli last season was no fluke. The Belgian has bagged nine goals in nine starts and two substitute appearances this term, following on from 34 goals last year.

That kind of form, unsurprisingly, has made Europe’s big hitters take notice, with Arsenal heavily linked with the attacker in the summer. The 30-year-old, however, chose to sign a new contract with Napoli, though those terms apparently contain a clause that means he can leave for £25million next summer.

Manchester United are particularly keen on those terms, if ex-Napoli sporting director Pierpaolo Marino is to be believed. He told Tuttosport that United are “following him very closely”.

United are hardly short of firepower, though with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to leave in the summer, Jose Mourinho may see Mertens as an ideal replacement, particularly given his versatility across the forward line and especially at that price.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, United are also said to be keen to sign Harvey Neville, the 14-year-old son of Phil, who presumably gets it from his mum. Neville Jr. is currently on the books at Valencia, where his father coached alongside his uncle until last year.


Inter Milan want Borussia Dortmund playmaker Marco Reus after their hopes of signing Mesut Ozil from Arsenal faded…Crystal Palace want to sign Germany-born Turkey and Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun…Arsenal are interested in signing Trabzonspor midfielder Abdulkadir Omur, 18, but face competition from Atletico Madrid…Antonio Conte was left frustrated in the summer after Chelsea failed with a £5m bid for Fernando Llorente – the striker eventually moved to Spurs for £11.5m…Benfica and Peru winger Andre Carrillo wants to turn his season-long loan at Watford into a permanent move…Rickie Lambert chose to retire after re-injuring his back playing golf with the Wigan chairman and manager, who were interested in signing him…Liverpool’s Andy Robertson will play for Scotland in Slovenia on Sunday despite fears that he has broken his wrist…Tottenham are confident that Dele Alli will sign a new contract with a pay rise to £80,000 a week, despite him being in the process of changing agents.

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