YOUNG AT HEART
First they came for Paulinho, and we did not speak out – for we are not Paulinho.
Then they came for Graziano Pelle, and we did not speak out – for we are not Graziano Pelle.
Then they came for John Obi Mikel, and we did not speak out – for we are not John Obi Mikel.
Then they came for Ashley Young, and it all got a bit much really. The latest claim involving a Chinese Super League club is that Shandong Luneng will throw the money at Young to persuade him to move. A £16million salary over three years is the offer, while Manchester United would get £10m for their troubles.
West Brom are also interested in the 31-year-old, along with a ‘clutch of Premier League clubs’, according to the Daily Mirror. And with Young ‘frustrated’ by his lack of first-team opportunities, and United ‘believed to be ready to part with’ the utility man, a deal could be on the cards.
We still can’t see it, mind.
Diego Simeone’s claim that he “won’t tie anybody down” has been greeted with cheer by the media. It is hardly an admission that he is looking to sell the Atletico Madrid forward, but as long as the words “he is not for sale” are not uttered, it’s as good as accepting that Manchester United will sign him in the summer for a world-record fee.
The Daily Telegraph are one of many, many, many people to claim that Jose Mourinho has identified the Frenchman as his leading target for this summer’s transfer window. His release clause is currently £86million, and United are ‘one of few clubs’ willing to meet such a price.
Atletico will obviously be reluctant to lose their best player, but the expected departure of Simeone could fast-track a sale. Also, the club are moving into a new stadium, and so might have to do an Arsenal and sell their stars in order to repay loans.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and PSG have all been linked, but there are obstacles to each move. United look the best bet – and it would certainly boost their odds with Bet365 each week if they could bring him in.
BALL’S IN HIS COURT
We will finish where any transfer gossip column worth its salt should: with news of Chelsea goalkeepers.
First, Thibaut Courtois. According to The Sun, who attribute their claims to Cadena Cope, Thibaut Courtois is off to Real Madrid. He’s wanted the move for a while, and has told friends that it will be done in the summer. His family already live there, and with Madrid realising that ‘a deal for David De Gea would be difficult to complete’, the Belgian is the next best option.
Where does that leave Asmir Begovic? Well, if Bournemouth can stump up a few more millions, he could be joining Eddie Howe. The Cherries had a £10m bid rejected for Chelsea’s second-choice goalkeeper, and the Blues want £2m more. Greedy sods.
AND THE REST
Crystal Palace have failed to agree personal terms with Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson, 24, following lengthy talks with the player and his representative…Manager Slaven Bilic says West Ham will not sell 29-year-old French midfielder Dimitri Payet to Marseille on the cheap…West Ham United have agreed an £8m fee with Southampton for 33-year-old unsettled defender Jose Fonte…Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa, 30, has asked for a transfer…And Foxes defender Luis Hernandez, 27, is expected to join Malaga on loan…Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka welcomes rumours of Chelsea’s interest in his 20-year-old Spanish winger Adama Traore…Newcastle United are interested in a loan deal for former player and current Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend, 25.