KINGS OF LEON
It has been quite a week for Leon Bailey. After the crushing disappointment of not being chosen for an England World Cup squad that he wasn’t even eligible for, the Bayer Leverkusen winger has some good news. Bayern Munich want him. For a lot of money.
According to ESPN – the wonderful Rafa Honigstein, no less – Bayern have ‘tabled a €60million bid’ for Bailey. For fans of currency conversion, that is around £52.52m. Neat.
It will take a little more to oil the gears, mind. Leverkusen want ‘a fee closer to €100m’ – £87.5m – to contemplate cashing in on their biggest asset. Real Madrid have also ‘expressed a strong interest’, with Jorge Mendes ‘instructed to explore the possibility’ of signing him.
Leverkusen are happy to wait, safe in the belief that ‘bidders from abroad will materialise’ soon enough. Liverpool, perhaps. The Reds have Bailey on a shortlist of three forwards they want this summer. Or maybe Chelsea or Manchester United? Could be Arsenal…
KALIDOU OR KALIDON’T?
Both Chelsea and Arsenal want him, but it seems that Napoli are not about to let Kalidou Koulibaly go so cheaply. According to Italian TV station RAI Sport, the Serie A side want a world-record fee for the centre-half if he is to leave.
If it felt as though Liverpool spent over the odds to sign Virgil van Dijk in January, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Napoli want that full £75m fee with another £30m on top. At least.
Real Madrid also want the 26-year-old, who could star for Senegal at this summer’s World Cup and only help his valuation soar. If Arsenal, Chelsea or anyone else want to make the centre-half the new crown jewel in any potential defensive overhaul, they’re gonna have to pay.
Chelsea seem intent on keeping their business isolated to Serie A. For it appears that they have joined the race to sign Gianluigi Buffon from Juventus.
Buffon confirmed earlier this week that he will be leaving the Old Lady, with Liverpool and Manchester City linked soon thereafter. PSG even offered to double the 40-year-old’s wages for the next two years, kind gents as they are.
Chelsea complete this quartet of sides chasing the most expensive, illustrious back-up possible. Tuttosport reports that the Blues are interested in Buffon, and are ready to compete for his signature. They do desperately need a second-choice keeper.
Shut up, Willy Caballero.
AND THE REST
Ex-Arsenal and Spain midfielder Mikel Arteta has agreed to become the club’s new manager… Should Manchester City assistant Arteta leave Etihad Stadium to move to the Gunners, City boss Pep Guardiola’s preference is to bring in 34-year-old Spain and former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as player-coach… Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, left out of England’s World Cup squad, will have offers from Southampton and Wolves for next season after West Ham opted not to pursue a permanent move for the 31-year-old, who had been on loan with the club… Leicester want to sign Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans, 30, from West Brom, but a £4m agent’s fee could prove a sticking point… Stoke want former Hammers boss David Moyes as their manager after Paul Lambert left the club following relegation to the Championship…
Former Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy has told the Potters he would be interested in taking over at the Bet 365 Stadium… Former Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer and Ostersund manager Graham Potter are the leading candidates to replace Carlos Carvalhal at Swansea… Everton’s 32-year-old forward Wayne Rooney is thought to be deciding whether to accept an offer from DC United in Major League Soccer. The former England captain has an open-ended invitation to return to the Toffees after any spell in the United States… Southampton are planning a £20m bid for Middlesbrough’s English defender Ben Gibson, 25… Aston Villa have been scouting Porto’s 27-year-old Malistriker Moussa Marega as they prepare for a potential return to the Premier League.