Gossip: Liverpool linked with £100.9m pair, Perisic to Utd

Matt Stead

IVAN THE TERRIBLE
As if a seven-match winning streak and pulling level with Arsenal on points in the Premier League wasn’t enough, it seems that Manchester United want to really stick the knife into Jose Mourinho.

But what would be the most effective way of taunting their former manager? Would it be to publicly anoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as The Special One at a lavish ceremony? Would it be to abduct Pep Guardiola until he wins them the Premier League title? Perhaps it would be to invite Michael Essien and Maniche to Old Trafford just to sacrifice them at the altar?

Or maybe it would be to sign Ivan Perisic. Mourinho was unsure as to why United couldn’t secure a deal for the World Cup finalist last summer, having first targeted him in 2017. But it seems that Solskjaer wants to relight that particular fire.

SportMediaSet (yes, we know), say that while ‘a divorce’ between Perisic and Inter Milan ‘seemed highly unlikely’ not long ago, his exit has ‘turned into an eventuality perhaps imminent’. He has started five of their last seven Serie A games; are we missing something?

Apparently so, as the Croatian has ‘shown impatience with regard to his current location’. His bugbear is ‘neither tactical nor technical, but probably due to a style of play’. With three goals and two assists in 18 league games – and none of either in six Champions League appearances – his struggles have indeed been apparent.

So Perisic ‘would feel happier if Inter let him go’. And despite the change of manager, United remain interested. They and Atletico Madrid will have to stump up £34.8m if they want their man.

 

TIMO’S UP
Another transfer rumour that simply refuses to die is that of Liverpool wanting to sign Timo Werner. They were linked with the forward as far back as March 2017, and retain a keen interest in his development.

They are not alone. The 22-year-old has 18 months left on his Leipzig contract, with the Bundesliga club insisting he signs an extension. If not, he will be sold this summer.

Bild report that, in an attempt to get him to stay, they will ‘lure’ Werner with ‘a special candy’. That took a turn.

Their contract offer will almost double his wages and basically contain a £60.9m release clause for ten specific clubs. Among them are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Werner has been mulling over the deal since December, and time is running out over a decision. Either way, his Leipzig departure seems imminent.

 

OH BOY, ODOI
Liverpool have also shown an apparent interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi, of course. On Wednesday, Sport Bild suggested that club representatives met with the Chelsea winger and his agent earlier this month in an attempt to hijack Bayern Munich’s £35m move.

The Sun now say Gonzalo Higuain’s arrival at Stamford Bridge has put the teenager’s future ‘back on the agenda’: he wants to know what’s happening within ‘the next five days’.

They make no mention of Liverpool’s interest, but say ‘developing as a player is a bigger concern than money’ for Hudson-Odoi. So Bayern seems the most likely option. And that would be a good news story.

Chelsea were reported to want £40m for a player whose Premier League career amounts to a total of 69 minutes. It really doesn’t feel as though Liverpool will enter that bidding war – but it has been suggested that their Hudson-Odoi ‘interest’ is actually a foil to force Bayern out of the race for Werner.

 

AND THE REST
Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Crystal Palacewinger Wilfried Zaha, 26, in the summer as the German club look for a replacement for Christian Pulisic, who will be joining Chelsea… Paris St-Germain are set to beat Chelsea to the signing of Zenit St Petersburg’s Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes, 24… Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, 21, says he spoke with both Manchester City and Paris-St Germain before deciding to join Barcelona… Tottenham could join the race to sign PSG’s 23-year-old midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who has also been linked with Barcelona and Bayern Munich… Chelsea and Nigeria wing-back Victor Moses, 28, is set to complete a loan move to Fenerbahce until the end of the season.