Gossip: Lukaku, Yarmolenko, Diarra, Rojo

Matt Stead

As we all know, Romelu Lukaku is destined for the big time. Daniel Storey knew it as soon as the Belgian was conceived. Lukaku has 25 goals in 37 games for Everton in all competitions this season, but his future surely lies away from Goodison Park.

According to John Cross, his next destination could be Old Trafford. Well, it will be, as the Toffees face Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday. But it could also be the Belgian’s permanent home. The Daily Mirror’s Cross claims Everton are ‘fearful’ that Lukaku will leave for United this summer.

For Champions League football? Maybe. But Cross adds that Lukaku may look to leave Everton even if United don’t qualify for Europe’s premier competition. When, by Cross’ admission, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are also circling, would he really choose Louis van Gaal’sJose Mourinho’s side?


Andriy Yarmolenko is one of those players, isn’t he? You know, the ones who are linked with moves to the Premier League each transfer window, but never make the switch. We’re talking Gonzalo Higuain. We’re talking Edinson Cavani. We’re talking Juaqin. And now perennial Everton target Yarmolenko has been linked with another English club.

The Sun are the culprits here, and their man Anthony Chapman reports that Liverpool ‘are readying a £25million bid’ for the Dynamo Kyiv winger. This is ‘according to Ukrainian paper Sport’, who you’d hope know their onions in this regard.

Yarmolenko himself clearly wants the move, stating recently: “I cannot reveal many details but yes, I intend to move to England this year.” Arsenal and Everton had been previously linked, and now Liverpool are thrown into the ring. He is clearly talented, but that’s a lot of money for a 26-year-old who has never played for a team outside of the Ukraine.


Jose Mourinho’s quest to sign everyone even before he becomes manager of Manchester United continues. Lassana Diarra is the latest name. Oh yes. The excitement is palpable. The good times are coming home to Old Trafford.

According to Le 10 Sport, in conjunction with L’Equipe, Diarra is a target of Mourinho’s if – and when – the Portuguese becomes boss. Mourinho signed Diarra at Chelsea in 2005 and managed him at Stamford Bridge before his departure in 2007. The French midfielder stayed with the Blues for just over two seasons, but made only 31 appearances for the club before leaving for Arsenal. He did not last a full campaign under Arsene Wenger, and has since played for Portsmouth, Real Madrid, Anzhi Makackakalakalka, Lokomotiv Moscow and Marseille. It is at the French club where he was reignited his career.

Diarra found game time difficult to come by under Mourinho at Chelsea, but at Real they forged a successful understanding. Unsurprisingly, the 31-year-old was once dubbed ‘the next Makelele’.


Barcelona don’t like signing defenders, do they? Give them a shortlist of attackers. Fine. Luis Suarez? Sure. Neymar? Deal. But signing defenders? Eurgh.

Considering the size of the club, a look at the recent defenders they have signed makes for difficult reading. Jeremy Mathieu has hardly been a roaring success. Then there is Thomas Vermaelen. And the greatest of them all, Dmytro Chygrynskiy. The Catalans want to add Marcos Rojo to such an illustrious list.

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, the Manchester United centre-half/left-back has ‘entered the orbit’ of Barcelona. The Spanish outlet have the big scoop that when Jose Mourinho becomes manager, he will offload ten players, and Rojo will be one. The 26-year-old was recently pictured smoking on a night out, and has endured a difficult relationship with Louis van Gaal since signing in summer 2014.

The sticking point may be the price. United signed Rojo for £16million two years ago. Sport claim that Barcelona want to sign him for £9million. He has not hit the ground running, but are United willing to take a £7million hit when they could at least recoup their outlay?


N’Golo Kante will be allowed to leave Leicester in the summer if a big-money offer is received…Arsenal are tracking Atlanta and Ivory Coast centre-back Franck Kessie…Watford midfielder Miguel Layun will join Porto in the summer for £4.8m…Nigeria are ready to offer Harry Redknapp a lucrative deal to become their new manager…Former Newcastle boss John Carver has applied for the vacant managerial position at Aston Villa…Joe Hart will not seek a move away from Manchester City if they sign Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen this summer…Sam Allardyce may cut short his deal as manager of Sunderland if the club are relegated…Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident he will able to tempt Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Gotze to Anfield, even if the club do not qualify for the Champions League…Chelsea are plotting a £45m double swoop for Roma duo Radja Nainggolan and Kostas Manolas…Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte wants John Terry to sign a new deal – even if it means the club captain joining his backroom staff…Zlatan Ibrahimovic has turned down the opportunity to earn a tax-free £56.1m to play in China.