It seemed weird back in March when James Nursey of the Daily Mirror suggested that Barcelona wanted Luke Shaw. It feels bizarre in April that Neil Ashton is reporting a Sun exclusive on the exact same transfer rumour.
‘Barcelona are eyeing a shock loan move for Luke Shaw next season,’ reads the first paragraph to an article which, in its entirety, comprises of 111 words. The claim is that the La Liga giants is ‘first choice’ for Barca this summer as the Catalans are aiming to spend money elsewhere on their squad. A season-long loan would thus leave them free to spend all of the money on Antoine Griezmann.
The odds on Manchester United extending Shaw’s deal by a year, only to send him on loan to Barcelona for that year, and thus miss out on any money from a potential sale, seems minute. Or really stupid. Take your pick.
GET HIM TO THE GREEK
Those of us who witnessed Arsenal’s attempts at defending in an otherwise enthralling match against CSKA Moscow would agree that their need for at least two centre-halves in the summer is dire. If reports are to be believed, they’ve found their man.
This transfer rumour starts in The Sun, who say that Borussia Dortmund defender and copy-and-paste enthusiast Sokratis Papastathopoulos ‘fits the bill’. They attribute Gazzetta dello Sport with that claim. Because an Italian newspaper is bound to know about an English club signing a Greek defender from a German club.
The article is based on a snippet – and this is being generous – in a Gazzetta story from Thursday about Juventus hoping to extend the contracts of their current centre-halves. It reads:
‘A summer ago, Juventus had spotted the profile (former Italy, preferable aspect) of Sokratis Papastathopoulos: it is expiring with Dortmund in 2019, it could change air in July, United and Arsenal think about it.’
Arsenal ‘think about it’. Which, when translated to transfer speculation speak, means they are ‘planning a summer move’.
The Sun’s article even throws in a valuation: Sokratis is ‘rated at about £25million’. They know how this works.
PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Of course, that Sokratis story also mentioned that Manchester United ‘think about’ the Greek centre-half. They might have to, for Samuel Umtiti is staying at Barcelona.
In the least surprising news of the year, it appears as though Umtiti might have used supposed Premier League interest as a means to earn a new contract at the Nou Camp. The front cover of Spanish daily Sport suggests Barca are ‘optimistic’ that the French centre-half will stay.
Why? Because he grabbed the club badge during the 4-1 Champions League win over Roma in midweek. He has practically signed on the dotted line and broken United hearts already.
AND THE REST
Inter Milan want Shakhtar Donetsk star Marlos Romero Bonfim or Tottenham’s Erik Lamela this summer… Daniel Wass will have a host of offers to move to the Premier League this summer with Leicester, Swansea and Crystal Palace all keen on the Denmark international.