It is not often that Henry Winter delves into the murky world of transfer speculation for The Times. So when he does, you know it’s serious. There clearly have been ‘a series of meetings’ about making four signings next year, with particular emphasis on a centre-forward.
No names are given – it is everyone else’s job to work that out – but Winter does say that ‘discussions’ at the club focus on three things: “We have to win trophies, we have to play attacking, dynamic football with X factor players, and we have to give youth a chance.”
United do also want ‘to continue with the summer policy of signing young players, preferably British, but the key is youth and character.’ One quote from an Old Trafford source in particular – that the club are eyeing players who are “humble but arrogant” – really does point to one man.
But the lack of names has intrigued us. Winter, you tease. Shall we see what else we can find?
Tuttosport claim that United have reached a verbal agreement with the representatives of Mario Mandzukic to sign him from Juventus in January. At least we think they do; everyone is attributing the story to them without linking to the original.
The Daily Express have taken Portuguese newspaper Record’s story on Ruben Dias extending his Benfica contract and extrapolated that as United having to ‘pay through the nose’ to sign him. Hmm…
The Daily Mail credit only ‘reports in Portugal’ with their suggestion that £4m-rated Club America forward Francisco Sebastian Cordova is of interest.
Chuck Maddison in there too and you have four. But while a couple of them are also young, they aren’t nearly British and surely not hungry enough.
The search goes on. Let’s get Coleen involved.
Our final bit of gossip is that Mesut Ozil ‘fears he could have played his last game for Arsenal’.
Thanks to John Cross of the Daily Mirror for this one, as he writes the Gunners want to offload him in January and will subsidise his wages to do so. Which we already knew.
It is said that ‘his Arsenal career now looks over,’ and that the German ‘believes there is no way back’. Cue him starting as captain against Sheffield United next Monday.
Ozil does want to stay but Unai Emery ‘has not been impressed with his attitude in training’.
Still, who on earth is going to come along and take him on?
AND THE REST
Real Madrid will enter talks with Tottenham to try to sign Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 27, in January… Germany forward Thomas Muller, 30, is unhappy with his reduced role at Bayern Munich and admits he could seek a move in January… Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani, 32, and Brazil defender Thiago Silva, 35, could leave Paris St-Germain for free at the end of the season… Manchester City have a buyback clause for Sporting Gijon’s Spain midfielder Manu Garcia, 21, but only if they activate it in the next two years.