We would normally ignore a transfer exclusive from an outlet such as Arab News, but not when Duncan Castles is the author. He has taken a break from trying to convince everyone (and himself) that finishing second with no trophies is a perfectly reasonable return on investment for Manchester United to tell us who they want this summer.
With Jose Mourinho’s desire to add ‘aggression, height and technical ability’ to his squad, Marko Arnautovic is on his wishlist. He ‘has impressed Mourinho during a campaign in which he often operated as a solo striker,’ and could subsequently earn himself a move to Old Trafford.
Arnautovic’s tactical versatility is said to be one of his many positives. He played well on the wing for Stoke and has thrived centrally at West Ham, and would add ‘aerial ability’ that the club is set to lose with the exit of Marouane Fellaini.
Castles does add that signing Arnautovic ‘will not be an easy task’. West Ham paid an initial £20m for him last summer, with the fee potentially rising to £25m. He also has four years left on his current contract at the London Stadium.
To that end, Mourinho is sourcing alternatives. Among them is yer man Mario Mandzukic. Remember when Chelsea were just targeting tall strikers and ended up almost going for Ashley Barnes? Yeah, that.
RIGHT SAID FRED
Another United update is that they are getting cold feet over Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio’s asking price of £87.5m really is not helping.
The Daily Mail say United were interested when Milinkovic-Savic was available for around £70m. But a number of other clubs have made enquiries, thus Lazio have ‘driven up the price’.
Real Madrid could still go for the 23-year-old, but not United. They ‘have opted against a deal’ for now. Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred is a far more likely arrival at £50m.
With Mauricio Pochettino’s new Tottenham contract comes some inevitable transfer speculation. He has been given ‘the green light for a summer of spending’, you see.
Three men in his sights are Anthony Martial, Matthijs de Ligt and Ryan Sessegnon. Pochettino is ‘set to perform significant surgery’ on his squad this summer, meaning players will be sold as well as signed. Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele and Fernando Llorente are expected to be shipped out to augment Pochettino’s budget.
AND THE REST
Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, 24, will sign for Juventus by the end of the month, with the Italian giants’ chief executive Giuseppe Marotta saying he expects to wrap up a deal for the Germany international “within 10 days”… Manchester United are willing to pay the £79m required to sign winger Douglas Costa from Bayern Munich. The 27-year-old Brazilian was on loan at Juventus last season and the Serie A champions giants have the option to sign him permanently… Manchester City are preparing a £52m bid for Napoli and Italy midfielder Jorginho. The 26-year-old has been long been a target for City boss Pep Guardiola as he searches for a new central midfielder… Arsenal are interested in bringing Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini to Emirates Stadium. The 21-year-old Italian is also a target for Juventus… New West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini wants to bring up to seven new signings to London Stadium this summer, including 35-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure, who is leaving Manchester City, and Chelsea’s Argentina goalkeeper Willy Cabellero, 36… Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, 29, says his proposed £4m move to Newcastledepends on manager Rafael Benitez’s future. The Slovakian was on loan last term from Sparta Prague but has an option to sign permanently for the Magpies.