IT’S A KIND OF MAGIC
Eight points behind Manchester City, Manchester United are in danger of missing out on the Premier League title. And Jose Mourinho knows it. According to The Sun, he has made a transfer demand of the club with the January window looming.
‘JOSE MOURINHO has ordered his worldwide web of scouts to ‘find me a magician’,’ reads the first paragraph to Neil Custis’ exclusive. It is a story so big that the back page cannot contain it: in fact, it is nine pages into the newspaper, after a full-page advert for Sky Sports. You’ve made it, Neil.
According to Custis, Mourinho ‘fears his team’s lack of creativity’ is the reason they are lagging behind City. Criticise the Portuguese all you want, but he’s got his finger on the bloody pulse.
‘Mourinho is determined not to play second fiddle to great rival Pep Guardiola at the Etihad,’ Custis continues. ‘And he believes signing a player who can unlock the tightest of defences — a ‘magician’ as he labelled it — will help his team close the gap.’
So who is on the radar? Which player has been identified as the ‘magician’ necessary to win United the Premier League?
Custis offers no names. Obviously. Which is probably why scouts have been ‘ordered’ to unearth such god-given talent within the next month.
ARDA, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER
The Daily Star have a transfer story that is good enough to make the back page. Their exclusive comes from David Woods, who uses his Arsenal sources to inform us that Barcelona will offer Arda Turan in exchange for Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal want around £30m for Ozil, who has six months remaining on his current contract. Arsene Wenger has insisted that neither he nor Alexis Sanchez will be sold in January, but they are painfully aware of the money they will miss out on as a result.
Which leaves Barcelona in a situation where they are considering offering Turan in ‘part exchange’. Woods does not reveal how much money would be offered by Barca on top, but it’s certainly interesting. Although Turan is now 30, has not played since April, and his last goal or assist in any competition came in January. He’s not exactly Mesut.
Also, a reminder that swap deals almost never happen.
Sticking with Arsenal, they are set to renew their interest in Jonny Evans. John Cross and James Nursey of the Daily Mirror – a more reliable pair there has never been – team up to tell us that Wenger ‘wants another centre-half to bolster his squad’, and Evans would be interested.
Arsenal have tried a number of times to sign Evans, but the key could be the appointment of Alan Pardew at The Hawthorns. He will not be offered any extra transfer funds in January, and so any money generated must be through player sales.
They would be wise to instigate a bidding war. John Percy and his trusty Midlands sources adds Manchester City to the mix of interested parties, with they themselves also having past offers rejected.
It is thought that West Brom could still get upwards of £30m for the centre-half, who is still somehow just 29. Imagine what Pardew would do with that sort of cash.
AND THE REST
Newcastle are keen to sign Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw, 22, but do not want to pay the £20m fee the Red Devils want… Manchester City are ready to launch a January move for Alexis Sanchez, 28, after learning of two rival bids for the Arsenal striker… Liverpool and Germany midfielder Emre Can, 23, says he could still sign a new deal with the club, despite reported interest from Juventus… Liverpool forward Divock Origi says he has not spoken to manager Jurgen Klopp since leaving Anfield to join Wolfsburg on loan. The 22-year-old has hinted he may like to stay in Germany by stating he likes the “soul” of the Bundesliga… Liverpool target Emerson Palmieri, 26, has shot down talk of a move to Anfield, with the left-back insisting he is happy at Roma… Real Madrid will turn their attention away from Manchester United’s David de Gea, 27, to focus on signing his fellow goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, 23, from Athletic Bilbao… Tottenham are interested in a move for 24-year-old West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini, who is under contract until 2020.