AN UNLIKELY REUNION
There are numerous things wrong with reporting a headline of: ‘Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho plots stunning transfer for Arsenal star Mesut Ozil – EXCLUSIVE’. First of all, the story is in the Sunday Express, penned by rugby journalist Neil Fissler. His record with exclusives is…shady.
Next, the story seems to be based around the fact that Jose Mourinho would still be ‘interested’ if Mesut Ozil ‘becomes available’ in the near future. Which seems highly unlikely. And even if Arsenal contemplate selling him, they would not do so to a direct rival, particularly so soon after seeing Alexis Sanchez join the same club.
Then there is the fact that United quite publicly refused to entertain negotiations over 29-year-old players with little to no sell-on value. Ozil turns 30 in October.
United would also have to at least match Ozil’s £350,000 Arsenal salary, which would be a significant undertaking for a club with the highest wage bill in the Premier League.
Finally, Mourinho once branded Ozil a “coward” in an argument at Real Madrid. It simply will not happen.
A more likely transfer is that of Aleksandar Mitrovic to Chelsea. According to the Sunday Mirror, the Premier League leaders are ‘amongst a number of clubs who have been impressed’ by the striker.
Mitrovic failed to score as Fulham were thrashed 3-0 by Manchester City on Saturday, but he sits behind only Eden Hazard in the top-scorer stakes this season. He has scored 16 goals in 22 league games in 2018. Or, as the Mirror’s subs have it:
‘And so far he has adapted well to life at a higher level with six goals in five appearance for club and country. (needs to be updated after game at Man City).’
That sort of form has ‘sent his value rocketing’ and caught the eye of Chelsea and some unnamed Italian clubs. He ‘has become a future option’ at Stamford Bridge due to the struggles of Alvaro Morata and the age of Olivier Giroud, who turns 32 at the end of the month.
Inevitably, with great form comes a great bargaining position for Fulham. They signed him for £22m in the summer on a five-year contract, ‘his asking price will have soared’ since, and the Cottagers will know how much money Chelsea tend to spend on strikers.
With David Beckham’s Inter Miami entering their debut MLS season in 2020, the search is on for a recognisable superstar to lead their brand. And few come more super or as starry as Lionel Messi.
The Mail on Sunday say that ‘executives at several MLS clubs’ are ‘convinced’ Miami will try to sign Messi, who would be 33 by then.
His current Barcelona contract expires in 2021, and he is ‘the obvious big-name signing’ in an ideal world. The ‘sentimental return’ to Argentina at the end of his career now seems doubtful after his issues with the international team, so a move to Miami for a few years would ‘appeal’. Because he isn’t an idiot.
AND THE REST
Juventus are set to offer 24-year-old Argentina forward Paulo Dybala to Manchester United in a bid to lure France midfielder Paul Pogba, 25, back to Turin in a deal worth £150m… Meanwhile, Pogba is also open to extending his Old Trafford contract – should Mourinho be sacked and replaced by former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane… Chelsea are to open talks over a new two-year deal with 31-year-old central defender David Luiz, whose current contract runs out next summer… Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will be paying close attention to Lyon midfielders Lucas Tousart and Tanguy Ndombele when the French side travel to Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. The two France youth internationals, both 21, have reportedly been monitored by several of Europe’s top sides.
Juventus offered 60m euros (£53.4m) to Fiorentina for Federico Chiesa over the summer. The 20-year-old Italy forward has also been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea… Barcelona target Frenkie de Jong, 21, has hinted at a move to the La Liga champions, Ajax’s Dutch midfielder admitting that he would love to play alongside Lionel Messi… Inter Milan are planning a loan move for Manchester United’s Anthony Martial in January, although a move for the Frenchman, 22, would see United ask for 29-year-old Croatia winger Ivan Perisic in return… Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, 27, said there was “some contact” with Paris St-Germain this summer but the Frenchman is happy to have stayed at Stamford Bridge.