Gossip: Mourinho ‘not confident’ of world-record deal

Matt Stead

Manchester United have been linked with numerous centre-halves throughout Jose Mourinho’s managerial tenure. Heck, they signed two of them. But that is not good enough for a manager who wants more defensive stability before he starts playing his £47m midfielder.

It is no secret that his ‘top defensive target’ is one Kalidou Koulibaly, who is just 27 and really quite excellent. Suitably enough, Napoli have quoted a fee of ‘more than £90m’ for United, whose ‘senior officials recently met’ with the Italian club to discuss a potential January transfer.

Koulibaly is young, one of the best players in the world in his position, and recently signed a new contract until 2023. Napoli are ‘under no great financial pressure’, and the Senegalese is ‘central’ to their squad. So a world-record fee for a defender sounds fair.

The story, penned by that Duncan Castles fella for the Sunday Times, says that ‘a discontented Mourinho’ is trying to persuade United’s board that they need ‘an experienced centre-back’, but Liverpool and Manchester City have rather selfishly inflated the market.

Mourinho is therefore ‘not confident’ Ed Woodward will ‘sanction’ such a deal, which has led to his targeting of Porto centre-half Eder Militao. His release clause is the comparatively tiny £44.7m, but he could be signed for even less.


Speaking of clubs wanting to sign centre-halves, Arsenal are apparently in the market for Espanyol’s Mario Hermoso. The problem is that his release clause stands at £35m, so the Gunners have some work to do to generate such funds.

The Sun say they have an idea. Arsenal will apparently ‘consider flogging’ Mesut Ozil for £25m in January, as their ‘patience is wearing thin’ with a player who has not been seen for some time due to his dodgy back.

They go as far as to say that Ozil’s representatives will fly to Italy next week to discuss a possible move to Inter Milan, while also trying to see if Juventus are interested.

Ozil has a contract with Arsenal until 2021. He is the club’s highest-paid player on a wage that is unlikely to be matched by many other clubs. There is no chance that a) Arsenal will sell him for such little money, or b) he will agree to move so soon after extending his deal.

Also, how do the Sun have this inside information? After Friday’s shenanigans, it would take a brave Arsenal employee to leak anything


Barcelona will make £200m-rated Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane, 25, their top transfer target next summer… Paris St-Germain want to sign Chelsea’s 27-year-old Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard in the summer, but will face competition from Real Madrid and Juventus… Manchester City will make one final attempt to convince Spanish midfielder Brahim Diaz, 19, to stay at the club instead of joining Real Madrid in January… Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is furious his side have lost out on Ajax’s Frenkie De Jong, 21, with Paris St-Germain set to land the Dutch midfielder… Chelsea are monitoring Barcelona and Spain midfielder Denis Suarez. If the 24-year-old moves to Stamford Bridge, the Blues could allow his compatriot Cesc Fabregas, 31, to join AC Milan… Chelsea are preparing a £20m bid for Napoli and Albania right-back Elseid Hysaj, 24… England striker Danny Welbeck, 28, will be released by Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of the season and will be offered the chance to join Galatasaray… Manchester City are ready to offer £50m for Roma and Turkey winger Cengiz Under, 21.