Gossip: Newcastle plot nine-figure striker raid because why not?

Dave Tickner
Arsenal are interested in Vlahovic

No great surprise that newly-minted wealthiest club in the world Newcastle would hold an interest in the world’s most in-demand striker, with the Express going in with a conveniently exciting figure of 100 million euro, which is about 85 million of your tawdry Plague Island pounds.

These kind of transfer stories in the self-styled ‘mid-market’ tabloids are always good fun, because there’s a vague sense they feel they’re not quite as bad as their red-top colleagues but they are absolutely as shameless. This one, for instance, is “according to reports” which turn out to be our old friends at Calciomercato.

He’s been linked with pretty much all the Big Six at some point, most notably Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs, leading us to wonder what it is that might first have attracted him to billionaires Newcastle?

The Express story also includes a sentence that appears to have been passed back and forth through Google translate at least half a dozen times until it no longer resembles actual written English but still makes some kind of sense: “The 21-year-old is hot property, and it appears La Viola have also become reluctant top the precocious striker exiting the club.”


Staying with the Express, while we’re here, and a slightly strange story suggesting Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta both want to leave Chelsea in January to secure playing time ahead of the Qatar World Cup. While neither is now first choice at Chelsea and Azpilicueta is out of contract in the summer, it’s hardly like either man has been frozen out.

Reece James has for sure supplanted Azpilicueta as first-choice right-back, but the Spain international can also do a job on the right of the back three as he did against both Leeds and Everton this week. He’s started 10 Premier League and five Champions League games this season. It’s not a bad amount of football, is it?

Alonso meanwhile was far more on the outside looking in, but Ben Chilwell’s injury has changed that. We’ll see, I guess. Another Chelsea player unhappy with his playing time apparently is Hakim Ziyech, who has Borussia Dortmund fluttering their eyelashes at him according to The Sun.

Things are not, it’s fair to say, going swimmingly for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal right now after he became the latest player to fall victim to the curse of the armband.

Having been stripped of the captaincy it’s not hard to imagine he might be looking for a way out of Arsenal – an ESCAPE ROUTE in tabloidese, of course – and there’s an obvious option right there for him: Barcelona, going through their own stuff at the moment, but also conspicuously short one top-class striker after Sergio Aguero was forced into retirement.

That right there is a transfer rumour that makes real sense for all involved and could easily happen. But The Sun tell us there is one possible stumbling block: a promise Aubameyang made to his dying grandfather that he would one day play for Real Madrid.

If Auba can get past that, then there could even be a swap deal on the cards involving another gossip column staple Ousmane Dembele. Apparently the pair are even in the same ballpark wage-wise.

But if nothing can be worked out, then Barca will turn instead to Manchester United veteran Edinson Cavani.