What happens when you embarrass a bully in front of all of his mates? He steals your manager and two of your best players.
Admittedly, that analogy stands up about as well as you will after a couple of pints after work this evening. But it is true: Real Madrid’s reaction to defeat against Tottenham is to target Mauricio Pochettino, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
The story comes not from some spurious French website, but from the Daily Mail’s Spanish expert Pete Jenson, who knows his stuff. And he reports that Pochettino ‘has emerged as Real Madrid’s No 1 target to replace Zinedine Zidane’.
Not content with taking their manager, ‘Madrid also have Harry Kane and Dele Alli on a list of possible summer signings’. It would be weird if they didn’t, to be fair; both are among the most coveted young players in world football.
Alli would be more likely of the pair to reciprocate any interest, and his future may rely on who he chooses to represent him. His likely options are Jorge Mendes, agent of Cristiano Ronaldo and therefore trusted by Real, or Mino Raiola, who is ‘persona non grata’ at the Bernabeu.
But why don’t Real Madrid want Luke Shaw? If someone does, and they make a ‘desirable offer’, Jose Mourinho is happy to see him leave Manchester United on loan in January.
In a Sun exclusive, Daniel Cutts – yes, him – reports that Shaw ‘is wanted by a number of Premier League sides, while others across Europe are also keeping tabs on his situation.’
The idea is for Shaw to leave on loan in January to ‘put himself in the shop window’ ahead of a permanent departure in the summer.
ANOTHER SHAW THING
And where might Shaw go? Back to Southampton, if the Daily Mirror are to be believed. And they often aren’t. But might be here.
According to the reliable James Nursey, the left-back ‘is eyeing a shock return’ to St Mary’s. With Southampton contemplating selling Ryan Bertrand to Manchester City, they might look to Shaw for his replacement. Considering United would not recoup anywhere near the initial £29million they bought Shaw for, they look like the losers in this deal.
Regardless, City’s desire to sign a left-back to replace the injured Benjamin Mendy in January means that Shaw joining Southampton is ‘a growing possibility’, with Bertrand ‘high on City’s wanted list’. And that, quite frankly, is that.
AND THE REST
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has already decided to sack manager Antonio Conte… Watford striker Stefano Okaka, 28, has been given no explanation as to why he has been left out of the team for the past two months… Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, 26, wants to commit his long-term future to the club… City striker Sergio Aguero’s future is less clear, with the 29-year-old Argentina striker saying he “does not know” when his contract expires… Arsenal face competition from Newcastle for 23-year-old Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron… Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, insists he is not pressuring the club’s board into giving him an improved contract… Wolfsburg are considering making a bid to permanently sign 22-year-old Belgium striker Divock Origi, who is on loan from Liverpool… Liverpool look set to lose Germany midfielder Emre Can, 23, as contract talks have stalled and his current deal runs out at the end of the season.