BETTER CALL SAUL
If one were to compile a list of things Manchester United need in the January transfer window, a central defensive midfielder would not exactly be a priority. Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick are more than enough for any one man, even Louis van Gaal. So reports that United are interested in Saul Niguez seem rather strange.
The claim comes from the Daily Mirror, whose man Darren Lewis reports that United ‘have opened talks’ with Atletico Madrid over the midfielder’s signature. Arsenal are also interested, and Niguez comes with a relatively low release clause of £18million. He is only 21, after all.
Lewis says that United are keen to finalise a deal this winter, but that Atletico and head coach Diego Simeone are keen to keep hold of Niguez. The 21-year-old has been with the club for eight years, and enjoyed a breakthrough season last campaign. He has played 28 games for Atletico this season.
One sticking point could be the supposed £18million release clause. Said valuation was reached by the Spanish club when Niguez signed a new deal in the winter of 2014, but the Spaniard has since signed a new deal at the Vicente Calderon, in summer 2015. Release clauses are typically increased with each new contract negotiation, so it could be the case here.
BERAHINO TO SPURS. OR LIVERPOOL
Can Mike McGrath really claim an exclusive over the news that Saido Berahino wants to join Tottenham – and only Tottenham – if he leaves West Brom this January? Well, he has. So there.
Spurs made four bids for the striker in an infamous chase in the summer, which has resulted in basically no winners. Spurs missed out on a striker, Berahino failed to secure his desired move, and West Brom now have a player who doesn’t exactly want to be there. The Englishman has made just eight starts in the Premier League for Tony Pulis’s men this season. Basically he needs a move.
The Sun’s man McGrath adds that while Spurs bid £23million in the summer, they will look to secure him for less this month. Which is understandable.
The Berahino stuff is not over just yet. We now head over to the Daily Express, who report on interest from Liverpool. According to them, the Reds are considering Berahino as a replacement for Daniel Sturridge, if the injury-prone forward is moved on in the near future. ‘According to the Mirror,’ they add. We know our next destination.
Weirdly enough, the Express links through to The Metro instead. They say pretty much the same thing: Liverpool want Berahino if they sell Sturridge. ‘According to the Mirror,’ of course. Mercifully, they do actually link to it.
So we finally find ourselves at the Mirror. A story with the headline: ‘Tottenham to use Andros Townsend as bait in new attempt to sign West Brom’s Saido Berahino,’ hardly inspires us. Neither does the author: the esteemed ‘Football Spy’.
Buried within the story is the following line. ‘And if Liverpool lose patience with injury-prone Daniel Sturridge, they could also enter the running.’ ‘If’ and ‘could’ stick out there. It is followed by: ‘But Spurs remain the favourites.’
Also, this story is from January 9. A perfect lesson in how a three-day old piece, based on a single line of ifs and buts, can become a completely fresh transfer rumour. Excellent work all round.
IN GREAT NICK
Newcastle need goals. This is not a Football365 exclusive, it is fact. They have scored 19 in the Premier League this season; only two sides have fewer. Six of their goals came in one batsh*t mental game against Norwich. They have only six goalscorers, of which two are Daryl Janmaat and Fabricio Coloccini. Ladies and gentlemen, they need goals.
Step forward German newspaper Bild with the solution. Their glorious, glorious claim is that Nicklas Bendtner could be Newcastle’s saviour. Bendtner was inexplicably snubbed for Monday’s Ballon d’Or award ceremony, having scored six goals in 35 games for Wolfsburg in 2015. He scored a hat-trick for Denmark against USA, too.
Bild report that Bendtner’s agent, Marco Ivan Benes, is searching for a new club for the striker, with his German club open to offloading him. He hasn’t started a game since November, and Bild claim he had a ‘sloppy’ Christmas holiday, just as he did in the summer. We dread to think what that means.
Anyway, Newcastle are interested, as well as ‘other teams from the Premier League and Italy’. What a transfer battle this could be.
AND THE REST
Chelsea are eyeing a £30million move for AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca as Diego Costa’s injury worries continue…Southampton are set to improve their bid for Stefano Sturaro after Juventus rejected a £12.7m offer…Leicester have joined the race for £3.7m Hajduk Split star Tino-Sven Susic, who is also being eyed by Inter Milan…Newcastle are set to beat their former boss Alan Pardew to the £12m signature of Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey…Arsenal target Marcelo Brozovic’s agent has opened the door to a move to the Premier League…Felipe Anderson has admitted he is uncertain if he will remain with Lazio in January amid interest from Manchester United…Arsenal are interested in Chelsea defender Ola Aina, whose contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of the season…Leicester City are poised to offer Ben Chilwell a new deal after it emerged that the Arsenal and Liverpool target earns £800 a week…Chelsea are confident of signing academy graduate Ruben Loftus-Cheek to a new long-term contract before the end of the season.