BUFFON TO THE PREM
It was inevitable. As soon as Gianluigi Buffon announced that he would be leaving Juventus – but crucially not retiring – at the end of the season, links to the Premier League were always going to happen. The 40-year-old refused to even contemplate joining another Italian club in his press conference on Thursday, so England apparently beckons.
An exclusive from The Sun claims that two sides in particular are ready to battle for Michael Oliver’s best mate. Liverpool want him with Loris Karius ‘far from secure’, while Manchester City ‘have also thrown their hat into the ring’.
Buffon is missing a Champions League from his vast collection of medals, and Liverpool ‘could use that’ to try and lure him to Anfield. They ‘are in pole position’.
While City want a suitable back-up for Ederson, the key could be that he ‘is unlikely to oust the Brazilian’. Announce him, Liverpool.
After his omission from France’s World Cup squad, the chances are that Anthony Martial is considering his options. A lack of regular first-team football of Manchester United hardly helped his odds of making the final cut.
To that end, interest from Chelsea will at least turn his head. The Daily Mail are reporting that the 22-year-old is on ‘ a shortlist of potential signings’ that the Blues will present to Antonio Conte’s successor this summer. Chelsea have a history of borking their summer transfer business, dating as far back as Jose Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge. They feel creating ‘a detailed dossier of signings for their next manager to choose from’ will help matters.
With the Chelsea board ‘unwilling to relinquish any of their power over signings’, the man who does eventually replace Conte will peruse a list topped by Martial and Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri. After being linked to the Premier League for the last three decades, he’d better be good when he actually arrives.
MOURINHO HAS UNITED’S FULL BACKING
If reports from La Stampa that Manchester United are close to signing Alex Sandro for £43.7m weren’t enough, get a load of Le 10 Sport. They say Jose Mourinho is pressing ahead in a move for Djibril Sidibe.
While Sandro can play predominantly on the left-hand side, Sidide’s party trick at Monaco is that he is adept on either flank. The fact he plays more often on the right is a bonus, and you can see why United are interested.
Le 10 claim that United will start talks with Monaco ‘in the coming hours’, but it will ‘take a little time’. There is hope that a deal can be finalised before the World Cup, with Sidibe named in the France squad (unlike Martial eh? Hahahaha).
The bad news for United is that Monaco ‘will be hard in business’. After extracting £51m from Manchester City for Benjamin Mendy last summer, they want to ‘ensure a new record gain’. Which means Sandro and Sibibe will cost at least £100m altogether. Which means this is still funny.
AND THE REST
Rafael Benitez, thought to be a target for West Ham,would prefer to stay as Newcastle manager, but wants assurances over transfer budgets from owner Mike Ashley… Benitez wants a £100m to spend on players, full control over transfers and a £6m-per-year contract to stay with the Magpies… Arsenal could sell Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey, 27, if he does not sign a new contract this summer… Juventus want to bring back Alvaro Morata, who played for the club from 2014 to 2016. The 25-year-old Spain striker scored 11 Premier League goals in 31 appearances in his first season at Chelsea… Chelsea have ruled out allowing on-loan 24-year-old Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi to join Borussia Dortmund on a permanent deal but would welcome the German side signing Morata.