Chelsea are supposedly interested in spending a fortune on an England midfielder to turn him into a centre-back…
UNITED AND CITY TO SCRAP OVER DEFENDERS
For the second successive summer, it seems Manchester United and Manchester City are going to slug it out over centre-backs. Presumably City will offer more fight than they showed when Harry Maguire was up for grabs last year.
City wilted when Leicester refused to compromise over Maguire’s asking price and United have have been rewarded for their £80million investment with a fine debut season from their new captain. City, in contrast, have tried to mend and make do when it was blindingly obvious they needed to sign a new top-class centre-back, even before Vincent Kompany departed.
This time it may help that there appears to be a runners-up prize for whichever of United or City don’t get their primary target. According to The Independent, both clubs want Kalidou Koulibaly, though his £70million price tag may lead to either club looking instead at Milan Skriniar. The Inter Milan defender could be especially attractive to City since Inter are said to be willing to do a swap deal involving Sergio Aguero, which may tempt City should they have to restrain themselves in the market this summer.
United and City are already said to be locking horns over Leon Bailey, with the Bayer Leverkusen winger viewed as a potential replacement for Leroy Sane at City, while United see the Jamaican as a possible alternative to Jadon Sancho. One of around a dozen, apparently.
UNITED ‘ON ALERT’ OVER BARCA STAR
United’s interest in Ivan Rakitic seems rather less genuine…
The Croatia midfielder is up for grabs this summer as he approaches the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp. Barca hoped to raise around £18million by selling Rakitic but there’s hardly a queue forming for the 32-year-old.
So Sport say Barca have reduced the asking price even further, which is said to have put Man Utd ‘on alert’.
Or it could just be that United are again being used to flush out interest from elsewhere. Sevilla’s desire to re-sign Rakitic is well known though they can only afford to pay their former midfielder his wages and a fat signing-on fee, so a transfer fee appears out of the question.
BLUES EYE ENGLAND MIDFIELDER AS ‘NEW JT’
While United and City squabble over centre-backs, Chelsea are apparently targeting one of West Ham’s midfielders to strengthen the core of their ropey rearguard.
The Times says Frank Lampard wants to bring Declan Rice back to Stamford Bridge, where the England international spent seven years as a schoolboy. But Lampard sees Rice not as a replacement for any of his midfielders, rather as ‘a successor to John Terry’ in the centre of his defence.
It’s a risky strategy. Signing a 21-year-old midfielder for huge money would hardly be a quick fix and given what West Ham are likely to charge Chelsea, they might as well join the bidding for Koulibaly.
AND THE REST
Chelsea and Real Madrid have intensified their efforts to sign to Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic… Another report suggests Real may not make any signings this summer because of the impact of Covid-19… Crystal Palace will offer £25million move for Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard… RB Leipzig expect Arsenal and Man Utd target Dayot Upamecano to sign a contract extension… John Terry is a candidate to become Bristol City manager.