1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE WILL MAKE YOU GET DOWN NOW
It seems as though Ed Woodward’s recent comments have actually had an impact on transfer speculation. No longer are Man Utd – or anyone, really – being linked with £100m moves. Now, it’s all about raising funds first.
Which is why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘could be forced into a major clear out’. Paul Pogba (£70m) may leave for ‘a sizeable offer’ and he would not be alone.
The Sun believe Chris Smalling (£25m), Marcos Rojo (£25m in summer 2019), Jesse Lingard (who bloody knows?) and Andreas Pereira (£1.74) may also be sacrificed for ‘significant changes’ to the squad to be made.
Solskjaer wants a winger, a centre-forward and an attacking midfielder, with Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and James Maddison all targets.
Matthijs de Ligt was also being watched pre-pandemic, as Solskjaer was ‘keeping a close eye’ on one of what he feels to be the four best centre-halves in the world.
LEAVE DE LIGT ON
On the subject of De Ligt, he ‘is attentive’ to interest from Barcelona and ‘does not rule out’ the option of joining.
Mundo Deportivo claim that while the Dutchman is ‘comfortable in Turin’, he ‘sees more options to play’ at the Nou Camp than when they wanted him last summer. Barca want a centre-half as Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo have each failed to establish themselves alongside Gerard Pique.
Juventus have ‘taken the first step’ in negotiations by asking for midfielder Arthur, who has also been offered to Tottenham. While Barca would be ‘reluctant’ to let the Brazilian go, De Ligt can sweeten a possible deal.
His agent is also Mino Raiola and close friend Frenkie De Jong would be there to welcome him to Spain, so it’s certainly feasible.
Perhaps centre-halves will be the only real commodity in this new football world, where Newcastle are the richest club going.
Foot Mercato believe they will be ‘very offensive on the transfer market’, at which point the jokes start to write themselves. But the point remains that ‘official contact’ has been made with Napoli, who would want at least £70m for former Liverpool ‘slam dunk’ Kalidou Koulibaly.
That is not all. Newcastle ‘intend to take advantage’ of Man Utd target Edinson Cavani’s current situation with a ‘gold contract’. Nabil Fekir would also be targeted.
In short: no. FFP means post-takeover splurges of old simply won’t happen. Expect Kevin Keegan’s return as ambassador to their biggest signing.
AND THE REST
Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, was told by Liverpool that they were not interested in re-signing him when the 27-year-old Brazil international discussed a potential return… Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has spoken to Napoli striker Dries Mertens and hopes to secure the 32-year-old Belgian on a free transfer… Chelsea have suffered a set-back in their chase of Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana because the 24-year-old Cameroon international looks set to return to Barcelona.