Don’t worry, readers, this isn’t going to be another Mill about Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. But what will Ronald Koeman do with the spare change – reportedly £60m and £30m – come the summer if his star pair leave? Top of the list is Villarreal’s Cédric Bakumbu, a renowned Beatles fan, who will make his way from the Yellow Submarine to Liverpool for only £25m.
Some people might hold reservations about the DR Congo striker – who has found the net only five times in 26 appearances this season – replacing the Premier League’s top goalscorer but remember, Everton have Steve Walsh as director of football and chief scout, so have no fear Toffees, you’re onto a winner!
Just in case Bakumbu doesn’t prove to be the next Lineker, Koeman will hedge his bets with another La Liga striker, Willian José of Real Sociedad. At the age of 25, the Brazilian is on his ninth club and might be already considered somewhat of a journeyman, but he has been tearing trees up in San Sebastián this season and is also valued at £25m. Another bargain!
Slightly more expensive for Koeman would be Gylfi Sigurdsson, owing to the fact that he is almost single-handedly keeping Swansea afloat at the moment. He is valued at £35m mainly because he seems to be the only set-piece specialist these days that is able to beat the first man at the near post.
Barcelona’s sporting director Robert Fernández has saved the Mill plenty of future early morning scribbling by insisting that both Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta will scratch their names at the bottom of shiny new contracts. “Messi will renew, as I’ve always said,” Fernández said on Spanish radio. “He is happy in Barcelona, he feels comfortable in the team and the environment is perfect. I don’t have any doubt [that he’ll sign a new deal]. Looking into his eyes I see that he is happy at Barcelona. I don’t want to speak too much, though, as I know that there are many repercussions with this topic. [Iniesta] will also renew and he’ll do it in his own time. I have no doubt that he’ll renew and neither does he.”
More cold water was being poured, also in Spain, by Antoine Griezmann. “I have no intention of leaving Atlético Madrid, for Paris Saint-Germain, China, the USA, Russia, or elsewhere,” he told L’Equipe. But wait, here comes the caveat. When asked about moving to Real Madrid or Barcelona, Griezmann replied: “That’s the dream for every player; to be at big clubs like that, or Bayern Munich. But right now I don’t see myself at Barcelona or Real, or anywhere else.” So, as you were.
Bad news for Manchester United fans then – you didn’t even get a mention – who also look set to miss out on Franck Kessié, with Atalanta’s general manager confirming that Roma are “very, very interested.” Still, Marcos Rojo is getting a £100,000-a-week contract extension, so every cloud …
Arsenal are in dire need of a new defence, and a world-class striker, among other things, so naturally Arsène Wenger is targeting a goalkeeper to sit forlornly on the bench. Stoke City’s Jack Butland fits the glove – yep, he hasn’t played a minute of football in nearly year.