We begin down at the Emirates, where Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been kicking up a fuss about being placed into cold storage by Mikel Arteta. Word of the utility player’s restlessness has reached Sam Allardyce, who is desperately scrambling around for a bit of quality as he tries to rescue West Brom – and his own shiny never-been-relegated reputation – from slipping into the void. Arsenal are not against letting the 23-year-old leave on loan but they are concerned that half a season under Allardyce could send his football development spiralling and would be happier if “an unnamed current top four team” took him. If true, it’s the kind of elitist kick in the teeth that Allardyce will digest about as well as a vegetarian bhuna.
Galatasaray have no such worries about their players being readied for a relegation dogfight at the school of Allardyce and towering Senegal striker Mbaye Diagne has already completed a medical ahead of a loan move to the Hawthorns. Next up on Diagne’s list of things to do will be to watch that Ultimate Target Man video that Allardyce has presumably sent him, featuring 10 hours of Kevin Davies’ best hold-up play.
Injuries to Fabinho and Joël Matip have left Liverpool in even more dire need of a centre-back who isn’t a midfielder or a school-age teenager. So they’re going to sign … a 16-year-old midfielder, of course. Kaide Gordon, who made his debut for Derby against Birmingham in December, has not accepted a deal to stay at the Championship club and is expected to sign a scholarship contract at Anfield. As for that defender that Jürgen Klopp so desperately needs, here’s what Liverpool’s manager had to say after the 3-1 win at Spurs: “If you have a centre-half available at a reasonable price, and one with the quality we need, then send me a message.” Klopp has already said thanks but no thanks to the chance to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos on a free.
One centre-back who might be making a move to a club in the north-west of England is Nathan Collins. Stoke City would be prepared to let the 19-year-old leave for £15m and Burnley’s new owners might be willing to splash the cash. Arsenal are also interested in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international.
Edin Dzeko has fallen out of favour at Roma and the words is that he has been offered to both Manchester City and Manchester United. Now, it’s well-known that United love an ageing striker but that position has already been filled by Edinson Cavani and can anyone really see Pep Guardiola jumping at the chance to sign 34-year-old Dzeko? One for Allardyce to look at?
Sergio Romero has had enough of being the Carlo Cudicini de jour at Manchester United and may try to force a move to Crystal Palace before the window shuts. Romero has not trained with United this year and is training alone in Buenos Aires in an attempt to keep fit so he has a chance of making the Argentina squad before the Copa América. Another player on his way out of Old Trafford is Jesse Lingard. United have agreed loan terms with West Ham and the 28-year-old is set for a reunion with the rejuvenated David Moyes.
And it says here that Germany will hand Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala, 17, a call-up to stop him playing for England. Musiala lived in Stuttgart till he was seven and then moved to Croydon so is eligible to play for either national team. He’s represented England at Under-21 level. Over to you Gareth Southgate.