A photo of a beaming Riyad Mahrez holding one thumb aloft features on the front page of Spanish daily Sport. The Leicester playmaker has apparently made it his “objective” to secure a move to Barcelona, but tellingly there seems to be no great indication that the Spanish side are hugely interested in bringing him to Camp Nou. Worryingly for Arsenal fans, Hector Bellerín also gets a mention, with the full-back having told a Spanish radio station that he is extremely flattered to be linked with a return to the club from which Arsène Wenger plucked him as a youth.
“Any player in the world would be very excited to know that Barca are interested,” Bellerín said in an interview with Cadena Ser. “It is very nice to get recognised by Barcelona. My departure from Barça was a bit bittersweet because of the treatment from some people. I was not treated the way I would have liked to but it is clear that if Barcelona are interested it would be difficult to say no.”
Moussa Sissoko is ready to cut and run from Tottenham Hotspur after his dream £30m move from Newcastle turned into a season-long spell of night terrors. According to L’Equipe, the midfielder has no kind of working relationship with Mauricio Pochettino and is only prepared to stay at the club if his Argentinian boss moves elsewhere. Since agitating for his move to a “bigger club” Sissoko has started just six Premier League games and was recently dropped from the France squad, and reports suggest Tottenham are now prepared to offload him to anyone who’ll take him off the payroll for £17m.
Manchester City are hitching their skirts in the direction of Kingsley Coman, who is approaching the end of the two-year loan deal that saw him leave Juventus for Bayern Munich. The German side are understood to be keen on exercising their option to buy the 20-year-old Frenchman for £21m, but rumours in Blighty suggest Pep Guardiola, who brought Coman to the Bundesliga, may try to torpedo the deal with an offer of almost twice that amount.
The Guardian’s Spanish football correspondent Sid Lowe knows so much about Real Madrid that if you sawed his head in half and looked inside you’d see Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale playing head-tennis, so if he says the Spanish league leaders are sniffing around Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois then there’s probably something in it.
Ian Wright has revealed that his pal Jermain Defoe is eager to return to West Ham, and will do exactly that when Sunderland are relegated in a couple of months. The striker has previous for attempting to skidaddle out of clubs that have just been consigned to the drop, having famously handed in a transfer request to the Hammers the day after they went down in 2003.
“He did that because he was advised to do that,” said Wrighty in a Sun podcast. “His agent kicked West Ham when they were down. I bet nobody remembers the agent but everybody still remembers Jermain Defoe. There’s always going to be fans that never forgive you but you can only try and change the attitude of people. And if there’s anyone who can score goals to change the attitude of people, then I think it’s Defoe.”
Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to go toe-to-toe in an effort to sign Schalke’s German midfielder Leon Goretzka, while Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton will duke it out in a no holds barred contest with Burnley centre-half Michael Keane as first prize.
Finally, Sky Sports Italia are reporting that Manchester City are ready to pay the ludicrously high amount of £130m for AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, while former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is set to dust himself off and return to work by becoming Palermo’s fifth manager of the season.