Well hello there, just-relegated clubs. Yes, this a very tricky time for you isn’t it? OK, so while you’re getting rid of all those people on minimum wage who’ve worked for the club since they were four, we’ll just be over here signing some of those players you won’t need down in the Championship.
It’s bone-picking season, ladies and gents. And while Leeds and Leicester are doubtless still trying to work out quite what happened last weekend, Southampton have had a little longer to accept their lot and start dusting off maps charting the route to Preston. They’ve also had time to look around the squad and realise: “Yeah, he’s not staying.”
Clearest case of the too-good-to-go-downs at St Mary’s: James Ward-Prowse, who has emerged as an early summer target for Julen Lopetegui at Wolves. The midfielder scored a quarter of his side’s 36 league goals this past season and his dead-ball adeptness could prove useful to a host of clubs. Gabby Agbonlahor reckons Tottenham should go in for him, but at the last time of checking he wasn’t their director of football, so he possibly doesn’t get a say.
Spurs have allegedly shown more concrete interest in Leicester’s James Maddison, whose future already has a summer saga-like air – Daniel Levy may find that Newcastle and most other top-tier clubs whose names start with the letters A-W will also be in the mix for the midfielder.
Crysencio Summerville mainly got Leeds fans out of their seats for a 20-day period straddling last October and November, which was when all of his four league goals came, including notable late winners against Liverpool and Bournemouth. He’s remained on the Cherries’ radar, who have joined Crystal Palace in showing interest in signing the 21-year-old Dutch forward.
Kai Havertz, and his 19 league goals in three seasons at Chelsea, could send Spanish eyebrows shooting towards the ozone layer if he is indeed being earmarked to fill a forthcoming Karim Benzema-shaped hole at Real Madrid. The Frenchman, admittedly now 35, is said to be close to taking his 68-goals-in-three-La-Liga-campaigns talents to pepper Saudi nets at Al-Ittihad.
Napoli are preparing to defend their Serie A title without Victor Osimhen, whose name will be on a host of managers’ wants lists this summer. Arsenal’s New York-born striker Folarin Balogun, who has enjoyed a 20-goal season on loan at Reims, is seen as a potential replacement, but they may need to fend off interest from Milan to snag him.
On Thursday we told you João Félix might be on his way to Newcastle. On Friday the word is that it might be Aston Villa. Sometimes it’s hard to argue that AI couldn’t do at least some of this journalism lark.
Erik ten Hag has taken time away from his FA Cup final whiteboard to stick Post-Its bearing the names “Rasmus Højlund” (Atalanta) and “Randal Kolo Muani” (Eintracht Frankfurt) somewhere around the wall that has had one with Harry Kane’s name underlined about 16 times. It would be interesting to know how happy or otherwise Marcus Rashford is to hear that his manager apparently wants to sign a load of forwards.
A couple of chess moves behind some of the above: after Saturday’s German Cup final, Josko Gvardiol will apparently tell RB Leipzig that he wants to move on. This will in turn apparently spring Manchester City into action to sign the Croatia defender.
Finally, Fulham’s Marco Silva is reportedly among those on Daniel Levy’s shortlist to fill the managerial vacancy at Spurs. Said list is similarly reported to feature three names. I’m guessing there must be a fair few crossings-out if that’s the case.