After years of curmudgeonliness, is Jose Mourinho finally about to embrace sexy football? Last night he oversaw a rip-roaring, last-gasp, comeback win at Crystal Palace; this morning he is being linked with a “huge triple swoop” for three players from Barcelona – spiritual home of the sexy footballer.
The claim appears in Don Balon – spiritual publication of the gullible football fan, many of whom will be clicking the link to find out if it’s Messi, Suarez or Iniesta (or all of them!) that Manchester United are going to sign.
The reality (or at least Don Balon’s version of reality) is not quite as exciting for the Red Devils. The three players are Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
It’s the latter name that will provoke most consternation, because nobody at Old Trafford wants Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as he is a goalkeeper, which means they would only sign him if David de Gea leaves.
Gomes does not set the pulse racing much either, given that the last we heard he was on the verge of a move to West Ham – the Portuguese midfielder having failed to impress since joining from Valencia in 2016.
Umtiti would be OK though, and the £54m release clause in the French defender’s contract represents good value in the current market. Good value defenders are not very sexy though. Oh well.
Barcelona target angry Bellerin
Freeing up all that space in their squad would give Barca the perfect excuse to splash some cash on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, with the Mirror saying the Catalan giants have moved into “pole position” to sign the increasingly unsettled right-back this summer.
According to the Sun, Bellerin was “furious” with manager Arsene Wenger after being dropped just two hours before the Gunners’ defeat by Brighton at the weekend. The 22-year-old Spaniard apparently believes he has been made a “scapegoat” for Arsenal’s troubles and wishes they had let him joined Barca last summer.
Another London-based star allegedly angling for a move to La Liga is Eden Hazard, who the Mail says is “stalling” on signing a new Chelsea contract because he hopes Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will try to sign him in the summer.
He better hope Zidane keeps his job as Real boss first – with the struggling Frenchman thought to be key in any move to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea midfielder Ramires has declared that he wants to return to Stamford Bridge, two years after leaving to join Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning (Mirror). He must have finally run out of places to put all his money.
Elsewhere, Manchester City and Arsenal heve joined Man Utd and Liverpool in the race to sign £50m-rated Napoli midfielder Jorginho (Sun), Southampton will sack manager Mauricio Pellegrino in the summer even if they avoid relegation (Mirror) and West Brom’s chief executive Mark Jenkins is flying to China today for talks with club chairman Guochuan Lai, who is expected to “grill” him about manager Alan Pardew (Telegraph). First question: so this was your idea, wasn’t it?