Although it would be very nice for Manchester United to snatch Alexis Sanchez away from Manchester City at the last minute – even nicer than when they snatched Romelu Lukaku away from Chelsea, and almost as nice as when they snatched the 1999 FA Cup semi-final away from Arsenal and Ryan Giggs shared his fuzzy, adulterous chest with the world – it’s probably not going to happen. They’re more likely to just buy Jamie Vardy or Javier Hernandez instead.
That, at least, is the view of the Telegraph, which reports that the Red Devils have put all three players on a “striker shortlist” as they seek a reliable back-up option to stuttering centre-forward Lukaku.
Although Arsenal’s wantaway forward Alexis is clearly the most attractive option of the trio, it appears he already has his heart set on a move to United’s city rivals. The Express says Jose Mournho’s late bid for the Chilean has come “too late” and that the player has already decided to reunite with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Vardy, ludicrously, would cost about £10m more than Sanchez. The Telegraph says he could be got for around £35m on the condition that Leicester City’s Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha “gives the deal his blessing”.
And if he doesn’t, it could pave the way for an emotional Old Trafford return for the Little Pea.
Hernandez is reportedly unwanted by West Ham manager David Moyes, who also didn’t want him when they worked together (briefly) at United, but Mourinho is a known fan of the Mexican and his transfer would be the “simplest” of the three to achieve (and also the least inspiring).
Mahrez prefers Arsenal to Liverpool
Another Leicester legend could also be on the move this month, with Liverpool reportedly “beginning talks” with Foxes winger Riyad Mahrez.
The Express claims it has spoken to some “insiders in Mahrez’s camp”, who told them that the Reds are battling with Arsenal for the Algerian’s signature. The 26-year-old would apparently prefer a move to the Gunners because he “has just bought a property in London” and moving to Merseyside would be really annoying #FirstWorldFootballerProblems
Meanwhile, the Reds have put a £30m price tag on their formerly prolific striker Daniel Sturridge after he asked to leave Anfield in search of first-team football (Liverpool Echo).
The only small problem is that no Premier League is willing to spend £30m on Sturridge, let alone match his £150,000-a-week wages, so it looks like he might be staying put (Mail).
Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is Arsenal’s preferred option to replace Arsene Wenger if and when the Frenchman leaves the Emirates, which he probably never will so it doesn’t really matter (Corriere dello Sport).
Elsewhere, Spanish side Espanyol have dismissed claims that Quique Sanchez Flores is on the verge of taking over as manager of Stoke City (Marca), Liverpool are vying with Tottenham to sign highly rated Norwich City midfielder James Maddison (Mirror) and former Watford striker Odion Ighalo is “open to offers from Premier League clubs” after spending a year with Chinese side Changchun Yatai (Sky Sports). Sometimes you get the impression that these footballers moving to the Chinese Super League don’t even like Chinese football that much.