You’d think it would be easy to sign new players if you had £200m in the bank and you were arguably the biggest football club in the world. But actually, it’s trickier than it sounds. Just ask Barcelona.
Since reluctantly allowing Neymar to leave the Nou Camp, the Catalan giants have sent a motley crew of sunglasses-wearing transfer “officials” jetting off around Europe to gobble up the cream of the continent’s attacking and/or midfield talent. But not only have they returned empty handed, they haven’t so much as made it to the negotiating table. Nobody wants their money. Or at least, the amount of it they are offering.
And that’s the problem with having £200m in the bank. People are greedy. They don’t just want some of it; they want all of it.
Liverpool, for instance, this week told Barca they valued their playmaker Philippe Coutinho at £136.5m, according to the Record. That’s £46.5m less than the £90m that was offered – an amount that would have been a world record fee until a couple of weeks ago.
Borussia Dortmund snubbed a similar offer for their forward Ousmane Dembele, and they are set to benefit from their greediness by receiving a vastly improved bid of £127m in the coming days, says Spanish paper AS.
But just in case that doesn’t work out either, Barcelona are also lining up several other back-up targets. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Angel di Maria could allegedly make the opposite journey to Neymar (Sport), Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen is also on their shortlist (Independent) and Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic is another being considered (Football Italia).
If Liverpool manage to keep Coutinho and simultaneously nudge long-term Manchester United target Perisic towards the Nou Camp instead, this will start to feel like their greatest ever Premier League season.
Real throw in the towel
Real Madrid are not buying anyone either, but for a different reason. They appear to have given up.
The Express says Zinedine Zidane has “shelved interest” in Man Utd’s David de Gea, as well as Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, thereby abruptly ending the club’s two-year search for a new goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, the Star says Madrid have also thrown in the towel in their summer-long pursuit Kylian Mbappe after having several bids rejected by Monaco and apparently falling behind PSG in the race to sign the 18-year-old. This is very unlike the Spanish champions. Are they OK? Are they feeling depressed? We’re worried about them.
But it’s all right, because the Star adds that Los Blancos are planning to “launch an Eden Hazard transfer raid” as an Mbappe alternative. That’s more like it.
Chelsea could replace Hazard – albeit extremely inadequately – with Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, says the Telegraph. The Blues are set to return to the King Power with an improved offer after having a £15m bid for the midfielder rejected.
Elsewhere, Swansea are set to launch a £20m bid for Stoke’s former Swans midfielder Joe Allen, presumably using the money they will eventually get for Everton-bound Gylfi Sigurdsson (Mirror), Burnley have made a £15m offer for Leeds striker Chris Wood, presumably using the money they just received from Watford for Andre Gray (Sun) and Tottenham are in talks with Ajax about a £35m move for 21-year-old defender Davinson Sanchez (Mirror), presumably using the money that Daniel Levy had previously earmarked for some state-of-the-art toilet facilities at their new stadium.