Chelsea’s “No1 priority” for the summer transfer window appears to shift as often as Victor Moses changes his underpants – i.e. daily (you’d hope, in Moses’ case). A couple of days ago it was signing Alexis Sanchez, before that it was Leonardo Bonucci, then it was keeping Eden Hazard. Today’s, it’s buying Virgil van Dijk.
The Southampton defender has spent the last couple of months on the sidelines injured but it hasn’t done his transfer value any harm, with the Daily Mirror tipping the Blues to spend £50m on the Dutchman. He’s Antonio Conte’s “No1 priority”, so they aren’t messing about.
The “West London Blues”, as the Mirror decides to call them for some reason, reportedly believe they have “beaten Manchester City” in the race to sign the 25-year-old centre-back.
With City also desperate to strengthen their defence, Pep Guardiola’s “Mancunian Blues” (what’s with these stupid new nicknames, Daily Mirror??) will happily match whatever Chelsea offer. But the Blues remain “supremely confident” of getting Van Dijk, despite the fact his Southampton team-mates got him a Man City shirt in a “Secret Santa wind-up” in December.
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Manchester United will trigger Antoine Griezmann’s £85m release clause in the summer, declares the Telegraph as if they are the first ones to ever suggest it. The paper does provide some more illuminating titbits further down the article, claiming Griezmann’s recent criticism of the English weather was greeted with “playful text messages” from Paul Pogba, who has been trying to persuade his fellow Frenchman to join him at Old Trafford.
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Atletico Madrid may have gotten wind of these texts, because Spanish paper AS says they have started making plans to replace Griezmann with Arsenal’s Alexis. Hopefully the Chilean doesn’t become Chelsea’s No1 priority again soon.
In more Madrid-based news, the Mail says Real will have to pay £66m if they want to sign David de Gea from Man Utd because the goalkeeper does not – as had been previously thought – have a release clause in his contract. The Spaniard is also said to be “very happy in the North West”. It’s great isn’t it, the North West? Much nicer than Madrid.
West Ham, Stoke, Sunderland and Everton and battling to sign Dynamo Kiev’s 27-year-old Croatian defender Domagoj Vida, says the Mirror. The Black Cats have reportedly been “tracking him for a year”. Think they might have left it a bit late now.
Elsewhere, the Toffees are considering a move for Hull City’s in-form centre-back Harry Maguire (Mail), Man Utd and Man City are both interested in Bayern Munich full-back/midfielder Joshua Kimmich (Metro) and Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha has held “showdown talks” with the parents of wonderkid Billy Gilmour in a desperate bid to prevent the 15-year-old from joining Chelsea for a measly £350,000 (Independent). Guess it kind of hinges on what Gilmour’s mum and dad think about extended loan spells in Europe.