They call it Blue Monday. The semi-official “most depressing day of the year”, falling on the second Monday in January, when the last remnants of the festive feel-good factor have faded and people have nothing else to look forward to except another cold week at work and the new series of Celebrity Big Brother.
And today may be its transfer gossip equivalent.
Mondays are traditionally quiet for football rumours at the best of times, because the tabloids have actual sport to talk about and can have a day off from making up stories about Gareth Bale.
But on this particular Monday, they also have nothing new to say about Philippe Coutinho not signing for Barcelona, or Diego Costa probably going to Atletico Madrid in January, or free agent Sebastien Bassong’s continued search for employment.
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So thank the lord for the big mouth of Mino Raiola, who has managed to breathe life into a new multi-million pound transfer story while simultaneously giving us more reasons to laugh at Arsenal.
The Mirror reports that the super agent has been discussing the future of his client, the Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who was linked with the Gunners over the summer.
Arsene Wenger was allegedly scared off by Argentine’s £124m price tag, but next time Juve may be more willing to do business.
Raiola has suggested that Dybala would be a open to a move to a club with a “suitable project”, adding that “he would do well at Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea”. Basically, anywhere except Arsenal.
Ancelotti to quit Bayern?
It’s also something of a Blue Monday for Frank de Boer. Already feeling glum after suffering another defeat as Crystal Palace manager yesterday, the Dutchman would have awoken to the news that the Eagles are lining up his replacement, just four games into the season.
The Mail says former England coach and popular meme Roy Hodgson is being “targeted” as the Palace board “accelerate” their search for a new gaffer. And if that wasn’t enough to knock a man’s self-esteem, Palace are also apparently considering Sam Allardyce to succeed De Boer less than three months after De Boer succeeded Allardyce.
If only the Eagles could hold out until January they might be able to get Carlo Ancelotti, who the Mail says is poised to quit Bayern Munich and take a job in China (but a relegation fight at Selhurst Park sounds like a more interesting challenge).
Elsewhere, Bayern legend Stefan Effenberg believes the club should also dispense with the services of Robert Lewandowski after the striker criticised the club’s recruitment policy (Goal), Ander Herrera wants to sign a new contract at Manchester United despite competition for his starting place from Nemanja Matic (Mirror) and – in a transfer story that has clearly been made up because it would be funny – Liverpool want to sign 18-year-old Uruguayan defender Sebastian Caceres, who plays for a Uruguayan team which is also called Liverpool (Sun). Madness.