There are normally several stages of gossip that lead to a club buying a big-name player (or, often, not buying them).
Manchester United’s pursuit of Antoine Griezmann is a classic example. First they were “monitoring” the Atletico Madrid forward, then they were “considering” him, then they were “keen on” him, then they were “planning a move” for him, then they had “made a lucrative offer” for him, then they were in “pole position” to sign him, then they were “expected” to sign him, then they were “closing in” on him – and that’s just the main stages, not including various other little twists and turns along the way.
But today we appear to have reached a new, more advanced stage. The Manchester Evening News reports that Griezmann’s move to Old Trafford is “on the verge of completion”. The paper says “sources close to” the 26-year-old Frenchman believe his move to United is a “formality”. The fee will be £86m – the player’s release clause.
But you’d be wrong to assume this means the Red Devils will unveil their marquee summer signing any minute now, because “verge of completion” is probably still about 23 stages away from Griezmann actually giving it the thumbs-up in his Chevrolet shirt.
Still, it’s progress. And if we didn’t have this many gossip stages, what would there be to write about, eh?
Real Madrid’s pursuit of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois is similarly long-running, but nowhere near as advanced in gossip stages unfortunately.
The best the Guardian can offer us is that the Spanish giants “aim to prise” the Chelsea pair from Stamford Bridge this summer. Real reportedly intend to make Hazard their next galactico and they may offer the Blues Alvaro Morata in part-exchange, because they know Chelsea like him. Still, “aim to prise” is a pretty niche stage, probably one of about 185 stages in this particular saga.
Manchester City are “chasing” £40m-rated Juventus winger Kingsley Coman (although he has actually been on loan at Bayern Munich for the past two years) as part of planned £200m summer splurge, says the Mirror.
The tabloid also tips Arsenal to splash the cash, claiming that Arsene Wenger is set to remain at Arsenal and undertake an “unprecedented summer recruitment” that will include the purchases of Lyon duo Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, as well as Monaco full-back Djibril Sidibe.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are “stepping up” their pursuit of Burnley defender Michael Keane, who is also wanted by Merseyside rivals Everton (Mail), Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez “wants to” move to Barcelona for £35m at the end of the season, although it’s not clear that they want him to move there (Sport) and Tottenham are “willing to listen to offers” for midfielder Moussa Sissoko (L’Equipe). Literally, ANY offers.