It doesn’t seem that long ago when Luis Figo broke the world transfer record with his controversial £37m move from Barcelona to Real Madrid. But you know that’s a statistic from a bygone age when players are being valued more highly than the Portuguese legend after playing just six professional games.
This is the case for Pietro Pellegri, the 16-year-old Italian striker who is today being linked with a £40m move to Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Sun reports that the Premier League duo are in a “race” to sign the Italian “wonderkid”, who has gained that title courtesy of just half a dozen appearances (three of them as a substitute) in Serie A and features in our run down of expected hotshots set to take Football Manager 2018 by storm.
The key, however, is not the appearances. It’s the goals. Pellegri has scored three of them so far, including a brace in a 3-2 defeat to Lazio last weekend that has propelled him into the spotlight.
United are said to be considering a swoop for Pellegri as a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the Swede’s Old Trafford contract expires at the end of this season, while Blues manager Antonio Conte is said to be “a massive fan” of the hulking 6ft 3in teenager and “would love to get him at Stamford Bridge”.
Genoa chairman Enrico Preziosi will apparently only consider a sale if he receives £40m. It could turn out to be a bargain, but then in the current climate the 17-year-old Federico Macheda would also have been worth at least £40m.
The former Red Devils “wonderkid” is currently plying his trade in Serie B.
Spurs could abandon Barkley plans
Meanwhile, the spectacular rise of Moussa Sissoko (i.e. two good performances) could save Tottenham £30m in the transfer market.
ESPN says Spurs could abandon their planned January pursuit of Everton’s Ross Barkley and instead keep faith with Sissoko in midfield, although they may still need Barkley anyway if Mousa Dembele’s feet don’t start working properly.
READ MORE: How would Dele Alli fit in at Real Madrid?
READ MORE: Conte already planning return to Italy
READ MORE: Liverpool ready for Coutinho transfer talks
Real Madrid look to Draxler
Real Madrid are planning to move for Paris Saint-Germain’s unsettled winger Julian Draxler in January, says the Star, which could put paid to Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd’s hopes of signing the German.
And in manager gossip, Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner is being lined up to replace Slaven Bilic at West Ham (Huddersfield Examiner), deposed Crystal Palace gaffer Frank de Boer is wanted by Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna (Sun) and Antonio Conte has “cast doubt” on his Chelsea future by saying he “misses” Italy (Star). Not this again.
Finally, the Mirror claims Coleen Rooney has told husband Wayne that if he wants to save their marriage he has to stop hanging around with former Man Utd team-mate Wes Brown. But Coleen, Wes Brown is amazing!!