Barry Glendenning on 6 May 2019
Still picking shrapnel from the blue and white striped kitchen sink complete with seagull insignia that Brighton threw at them on Sunday, Arsenal may have to put their disappointment at failing to finish in the top four behind them and brace themselves for an audacious £70m bid for Alexandre Lacazette from Barcelona, according to the Express. With 18 goals to his name this season, the striker cut a forlorn figure as Arsenal’s players endured their post-match lap of disgruntlement at the Emirates and the Spanish champions are understood to have identified him or his compatriot Antoine Griezmann as the men to provide them with a little extra cutting edge.
Apparently resigned to losing their diminutive Danish dynamo Christian Eriksen this summer, Tottenham Hotspur got an opportunity to admire Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek from close – but perhaps not as close as they might have liked – quarters in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. The 22-year-old has been hugely influential in his side’s unexpected European success this season and has been identified as a potential target for Spurs, who will be hoping the midfielder flunks his next audition but will have to fend off interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich regardless. Still chasing a treble, Ajax are top of the Eredivisie, thrashed Willem II in the Dutch Cup final on Sunday and lead Tottenham 1-0 going into the second leg of this week’s Champions League semi-final.
Both Arsenal and West Ham are keeping tabs on Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who is also wanted by Milan. Valued at £11m when West Ham attempted to lure him to the London Stadium a year ago, the 22-year-old’s value has apparently increased almost five-fold. On loan from West Brom, Salomon Róndón has established himself as firm fan favourite at Newcastle this season and gave Liverpool’s defence a torrid time on Saturday night. The 29-year-old Venezuelan has now called on the Tyneside club to make his loan signing permanent, despite Mike Ashley’s reluctance to sign players aged over 25. Róndón compared himself to a fine wine.
“Better with age?” asked Róndón “For me, yes. It’s like a wine! I try to be healthy all the time. I am getting older so I have to work more than the young players. I have to work really hard and do my best.”
Chelsea employ a similar policy, but that hasn’t stopped Maurizio Sarri calling on the club’s top brass to sign Gonzalo Higuaín, 31, on a full-time basis. On loan from Juventus, the Argentinian has made a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge.
And finally, loveable Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is expected to leave Old Trafford this summer, but reports linking him with a move to Athletic Bilbao have been roundly rubbished and ridiculed because the La Liga side have a strict policy of only signing players from the Basque region and the 31-year-old doesn’t qualify. Brighton, who are not as fussy, are rumoured to have offered Mata a two-year deal that may well pique his interest.