It’s a nice position to be in. Universally heralded for a sensational career at Barcelona, widely respected as being quite a nice bloke, and at the front of the queue of oldish footballers who very, very rich people want to hurl money at. So it is that Andrés Iniesta is set to leave Catalonia and, despite everyone assuming he was doing so for sackfuls of yuan, instead the lure of Manchester City’s petrodollars, PSG’s petrodollars or Arsenal’s um … er … well, Arsenal have reared their head.
Arsenal’s interest stems from the fact they believe they’ve beaten Chelsea to the former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique – a man who was very successful when managing a team featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suárez and indeed Iniesta, but not quite so good when he wasn’t. However, Pep Guardiola thinks his earlier longstanding affair with Iniesta will win through. PSG have no such heartstrings to tug on, they’re just going to PSG it.
If Iniesta does link up with Guardiola once more, he’ll find that John Stones will still be parking in the player’s car park – but possibly alongside the Brazil Under-20 defender Lucas Halter, who is the beneficiary of coy Manchester City nods and winks. Wolves, for some reason, are keen on both Eliaquim Mangala and his 85k-a-week wages.
Having moaned that Manchester City “buy full-backs for the price of strikers”, José Mourinho is considering offering Tottenham £40m plus Luke Shaw for Danny Rose. Shaw, however, may stick around at Old Trafford to Winston Bogarde his contract until it expires.
Real Madrid want to sign Harry Kane but, according to ex-president Ramón Calderón in the Sun, can’t face all the unpleasantness of a Daniel Levy negotiation process, so will make a move for Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski instead.
Chelsea builders have knocked up a high wall, portcullis and moat around Álvaro Morata and Tiémoué Bakayoko as they prepare to resist offers for the pair, just in case either of them turns out to be a Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah or Romelu Lukaku. Managerially, they have said no grazie to Carlo Ancelotti, who is set for the Italy job, but si grazie to Massimiliano Allegri who is otherwise engaged at Juventus.
Talking of Juventus, Boca Juniors want to wring another season out of Gianluigi Buffon and reckon Argentina’s Superliga is the place to do it.
And the rest: RB Leipzig are sniffing around Tottenham’s 17-year-old striker Rio Griffiths after he scored four and made three assists during his side’s 9-0 shellacking of Arsenal in the Under-18 Premier League. Leicester are eyeing Porto defender Ricardo Pereira – he has a £36m release clause, but also only one year on his contract.
Paul Lambert will not get the boot at Stoke even if he takes them down. And John Terry wants another season at Aston Villa, perhaps after going on a starvation diet: “I’ll have the hunger for sure,” he growled.