Remember when Manchester United trumpeted the £36m – rising to £58.8m – signing of Anthony Martial in 2015? It made the forward, then 19, Britain’s most expensive teenage player and it seemed the start of a bright new dawn in which a fresh, forward-thinking United went about their business with ambition and vigour. Well, about that, Martial is for the chop, according to reports, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s decision to omit him from the debacle at Huddersfield a precursor to his offloading this summer. Martial’s “relaxed” attitude to the pre-match warm-up at Chelsea last week is among the things to have enraged his manager. Who would take him, though, and at what price?
Perhaps United might fancy going in for Gareth Bale, who has been told in no uncertain terms by Zinedine Zidane that Real Madrid no longer require him, which is some gratitude for last season’s Champions League final heroics. Rather awkwardly, Bale doesn’t want to leave. Who wins? Florentino Pérez decides, at a wild guess. One man who won’t be heading to Old Trafford is the totemic young Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt, who has rejected their overtures and is thought to be keener on a move to Barcelona for some reason.
There’s a new “exciting wide forward” sheriff in town these days. His name is David Neres, the Ajax player who has been exceptional in this season’s Champions League, and he has half the Premier League beating a path to his door – with Liverpool reportedly joining Arsenal and Chelsea in wondering whether he might fancy a switch to England.
Somebody who may be up for exactly that is Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, whose loan to the Spanish club from Paris Saint-Germain has just become permanent but who could be turned over for a tidy profit if Tottenham or Everton come calling. Betis reckon they could receive up to double the £21.5m fee they were obliged to pay the Ligue 1 winners. PSG, in the meantime, might look to freshen up their decidedly on-the-beach squad with the Juventus playmaker Miralem Pjanic.
Manchester City aren’t content with having one hand on the Premier League trophy. They’re said to be in advanced talks with Sporting Lisbon for Bruno Fernandes, their prolific midfielder, with a players-plus-€50m deal in their sights. Eliaquim Mangala could be among those used as an irresistible sweetener to get the deal done.
Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser has had a brilliant season: only Eden Hazard has more assists in Europe’s top five leagues and if a high-profile transfer seems good enough for him, why not for the Cherries man? Arsenal are very keen and Fraser is yet to commit to a new long-term deal. If that remains the case then, with his current contract expiring a year or so from now, Eddie Howe may have no choice but to cash in on the diminutive Scotland star.