José Mourinho has big plans to funk up Manchester United. But for his process to pay off, he needs to make a few more groovy signings. The problem is, some of his former clubs, as if fuelled by the bitterness of jilted lovers are out to sabotage him.
Internazionale – to whom he gave a Champions League victory, no less – intend to show their gratitude by snapping up Lautaro Martínez, the rising star of Argentinian football whom United have had their eye on for a while. Word is the 20-year-old attacker could leave Racing Club for Italy this summer.
And then there is Real Madrid, who are closing in on Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, whom they view as the rightful heir to Luka Modric, even though Mourinho had the Serb pegged for United’s midfield and even fancied that Nemanja Matic might have a word to swing the deal.
But it’s not all about knocks and setbacks for Mourinho– because Juventus still want to buy Matteo Darmian, whom they rate above Héctor Bellerín. Mourinho is also considering sending a taxi to bring Jonny Evans back to Old Trafford, as the Northern Irishman has a release cause that enables him to leave the Hawthorns for £3m in the event of West Brom going down. Arsenal want some of that action, too.
Mostly though, Arsenal’s sights are focused firmly on the Bundesliga– you’d never guess their new head of recruitment came from Dortmund – and they particularly like the look of the Schalke midfielder Maximilian Meyer, whose contract is close to expiring.
Having said that, Arsenal also like the look of Jan Oblak, the Atlético Madrid goalkeeper. He will be available if the Spanish side renew their working relationship with Thibaut Courtois this summer. Lucas Pérez wants to return to Arsenal after a dismal season on loan at Deportivo. Arsenal fans are not believed to be breaking out the bunting in anticipation of that one but hey, at least the lad will have a point to prove.
Paris Saint-Germain could be toppled again in France before they ever fulful their Champions League ambitions, if it is true that an Abu Dhabi tycoon is behind a £420m attempt to buy Monaco.
Finally, Andrea Pirlo could become Italy’s No 2 if Carlo Ancelotti or Antonio Conte is made the country’s No 1.