Unai Emery has a plan. The Arsenal manager has been watching Liverpool keenly this season and wants his own version of Virgil van Dijk, after noting the Dutchman has been pretty good and has transformed their team for the better. He has some names in mind too, according to the super soaraway Currant Bun: he likes the look of Leicester’s Harry Maguire, Chelsea/Everton’s Kurt Zouma, Getafe’s Djené Dakonam and – ho! What’s this?!?! – Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld.
Oh Unai, you incorrigible little scamp, eyeing up the lot down the road’s best defender. None of those players will come cheap, naturally, so Arsenal will have to sell some/all of Mesut Özil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Shkodran Mustafi in order to pay for it. Arsenal have also taken note of Youri Tielemans’s brilliant form since joining Leicester on loan but have competition from Spurs, they want PSG’s Christopher Nkunku and will have to pay £17m, plus they’re apparently going to go nose-to-nose with Manchester United for young Reading goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke. Who needs a director of football, eh? Unai’s got this all boxed off.
There’s a busy summer ahead at Manchester United too: you probably don’t need us to tell you that this morning brings stories of Paul Pogba looking for the door marked ‘Do One’, even if he’ll have to take a pay cut to join Real Madrid, and there’s a similar vibe about Juan Mata’s ‘dream move’ to Barcelona. Meanwhile PSG fancy David de Gea but, for obvious reasons, he won’t have to worry about them coming up with the necessary bunce.
United might have found a taker for Matteo Darmian too, with Inter willing to pony up the £8.5m plus his chunky wages (the Italian side are frantically full-back shopping and are also in talks over Danilo from across town), while there’s an outside chance they could get involved in the Matthijs de Ligt stakes: the player would like Barcelona, but his agent is Mino Raiola so he prefers the greater commi … sorry, opportunities on offer at United, Bayern Munich or Juventus as a destination.
Could Tottenham buy someone this summer? Stranger things have happened. As well as quite rightly being in the Tielemans mix, according to the Laaaaaaaaaahdan Eeeeeeeeeeeven’ Staaahnaaa, they’re at the front of the queue for Ryan Sessegnon with Borussia Dortmund, PSG and Juventus all keeping tabs, but are significantly hampered in this case by not being in London. Spurs would also like Ajax sprite Hakim Ziyech, too.
Some odds and ends here: Stevie Gerrard has tabbed Watford’s Andre Gray as the man he wants up top, although that does seem rather ambitious. Southampton have Birmingham’s Che Adams on their mind and are quite happy with paying £15m for him. Gary Cahill could sign for Fulham when he leaves Chelsea in the summer. Newcastle are looking at young Venezuelan forward Jan Carlos Hurtado, currently doing his thing for Gimanasia y Esgrima in Argentina and who apparently comes with Faustino Asprilla’s seal of approval, if that means much.
Finally, let’s end on a depressing note: Tiémoué Bakayoko has by all accounts been pretty decent for Milan on loan from Chelsea, and had been bang up for making that a permanent move, but he’s now changed his mind after suffering racial abuse in Italy. Ach, what a beastly world.