Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to sign £34m defender Merih Demiral?

Gregg Bakowski on 14 November 2019

Maurizio Sarri would like to do some de-cluttering at Juventus this January. Perhaps he’s a fan of Marie Kondo and understands that a tidy workplace leads to a tidy mind. Well, that’s one theory The Mill has as to why he has despatched Juventus’s director of football to England to encourage Manchester United suits to take Mario Mandzukic off his hands. The 33-year-old has not played a minute for the Italian champions under Sarri and is blocking corridors and creating bad feng shui around the place. Some reports suggest he has already “packed his bags” in anticipation of a move to Alderley Edge.

Italian tabloids believe that Fabio Paratici may also have clear instructions to move conversation swiftly on to Paul Pogba once a cut-price deal for the brawny Croat has been agreed to lift the mood of United negotiators. The French midfielder’s contract expires in a little over 18 months and with no immediate sign that he’s about to ink a new deal, it could be time to ask Juventus how much cash they have.

Paratici might want to call in at the Emirates Stadium while he is in England. The word is that Arsenal are keen on helping Sarri with his de-cluttering exercise and are prepared to splash £34m on central defender Merih Demiral, who has played just once for Juve this season. The Gunners have sent scouts to Istanbul to watch the 21-year-old in action for Turkey against Iceland on Thursday, perhaps just to make sure he’s not another Shkodran Mustafi.

Liverpool have slipped on their running shoes and joined Manchester United, Barcelona, PSG and Real Madrid in the race to sign Jadon Sancho. The young English forward has had enough of being told to sit on the naughty step at Borussia Dortmund, where he was recently fined £86,000 and left out of a matchday squad after returning late from international duty.

Watford are in the hunt for a centre-back too, and the “Korean Van Dijk” has caught the eye of their scouts. Kim Min-jae, who plays for Beijing Guoan, has been described as a “monster” by some observers, which is a bit harsh because he has a kindly face atop his strapping 6ft 3in frame. It says here that Asian Champions League rules may scupper the Hornets’ chances, though.

Having given his Inter overlords verbal pelters for leaving him short of options, Antonio Conte’s tantrum looks set to be rewarded in January. Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud is likely to be the first in the door at San Siro for just £6m, while Christian Eriksen may follow him from London next summer when his Tottenham contract expires. Parma’s Dejan Kulusevski is getting Conte hot and bothered too. The 19-year-old midfielder, on loan from Atalanta, has five assists and two goals to his name from just 12 appearances.

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Perhaps because he enjoys annoying Rangers fans, Brendan Rodgers has told Leicester scouts to keep a keen eye on Alfredo Morelos in anticipation of a January bid. The Colombian striker has already scored a staggering 22 goals this season. For what it is worth, Rangers say he is going nowhere, mind.

The Foxes are also among a host of clubs, including Celtic, Wolves and Liverpool, who are keeping tabs on 15-year-old “Scottish wonderkid” Bruno Davidson. In a tale that sounds like it could have been plucked from the pages of Roy of the Rovers, the teenager has been ripping it up for Edinburgh amateur side Hutchison Vale, and has been so impressive that scouts from some of the best sides in Europe have been down to Saughton Enclosure to watch him dazzle locals with his tricks and flicks.

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