Nick Ames on 20 March 2018
The Mill’s loyal phone box-full of devotees know that you can’t have too much of a good thing. Unfortunately for Liverpool the problem is increasingly that you can’t have enough of one. Fresh from selling Philippe Coutinho – or the poor man’s Christian Eriksen – to Barcelona they are bracing themselves for what transfer parlance would term another “raid” on their current star asset.
That piece of goods is, of course, the remarkable Mohamed Salah – and now that he has been selfish enough to grab 37 goals for club and country by mid-March the rest of us will have to suffer an excruciating summer in which he is linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain on a daily basis. All three are said to want the masterful Egyptian, and all three would probably be told a world-record offer is what is would take to get their man. If it’s going to happen, we can pray it happens quickly.
Another talismanic wide forward could move on for rather less, although Crystal Palace might consider £40m small change for Wilfried Zaha given that, without him, their hopes of staying up would be consigned to dust. As it is they are quite likely to be fine, so will they wish the 25-year-old farewell and good luck when Tottenham come a-calling for one of their long-term targets? There is also a chance that whoever is managing Chelsea next season might benefit from his services.
If the sound of pen and paper can be heard wafting over the Cobham rooftops, though, it more likely to be a result of Luke Shaw seeking sanctuary at his boyhood club. His days at Manchester United look numbered – unless, of course, the boss who keeps digging him out is turfed off before him.
If José Mourinho does, as is far more likely, stick around then he will replace Shaw with the Fulham wunderkind Ryan Sessegnon. He might also lavish some riches on Real Madrid’s Raphaël Varane. And Mourinho also has an answer to the midfield problem that all those hundreds of millions simply haven’t yet solved. That answer is Aaron Ramsey – who you may remember joined Arsenal ahead of United back in 2008 – and he could be tempted given that his contract only has a year and a bit to run.
Arsenal, in turn, are keen on the Paraguayan midfield metronome Richard Sánchez, a 21-year-old who currently plays for local big guns Olimpia. They also have their eyes on someone to play in nets, with Petr Cech getting no younger. Bernd Leno, linked with Liverpool and Napoli on these very pages only yesterday, is the man they are after – with £25m potentially enough to usher him out of Bayer Leverkusen.