Chelsea want to bolster their midfield with another player who isn’t as bad as Tiémoué Bakayoko, and have clearly learned from the experience of expensively signing a sought-after midfielder from a club on the French Riviera only to be disappointed by his performances. This time they have identified, um, a sought-after midfielder from a club on the French Riviera, in the shape of the £35m Jean-Michaël Seri, who plays in Nice, a scant 20km from Bakayoko’s Monégasque former employers. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been monitoring the 26-year-old’s performances but according to the Sun his preference would be a move to England.
Internazionale, having so far this season scored nine fewer league goals than Napoli, 13 fewer than Lazio and 14 fewer than Juventus, want a striker who can help engorge their goals-for column and have identified Daniel Sturridge as the man to do it. Liverpool, however, will want £30m or “a hefty loan fee” before they green-light the deal, demands so hefty that they “scared off Real Betis”.
That, at least, is according to the Mirror; a similar story is splashed across the Gazzetta dello Sport’s front page, although they say the player “was offered to the club 12 days ago” and that the proposed “loan without a redemption option” makes the deal a veritable bargain. Meanwhile an Inter player could be heading in the other direction, with West Ham having opened talks over a loan move for João Mário, according to RMC Sport. However, they report that there is “a big snag”, namely that the player has little desire to play for West Ham. Still, this might not be of critical importance, with English clubs boasting some very convincing chequebooks at present.
Talking of which, Alexis Sánchez will be paid £450,000 a week by Manchester United, say the Times and the Mail. He will be paid £500,000 a week, say the Mirror and the Express. No, he’ll pocket £505,000 a week, insists the Sun. Nonsense, says the Telegraph, he’ll get just under £27m a year before tax – or £519,000 a week. All agree that he will move to Old Trafford – United would like to complete the deal by Friday lunchtime, so the Chilean can make his debut against Burnley on Saturday – and that they will make him extremely wealthy. Héctor Bellerín may also be heading out of Arsenal’s exit, though not until the summer: according to Tuttosport Juventus are ready to spend £40m on him, and also want Espanyol’s Pau López, who handily shares Bellerín’s agents, the “holistic career management agency” Goal Management, and even more handily will by then be out of contract.
Everton’s January spree shows no signs of slowing down, with left-back the next problem position for them to address. Bayern Munich’s Juan Bernat is linked in the Liverpool Echo, though even by the standards of traditional British transfer gossip this story seems particularly speculative.
Stefan Reuter, Augsberg’s general manager, is selling the club’s left-back Kostas Stafylidis to his former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Paul Lambert, whose personal connections have helped Stoke leapfrog Roma and Fiorentina in the chase for the former Fulham flankman. “The deal is not yet official but it is in the last leg,” Reuter said yesterday.