Having been one of the mainstays of Chelsea’s title-winning campaign last season, this season David Luiz played all but three minutes of the first eight league games for which he was available (there was also a two-match suspension), then got dropped once and suddenly he’s ready to flounce out of the club altogether. He is, report the Star in their back-page exclusive, “said to be extremely unhappy following his bust-up with Antonio Conte” and also “frustrated that the club’s hierarchy have not backed him” and therefore “could be set for a reunion with José Mourinho”. That’s right, the grumpy Portuguese tactician “is ready to step in” and whisk the centre-back to Manchester, caring not a hoot that Chelsea are “sure to want at least the £34m they paid” for the frizz-faced ace. And Luiz is happy to work once again with Mourinho, who sidelined him at Chelsea, played him out of position or more frequently not at all, and then shipped him out to Paris.
Meanwhile it’s a hearty welcome back to the Mill for our old friend Virgil van Dijk, who is set to be the subject of yet another couple of months of interminable speculation. Yesterday his current manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, was asked if he could guarantee that there would be no move for the centre-back in the January transfer window and responded by starting to squirm. “I don’t know. I can’t control the market. You never know, because when we talk about money everybody has got a price,” he squeaked. “I can’t decide about that. This is a question for our owners.” Thus Van Dijk appears on the back page of the Mirror, who assert in loudest, brightest, largest headline fonts that as far as Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp are concerned he could be “yours for £70m”, and that Pellegrino’s response amounts to “a green light to make a January bid”.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, another Mill regular, is going nowhere anytime soon, reports the Telegraph. “A move away in January, even on loan, appears unlikely,” they declare, “but a decision is expected to be made on the player’s future in the summer, giving him the rest of the season to” harrumph around Carrington mournfully while being totally ignored by a manager who has already decided that he’s useless – or, as the article itself puts it, “show his worth”. Managerless Everton, meanwhile, will battle Milan for the services of Dynamo Kyiv’s Domagoj Vida, who they can have for nothing because his contract is about to end.
Sporting Lisbon have informed West Ham that they can have William Carvalho if they want, so long as they also want to pay them £28m. This represents an intriguing return to cordiality for two clubs whose bickering over the same player’s possible transfer in the summer culminated in the Portuguese club’s president, Bruno de Carvalho, describing the Hammers’ co-owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, as “the dildo brothers”. According to the Express, David Moyes “has been promised funds for up to four players in January”, so Carvalho would be just the start of a grander spree.
MK Dons, the team from which Tottenham plucked Dele Alli not so long ago, have another little flower growing. Dylan Asonganyi has scored 20 goals in 17 games so far this season for the club’s Under-18 and Under-23 teams, creating such a blossoming reputation that his most recent game – against Barnet in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night, in which he scored twice in a 3-1 win – was attended by representatives of both Manchester giants, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Leicester. Meanwhile Everton and Arsenal are among “a number of Premier League clubs” who are monitoring Middlesbrough’s 18-year-old winger Marcus Tavernier. “Bournemouth and Aston Villa are known admirers too,” report the Mail. And Manchester United want West Ham’s 17-year-old midfielder Domingos Quina, for whom despite his youth United would be a fourth major club, in a third country: born in Guinea-Bissau, he has already spent time in the youth systems of Benfica and Chelsea.