The process. Jose Mourinho has been holding forth on it for quite a while now. Yet it has not always been obvious precisely what it is. But details are now emerging. The next step in the meticulous restoration of Manchester United’s football heritage is, according to certain news organs at least, to shovel the entire contents of a fair-size bank into the pockets of Cristiano Ronaldo. Apparently United have offered to give the 33-year-old an annual salary of nearly £27m if he returns to Old Trafford in the summer. Oh, and United will also pick up Gareth Bale. Well, when you’ve only got Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata, you need to splash out to give yourself some attacking options.
The good news is that if Bale does join, he should be in top fitness thanks to the advice he’s been getting from a former United wing wizard. During the international break, Wales’ manager has apparently been giving Bale tips on how to avoid injuries, including telling him to make sure he has car seat that protects his posture, eases off the golf and doesn’t wear baseball caps. It’s amazing how often you can tear a hamstring while trying to adjust the angle on baseball caps. Best to just avoid them all together.
A good sensible bowler hat is your only man for keeping muscles lithe. Jürgen Klopp has not yet laughed off suggestion that he will take the job of Bayern Munich in the summer. This is causing consternation to some Liverpool fans, who know that Klopp is usually quick to laugh off just about everything. However, it is being suggested that Klopp will use the reported interested from Bayern to lobby even harder for transfers for Liverpool: he is especially keen to bag Dani Carvajal, whom Klopp sees as the ideal upgrade on Emre Can. No, actually, he sees Watford’s Abdoualaye Doucouré as the ideal upgrade on Emre Can. Tell you what. Liverpool should buy both. Danke Bayern!
Arsenal and Spurs also fancy Doucouré, mind. Both are confident they can get him for less than £87m, which is reportedly the amount that Spurs have been quoted for their other main midfield target, Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes. Arsenal also want Freiburg’s 21-year-old defender Caglar Söyüncü, a Turkey international.
Everton, meanwhile, have their midfield sights trained on Jack Wilshere. Carlo Ancelotti thinks Arsène Wenger might not be around at Arsenal next season and that’s one of the reasons he declined a chance to manage Italy; the other is that the Chelsea job could also be available. A top London club is where Ancelotti sees his immediate future.
Finally, Chelsea are leading the race to sign 15-year-old Dutch prospect Jayden Braaf, who is also admired by Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and, oh go on then, West Ham.