Football transfer rumours: Everton to snaffle free agent Samir Nasri?

Simon Burnton on 12 October 2018

Everton are set to offer Samir Nasri a route back into the game once his drugs ban ends next month. According to the Mail Marco Silva is interested in bringing the former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder, now 31 and without a club, to Goodison Park, 10 months after he left Antalyaspor to complete his 18-month suspension. Heading to Turkey meanwhile is Shinji Okazaki, who at the age of 32 and with his contract at Leicester due to expire in the summer could be available in January for as little as £1.75m, or at least that is what Galatasaray are hoping.

Manchester City and Barcelona are going head-to-head in the race for the Ajax defensive prodigy Matthijs de Ligt, who remained in Amsterdam despite being linked with a high-profile summer switch but whose days in his homeland appear numbered. According to Mundo Deportivo Barcelona have “activated protocols” in advance of a full-scale swoop, which makes the process of acquiring a defender sound like launching a nuclear missile from an off-shore submarine, but rumour has it that they were stirred into action by Manchester City’s own £52m offer.

Bayern Munich and Tottenham have also been linked with the 19-year-old Dutchman, but according to the Mirror Spurs’s search for defensive reinforcement is being concentrated on Florence, where the 20-year-old Serbian Nikola Milenkovic is currently plying his trade – though perhaps not for much longer. The 6ft 5in stopper, who moved to Italy only last year for the laughably minute fee of €4m, is also interesting Manchester United, with José Mourinho watching him in action for Serbia in their 2-0 victory over Montenegro in Podgorica last night. United though may concentrate their own defensive recruitment efforts on Atlético Madrid’s Lucas Hernández, for whom they are – according to Marca – preparing a “dizzying offer”.

Eden Hazard has dropped another heavy hint that he intends to leave Chelsea, telling reporters that only by departing can he win the Ballon d’Or. “Am I the best player in the world since the World Cup? Yes, but I will not win the Ballon d’Or. Do you have to play in La Liga to win it? Certainly, and that is why I want to play in Spain – but not in January.”

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Liverpool came close to signing Piotr Zielinksi in 2016, when they ultimately failed to convince the midfielder not to move to Napoli instead, but they remain interested in the player and could pounce if his negotiations with the Neapolitan outfit over a new contract stall over the club’s proposal for a somewhat heavy-handed €130m release clause, which have apparently led to some disgruntlement with the Pole and his agent. His current contract has a €65m release clause, which might appear a relative bargain but is also quadruple the amount Liverpool very nearly signed him for a couple of years back.

And finally Didier Ndong and Sunderland have come to an agreement about the midfielder’s future, which most importantly will no longer be spent in Sunderland. The 24-year-old is free to find a new employer, and will have to pay the League One side £3.5m should he succeed.

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