Barry Glendenning on 19 February 2018
Eden Hazard has been persistently linked with Real Madrid and the latest reports suggest Chelsea’s playmaker with the magic dust sprinkled in his boots remains the Spanish side’s top target this summer. The Express says Real are ready to offer top-knotted Welsh winger Gareth Bale and as much as £100m in exchange for Hazard, in a deal that would surely tempt the Stamford Bridge bean-counters. “In football anything can happen,” Hazard said in an interview with Telefoot. “But in football nothing can happen too. Every year they talk about Real or PSG. And when I want to change clubs, I will. But at the moment I’m good where I am.”
Before Sunday’s draw with League One strugglers Rochdale in the FA Cup, Tottenham were linked with Watford midfielders Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucouré and will move for the duo in a deal worth £50m next summer. Spurs are also remain keen on making a Premier League player of 18-year-old Stevenage central defender Ben Wilmot, but will have to duke it out with Arsenal in the battle for the teenager’s signature. Wilmot has established himself as a first-team regular with the League Two side since being thrown in to face Reading in the FA Cup third round and is believed to have been the subject of failed bids from both north London clubs during January. Arsenal have also made an offer for Besiktas captain Oguzhan “Ozzie” Ozyakup, a 25-year-old midfielder who is a product of the Gunners’ own youth system, leaving for Turkey in 2012.
José Mourinho is reportedly angry over Manchester United’s dilly-dallying when it comes to offering Marcos Rojo a new contract, with just over a year left on the Argentinian defender’s deal. PSG are believed to be monitoring the situation with interest and preparing what can only be described as a £30m “summer swoop” for the player who, along with Phil Jones, looks likely to be ruled out of United’s Champions League match against Sevilla on Wednesday with injury.
Newcastle may attempt to sign Nick Pope in the summer, Burnley’s goalkeeper having been a revelation since coming in to replace the injured Tom Heaton in September. With Heaton nearing a return from his dislocated shoulder, Pope may drop back down the pecking order and begin agitating for a move elsewhere. Burnley will want to keep both men, but are unlikely to be able to keep them happy.
Angry West Brom manager Alan Pardew is believed to have been given two matches to save his job, in the wake of last week’s misadventures in Barcelona and the FA Cup defeat at the hands of Southampton. Since taking over at the Hawthorns, Pardew has overseen the Baggies’ drop from 17th in the table to 20th and organised the “team bonding” trip that led to four of his senior players having their collars felt after an impromptu game of Grand Theft Auto. Already seven points adrift of safety with just 11 matches to go, West Brom play Huddersfield at home and Watford away in their next two fixtures.
And finally, in other managerial news, the Mirror report that Carlo Ancelotti is not interested in replacing Unai Emery as PSG manager, but would quite like a return to the Premier League with Arsenal, if Arsène Wenger ever decides to leave.