Barcelona sent their sporting director, Robert Fernández, to Wembley to watch Spurs and Real Madrid last week – and what a time he had! His brief was to monitor Tottenham’s whispy creator Christian Eriksen who, presumably, the club see as a long-term replacement for Andrés Iniesta if they can’t lever Philippe Coutinho away from Liverpool. But his head was turned by the flashes of brilliance from the Hemel Hempstead Xavi, Harry Winks, whose pop-pop-pop passing and spritely energy would go down well at the Camp Nou. So as well as reporting back – perhaps in the medium of lols – on how Eriksen helped tear Real Madrid a new one, Fernández filed a glowing report on Winks too. The 21-year-old has recently been offered a new Spurs contract but is yet to sign it. The club may have to add another zero to his release clause.
Because they’re so original, Real Madrid are interested in Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Coutinho is now on their wish-list too, perhaps just to spite Barcelona. Another player who may be on his way out of Anfield is Emre Can. “We have to respect his contract is ending and that is how it is,” sniffed Jürgen Klopp over the weekend. The midfielder, whose deal ends in seven months, is reportedly not happy with the money he has been offered at Liverpool and is a long-term target for Juventus.
But look, who’s this wandering up Anfield Road and fluttering his eyes in the direction of the brawny German? It’s Pep Guardiola. Reports in Italy suggest Manchester City are readying a contract offer of over £4m a season for Can, which would blow Juve out of the water. And because he likes a bargain and it helps with FFP, Guardiola will also wedge Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez into his City squad either this January, for a cut-price £15m, or in the summer for naff-all. City may be prepared to let David Silva leave if that’s the case – and Liverpool would be more than happy to give the little Spanish creator a home.
West Ham believe David Moyes, whose cheery experience at Sunderland led to him “spending nights after defeats in a darkened room” is the perfect man to lift the gloom around the London Stadium for at least six months when they show Slaven Bilic where the exit door is. Yes, David Moyes.
Having failed with a bid for Jack Wilshere in the summer, Real Betis are going to come steaming back in with another offer for the Arsenal midfielder in January. They’re confident that they can give him a good deal more than the 25 minutes of league football Arsène Wenger has offered the pocket-sized injury prone playmaker this term.
Arsenal and Tottenham have joined the race to sign Schalke’s towering midfielder Leon Goretzka, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Liverpool and Barcelona are also keeping tabs on the classy 22-year-old, who has been likened to Michael Ballack, presumably because he is tall and German.
Leicester may remind Hatem Ben Arfa how to play football by rescuing him from a dusty corner of the Parc des Princes on a loan deal in January. Ben Arfa hasn’t had a sniff of football at PSG and Claude Puel reckons the former Newcastle midfielder could help jazz up his midfield if he can rediscover the form he showed under Puel at Nice two seasons ago, when he scored 17 goals in 34 games.
And Sunderland are considering twisting Aitor Karanka’s arm hard enough that he will take the Impossible Job.