The epochal genius that is Pep Guardiola has deduced his Manchester City squad is short on tricksy little midfielders who can also play wide. As such, he has performed an extensive search spanning the length and breadth of world football, and this has led him to little-known Isco, who plays for a club called Real Madrid. Real are looking to refresh their attack this summer, so may be willing to do business for a bargain £75m. Isco has rejected a move to City before and, while in general, man of principle Guardiola will not allow players who turn him down a second chance at joining – Aymeric Laporte, for example – it appears he will make an exception in this case.
Real Madrid are also in the market for a new goalkeeper. David de Gea is laid up with masochism and expected to remain at Manchester United, so the target now is Alisson Becker – not, as is commonly thought, a widely forgotten popstar of the 80s, but current custodian at Roma. To ensure all goes according to plan, Florentino Pérez has invested in a brand new telex machine and an entire flock of ravens; in response, Roma have taken their phone off the hook.
Spain’s other club, meanwhile, face a struggle to hold on to Samuel Umtiti. Currently languishing in the club’s third tier of earners, he feels that two acceptable seasons in an underworked defence have earned him parity with Luis Suárez and Andrés Iniesta, whose genius in attack has been crucial in the winning of multiple trophies. In such context, Manchester United are considering triggering his £60m release clause. Umtiti was asked about their interest before France’s game with Russia, his gnomic response, “Joker”, in the true tradition of Talleyrand.
Manchester United are also keen on Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, as José Mourinho seeks to fortify his reputation for discovering unknown young talent. The young Scot is primarily a left-back but can also play on the right and in the centre; Mourinho plans to publicly shame him until he can complete the simple task of doing all three simultaneously.
Meanwhile Gabby Agbonlahor is set to leave Aston Villa this summer, regardless of whether or not they are promoted. Out of contract at the end of the season, he has only scored twice in this one, and is considering a move to MLS where he feels his skill as a Forrest Gump impersonator will be properly appreciated.
Elsewhere, there is significant hankering after James Maddison of Norwich. The goalscoring midfielder has been extremely impressive of late, and Tottenham lead the chase for his services, hoping he will be persuaded by Mauricio Pochettino’s proven track record in the Calendar Year Championship and Media Darlings Cup. But Chelsea are also watching closely, so too Manchester City and Everton.
Talking of Everton, they also hope to sign the Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup, who has only a few months remaining on his contract. Newcastle are also in the hunt, and Mike Ashley has put together a tempting financial package: the priceless opportunity to continue playing in black and white stripes.
Everton are also thought to be considering the director of football Steve Walsh’s position, and may well replace him in the David Moyes Memorial Transfer Bunker with PSV Eindhoven’s Marcel Brands, who is really called Marcel Brands. And the
relevant suits have also had enough of Sam Allardyce, preferring a younger man at the helm to perform a more refined clearout – ideally they would like Paulo Fonseca of Shakhtar Donetsk instead.