Niall McVeigh on 5 March 2020
It’s been 125 days since José Mourinho took over as Tottenham manager. Let’s see how he’s getting on. Oh. Oh boy. Dear me. Oh wow. Mourinho will have had a rough night’s sleep, those Spurs pyjamas itching him terribly, and his mood won’t improve when he sees the morning papers. Those pesky Harry Kane to Manchester United rumours are back, with the added twist that Kane himself is keen on the move. Yikes!
United are planning to bring in Kane as part of a big-money revamp, along with Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and the Birmingham midfielder Jude Bellingham. Whether it’ll be under Ole Gunnar Solskjær remains to be seen; Mauricio Pochettino’s stock is rising with every Spurs pratfall, but he may end up at Real Madrid. The Spanish giants are set to react to the humiliation of losing the odd game by sacking Zinedine Zidane and splurging a sack of Euros on Kylian Mbappé.
How will Barcelona respond? By offering Internazionale the dregs of their squad to help smooth a move for the striker Lautaro Martínez. That could include Ivan Rakitic, who is also interesting Atlético Madrid, though whether he’s prepared for life under Diego Simeone is another story. Barça are also keeping in touch with Neymar’s representatives, because of course they are.
Another Brazilian on the Camp Nou radar is Willian, who is set to turn down Chelsea’s offer of a new two-year contract. Juventus, Tottenham and Arsenal are also interested, with the Gunners also keen on rescuing John Stones from his Manchester City tragicomedy. Mikel Arteta has been picking through the wreckage of Arsenal’s Europa League exit to Olympiakos, and has decided the Greek side’s midfielder Mady Camara can reinforce their midfield.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be heading out of the Emirates exit door and strutting into the San Siro, with Milan and Inter both interested in the English utility man. Antonio Conte is also keen on Marcos Alonso as he continues trying to get Chelsea’s 2016-17 band back together at Inter. Staying in Italy, and the winger Hirving Lozano has fallen down the pecking order at Napoli. He could reunite with Carlo Ancelotti at Everton, but West Ham and Wolves are also sniffing around.
In other news, rumours of Gonzalo Higuaín making a shock move to Athletic Bilbao have been squashed by the club’s hierarchy. Reports had suggested the Juventus forward may qualify to play for the Basque club because of his ancestry, but their sporting director, Rafa Alkorta, has said Higuaín is not eligible. Buying players is old hat anyway – just ask Manchester City. They’re buying clubs instead – with reports in France suggesting the City Football Group is closing in on a deal for the Ligue 2 side Nancy.