Barcelona want to sign Victor Lindelöf, according to Victor Lindelöf’s agent. “Lindelöf is in the orbit of a great European club,” Hassan Cetinkaya told Mundo Deportivo, “but leaving depends on the English club.” The Mill wonders if Cetinkaya always avoids saying the actual name of any club as a matter of policy, preferring simply to hint at their status and geographical location. It would surely make life a great deal more complicated, particularly for someone in his line of work, but principles, the Mill supposes, must come first.
Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona “have tried several times to talk to United about the Swedish centre-back, but the response has always been the same: he is not for sale”. However other papers seem quite surprised by their interest. “Given the impact of Lindelöf since he made his £31m move to Manchester in 2017, the standard of Barcelona’s scouting network must now surely come into question,” says the Sun.
Everton want to buy Fabian Delph. Signed by Aston Villa as a teenager before moving to Manchester City, who hoped his versatility and reliability would make him an asset to their squad, if Delph then goes to Everton it would make his career almost indistinguishable from Gareth Barry’s. He might as well start househunting near the Hawthorns now, ahead of his 2022 move to West Brom. Everton’s £31.5m deal for Barcelona’s Malcom might however be hijacked by Arsenal, who have identified the Brazilian as a potential alternative to Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who has been deemed too expensive (though according to the Telegraph the Gunners are willing to splash £27m on the St-Etienne centre-back William Saliba even though the deal involves sending him back to France on loan for a year).
Bournemouth will offer Callum Wilson a lucrative new four-year contract to ward off interest from West Ham, whose interest has turned to the Englishman after their failure to persuade Maxi Gómez to join them from Celta Vigo. Aston Villa have given up on convincing Stoke to sell them Jack Butland and turned their attention to Burnley’s Tom Heaton, now 33 and in the final year of his contract. The Clarets might also have to deal with Leicester, who have identified James Tarkowski as the ideal replacement for Harry Maguire, should the lumbering England international seal his long-mooted move to Manchester United. United meanwhile have joined Arsenal and Leicester in the battle for Southampton’s Mario Lemina, who is available for around £19m. “I want to start afresh, so why not leave?” pondered the 25-year-old midfielder.
Marca lead on Real Madrid, who have jetted off to Canada for the start of their pre-season tour despite their focus being on Operación Salida, the campaign to rid their squad of disposable stars. Apparently Lucas Vázquez (available for €40m), Gareth Bale (who wants to stay), Isco, Keylor Navas and James (who might be off to Napoli for €42m) are all on that list, while the club are also willing to listen to offers for Nacho. Once they have assembled a sufficiently large war chest, the paper says, they will move for Paul Pogba.
They may by then have missed their chance, with United apparently having decided to keep the French midfielder for another season, though he may need some convincing. According to the Sun, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also “told unsettled Romelu Lukaku he will get chances to claim the No 9 role”, but Sky report that Internazionale officials will land in the UK this week to conclude a deal for the Belgian.
Steve Bruce has emerged as the new favourite to take over as manager of Newcastle, Mike Ashley having decided, according to the Mirror, “against gambling on a novice or an outsider”, therefore turning his attention to the experienced 58-year-old, presumably because there aren’t many other people who fit the new template and they’ve already had a go with Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew.