You might think Jack Wilshere is the most overrated player on the planet. You might think he was the best 17-year-old you have ever seen play in the flesh, after Kieron Dyer, but accept that injuries have taken that crucial extra few per cent away. You might just be glad we’re talking about something other than snow and VAR. What you might not know, though, is that he is apparently on the brink of quitting Arsenal, with contract negotiations not going well and the two parties a long way apart – a pay cut has been mooted by the club. He’ll cast all that aside for 90 minutes if the game with Manchester City beats the chill on Thursday night, but the former boy wonder’s days at the Emirates are beginning to look numbered and clubs across the continent are on red alert.
Meanwhile, a starlet from France is causing Liverpool and Barcelona to flutter their eyes admiringly. Their objet d’amour is Houssem Aouar of Lyon, and the Anfield club will be hoping to steal a tiny dose of revenge for the departure of Philippe Coutinho.
Manchester United and Chelsea did battle on Sunday afternoon and, whaddya know, they’re at it again. Not in the form of a Mourinho-Conte snowball fight, although you’d pull up a chair for that: they’ve both got their beady eyes on Alessandro Florenzi of Roma, who has 16 months left on his contract and can excel at right-back and in midfield. Roma are dangling a long-term deal his way, but Premier League interest is said to have turned his head.
That is unlikely to deflect too much attention from Real Madrid’s latest play for David de Gea. They even have a cunning plan: offer United Gareth Bale in return, or possibly Raphaël Varane, or even, Toni Kroos. The latter would be a last resort but is – as we told you yesterday – on José Mourinho’s wishlist.
Alan Pardew may, via the advice of the deity upstairs, have forgiven Jonny Evans for his role in West Brom’s recent high jinks but the pair may not be reunited for long. The doubt over Pardew’s job is one thing; the second is the fact that West Ham are keen to get their hands on him if the Baggies go down – reportedly for a mere £3m, thanks to a relegation clause in his contract. You suspect the suitors will be queuing up in a long line.
If it’s gone badly wrong at West Brom then, relative to expectations, it hasn’t gone a whole lot better at Everton – whose big transfer window signing, Cenk Tosun, could be heading back in the direction he came from. Tosun has not had much of a chance at Goodison but may return to Besiktas, who sold him for a princely £27m, on loan in the summer. Which would speak pretty concisely for how the Toffees’ transfer business has been conducted over the past year or so.