Football transfer rumours: Manchester United to buy Faouzi Ghoulam for £53m?

Tom Bryant on 2 January 2018

Having spent much of December harping on about not having enough money to spend, and how much he dislikes the January transfer window anyway, José Mourinho will use the January transfer window to spend a load of money. First on his shopping list is Antoine Griezman, who he’ll offer £300,000-a-week to in order to convince him that relentlessly tracking back at Old Trafford will be more rewarding than relentlessly banging in goals for Barcelona, who have also been sniffing about.

Following his swipe at Pep Guardiola for spending “striker money” on full backs, Mourinho will offer Napoli £53m for left-back Faouzi Ghoulam (allowing them to buy Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo in his place) before commissioning a brass statue of his own neck to replace the one of Fergie outside the ground. Next on the Manchester United list is PSG’s Lucas Moura, who they have apparently “opened talks over”, before a £50m bid for Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.

Antonio Conte is well aware of Chelsea’s (not terribly successful) attempts to promote players from their garlanded academy, and a policy of buying young players with a long future. So fair play to him for sticking two fingers up to that and upping his interest in Bayern’s 30-year-old midfielder Arturo Vidal and Juve’s 33-year-old Giorgio Chiellini. The latter, however, has been hinting that he’s likely to stay in Turin anyway.

Besiktas have noted Everton’s interest in Cenk Tosun, have spotted the pictures the striker has posted of himself gadding about in London, and added another £2m to his price tag – taking it to £27m – just because they can. Sam Allardyce is not for being pushed around, however, so may simply sign Steven N’Zonzi from Sevilla instead.

Brighton (and Hove Albion actually) have taken the sensible step of asking Moussa Dembélé if he is actually interested in signing for them before they dig out the fax machine, fire it up and ping off an offer to Celtic for him. But they’ll be perfectly happy to let Jamie Murphy head to Rangers given he’s been free to spend more time mooching about The Lanes than playing on the Amex pitch this season.

In more Scottish news, Celtic and West Ham are girding their loins for a Benny Hill-style chase for Hibs’s 23-year-old midfielder John McGinn. West Ham have other business to attend to as well – chiefly flogging Diafra Sakho for as close to £20m as they can, and then persuading Swansea’s Alfie Mawson and Ki Sung-yeung to ditch one listing ship for another.

Kortney Hause is working out which of the coy sideways glances he’s been getting from both Huddersfield and Watford are the most significant after getting limited playing time at Wolves. It may well turn out to be Watford, given Huddersfield manager David Wagner has also been giving the glad eye to Monaco defender Terence Kongolo, drooling: “We like him”.

And Philippe Coutinho, Nike, Barcelona, Zzzzzzzz.

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