The Mirror leads with news of “transfer drama at Old Trafford”, after Paul Pogba allegedly “told his Juventus pals he wants to quit Manchester United and rejoin them”, with Barcelona – who have been more frequently touted as his next destination in recent weeks – somehow both “shelving their interest” and “remaining keen”.
Meanwhile from the Sun comes news of “a daring £90m double raid for Marcus Rashford and Christian Eriksen”, with Real Madrid the buying club. “New Real boss Santiago Solari is a huge Rashford fan,” they explain, and “Madrid scouts have been at recent United matches”. It was thought that they were casting their eye over Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, but it turns out that Rashford was their man all along. The story values Rashford, seen as “a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo”, at £50m and Eriksen, whose contract at Tottenham has 18 months to run and who Real consider “the long-term successor to Luka Modric”, at £40m.
But in an unpredictable twist, instead of Pogba joining Juventus and Rashford moving to Madrid, Rashford could end up at Juventus and Pogba, well, not. The Times says “Juventus are compiling a dossier on Rashford”, having “placed his name on a list of prospective transfer targets”, and that they are now at the stage of “making discreet checks on the player’s background and character”. The article concludes with the provocative assertion that “United are now seen as a club which could potentially provide rich pickings for their rivals”.
The key question arising from this rumour is: who compiles a “dossier” these days? The Mill trusts they are keeping it in a leather dossier folio, though it seems unlikely that there is much of a market for alternative dossier-containers these days, out with the folio. The whole concept is ludicrously but deliciously antediluvian, and it strikes the Mill that given this rather antiquated approach Juventus should try to come to a decision soon, as the transfer window opens in January and if they choose to submit a bid it would take at least three weeks for their messenger to reach Manchester – and that’s assuming he has a fit horse.
Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, says his club can only be confident of having Christian Pulisic “until the end of the season”, what with Liverpool and Chelsea yapping around the Westfalenstadion like overexcited terriers at the prospect of being let inside to have a sniff of their long-term target.
Meanwhile in Spain, Villarreal’s 22-year-old midfielder Pablo Fornals has a trifling £17.8m release clause, and it’s only a matter of time until someone releases it. And it looks like the team with the freedom-securing chequebook might be Arsenal, with “boss Unai Emery a huge fan from his time in La Liga” and someone required to replace Aaron Ramsey in the Gunners’ squad. They hope to fund the move by selling Mohamed Elneny, for whom they hope to receive “an offer in the region of £15m”, which would be triple the amount they paid for him in 2016, a tidy profit for a player who has not played so much as a minute of league football this season.
And also, Southampton apparently want Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen, who turned 33 last week and shares a birthday with Prince Charles.