Football transfer rumours: Matthijs de Ligt to Barcelona? Walcott to West Ham?

Jacob Steinberg on 6 December 2017

Lionel Messi can’t make his mind up. Last week he wanted Barcelona to sign
Philippe Coutinho, but now he’s urging them to drop their interest in the
Brazilian forward and turn their attention elsewhere. Messi, who apparently turned down a mega offer from Manchester City before extending his contract at the Nou Camp, appears to be in charge of everything at Barca these days – he gets to design next season’s kit – and thinks they need a new centre-back after Samuel Umtiti’s injury. Ajax’s eerily composed 18-year-old, Matthijs de Ligt, is his top pick. For De Ligt, it’s not the worst recommendation.

With Marcos Alonso looking like he needs a good long nap, Chelsea are
planning to use some of the money they didn’t spend last summer and buy
Alex Sandro for £80m. Alessandro Del Piero thinks that Juventus should
spend the cash on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

It isn’t that long since Sporting Lisbon were calling David Sullivan and
David Gold “The Dildo Brothers” and “offended virgins” and West Ham were
threatening the Portuguese side with legal action. Relations had plummeted
to a childish low after the breakdown in talks over the transfer of
Sporting’s William Carvalho, much to Slaven Bilic’s chagrin. Good news,
though, Slav – the warring parties have kissed and made up, meaning that
West Ham could revive their interest in Carvalho next month. Oh.
Meanwhile West Ham are also in the hunt for Theo Walcott, as are Everton
and Southampton. He’ll probably come out of hiding if they just say a few
nice things to him, though.

David de Gea, who scored three goals for Manchester United against Arsenal,
wants Real Madrid to make him one of their highest earners. He’s after
£10.5m a year. Along with the goalkeeper, Real are also in for a defender.
Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga fits the bill, while the European champions
could sell Dani Ceballos to Arsenal or Tottenham.

United are eyeing Brazilian star Arthur, who’s presumably named after that
funny little anthropomorphic aardvark, Lazio’s Sergej-Milinkovic Savic and
Tottenham’s Danny Rose, who is theirs for £50m. Watford are poised to beat
Arsenal to Pontus Dahlberg and buy Gothenburg’s 18-year-old goalkeeper for
£3.3m. Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi has travelled to London amid whispers of
talks with Arsenal and Everton. But he might just be visiting Winter Wonderland.

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