Football transfer rumours: Mesut Özil returning home to Schalke?

Niall McVeigh on 21 November 2017

Poor Tony Pulis. The former West Bromwich Albion manager had barely cleared his locker of chewing gum and club shop caps before a line of potential successors started forming at the Hawthorns. Right at the front, jostling to get a closer look at Claudio Yacob, is Derek McInnes. The Aberdeen manager has been linked with Rangers but used to captain West Brom, scoring this banger in the Battle of Bramall Lane.

Behind him, Nigel Pearson is acting as bouncer, keeping Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce and both Martin and Michael O’Neill at arm’s length. But who’s this sneaking in at the back? Disgraced former Everton manager Ronald Koeman?! As if that wasn’t shameful enough, Pulis could be bundled straight down the M5/M4 to Swansea City, stopping for gum and hats at Magor services, if Paul Clement gets the boot.

Chris Coleman’s first transfer moves at Sunderland will come as a surprise to absolutely no one. The former Wales manager is targeting former charges Danny Ward and Ben Woodburn, both at Liverpool, presumably before lining up Gareth Bale, Vinny Jones, Neville Southall and Shadwell. Liverpool can replenish their Welsh contingent by beating Spurs to Sheffield United’s silky playmaker David Brooks.

Staying on Merseyside, Jürgen Klopp has offered a firm nein danke to moving Daniel Sturridge moving on in January. “It’s a story, but actually I am not really interested in stories,” said Jürgen Klopp, who probably shouldn’t waste his time with this next one. Across town, a new contender has emerged in the race to become Everton manager, with odds tumbling on – you’ll like this – Louis van Gaal!

German giants Schalke are back, baby – up to second in the Bundesliga, they’re fixing to bring local boy Mesut Özil back from Arsenal. Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen and began his career at the club, and the chairman, Clemens Tönnies, has said the playmaker’s return “would be a nice story”. It’d be a shame if someone – Manchester United’s José Mourinho, for example – came along and ruined it.

Claudio Ranieri is back working his magic with Nantes in Ligue 1, but has one twinkly eye on the Italy job. Ranieri, who was sacked by Greece after losing to the Faroe Islands, has said managing his country would be “special and beautiful”. Antonio Conte was the name at the top of Carlo Tavecchio’s list, but the former head of the Italian FA has resigned, his list torn angrily into little pieces.

Finally, a feel good story – Tony Yeboah is alive and well! The former Leeds crossbar-botherer went on Ghanaian radio to rubbish online rumours that he had died. “Those people behind these stories must stop this,” said Yeboah. “You don’t have to use social media for such vices.” Sound advice, Tone.

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