Barry Glendenning on 4 April 2018
To France, where word is percolating that the Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam will be the subject of a bid from Manchester United this summer. Born in the Loire region’s Saint-Priest-en-Jarez, the Algeria international recently became a client of the agent Jorge Mendes and has also got antennae twitching at Liverpool and Chelsea. With Luke Shaw expected to leave Old Trafford this summer now that José Mourinho has successfully broken his spirit, Ghoulam is seen as the ideal character to provide competition for Ashley Young. The 27-year-old is contracted to Napoli until 2022 but has a reasonably cheap £22m release clause in his contract.
Entitled to feel very pleased with the manner in which Davinson Sánchez has taken to life as a Premier League player, Tottenham are hoping his former Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt can make the transition from the Dutch top flight with similar ease. Aged only 18 but with more than 50 appearances for Ajax across the past two seasons, De Ligt has been identified as a potential replacement for Toby Alderweireld, who is expected to leave Spurs for pastures new and more lucrative this summer. Arsenal are also interested in the Dutch teenager, who already has five international caps to his name despite his tender years.
Eden Hazard has always been coy when quizzed about the possibility of a move to Real Madrid, while simultaneously managing to convey the impression that he would very much like a move to the Spanish capital. He is likely to be nonplussed by speculation suggesting that Real are going off the idea of signing him due to a recent slump in his form that has, unsurprisingly, coincided with a series of poor performances by Chelsea. If Real have lost interest, it could spell good news for Marco Asensio, who is five years younger than Hazard, already on Real’s books and has made no secret of his frustration at being a bit-part player under Zinedine Zidane. The young playmaker was a 75th minute substitute in his side’s quarter-final first leg win over Juventus on Tuesday night in Turin, where he will have been frustrated at having had to watch from the bench as Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a breathtaking bicycle-kick
Almost certainly out of this season’s Champions League barring the most unlikely of miracles, Juve are also concerned about the refusal of Emre Can to commit his future to them despite their long courtship of the Liverpool midfielder. Out of contract at Anfield at the end of this season, Can had been expected to sign for the Serie A champions, but his silence on the subject of his next move has prompted concerns in Turin that he is holding out for a better offer from Manchester City or Real Madrid. Resigned to losing their man, who looks to have lost his race to be fit for Wednesday night’s mouthwatering Champions League match against Manchester City, Liverpool have identified Cagliari’s 21-year-old midfielder Nicolò Barella as a potential replacement.