Alexis Sánchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan might have slept the sleep of both the just and the just-signed-another-whopping-great-contract last night, but the Rumour Mill doesn’t get to rest. With the January transfer window open for several more days, increasingly panic-stricken recruitment departments of various football clubs are hastily steering their trolleys around the aisles, frantically checking to see what over-priced players are left on the shelves.
Not content with being 12 points clear of Manchester United in the Premier League, Manchester City are ready to ramp up their well-documented interest in the Athletic Bilbao central defender Aymeric Laporte and tabloid reports on Tuesday morning suggest they may pay the £60m release clause on the 23-year-old’s contract. Pep Guardiola is also rumoured to be super keen on bringing Shakhtar Donetsk’s highly rated midfielder Fred to the Etihad sooner rather than later. City had been expected to make their move for the Brazilian this summer, but the sight of Fabian Delph loitering around the physio room means they will offer the Ukrainian club more money in a bid to grease the wheels and speed up a deal.
Meanwhile in south London Christian Benteke’s inability to hit a cow’s backside with a banjo means Crystal Palace are in dire need of striking options and are investigating the possibility of bringing Internazionale’s Brazil-born Italy international Éder to Selhurst Park. With only one goal in 17 appearances for the Serie A side to his name this season, it’s difficult to see how the 31-year-old veteran would constitute much of an improvement.
Also toothless up front, Newcastle are plotting a move to bring the Atlético Madrid striker Kevin Gameiro to St James’ Park and tabloid reports say the Magpies owner, Mike Ashley, has sanctioned a move for the £16m-rated striker who has scored six goals this season. Newcastle are also expected to sign Chelsea’s cultural attache to China, Kenedy, on loan within the next 24 hours.
Having been linked with Manchester United for several months, “sources” close to Paris Saint-Germain outcast Lucas Moura say he may now end up at Tottenham Hotspur instead. West Ham striker Javier Hernández is another high profile, want-away player who is agitating for a move. “There are a number of clubs interested in his services, he’s a player everyone knows and is incredibly professional,” said his representative, Eduardo Hernández, peddling his agenda on Agenda Fox Sports. “Our primary focus is a club in which he can play the most games possible.” With Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll both sidelined, West Ham may not be so keen to let their Mexican frontman leave, but the Hammers are eager to reinforce their midfield and Lyon’s Clement Grenier remains in their cross-hairs.
Having appeased their fans with the acquisition of Mkhitarian, Arsenal find themselves under considerably less pressure to sign Borussia Dortmund bad boy Patrick Aubamayang and will be unfazed by speculation that the German club want Olivier Giroud in part exchange. With his opportunities at Arsenal limited, the French striker may well be happy to go to Germany after being informed he needs more game time if he is to be considered for a place in Didier Deschamps’ squad for Russia 2018.
And finally, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes will be gutted to learn the word coming out of Italy is that Roma have agreed a deal with Chelsea that will result in the much talked-about €50m (£44m) deal for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri that will be finalised once the striker and full-back have coughed for the Stamford Bridge medical staff and agreed personal terms.