Barry Glendenning on 13 November 2017
Perhaps emboldened by rumours Neymar has told some of his former Barcelona team-mates that he regrets joining Paris Saint-Germain, Florentino Pérez has decided the Brazilian might like to go Real Madrid instead. At least that’s what the Spanish website Don Balon are telling their readers, even if the story seems decidedly fanciful and unlikely. PSG have no intention of selling their star signing any time soon, but that won’t stop the Real president testing the waters by offering Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos as part of a players-plus-cash deal worth up to €400m to bring the Brazilian to the Santiago Bernabéu. Neymar was busy last night, opening the scoring for Brazil from the penalty spot in a friendly win against Japan in Lille. The Guardian’s man on the spot was David Hytner, who liked what he saw of Brazil, but was rather less impressed with their star player’s demonstration of petulance.
Neymar isn’t the only big name on the Real Madrid radar, with Lyon’s Nabil Fekir also being touted as a more realistic target. With a string of impressive performances and 12 goals already this season, the 24-year-old has got antennae twitching all over Europe and Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus are monitoring his progress. Capable of playing in the hole or as an out and out striker, Fekir has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates and tabloid reports in the UK suggest the club might be close to securing his services for £60m, which would help soften the blow of losing Alexis Sánchez or Mesut Özil this January.
Luke Shaw’s Manchester United purgatory could be nearing its end, with The Times stating that the club are prepared to sell him in January for £20m, two thirds of what they paid to bring him from St Mary’s to Old Trafford three years ago. Unloved and unwanted by United manager José Mourinho, Shaw has been courted by Turkish club Fenerbahce but is keen to move somewhere closer to home. One Manchester United player Mourinho is considerably more keen to keep hold of is Ander Herrera and the Portuguese has ordered the United hierarchy to trigger a 12-month extension in the midfielder’s contract to prevent him leaving on a free transfer at the end of the season. Herrera can talk to foreign clubs in January and Atlético Madrid are understood to be making doe-eyes in his general direction. Meanwhile in Italy, Roma, Napoli and Juventus are all falling over themselves in the rush to sign out of favour United defender Matteo Darmian. Still in the market for a new full-back following the departure of Dani Alves to PSG, Juventus will try to prise Héctor Bellerin away from Arsenal.
Atlético Madrid striker Fernando Torres is pining for one last hurrah in the Premier League and could move to Southampton or Newcastle, while his former club Liverpool are hoping to sign teenage midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White from Championship table-toppers Wolves. The Merseyside club look likely to lose Emre Can, whose contract expires at the end of this season. The German is being courted by Juventus and Manchester City, who are both interested in snapping him up on a free next summer. And finally, Wilfried Zaha will have the summer off after Ivory Coast failed to qualify for the World Cup finals. With his club side Crystal Palace also struggling, the winger can perhaps take some consolation that Arsène Wenger wants to bring him to Arsenal.