Football transfer rumours: Oblak to Manchester United? Butland to Villa?

Sachin Nakrani on 11 June 2019

What the heart wants, the heart may, possibly, could-at-the-last-minute get. That’s the message swirling around planet football as it emerges Jan Oblak is keen to leave Atlético Madrid and join Manchester United. On the face of it, that seems an odd decision given Atlético finished second in La Liga last season and will therefore be playing in the Champions League next year while United, well, won’t. But here’s the thing: Oblak is a boyhood United fan. The Slovenian goalkeeper grew up with posters of Peter Schmeichel on his bedroom wall (probably) and now wants to fulfil his dream of catching inswinging corners in front of the Stretford End.

United could well make a move for the much-admired 26-year-old given the startling drop off in David de Gea’s form at the end of last season and the fact the Spaniard only has a year remaining on his contract and still refuses to commit his future to the club he joined - from Atlético – in 2011. The 28-year-old, who was yet again on Spain’s bench for their 3-0 victory over Sweden at the Bernabéu on Monday, continues to be linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Speaking of PSG, the French club now appear to be the frontrunners to sign everybody’s favourite Dutch defender who isn’t Virgil van Dijk – Matthijs de Ligt. The 19-year-old has been linked with a host of clubs following a stellar season for Ajax and looked set to join Juventus after Cristiano Ronaldo whispered something in his ear following Portugal’s victory over the Netherlands in Sunday’s Nations League final. But instead De Ligt could now be on his way to Paris after they apparently told the player’s agent – the one and only Mino Raiola – that they are prepared to pay the player £260,000 a week.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are interested in signing Getafe centre-back Djene Dakonam. The 27-year-old Togo international was a key part of the Getafe side that shocked Spain by finishing fifth in La Liga and only just missed out on qualification for the Champions League. Dakonam would help ease Arsenal’s defensive concerns, which are very concerning indeed, but only if Everton don’t sign him first. The Merseysiders are also interested in the player as a replacement for Kurt Zouma, who is expected to return to Chelsea after a season-long loan spell at Goodison Park, and if some people on the internet are to believed, the Merseyside club are actually frontrunners to seal the deal.

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Tottenham are keen on signing Japanese right-back Hiroki Sakai from Marseille as a replacement for Kieran Trippier should he leave the club this summer. Sakai is 29 years old and was part of the Japan squad that featured at last summer’s World Cup, so he would bring experience and a decent level of pedigree to Spurs. Although given the club are apparently targeting players who are specifically under the age of 23, the transfer, should it occur, would be a curious one.

Finally, a Jack Butland update. As the Mill reported on Monday, Stoke City are willing to sell the England goalkeeper but for no less than £23m. Well it turns out Aston Villa are prepared to pay a sum very close to that for the 26-year-old as they look to build on promotion back to the Premier League. Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are also said to be monitoring the player.

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