Football transfer rumours: Rakitic to Manchester United for £48m?

Jacob Steinberg on 22 May 2019

Juventus are planning to go shopping in London for a Max Allegri replacement. The Italian champions intend to stop off at Not White Hart Lane first and ask Tottenham if they can have Mauricio Pochettino. Daniel Levy, Tottenham’s gnarly negotiator of a chairman, will direct them towards a storage cupboard where he keeps Jacques Santini, Juande Ramos and Tactics Tim. Juve can choose from Jacques Santini, Juande Ramos and Tactics Tim. In fact they can have them all if they’re feeling adventurous. But they’re unlikely to be allowed to return to Turin with Pochettino as their new manager.

Not to worry, though, because Juventus have alternative targets. Off they head to Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea’s suits appear to have to convince their Italian counterparts that all those “Fuck Sarriball” chants were actually an ironic tribute to Maurizio Sarri. Juve are said to be prepared to stump up £5m in compensation for Sarri, who has impressed them with plans to play Cristiano Ronaldo as a holding midfielder, but they could face competition for him from Roma.

Manchester United don’t have to worry about finding a new manager. Ole’s at the wheel. He gets it, you see. Not enough to stop David de Gea from refusing to sign a new deal, though. It seems the Spaniard, whose current contract runs out next year, has had enough of life at Old Trafford after seeing pictures of Phil Jones’s new haircut. Paris Saint-Germain are lining up a £60m bid. In better news, however, United are closing in on Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic for £48m, Swansea City’s Daniel James for £15m and Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £50m. Meanwhile Juan Mata could be off to Newcastle, who hope to keep Sean Longstaff away from United.

Arsenal are eyeing Dynamo Dresden’s Markus Schubert as a replacement for Petr Cech, who is heading back to Chelsea in a new sporting director role. Schubert, a Germany Under-21 international, is available on a free transfer. Arsenal are also looking at River Plate’s Exequiel Palacios as a replacement for Aaron Ramsey.

Tottenham have decided to look elsewhere after failing to convince Palace to give them Wilfried Zaha in exchange for a book about luxury cheese rooms. The north Londoners are searching in Spain for attacking reinforcements instead and like the look of Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gómez, who has a £43m release clause in his contract.

West Ham tried to sign the Uruguayan forward in January, but they have other forward targets now. Manuel Pellegrini is planning to rival Newcastle for Club Brugge’s Wesley Moraes, who did 17 goals in Belgium last season, and he also fancies a reunion with West Brom’s Salomón Rondón, who played for the Chilean at Málaga.

Frank Lampard, manager of Frank Lampard’s Derby County, will try to sign Chelsea’s Gary Cahill if the Rams beat Aston Villa in next Monday’s Championship play-off final.

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