Tottenham are ready to bid £30m for the Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand, according to the Star, who forecast a significant shake-up in Mauricio Pochettino’s defence. Danny Rose will leave, they predict, with Manchester United his most likely destination, and Toby Alderweireld, who has started just 11 league games this season because of injury and a subsequent failure to regain his place in the team, will probably go with him. The Star say that Chelsea and Paris St-Germain are both interested in the Belgian, but the Express adds Manchester United and Arsenal to that list. Spurs might then move for Swansea’s Alfie Mawson, even though his club are demanding something between £50m (Star) and £40m (Express) for his services. Meanwhile according to the Express, United, Newcastle and Wolves will all join the scrap for Bertrand should the Saints be relegated.
Arsenal will grab Freiburg’s 21-year-old Turkish centre-half Caglar Soyuncu, after the president of his former club, Altinordu of the Turkish second division, let the transfer secret slip (apparently in a speech at the International Football Economic Forum, leaving some question marks over his discretion), though the Independent insist they “want a whole new back five” including a younger goalkeeper – Jan Oblak would be ideal, but probably unaffordable – Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos at centre-half, and two unnamed full-backs to replace the ageing Nacho Monreal and the departing Hector Bellerin, whose future may lie at Juventus.
Jürgen Klopp still wants Christian Pulisic, and will presumably be kicking himself about not returning with a slightly bigger bid when his £11m offer was rejected in 2016. The Mirror insist a fresh attempt is in the offing even though Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, says he is “in constant contact” with Liverpool’s German manager yet “I know nothing about that”. Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Arsenal could be rival bidders for the youngster, whose contract still has two years to run. He’s not the only young winger who United are keen on, though, with Ajax’s Justin “Son of Patrick” Kluivert also on their radar. The 18-year-old’s agent is Mino Raiola, whose number José Mourinho appears to have on speed dial.
Leicester and Watford are both keen on the highly-rated 19-year-old Zorya Luhansk goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, says the Mirror. Lunin already has extensive first-team and European experience and has decided to move to England rather than Internazionale, his other suitors. The only possible conclusion to draw from this story is that Watford, having bought Sweden’s highly-rated 19-year-old goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg in January only to send him back to IFK Gothenburg on loan, appear hell-bent on sweeping up the entire continent’s stock of highly-rated 19-year-old goalkeepers.
Talking of clubs scouring the planet in search of the very best young talent, Aston Villa have identified the player they want to bolster their midfield should they storm through the play-offs and secure a place in the Premier League – it’s sprightly Gareth Barry, 37 years young.