Rob Bleaney on 13 February 2018
How to solve a problem like Paul Pogba seems to be the conundrum vexing José Mourinho right now and he believes Toni Kroos and Isco could be the missing pieces in Manchester United’s midfield puzzle.
United have been longtime admirers of both playmakers, having attempted to lure Isco to Old Trafford in 2012 and Kroos two years later, but it looks increasingly likely they may be willing to play their trump card: David de Gea. Despite utterances to the contrary, Mourinho is beginning to realise there is only so long De Gea will continue to put up with saving the reputations of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and is ready to play ball with Real Madrid. United are willing to pay up to £135m for Isco alone and with Real in disarray and a drastic overhaul expected at the Bernabéu in the summer, Mourinho also has Raphaël Varane in his sights.
Liverpool legend Jürgen Klopp has accelerated his efforts to build the fastest front line in living memory by nipping ahead of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the Deportivo La Coruña winger Pinchi. Having yet to break into the first team of La Liga’s 19th-placed side at the relatively untender age of 22, one might suggest the left-footed speedster could be pinching himself to have such a storied set of clubs chasing his signature – but a contract coming to an end this summer might provide a clue as to his allure.
A rather fresher-faced youngster set to have his pick of Europe’s finest is the 17-year-old Hamburg defender Josha Vagnomen. Arsenal are at the front of that queue of course, courtesy of their all-knowing chief scout, Sven Mislintat, but even his forensic knowledge of German football might mean nothing, with the big dogs from Bayern Munich preparing to pounce.
Borussia Dortmund are keen to make Michy Batshuayi’s move permanent after the flying start to life at the Westfalenstadion. Peter Stöger’s side wanted to buy the Belgian striker outright from Chelsea in January but Roman Abramovich apparently insisted on a loan, and three goals in two Bundesliga games suggest the Blues owner might have been prescient.