Barry Glendenning on 5 March 2018
Weekend reports in the Mirror declared it was decided at a recent Everton recruitment meeting to make the signing of Jamie Vardy the club’s top priority this summer. Everton fans could scarcely be more disgruntled at the moment and travelling die-hards made their dissatisfaction with Sam Allardyce abundantly clear in the wake of their latest defeat away from home on Saturday, the club’s sixth in a row on the road. While Cenk Tosun scored in defeat against Burnley, the Turkish striker is not seen as the answer to Everton’s toothlessness in front of goal and Vardy has been identified as a replacement. Whether or not the 31-year-old, who has over two years remaining on his contract and previously turned down a move to Arsenal in favour of staying with Leicester, is interested in a move remains to be seen.
Following defeat at Brighton, Arsenal feature prominently and unsurprisingly in today’s tittle-tattle. While Arsène Wenger’s position has never looked less secure, there’s no suggestion he’s likely to be sacked any time soon, but should he go in the summer, Germany coach Joachim Löw is the favourite to be tasked with clearing up whatever mess he leaves behind. Currently a vision in magenta training gear in his role as one of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City, Mikel Arteta has also been mentioned as a potential future Arsenal manager, while Everton are another of the Spaniard’s former clubs who are interested in offering him his first role in management. Aaron Ramsey is unlikely to be around to witness any potential managerial handover at the Emirates Stadium, as the Mail claim the Welsh midfielder has become surplus to requirements and will be sold in the summer.
Speculation in Spain suggests Samuel Umtiti is ready to jump ship and join Manchester United if Barcelona don’t double his annual salary of £3.6m. The French central defender, whose contract contains a £53m release clause, has a long-term admirer in José Mourinho and may just be using United’s interest as leverage in his negotiations with his employers. Interestingly, however, Lionel Messi is reported to be dismayed at the prospect of his team-mate leaving the Camp Nou.
Andrés Iniesta, who will almost certainly miss Barcelona’s Champions League second leg against Chelsea with a hamstring injury, is also being linked with a move away from the club, with his former manager Guardiola likely to offer the 33-year-old playmaker one last job with Manchester City before he hands in his badge and gun. With Ivan Rakitic also expected to leave La Liga’s leaders, Tottenham Hotspur fans will be unimpressed to learn that their own creator-in-chief, Christian Eriksen, has been earmarked as Iniesta’s eventual successor.
And finally, Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri could find himself the centre of a summer tug-of-love between Liverpool and Manchester United, while Fulham prodigy Ryan Sessegnon, who appears to have been a first team staple with the Cottagers for years despite being just 17 years old, is wanted by both of Manchester’s Premier League clubs.