Perhaps having twigged that Nemanja Matic’s legs move at about half the speed he thought they did, José Mourinho has made signing an energetic midfielder who can disguise Paul Pogba’s contempt for defensive midfield play a priority. And the name he has scrawled on a piece of paper and shoved into Ed Woodward’s top pocket is Arturo Vidal. The Bayern Munich box-to-box schemer would have a Chilean best mate waiting for him at Old Trafford in the form of Alexis Sánchez. He’d also have only a year left on his contract so wouldn’t cost the price of the moon on a stick either. Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic is still a target too but they will face a battle with Spurs for his signature.
Meanwhile, 20 years after Patrick Kluivert made Alex Ferguson’s lid rattle by snubbing the chance to move to Old Trafford, the Dutch legend’s son, Justin Kluivert, looks like he will do what his dad did not, and join Manchester United. It says here that the club are in advanced talks to sign the 18-year-old from Ajax for around £10m. Renowned nurturer of youth Mourinho is quite a fan. And reports here suggest Marcus Rashford would be so delighted at Kluivert’s arrival he would instruct his people to find him another club.
Liverpool believe they have found the pocket-sized genius throbbing with potential and creative juices who can truly succeed Philippe Coutinho. His name’s Jack Wilshere.
If Riyad Mahrez is ever located then Arsenal would like to be made aware of his whereabouts. Since the Leicester player’s collapsed move to Manchester City on deadline day, other clubs have come sniffing around, chief among them the Gunners, who are feeling cocksure about their attacking prowess after giving Everton a good hiding at the weekend. Apparently, Arsène Wenger is regularly requesting updates on the playmaker and, like a distant nephew or something, the Algerian is never far from his thoughts. But City are still in the box seat while Liverpool and Chelsea are also somewhere near the front of a queue of potential suitors.
Napoli are watching Mauro Icardi very carefully and would improve on a £50m offer for the 24-year-old in order to selflessly give the Inter striker the chance to stay in Serie A rather than acclimatise to another league. And the club’s president, Aurelio de Laurentiis, has been singing sweetly. “Icardi will score 40 a season here under Sarri and can become like Cristiano Ronaldo,” he cooed. “I tried to negotiate signing him with his wife, who is an attractive and charming woman. I offered €55m. He is a champion. Will they sell to Napoli? Why not? Never say never …”
Napoli’s priority next season may be appointing a new manager, though. The word is that Roman Abramovich is already lining up Maurizio Sarri as Antonio Conte’s replacement and is willing to pay the chain-smoking Neapolitan’s £7m release clause to bring him to Chelsea. Maybe they could do a swap. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s recruitment department appears to be valiantly persisting with its maverick tactic of targeting West Ham second-stringers. If Thibaut Courtois decides to bust a move to Real Madrid then Chelsea will consider Joe Hart as his replacement. Yup.
And in vastly contrasting former Everton manager news, Ronald Koeman is set to be made Holland boss and David Unsworth is in line for the Oxford United job, having been given permission by the Toffees to leave his Under-23 role.