Football rumours from the media
The final countdown.
What the papers say
With hours until deadline Manchester United have a vanishing opportunity for a big name transfer, with one of the club’s own stars warning failing to act could cost the Reds a Premier League title. Thursday’s back pages are dominated by reports that suggest the transfer season will likely have a far from perfect ending at Old Trafford, marred by unfulfilled hopes for a new star defender and acrimony over Paul Pogba’s status at the club.
Several papers lead with Alexis Sanchez’s comments that “at United we have to sign big players, with experience”. But Leicester’s £65million asking price for Harry Maguire and Spurs’ £50million-plus tag for Toby Alderweireld have blocked deals, while injury concerns limited interest in Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, The Times reports. According to Sky Sports the Foxes have turned down two bids by United for Maguire, the second for £60million, although he is hopeful an agreement will be reached. However the Daily Mail said on Wednesday night that United were attempting a last-gasp grab of Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, although the Blues are reluctant to sell to a rival.
The Times says Jose Mourinho is furious with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, and increasingly concerned over the effect he is having at the club. His France international client has been linked with moves to Barcelona and Juventus, with reports suggesting a massive £200,000-a-week pay rise as a result. Other claims in the media suggested Pogba would demand a huge uplift in his United salary to stay. Pogba has been attending training since returning from holiday on Monday and United are said to have strongly denied he is for sale.
Time is quickly running out for Jack Grealish’s dreams of Champions League football to be made reality. Aston Villa’s star playmaker was reportedly set for a move to English football’s top flight, but suitors Tottenham have stalled over the fee. The Daily Mirror says the 22-year-old was promised he would be sold after Villa were plunged into a financial quagmire when their promotion bid failed, but a cash injection by new owners changed the club’s fortunes – and possibly his. Spurs are said to have made two bids, the last worth £25million, but they have been rejected. The Daily Telegraph says Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been made aware that they will have to spend at least £30million to even have any chance of negotiating a sale. The paper says Vila’s new owners, the Egyptian businessman Nassef Sawiris and American Wes Edens, will have to weigh up the potential damage to Grealish’s game if he is prevented from moving up. Meanwhile Tottenham are yet to make a signing this summer and face starting at their £2billion new stadium without a single new player.
After spending a world record fee on new keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea could accept a last-minute offer for Danny Drinkwater, according to reports. Despite only arriving at Stamford Bridge from Leicester City on deadline day a year ago – for a reported £35million – he has not seen a great deal of play. With 12 Premier League appearances – only five starting – the midfielder scored once and did not assist in any. The Independent says Maurizio Sarri’s overhaul of the squad, particularly in midfield, will not leave room for Drinkwater. One club tipped to make a swoop is… Leicester.
Despite already spending more than £70million this summer Arsenal are reported to be considering one more buy – but it could them £27million. According to the Evening Standard the Gunners are weighing up a last-gasp move for Besiktas defender Domagoj Vida, who starred in Croatia’s World Cup final bid. Such a move would also require a late sale, the paper says, with the club open to offers for Danny Wellbeck. Unai Emery is reported to have told the England player he will not see regular play this season, while the forward is said to be seeking a pay rise.
Social media round-up
Danny Drinkwater up for grabs tomorrow. A number of clubs very interested (inc West Ham) and Chelsea could now be ready to let him go out on loan now that they have Kovacic. Loan fee around £2-3m.@MirrorFootball— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) August 8, 2018
Players to watch
Leander Dendoncker: Wolves are on the verge of signing Anderlecht’s £12million-rated midfielder, 23, BBC Sport reports.
Ousmane Dembele: Arsenal are considering a £10million loan for Barcelona’s 21-year-old France forward, according to Football London.
Andre Gomes: Everton could swoop for Barcelona’s 25-year-old Portugal midfielder, the Daily Mail reports.