It’s busy-busy at Manchester United, as José Mourinho busies himself undoing the achievements of his predecessors. Ruthlessly, he has decided that the squad can do without the pace of Daley Blind, the robustness of Bastian Schweinsteiger, the jeans of Marcos Rojo and the hugs of Juan Mata, putting all four up for sale; Mata’s blog is now an early favourite for a 2017 Pulitzer.
And, it seems, Everton have joined the race for the latter’s services; Mata himself was easily shrugged aside by the starting gun. Breathing down their necks are Villarreal, who have generously agreed to take the player on loan.
United are still seeking players too – in particular Paul Pogba. Mino Raiola, his agent and star of this transfer window so far, has suggested that an increased salary might be enough to see him stay at Juventus, a move that shows all the classic signs of Ed Woodward attempting to play business. “£100m for Pogba, agreed, sorted, done, shake. Now, how about you take £80m instead. Really? Why not? Aw! Pleeeeeease?”
Meanwhile, across Manchester, Pep Guardiola seeks to bolster his reputation as the finest coach on the planet by spending big on yet another player: Lucas Hernández of Atlético Madrid. A centre-back who made 16 appearances last season – coincidentally, the number of languages spoken by Vincent Kompany – the buy-out clause in his contract is set at a mere £20m.
Nor will Guardiola stop there – reports also suggest that he has secured the services of Marlos Moreno, Atlético Nacional’s 19-year-old winger. Beating off competition from United and Benfica, the deal was overseen by the head of City’s South American scouting wing, Joan Patsy, who has proved himself to be no pushover whatsoever. The player will spend the next season on loan at Deportivo La Coruña before moving to Eastlands thereafter; the price is “a structured £8.23m deal”. Of course it is.
Elsewhere, Chelsea are still seeking reinforcements, and Lazio’s Felipe Anderson has changed agents. This, of course, signifies his desire to move to a particular club with particular “links”; it’s a beautiful thing.
And they also plan to buy Barcelona’s Arda Turan, who has, in an entirely unpredictable turn of events, spent the last year being ineligible and then being not selected. The club are certain that such bloody-minded desire will translate well to the Premier League, and as such, Arsenal are also interested.
Also intended to reinforce Chelsea’s midfield is João Mário, precisely the sort of physically limited touch player loved by Antonio Conte. The price, say Sporting Lisbon, is €40m – by the time the deal is done, this will convert to roughly £56,320m.
And finally, across London, David Gold has revealed that West Ham “need to keep their best players” and “don’t welcome” any interest in Dimitri Payet. As such, they “won’t listen to offers less than £50m”, in case anyone was wondering, just out of passing interest, hypothetically speaking.