Well – two of the football world’s worst kept secrets have seen the light of day after it has been revealed that Pellegrini is having talks with City and Mourinho will rejoin Chelsea. In honesty - I would have found it much funnier if Chelsea threw a massive curveball into the mix by appointing Tony Pulis and then saying to the media “we told you not to believe the reports”. But alas I shall have no such amusement.
In other news - Monaco have continued their mocking of Financial Fair Play by completing the signing of Falcao for £50m - thus making the first move in the great striker swapsie move around of 2013 (Bendtner will be excited!) and Mario Gomez is Napoli’s rumoured replacement target for Edison Cavani should a club funded by oil decided to shell out £54m on him. But what else is being talked about?
The only way this story is going to go away is if Rooney comes out that he is staying. Otherwise rumours will persist – and sound bites like this from Wenger won’t help matters. Of course Arsenal are interested in Rooney – most of the top clubs in the world would be. Arsenal could afford his fee as well. The problem comes when wages are mentioned. Arsenal could afford his wages – but the consequence of that would be that other members of the squad would want parity – and that is something that Arsenal can’t risk doing – or afford.
Jesus Navas has long been linked with a move to the Premiership although a move has never appeared. A large part of the reason for that though could well be the fact that Navas gets homesick. Has he beaten that problem? It would appear so as earlier this week he has been quoted as saying that City are a team he likes and Sevilla are planning for his departure. In addition - the Spanish contingent already at the club – could certainly go a long way to helping him settle in.
Navas has obviously been someone that has been earmarked by Pellegrini prior to him coming in- but with all of the attacking talent already at the club it will be interesting to see how Navas fits in. Especially if Pellegrini chooses to further shuffle his pack by bringing in Isco as well (in actual fact if it comes down to an either or scenario – Id be surprised if Navas came out on top). This transfer is probably more a matter of “when” rather than “if” – with the BBC confirming last night a fee had been agreed between the two clubs.
Inter have scouted Tom Ince and now they are apparently signing him (Because every player that a club scouts ends up signing for them). The story gets slightly more credit due to the Ince Inter connection – but Inter have much bigger things to worry about than signing Ince…like securing some players who can help them next season. Ince is a great prospect, but he will be too expensive for Inter just to take a punt on and they have higher priorities.
The Mirror reported earlier in the week that Newcastle are willing to pay £10m for Derby’s starlet Will Hughes to then loan him back next season. At the age of 18, Hughes is probably the next biggest English prospect – so before I say anything else it’s worth remembering that English young players have a premium. But would Newcastle spend £10m on a prospect? The top 4 clubs have all been linked as well – so the competition for his signature will be fierce and I think he will leave this summer. Interestingly though – I don’t think it will be for Newcastle or even for one of the top 4. I think Hughes will end up with his namesake Hughes at Stoke (or someone like that) in a new youthful team that play some form of more attractive football than the Pulis version. I have no evidence to back that claim up – and the chances are that I will be every part of wrong – but that is my feeling.
David Luiz had some stand out moments for Chelsea last year - but he mainly won plaudits for his goal scoring ability and for some of his midfield performances. When played in defence however - Luiz found himself producing some Jekyll and Hyde performances (although not as many as the previous season) – and that is the basis of the story linking him with a move away from the club. Apparently Mourinho doesn’t think that Luiz will fit into his more rigid style of play (due to the fact that he’s a bit of a loose cannon) and wants the money generated from his sale (reported to be around £30m) to boost his transfer budget. I can see that viewpoint – but my main argument comes from the other side. Barcelona are apparently looking at Luiz to shore up their defence? To be part of a disciplined backline? I’d question that logic (and also question whether Barcelona could finance moves for Neymar and Luiz in the same window given some financial talk from Barcelona in the past – or maybe I’ve been caught in a smokescreen).
Mourinho could help mould Luiz into a world class defender (and before anyone argues with me by saying that he already is – he isn’t) but as a couple of Chelsea fans have said to me today – if it’s a choice of Mourinho or Luiz – Mourinho wins every time. I’m sceptical as to whether this will happen this summer (it will at some point) however there is talk that this move could have been talked about (and maybe even agreed) a while ago.
image: © Ben Sutherland