Manchester United could move for Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, while Liverpool’s hopes of landing one of their top transfer targets have suffered a blow, according to Wednesday morning’s transfer gossip.
MOURINHO COULD MAKE RONALDO AND BENZEMA MOVES
Manchester United will bring Cristiano Ronaldo, 31, back to Old Trafford if they meet Real Madrid’s £80m asking price, according to The Sun.
And once again, key to the deal and to Manchester United’s hopes of pushing the deal through, is agent Jorge Mendes, who is currently in talks with the club about the appointment of another of his clients, Jose Mourinho.
Now he has star client Mourinho in position at United he can grease the wheel of business and make himself some serious cash.
He is also Ronaldo’s agent and could make the deal happen as long as United want to go through with it.
Mourinho and Mendes have held talks with Red Devils chief executive Ed Woodward and it is believed they have, in addition to Mourinho’s contract, also discussed what transfer targets United will go after.
It is likely Ronaldo’s name came up but whether United would want to pay £80m for a 31-year-old remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, The Independent claims Mourinho has identified Karim Benzema as a priority target for Manchester United – and plans to play him up top alongside either Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Marcus Rashford in a two-man attack.
And with Mourinho believing that United need to recruit two forwards to bolster his attacking options with captain Wayne Rooney now favouring a move into midfield, Real Madrid striker Benzema has emerged as his top target, ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Although the 28-year-old has previously accused Mourinho of being overly-critical of his performances during their three years together at Real, Benzema has since admitted that Mourinho’s treatment made him a better player.
“Mourinho criticised me,” Benzema said. “But it was his way of making me react. At the start, it hurt me, but I am used to it now.”
Benzema, who rejected a move to United in the summer of 2009 in order to sign for Real, scored 79 goals in 150 appearances under Mourinho and was regarded as a key figure by the manager during his spell at the Bernabeu.
But while United are prepared to back Mourinho with substantial funds to recruit any player he identifies this summer, senior figures at Old Trafford are aware of the difficulties they face in completing a deal for Benzema.
The former Olympique Lyonnais forward is currently negotiating a new deal at Real that would see him extend his £150,000-a-week contract until 2020 and there is also the issue of the player facing a potential court case in France after being charged with conspiracy to blackmail last November over an alleged attempt to extort money from Lyon winger Mathieu Valbuena using a sex tape. Benzema denies the charge.
United are also aware that Benzema has consistently resisted offers to move to the Premier League, with Arsenal also failing to tempt him from Madrid to England.
LIVERPOOL SET TO MISS OUT ON MIDFIELDER
Liverpool face competition from Borussia Dortmund and Roma in their efforts to sign Poland international midfielder Piotr Zielinski from Udinese.
The Poland midfielder was reported to be on the brink of a move to the Reds last week, but his agent now claims a transfer to Anfield is in danger of collapsing – and the player could find himself joining either Roma or Dortmund.
Zielinski, 22, was snapped up by Udinese back in 2011, but has spent the last two campaigns on loan with Serie A rivals Empoli.
His impressive form in Serie A had seen him linked with a £10million switch to Liverpool this summer, but now his agent Bartolomiej Bolek has explained the delay.
Bolek has told Forza Roma that the move to Liverpool is at risk and could collapse, and suggested it was ‘difficult’ to say whether the playmaker would end up at Roma, as the player is now focusing his attentions on Poland’s Euro 2016 campaign.
“Is the Liverpool move at risk? Yes, maybe,” said Bolek. “It’s difficult to say. At the moment the lad is totally concentrated on the Euros,” he added when asked about a move to Roma.
AND THE REST
Pep Guardiola is close to making Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan his first recruit at Manchester City (The Sun)
Manchester United face a battle to sign Everton defender John Stones, with Manchester City and Barcelona the favourites to sign the 21-year-old England international (Daily Telegraph)
Chelsea’s hopes of signing long-term target Koke this summer look to be over. The Spain midfielder, 24, says he has no intention of leaving Atletico Madrid (London Evening Standard)
Liverpool midfielder Sergi Canos, 19, could leave the club for £4m after reaching a stalemate over a new contract (Liverpool Echo)
Sven-Goran Eriksson has urged England manager Roy Hodgson to gamble on ‘wildcard’ Marcus Rashford in his Euro 2016 squad (The Sun)
Ryan Giggs will be offered the job as Manchester United’s U21 manager when Jose Mourinho takes over at Old Trafford (The Sun)
Ronald Koeman will confirm his Southampton future by signing a new contract – after changing agents (The Sun)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could pocket an astonishing £400,000 per week if he decides to join Manchester United, while Jose Mourinho has urged David de Gea to stay at the club (The Sun)
Relegated Newcastle have offered defender Kevin Mbabu, 21, a new two-year contract after impressive performances in the first team (Newcastle Chronicle)
Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin hopes striker Andre Ayew, 26, will stay at the club despite continued talk of a summer move away (South Wales Evening Post)
Manchester United and Chelsea target Edinson Cavani is going to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, according to his agent (The Sun)
Crystal Palace have been linked with moves for defender Davide Santon, 25, midfielder Cheick Tiote, 29 and striker Demba Ba, 31, who all played under manager Alan Pardew at Newcastle (Croydon Advertiser)
Sunderland are weighing up a move for Lyon winger Rachid Ghezzal, 24, who has one year remaining on his contract with the French side (Sunderland Echo)
Everton’s hopes of appointing Ronald Koeman as their next manager appear to be over, with the Dutchman set to sign a new contract at Southampton (Daily Star)
Danny Simpson has pleaded with Leicester stars Jamie Vardy, Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez to stay at the club and attempt a repeat of their incredible Premier League success (Daily Star)
Manchester United spent £10,000 to charter a private jet and fly former manager Louis van Gaal to Portugal straight after his dismissal on Monday (Daily Star)
Goalkeepers Adam Bogdan (in a permanent deal) and Danny Ward (on loan) are expected to leave Liverpool this summer in the wake of Loris Karius’ arrival from Mainz for a fee of £4.7m (Daily Star)
Jose Mourinho’s three-year deal to become Manchester United manager could be worth as much as £30m (Daily Mirror)
Sunderland have entered the race for Scotland midfielder James Morrison, who is out of contract at West Brom (Daily Mirror)
Jose Mourinho’s hopes of signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic appear to have improved, with the Swedish great now saying he favours a free transfer move to Manchester United (The Guardian)
Jose Mourinho is determined to make Zlatan Ibrahimovich his first signing at Old Trafford (Daily Mail)
Juan Mata is keen to resolve his differences with Jose Mourinho should the Portuguese take over as Manchester United manager, but David de Gea could still leave the club this summer (Daily Mail)
Crystal Palace are considering a £7m swoop for West Brom striker Saido Berahino (Daily Mail)
Chelsea are planning a summer swoop for Fenerbahce defender Simon Kjaer, a regular in Denmark’s international side (Daily Express)
Meanwhile, the Blues have told Everton they will not be held to ransom over Romelu Lukaku, with the Toffees demanding £65m for the striker (Daily Express)
Roma could hijack Arsenal’s move for Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, who spent last season on loan in Italy with Inter Milan (Daily Express)
Aston Villa’s new owner Tony Xia is planning to employ Roberto Di Matteo as his manager by the end of the week and sack the club’s entire scouting staff (Daily Telegraph)