Manchester United have made Everton’s John Stones and Romelu Lukaku their top targets in January, Arsenal are confident of signing Mohamed Elneny, while Chelsea have again been linked to Paul Pogba, according to the New Year’s Day papers.
UNITED PLAN DOUBLE £90M EVERTON SWOOP
Manchester United are planning to shake off their December blues to sanctioning another expensive recruitment drive – with up to three ‘big-name’ arrivals coming in at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal’s side – who go into Saturday’s match against Swansea having failed to win in their last eight games – will make the transfer splurge, with Everton players John Stones and Romelu Lukaku, their two top targets.
Van Gaal admitted in his press conference on Thursday there is “no magic” way to improve United’s fortunes, but there is an acceptance at boardroom level that they need to spend in the winter window if they want to ensure they emerge from their current crisis and still challenge for the title this season.
The Daily Mirror claims United intend to pursue several targets in January after recognising their squad needs strengthening with the team currently on an eight-game winless streak, their worst run since 1989-90.
United may have to wait until the summer to land Stones, with Everton determined to resist all attempts to lure him from Goodison Park, just as they did in the summer, when they rebuffed Chelsea’s advances.
But executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the Old Trafford board know they cannot afford not to reinforce this month, with Van Gaal admitting the Reds must not fall further away in the title race.
CHELSEA TO MAKE FRESH BID FOR POGBA
Roman Abramovich is planning to make a £64m bid for Paul Pogba, according to reports in Spain and quoted in Friday’s Daily Express.
The 22-year-old was released by Manchester United in 2012 after Sir Alex Ferguson declared him surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
According to Fichajes, Chelsea’s wealthy Russian owner is looking to advance negotiations for Pogba in a bid to beat other top clubs to his signature.
The France international has previously been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain after his impressive form in Turin.
ARSENAL CONFIDENT OF ELNENY SWOOP
Arsenal are confident of signing Basel’s Mohamed Elneny for £7.3m – even though the Egyptian is struggling to get a work permit.
The 23-year-old Egypt international, who moved to Switzerland in 2013, has already agreed personal terms for his move to the Emirates as cover for the injured Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla.
The Guardian, however, claims the move now hinges on Elneny being granted a work permit, which is complicated by the fact that Egypt have slipped outside of the top 50 in FIFA’s rankings after failing to qualify for the past three editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Under new regulations introduced by the Football Association at the end of last season, non-EEA (European Economic Area) players have to meet a minimum percentage of international matches played for their country over the previous 24 month period, as long as they are in the top 50.
Egypt’s current position of 57 does not meet those requirements, meaning Arsenal are likely to face an appeal. But with Elneny having featured in every competitive match for the Pharaohs over the past two years, they are expected to be granted special dispensation to sign him.
A versatile central midfielder who can play in the holding role and also in a more advanced position, Elneny has scored two goals in 16 league appearances for Basel this season.
Asked on Wednesday whether a deal was close, the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, said: “You know more than me. Sadly we cannot announce anything at the moment. Nothing has been concluded.”
AND THE REST
- Watford hotshot Odion Ighalo has told Atletico Madrid: “I want to stay in the Premier League.” Ighalo, who has 14 goals this season, is a £12m target for the Spanish side (The Sun)
- Manchester United stars believe Diego Simeone will be their new boss (The Sun)
- Ajax manager Frank De Boer has admitted he would be interested in holding talks about the Swansea vacancy. The Dutchman has more than a year to run on his contract in Amsterdam (Daily Mail)
- Arsene Wenger has hinted Arsenal will offer Jack Wilshere a new contract despite the midfielder not kicking a ball in anger this season (Daily Mail)
- Middlesbrough are keen on Fulham striker Ross McCormack (Daily Mail)
- Bournemouth are interested in Patrick Bamford after the Chelsea striker had his loan at Crystal Palace cut short (Daily Mail)
- Schalke have told Manchester City that they don’t have enough money to buy Leroy Sane. Liverpool were rebuffed in an approach for the 19-year-old Germany international last summer (Daily Mail)
- Jose Mourinho’s job options look likely to reduce with Paris Saint Germain to offer Laurent Blanc a new contract (Daily Mail)
- Louis van Gaal has taken young striker Will Keane back from his loan spell at Preston as he tries to find a solution to Manchester United’s goal drought (Daily Mirror)
- West Ham are keen to sign Juventus and Italy striker Simone Zaza. The Hammers tried to bring him in on loan in the summer (Daily Mirror)
- Watford wideman Valon Behrami is a target for Serie A side Udinese (Daily Mirror)
- Cardiff City keeper David Marshall has emerged as a target for Everton (Daily Mirror)
- Norwich are returning for York starlet Ben Godfrey after having an initial bid rejected (Daily Mirror)
- Charlie Austin has moved to the top of Alan Pardew’s New Year hitlist as injuries bite into his Premier League top five push (Daily Express)
- Arsene Wenger may allow David Ospina to leave Arsenal in the January transfer window (Daily Express)
- Claudio Ranieri has insisted Leicester will not be selling Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in the January transfer window (Daily Telegraph)
- Peter Crouch is set to stay at Stoke City after manager Mark Hughes indicated that he will not be sold during the January window (Daily Telegraph)
- Manchester City have made Leroy Sané, the highly rated 19-year-old Schalke forward, a prime transfer target but would hope to pay less than the £32m the German club are holding out for (The Guardian)
- Mario Balotelli has to do ‘twice as much’ as other players because he is black, claims agent Mino Raiola (Daily Record)
- Rangers new signing Harry Forrester is eager to show what he can do and earn a longer deal after signing an initial six-month contract for his old boss Mark Warburton (Daily Record)