Manchester United are plotting a £90million triple swoop on Bayer Leverkusen, Man City discussed the signing of two players during their Amsterdam meeting with Pep Guardiola, while Arsenal and Spurs will battle Barcelona for a young Rennes striker, according to Wednesday’s papers.
UNITED PLOT £90m MOVE FOR THREE LEVERKUSEN STARS
Manchester United are interested in signing three Bayer Leverkusen players, including defender Omer Toprak, 26, midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, 22, and forward Karim Bellarabi, 25.
According to German publication, Bild, United have sent scouts to watch the trio with a summer raid for the trio on the agenda.
Top of their wishlist is centre-half Toprak, who has been compared to former United favourite Nemanja Vidic. The Turkey defender is thought to be emerging as the club’s top defensive target this summer, but is likely to not come cheap with a transfer fee of approaching £28million being suggested.
In total,Toprak has played 159 times in all competitions since joining the Bundesliga club in 2011 and has also generated interest from Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, but he is contracted until 2018.
The interest in fellow Turk Calhanoglu is nothing new either, and the player – often compared to Mesut Ozil – has been linked with United in the past. An attacking midfielder, who is known as something of a set-piece specialist, is also rated in the £30m bracket.
Forward Bellarabi, meanwhile, has not previously been linked with United, but has been mentioned as a possible target for Liverpool, Arsenal and Inter Milan in the past. The German, capable of playing on the left or right of an attacking three, has been earning rave reviews in Germany this season and is also rated in the £30million bracket.
It’s unlikely United will sign all three – and given the choice of one would likely plump for Toprak – though would have to spend up to £90million to land all three players.
SPURS RIVAL ARSENAL AND BARCA FOR (ANOTHER) DEMBELE
Tottenham and Arsenal are reportedly keen on Rennes starlet Ousmane Dembele and are ready to fight Barcelona for the Frenchman’s signature.
The teen forward, who can also play as a number 10, only made his professional debut in November but is already one of the most in-demand young players in European football after scoring nine goals in just 17 Ligue 1 games. The Daily Express claims Barcelona look most likely to sign him.
The 18-year-old Dembele expressed a desire to leave the club last June due to a lack of first-team chances, but eventually committed to a three-year contract with Rennes in October after being convinced to sign a professional deal by Mikael Silvestre, the former Arsenal defender who is now an executive at the Brittany club, and made his debut a month later.
The Daily Mirror, however, claims Arsenal have been long aware of the youth international’s talent, but have reportedly been so impressed by the teenager’s first-team impact that Arsene Wenger’s network of French contacts have recommended that chief scout Steve Rowley makes the trip across the channel to see Dembele first-hand.
But The Sun also claim the player is on Tottenham’s radar and have sent scouts to monitor the £7million-rated forward. Spurs, of course already have Mousa Dembele in their title-chasing team and also failed in a bid to sign Fulham forward Moussa Dembele in January.
The prospect of three Dembeles at Spurs might get pretty confusing indeed!
CITY SUMMIT MEETING DISCUSSED GUNDOGAN & OX DEALS
Ilkay Gundogan’s recruitment was top of the agenda in Manchester City’s transfer summit in Amsterdam on Monday.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is one of the most wanted players in the world with the likes of City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus all chasing his signature. There’s also rival interest from the Premier League, with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United heavily linked to the player in the past.
But the Daily Mirror claims that the player’s agent and uncle, Ilhan Gundogan, met Pep Guardiola, City’s manager-in-waiting, and Txiki Begiristain, the club’s director of football, at the Conservatorium Hotel in the Dutch city on Monday.
The Times, meanwhile, claims Guardiola also wants to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he takes over in the summer and intends to play him on the right wing with Raheem Sterling on the left.
Meanwhile, the Mirror also claims City are already looking at replacements for Guardiola – if the Spaniard walks away at the end of his contract in 2019. Forward planning at its very best….
AND THE REST
Borussia Dortmund have told Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea that Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is not for sale (The Sun)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is convinced he will be a Manchester United player in the summer (The Sun)
FC Midtjylland’s Pione Sisto has emerged as a transfer target for Leicester and West Ham after impressive displays against Manchester United in the Europa League (The Sun)
Leicester have slapped a £30m buy-out clause on striker Jamie Vardy as the club look forward to playing in the Champions League next season (The Sun)
Louis van Gaal’s coaching staff are convinced he will see out his full term at Manchester United, even if the club fail to win a Champions League place (Daily Mirror)
Everton target Steve Mandanda is refusing to commit his future to Marseille (Daily Mirror)
Manchester City will give £28m flop Wilfried Bony the boot this summer (Daily Star)
West Ham are keen on signing Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye (Daily Star)
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez been targeted by Newcastle to replace Steve McClaren as boss (Daily Mirror)
Manchester United and Liverpool are both reportedly interested in a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi (Daily Express)
PSG and three unnamed Chinese Super League clubs are interested in Chelsea winger Willian (Daily Express)
Wayne Rooney was offered a mind-blowing nine-figure deal to swap his career in England for a new life in China (Daily Mail)
Luke Shaw could return to the Manchester United squad before the end of the season and has his eyes on Euro 2016 as he continues his recovery (Daily Mail)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to turn down a switch to a rival London club out of respect to Arsenal (Daily Mail)
Eden Hazard has no interest in moving to PSG this summer as he intends to repay the faith shown to him by Chelsea (Le Parisien)
Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante, 24, has been called up to the provisional France squad for the upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Russia (Le Parisien)
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill – who led the nation to Euro 2016 – has the capabilities to be a Premier League manager (Belfast Telegraph)