Mauricio Pochettino has big plans for Chelsea and wants them to sign a world-class forward this summer, but Manchester United are threatening to hijack the move, Barcelona have requested the best player at Arsenal in a swap deal for one of their wingers, while Monday’s Euro Paper Talk claims there is ‘alarm’ brewing at Real Madrid as one of their ‘essential’ stars may miss the Manchester City clash on Wednesday.
CHELSEA, MAN UTD BATTLE FOR SERIE A MAN
Pochettino has instructed Chelsea to get in the mix for Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, although Man Utd are in pole position to sign him in what could be a record Premier League transfer, according to reports.
On Saturday, it emerged Chelsea had reached a full agreement with Pochettino as the Argentine prepares to take over at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Pochettino has a big job on his hands to revamp the team, as a host of squad outcasts need offloading. But arguably the priority for the Blues is to sign a new centre-forward.
While Kai Havertz and Joao Felix are both good attackers in their own right, neither is a true striker. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also in the squad but has looked past his best in a Chelsea shirt and is set to be sold to Barcelona ahead of next season.
These problems have resulted in Chelsea scoring just 36 goals in the Premier League this campaign. Only Wolves, Everton and Southampton have managed to find the back of the net less times.
Osimhen would be a brilliant solution for Chelsea. The Nigerian has been in stunning form this term, registering 23 goals in 29 matches to help Napoli win their first Serie A crown since the days of Diego Maradona.
Osimhen also chipped in with five goals in six Champions League games as Napoli reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
As per Italian newspaper Il Mattino (via Football Italia), Pochettino has decided on Osimhen as his dream next striker. The Argentine even sent two Chelsea scouts to watch the star in action against Monza on Sunday.
Red Devils to beat Pochettino to Victor Osimhen
Frustratingly for both Osimhen and Chelsea, he was not at his brilliant best as he failed to score in a 2-0 defeat for Napoli.
Despite this, Chelsea will be fully aware of Osimhen’s ability following his exceptional campaign under Luciano Spalletti. And Il Mattino report that Chelsea are gearing up for a ‘bidding war’ this summer to try and hand Pochettino the unstoppable 24-year-old.
But Chelsea look set to lose out to Premier League rivals Man Utd. The report names Erik ten Hag’s side as leading the charge for Osimhen, which means Pochettino will have to look elsewhere for his new number nine. Man Utd have previously been tipped to drop their interest in Osimhen and prioritise Harry Kane, but it seems those reports were wide of the mark.
One of the main reasons Man Utd are poised to beat Chelsea to this huge transfer is their league position. While Chelsea are languishing in 11th place and have no chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, Man Utd occupy fourth spot and are in a good position to book their spot in the competition.
Osimhen has torn most defences apart this season, including in the Champions League. Therefore, he will want to remain playing in the UCL if he is to leave Naples.
The owner of Napoli, Aurelio de Laurentiis, is known to be a tough negotiator. This means Osimhen will not be arriving at Old Trafford on the cheap.
De Laurentiis has reportedly set Osimhen’s price tag at a whopping €150million, which currently works out at around £131m. That is clearly a huge sum of money for one player, and it would break Enzo Fernandez’s £107m Prem transfer record.
However, if Man Utd truly have ambitions of matching Manchester City and Arsenal, then this is the sort of transfer they must make. Just like Chelsea, the Red Devils are in need of a new attacker to lead their forward line.
Osimhen would likely thrive alongside the likes of Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Antony.
Chelsea will get involved in the bidding for the goalscorer, but their lack of Champions League football will probably hold them back.
ARSENAL TALISMAN LINKED WITH SHOCK EXIT
Barcelona have asked that Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard, who has arguably been Mikel Arteta’s best player this season, be included in a swap deal for winger Ansu Fati. (CaughtOffside)
Gavi has called Barca the ‘club of my dreams’ following their La Liga title win, with the midfielder ready to reject a transfer to Chelsea. (FCB TV)
Real Madrid are unlikely to match the €40m (£35m) release clause in Gabri Veiga’s contract, setting up the possibility of him moving to England. Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal are among his potential suitors. (Cope)
Brentford are on the verge of signing Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken from Freiburg. The 29-year-old could replace David Raya, who has revealed he will not be penning a new deal with the Bees. (Bild)
Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris will leave the club this summer following 11 years in North London. His contract expires next year but Spurs will sell him amid interest from Saudi Arabian clubs. (L’Equipe)
Aston Villa have ‘concrete interest’ in snaring Giovani Lo Celso from Spurs. Lo Celso, who has spent the season on loan at Villarreal, would be ‘keen’ on the move and Unai Emery is ‘pushing’ for him to join. (Fabrizio Romano)
MAN CITY LEARN OF REAL MADRID CONCERN
There is ‘alarm’ at Real Madrid as Carlo Ancelotti is worried ‘essential’ player Eduardo Camavinga will miss the Champions League semi-final second leg against Man City later this week. Camavinga picked up a knock against Getafe on Saturday and had to be taken off in the 84th minute. (AS)
Paris Saint-Germain are considering whether to keep midfielder Marco Verratti as they plot a squad overhaul this summer. Verratti was recently tipped to join Man Utd in a major move. (Le Parisien)
Spurs are trying to obtain a discount on their permanent deal for attacker Dejan Kulusevski. Currently, they are expected to pay Juventus €35m (£30m) for the Swede. (Gazzetta dello Sport)
Barca president Joan Laporta has promised fans he will speak with Lionel Messi’s camp to try and set up an historic return for the World Cup winner. (various)
The ‘decisive factor’ in the chase for Napoli defender Kim Min-jae will be where the player wants to go next. Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool are all battling for the dominant centre-back. (Corriere dello Sport)
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed the signing of Spanish left-back Alejandro Grimaldo from Benfica. He will move on a free transfer after running down his Benfica contract. (various)
MATEU ALEMANY PROVIDES UPDATE ON VILLA MOVE
Departing Barca director of football Mateu Alemany has revealed he must finish off all ‘pending operations’ in Spain before he can link up with Villa. (Catalunya Radio)
Torino must decide whether to sign loanee Nikola Vlasic permanently from West Ham before June 1. (La Stampa)
After previously being linked with Ansu Fati, Wolves have now been backed to raid Barca for midfielder Nico Gonzalez. (Mundo Deportivo)
A new candidate for the Spurs head coach job has emerged in the form of Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi. (La Repubblica)
Dortmund have confirmed their intention to tie 34-year-old centre-half Mats Hummels down to a new contract. The two parties have already held positive talks about fresh terms. (Sky Germany)