Five players are on Jose Mourinho’s radar as Tottenham plot a defensive overhaul, while Man Utd and Chelsea target Dries Mertens looks increasingly likely to quit Napoli, according to Tuesday’s Paper Talk.
MOURINHO PLOTS DEFENSIVE OVERHAUL
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham revolution will start at the back this summer, with the Spurs chief planning to add £120m of defensive talent to his ranks.
Mourinho is said to have targeted Benfica’s Portugal international Ruben Dias as one of the top class centre-backs he wants – and Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake is another target.
Tottenham are also interested in Norwich’s 20-year-old full-back Max Aarons and will make a £15million move in the summer – and Nice’s Youcef Atal, at 24 is another who could figure at around £25m. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell is also being monitored, as reported in the Daily Express.
With Toby Alderweireld now 30, and Jan Vertonghen almost certain to leave on a free this summer, Mourinho wants more youth in his side – adding to the likes of Japhet Tanganga and Ryan Sessegnon already at the club.
Liverpool and Manchester City are both also interested in Dias, who has 16 caps for his country at the age of 22 – but the centre-back signed new deal with Benfica in November which included a buy out clause of around £80m which may prove a stumbling block for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Ake would be more affordable but would still not come cheap, while Chelsea have first refusal on their former player.
But two new full-backs appears to be the most glaring need for Mourinho, and the potential arrival of Aarons, Atal or Chilwell would certainly be an upgrade on what they already have.
AND THE REST
Juventus will give Pep Guardiola whatever it takes to persuade the Manchester City boss to join them next summer (The Sun)
Manchester City and West Ham could be forced to end their winter break early to play their postponed Premier League game (Daily Mirror)
Raheem Sterling is confident of recovering from a hamstring injury in time for Manchester City’s Champions League game against Real Madrid on February 26 (Daily Mirror)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan will return to Arsenal this summer unless the Gunners dramatically reduce their £20m asking price. He is currently on loan with Roma (The Sun)
Chelsea are winning the race for Hartlepool’s giant young England youth keeper Brad Young (The Sun)
Liverpool chairman Tom Werner was at a secret meeting to discuss adding more games to the club’s calendar just days before Jurgen Klopp complained about fixture congestion (The Sun)
Real Zaragoza striker Luis Suarez is being considered by Barcelona as a possible emergency signing to ease their injury crisis but parent club Watford are set to prevent any possible transfer (The Sun)
Liverpool have been impressed with young full-back Neco Williams and are set to hand him a new contract (Daily Express)
Leicester want to sign Ryan Bennett permanently – even though he has yet to play a competitive game for the club after joining them on loan from Wolves on Deadline Day in January (Daily Express)
Dries Mertens is increasingly likely to move away from Napoli on a free transfer this summer, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all vying for his signature (Daily Mail)
Manchester United are ready to introduce safe standing at Old Trafford after requesting to install rail seating before the end of the season (Daily Mail)
Arsenal are keeping an eye on Le Havre midfielder Pape Gueye ahead of a possible summer move (Daily Mail)
Aston Villa hope midfielder John McGinn will return for the Premier League game at Newcastle on March 21 (Daily Mail)
Southampton striker Shane Long is in talks over a new one-year contract. His current deal expires in the summer (Daily Star)
Abdoulaye Doucoure says he will leave Watford this summer with the club’s blessing (Daily Star)
Dele Alli has been accused of “harmful and dangerous racism” by a leading anti-discrimination campaigner as the Football Association began disciplinary action against him for a controversial Snapchat video (Daily Telegraph)
Aston Villa came second only to Real Madrid in a list of the biggest spending deficits across Europe and beyond over the past two transfer windows (Daily Telegraph)
Premier League rivals of Liverpool and Manchester United are understood to be concerned by claims the two clubs had an “unofficial veto” of the recruitment process for the top tier’s new chief executive (Daily Telegraph)
Premier League clubs may face legal action from the English Football League if they try to drop out of the Carabao Cup due to the planned expansion of the Champions League (The Times)