Having seen the ostentatious overtures Internazionale are making towards his football team’s manager, Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, plans to hand his Italian owner a £200m war-chest and tell him to head up football’s metaphorical West End and buy himself “sumfink nice”. The Telegraph reports that Conte will immediately attempt to spend 25% of the money on the Monaco midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko, while the striker Michy Batshuayi may also be offered in part-exchange for the 22-year-old, who is also wanted by Manchester United.
Chelsea are also eager to hold on to Eden Hazard and will offer him £300,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge, but will have to fend off well-documented overtures from Real Madrid, who seem determined to get their grubby mitts on the Belgian playmaker. In other news, Chelsea also want Hazard’s compatriot, the Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, the Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the moon in a pail of water.
An almost certain inability to offer new recruits the opportunity to play Champions League football won’t stop Arsenal lining up a £20m bid for the Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina. A Liverpool target during his days with Marseille, the Gabon international is believed to be open to a move to the Emirates after failing to nail down a regular starting spot since choosing Turin over Merseyside in 2015. With the Arsenal right-back Héctor Bellerín expected to return to his former seat of learning in Barcelona, the Gunners are also training their cross-hairs on Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Danilo.
Speculation abounds that David De Gea has already played his last game for Manchester United and will head to Real Madrid come season’s end. Despite having the more-than-capable Argentina international Sergio Romero on their books, United will ramp up their interest in Atlético Madrid’s Slovenian stopper Jan Oblak should De Gea leave Old Trafford. Benfica’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson is also a potential United target.
West Ham and Bournemouth are both interested in springing Jermain Defoe from Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, but despite scoring only once for the club since the beginning of February, rumour has it the England international striker is looking for £100,000 per week and a £6m signing on fee. Sam Allardyce would like to bring the 34-year-old to his Crystal Palace rest home for senior citizens, where Manchester City full-backs Gaël Clichy and Bacary Sagna will be offered all the Werther’s Original toffees and Ovaltine they can suck and spill.
The Fulham full-back Ryan Sessegnon turned 17 only yesterday but has long been hailed as one of the brightest young talents in English football. Now that his side have failed to reach the Championship play-off final he could be Liverpool-bound. With his interest in Hull City’s Andy Robertson reported to have cooled, Jürgen Klopp has identified the £10m-rated teenager, who played 30 times for the Cottagers this season despite his tender years, as his No1 target but will have to fend off interest from Tottenham Hotspur if he is to land the youngster.
Following his emotional send-off from Manchester City earlier this week, the Argentinian full-back Pablo Zabaleta may be offered a new home by West Ham United. Zabaleta’s young team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho is also being linked with a move to the Hammers, who would have to pay £20m for the striker. Iheanacho’s Spanish counterpart and fellow City substitute Nolito has also been deemed surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has also decided a life on the substitutes’ bench is no life at all and will seek a move from the Emirates this summer unless he is guaranteed more first-team football. The scramble for places in France’s World Cup squad will be ridiculously unseemly next summer and the Gallic goal-getter wants assurances he’ll get plenty of time to impress Didier Deschamps, or else he’ll agitate for a move to pastures new.
And finally, having finished the season with 27 goals for Leeds United, Kiwi striker Chris Wood is a man in big demand. West Ham, Stoke, Swansea and goal-shy Southampton are forming a disorderly queue.