Never mind idle gossip, the innocent speculation over potential future happenings, this morning’s Mill can do much better than that: we have exclusively stolen from elsewhere news of something that has already happened. Chelsea have already offered Paris Saint-Germain £55m for Marco Verratti, says the Sun, though the Italian’s current situation sounds quite complicated: he “wants to stay” in Paris, while PSG “are willing to sell”. Specifically, he is happy to remain in Paris so long as his employers improve upon the worryingly meagre £120,000-a-week wages he foolishly agreed to when signing a new five-year deal just last January.
Elsewhere the newly-crowned league champions are also braced for something of an exodus, though mainly of players they either don’t want any more or don’t want quite yet. John Terry is the biggest name on the discard list, with the former Stamford Bridge coach Paul Clement “expected to make contact next week” with the former England captain and thus pit Swansea “head to head with Bournemouth”, according to the Mail, while the Telegraph report that West Brom are in the driving seat. “It is understood Terry is open to the prospect of joining them,” they write, “and has concerns that Bournemouth’s expansive style of play could leave him exposed.” Otherwise Ruben Loftus-Cheek wants to go out on loan, Tammy Abraham will try to replicate this season’s success at Bristol City somewhere else, Kurt Zouma and Ola Aina are available, Michy Batshuayi will be loaned or sold, and while they would prefer to keep Nathan Aké his desire for first-team football may force them to sell.
Eric Dier has added his voice to the growing number of Tottenham defensive players who want to leave the club, reports the Mail, with Kyle Walker and Danny Rose already manoeuvring themselves towards the exit. “The England trio are being targeted by Manchester clubs willing to double their pay packets,” they write, “and all three are said to be keen to go.” Rose may find it hardest to get out of the door, because he needs an operation on his left knee so would have to hop, but the others could double their current £65,000-a-week salaries. Dier, who has been valued at £40m, is on Manchester United’s shopping list and is, we’re told, “expected to make it obvious he wants to leave”, a development that might have worrying consequences in the mind of his “best pal”, Dele Alli.
Across north London, Arsenal are “looking to strengthen the defence, in midfield and their range of attacking options” – so their transfer policy could be reasonably summarised as everyone but goalkeepers – according to the Mirror, and three names upon their midfield shortlist are Lyon’s Corentin Tolisso, who wants to leave the club but might cost more than £30m, Málaga’s Pablo Fornals, and Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, who are respectively 22, 21 and also 21. David Ospina, meanwhile, has announced that he wants to “go to a team where I’ll play regularly” and would “happily go to Turkey if the right offer comes”, so they may need to sign a goalkeeper after all. Which is just as well, as elsewhere in the same paper Arsenal are one of four clubs linked to Stoke’s Jack Butland, along with Chelsea and Manchester’s deadly duo.
Jürgen Klopp thinks he needs five new signings to transform his Liverpool squad into genuine title challengers, writes the Independent, with a forward, a central midfielder, a central defender and at least one left-back needed. RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Naby Keïta could fill the first two vacant slots, while they will do their full-back shopping closer to home, being as they are “confident they can strike a deal” for sought-after Fulham prodigy Ryan Sessegnon – valued at £15m and also wanted by Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City – and Hull’s Andrew Robertson. The Liverpool Echo isn’t sure it agrees, asserting that Sessegnon “remains Liverpool’s top left-back target”, but that though Robertson is also on their shortlist “there are a number of names ahead of him” and the move is thus “unlikely to materialise”, and also that Klopp wants to buy a winger, with Roma’s Mohamed Salah one of those under consideration.
Manchester City are ready to take a £10m hit on Nolito, reports the Manchester Evening News, with the player they bought from Celta Vigo for £13.8m less than a year ago now available for only £3.4m – it’s either that or continue to pay him £100,000 a week for the next four years – and Real Betis first to publicly declare their interest. The Spaniard has played only 42 minutes of league football this calendar year, but the Betis president, Sarra Ferrer, is nevertheless keen: “Would I like to have Nolito? Yes,” he said. “But we have to wait for the new coach to give his opinion.”