What the papers say
Manchester City are ready to turn their back on Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez for good, according to the Mirror. The club bid £60million for the star last month but the deal collapsed and Mahrez has since been absent from the Foxes’ training and matches. Blues boss Pep Guardiola is said to have major concerns at the way Mahrez has dealt with the fall-out and will now look elsewhere, the paper reports.
Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £45million bid for Monaco star Fabinho. The Sun says reports in Italy suggest Jose Mourinho will step-up their pursuit of the 24-year-old wing-back at the end of the season.
Luke Shaw is in line for a new long-term deal with Manchester United, the Mirror reports. The paper says the England full-back appears to have won over Jose Mourinho after a turbulent few years. The 22-year-old has impressed in recent weeks and the club are looking to tie him down on improved terms, it adds.
Liverpool are looking to make another move for Thomas Lemar after he turned down a new contract at Monaco, according to the Independent. The paper says Jurgen Klopp had wanted to bring in the winger this January, but the French side did not want to let him go in the middle of a season. But his unwillingness to sign a new deal at Monaco could open the door for Liverpool to return with a bid in the summer, the paper adds.
Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, who has been touted as a potential replacement for Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, is preparing himself for a move to England, according to the Telegraph. The paper says allies have confirmed that he wants to return to management in the Premier League.
Players to watch
Ainsley Maitland-Neal: Arsenal are in talks with the 20-year-old over a new deal, according to ESPN. The site says the club want to secure his future and reward him for his impressive performances this season with a new long-term contract.
Isco: Three Premier League clubs are said to have made an offer to sign the Real Madrid star. Spanish outlet Diario Gol says the midfielder has attracted the interest of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
The transfer window shut just over a week ago but the rumour mill continues to be feed with fans and clubs alike still yet to lose their appetite for change.
Here, we look at the biggest transfer stories circulating Europe’s media today.
LLORIS TO JOIN POCH AT MADRID
And according to Diario Gol, the Argentine will attempt to bring Spurs No1 Hugo Lloris with him to the Bernabeu.
Ah the old transfer rumour within a rumour. It’s actually refreshing to see Tottenham players other than Harry Kane linked with Madrid and Lloris, regardless of Pochettino’s future, is a logical choice for Los Blancos.
Real are in the market for a new keeper and the France stopper is among the very best in the world.
SHAW SET FOR NEW UNITED DEAL
Manchester United are set to offer Luke Shaw a new deal with the left-back successfully turning his career around under Jose Mourinho.
The Mirror reports the 22-year-old will be offered new terms before the end of the season with the former Southampton left-back’s current contract up in 2019.
A torrid few years at United appear to have come to an end and a new deal would wet the ink on a new chapter for the full back.
After public criticisms from Mourinho, the England international has been back in the first team and his promising performances will be rightly rewarded with his £80,000-a-week contract set to be raised.
The summer is long in the rearview mirror and the winter has come and gone, but no matter the season, the world’s top clubs find a way to burn through their untold riches.
Indeed the biggest spenders shopped at the finest footballing boutiques over the last two windows as the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk all broke records one way or another.
But which 10 teams spent the most dosh out of them all? And which of those big spenders wish they had kept their receipts? Find out below …
10. AS Monaco – €123m
Big acquisitions: Keita Balde (€30m, Lazio), Youri Tielemans (€25m, Anderlecht), Adama Diakhaby (€10m, Stade Rennais)
They’re on this list and still made a €76m profit given Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva’s departures – and that’s not even including Kylian Mbappe’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, as he is technically on loan until the end of the season.
Monaco did not buy a player over the age of 27 and cherry-picked some of the best talents in Europe such as Balde, Tielmans, Diakhaby and now 16-year-old Pietro Pellegri from Genoa. But time will tell whether they can develop and match the vintage side of 2016/17.
9. Juventus – €153.4m
Big acquisitions: Federico Bernardeschi (€40m, Fiorentina), Juan Cuadrado (€20m, Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (€20m, PSG)
Juventus needed to strengthen the spine of their team – and managed to do so without gambling on a mega money signing.
Bernardeschi has not been a consistent starter but, at just 23, has the talent to replace Paulo Dybala should he leave in the summer. Matuidi, unfortunately now injured, was also a canny pick up.
However, with the arms race reaching light-speed across Europe, are they missing out on too many big names?
8. Man United – €164.4m
Big acquisitions: Romelu Lukaku, (€84.7m, Everton), Nemanja Matic (€44.7m, Chelsea), Victor Lindelof (Benfica, €35m).
Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have been good – up to a point. But when you spend nearly €130m on just two players, good just doesn’t quite cut it.
It’s why Alexis Sanchez was recruited to give United the attacking spark they need. As for Victor Lindelof? The jury is still out, but they won’t need much longer to deliberate the way his Old Trafford career has panned out thus far.
7. Liverpool – €167.8m
Big acquisitions: Virgil van Dijk (€78.8m, Southampton), Mohamed Salah (€42m, Roma), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (€38m).
Liverpool deserve an A+ just for bringing in Salah, right? In reality they could have brought in Lionel Messi on a free and still be lacking as a trophy-winning team.
Van Dijk alone will not fix their atrocious defence on the evidence of his first few weeks in a Liverpool shirt. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a fine buy, and Naby Keita is to come in the summer, but it is simply negligence not to have found a new goalkeeper – and to keep starting Dejan Lovren at centre-back.
6. AC Milan – €195.4m
Big acquisitions: Leonardo Bonucci (€42m, Juventus), Andre Silva (€38m, Porto), Andrea Conti (€25m, Atalanta)
AC Milan certainly made a splash in the transfer market. Only they ended up drenched and miserable.
Bonucci, given the fanfare he arrived at the San Siro with, has been nothing short of a disaster and Silva has yet to even score a goal in Serie A.
Clearly there are internal problems at the club that are preventing the players from showcasing the best of their abilities, but the Rossoneri have been left red in the face.
5. Everton – €202.7m
Big acquisitions: Gylfi Sigurdsson (€49.4m, Swansea), Michael Keane (€28.5m, Everton), Jordan Pickford (€28.5m, Sunderland)
From one sorry situation to another – Farhad Moshiri’s investments have taken a Bitcoin-esque nosedive.
They tried to loan out midfielder Davy Klaassen in January after shelling out nearly €30m for him in the summer, while Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson have been more miss than hit. January arrival Cenk Tosun has started life at Goodison much the same way.
The saving grace is Jordan Pickford, who is an England No1 in the making. Theo Walcott has started brightly, and at least Wayne Rooney has weighed in with 11 goals.
4. PSG – €238m
Big acquisitions: Neymar (€222m, Barcelona), Yuri Berchiche (€16m, Real Sociedad).
The figure will not include Mbappe until the deal converts from a loan – otherwise PSG would be leading this list by a gargantuan margin.
Swiping Neymar from under the noses of Barcelona, annoying La Liga to such an extent that they threatened La Liga action, must have been a giggle.
But the world will be laughing at the Brazilian and his owners if all that effort brings only yet another Ligue 1 title and no Champions League final.
3. Chelsea – €257.8m
Big acquisitions: Alvaro Morata (€66m, Real Madrid), Tiemoue Bakayoko (€40m, Monaco), Danny Drinkwater (€37.9m)
When your own manager doesn’t think your summer signings are up too much, and then pines for Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll in January, it should set alarms blaring.
Chelsea have not only failed to keep up the Premier League pace but have signed several wastes of space in Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger. They have not improved one facet of their team. Even swapping Morata for Diego Costa looks like a downgrade.
Apart from fleecing Everton for Ross Barkley – he’ll have to go some way to depreciate that €17m fee – it’s hard to get excited for the future.
2. Man City – €315.8m
Big acquisitions: Aymeric Laporte (€65m, Athletic Bilbao), Benjamin Mendy (€57.5m, Monaco), Kyle Walker (€51m, Tottenham)
As this list has proved, you can blow a lot of money on very little. City have spent a lot … on a lot. Walker and Ederson have helped sweep in fundamental changes in line with Pep Guardiola’s philosophy at the back, as as well as Benjamin Mendy before his unfortunate injury.
The only question mark is Bernardo Silva, who has not had the run of games required to fully immerse himself at the Etihad Stadium. It’s hard to complain when they are aeons ahead of the rest in the Premier League.
1. Barcelona – €324.3m
Big acquisitions: Philippe Coutinho (€120m, Liverpool), Ousmane Dembele (€105m), Paulinho (€40m)
Barcelona’s success in La Liga this season has been down to Ernesto Valverde’s structure rather than any of their new signings. Nevertheless, they’ve not just dipped their toes into the transfer market but dived right in.
With Coutinho still adapting after injury slowed his start and Dembele’s horrible hamstring predicament, it’s hard to judge too harshly. Paulinho has been a mild surprise while Nelson Semedo has been a mild disappointment. Nothing to see here – for now.