Earlier this week, in complete secret, Tottenham checked with their new manager Nino Espirito Santo who agreed to offer Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic a contract to join them in time for the start of the new season. His current club have also been approached by AC Milan and Atletico Madrid. Vlahovic will only consider joining if he is guaranteed to be in the first eleven but unless Manchester City can convince Spurs to let Harry Kane go, that is unlikely. Harry won’t announce his intentions until after the Euros and that gives several European clubs an advantage to move in early. The forward has a contract with Fiorentina until 2023 and at 21 years-of-age is valued at around £50million. Dusan hit 21 goals last season and was named Serie-A Best Young Player for 2020-21. He is a quality player who can read a game and is technically excellent.
In and out at Arsenal
I can’t help feeling that time is getting seriously short however Arsenal are chasing several players and despite claiming shortage of funds because of Covid-19, I have been given the names of players on Mikel Arteta’s shopping list. A huge war chest of £250million is said to be available but players will also have to leave. Lucas Torriera, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette could all be available if the right offers come in. Hector Bellerin says he is definitely leaving. Arsenal are looking at Brighton’s Ben White, who is No1 on the list, Leicester’s James Maddison, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, Norwich full back Max Aarons, Sporting PC’s Pedro Gonclaves and Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga. Arteta sees Ben White as a future captain of the Gunners and is impressed with his technical qualities, speed, abilities on the ball and intelligent as he is able to read a game effectively. The player who has impressed me most at the Euros is 23-year-old Portugese international Renato Sanchez. His midfield displays have been excellent. Last season he helped Lille win the French Ligue 1 title and Arsenal have made enquiries as to his availability but he is also on Liverpool’s radar as they search for a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.
- Triple heritage: The appointment and coronation of Kano emirs since 1807
- Italy beat Belgium to set up Euro 2020 semi-final against Spain
Raheem Sterling considering his future at City
The possibility of Euros hero Raheem Sterling leaving Manchester City has surfaced again and he has been telling us how he is unhappy with his lack of playing time last season. Raheem was left on the bench in several games and was frustrated at being omitted from the Champions League quarter-final and semi-final matches. He has taken the opportunity to show football managers around the world his talent and has been a key player in matches in the Euros so far. I am told he is very angry at being one of the players Guardiola has considered offering for a cash plus players deal in order to sign Harry Kane. Raheem is deeply shocked. He will have talks with manager Pep Guardiola on his return for pre-season training before making any positive decisions about his future.
City benefit from Sancho move to United
Subject to a medical after the Euros, Jadon Sancho is now technically a Manchester United player. Ironically both Manchester clubs benefit from the move. Borussia Dortmund finally agreed to let Jadon go for £73million – a reduction from their original valuation of £108million – but this figure includes 15% going to City from the deal which took him to Germany. When Jadon left City for Dortmund it was agreed that any future move would benefit City with a sell on clause in the contract. That, according to my calculations gives Pep Guardiola an extra £11million to spend.
United change of mind about Jesse Lingard
Last season Jesse Lingard was surplus to requirements at Manchester United and sent out on loan to West Ham. For the latter part of the season Jesse was possibly the most in-form player in the league. Hammers manager David Moyes is desperate to sign him but are finding United’s valuation of £25million beyond their cash reserves. However, I have been informed from Manchester that Ole Gunner Solskjaer and United have done a complete u-turn and put together a new contract for Jesse which amounts to £130k a week and a three-year deal. His current contract has one year to run with an optional 12 months.“After going on loan and getting a good run in the team, you started to see the real me, with the goals and the assists,” Jesse said, “I’ve never doubted my ability, I’ve always believed in myself. Last year I spoke to the manager in pre-season and said, “I need game time”. He replied, “We can discuss it December time”, and we spoke again and he agreed to let me go on loan. I had various conversations with him during my time at West Ham. He was very supportive and it was a great loan for me.”
Both Everton and Palace gamble on new managers
At last Rafa Benitez has signed on the dotted line to take over at Everton. His talent and successes are first class but now both he and owner Farhad Moshiri have to convince the fans that the ex-Liverpool boss can cross the Mersey River and show new loyalty to the Blues after insulting them in the past when he managed hated rivals Liverpool and called Everton a “small” team. Already there have been hate signs and banners posted around the Everton stadium which leave no doubt that Rafa will not have an easy time winning over the fans. The one thing in his favour is that if he can bring success to the Toffees he will quickly become a god in the eyes of the fans because Evertonians love their club as much as life itself. Reports are reaching me that Arsenal legend Patrick Viera has reached a verbal agreement with Crystal Palace to take over as their new manager. Viera has experience in various roles at Manchester City and then moved on to City’s sister club New York for his first managerial job. Two years later he moved to the South of France to take over at Nice but after a tough time with little success, he left in December 2020. My suspicions were aroused when Patrick took time off from his TV pundit role covering the Euros met with Palace officials. I understand that a visa application has been made and if successful he could take over on Monday for the first day of pre-season training. The Palace job will be difficult because with the departure of manager Roy Hodgson several first team players have been released and the team now needs a complete rebuild.
Guardiola working to sign Antoine Griezmann
My Spanish contacts phoned this week to tell me that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is anxious to put his new plans into operation by making an unexpected move for Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann. City, I understand, are confident they will sign a deal for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish after the Euros and Griezmann would strengthen an already impressive striking line-up. The Frenchman would fit into Guardiola’s ‘false 9’ system and the manager has been a long-time admirer. Guardiola knows that to replace Sergio Aguero is top priority. Griezmann has been impressive in the Euros whereas their other interest, Harry Kane, has looked tired and out of sorts. City’s offer of £100million plus a pick of five players for Kane has been dismissed by Tottenham and Chairman Daniel Levy is notoriously tough to deal with and consequently City have cooled their interest.