There have been many (possibly as many as 638 million) stories about Manchester United buying Gareth Bale in the papers in recent years, but the reason we still read them is that each one has its own little twist that makes it as special and loveable as a newborn water vole. And the twist in the latest of these stories is that Manchester United are buying Gareth Bale NOW!
Not next summer, not “in part exchange for Anthony Martial”, not “if they can’t sign Paulo Dybala”. They’re just buying him, this month, because they want to.
That, at least, is according to the almost completely unreliable Sunday Express, which declares that United manager Jose Mourinho is set to “step up” his efforts to land the Welshman and hopes to have him in the squad in time for the next round of the FA Cup.
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Jose Mourinho allegedly won’t face too much resistance from Real, who have “grown tired” of Bale’s injury woes and are “ready to offload” him. They also want some extra cash so they can buy Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.
The only thing that might delay Bale’s move to Old Trafford is that, under the terms of his sale, former club Tottenham must be given 72 hours to match any bid. So making an offer on deadline day would be a massive schoolboy error.
Mourinho is also going head-to-head with north London’s other big club for a player. Not Barnet, Arsenal.
The Daily Star Sunday says Jose and his old friend Arsene Wenger will “battle it out” for the £30m-rated Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, who has been made available for transfer by the Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, Mourinho’s other old friend Pep Guardiola is ready to go customarily bonkers in the transfer window by launching a £50m bid for Harry Maguire, who Leicester City signed for £17m just six months ago.
The Sun on Sunday says Pep is especially keen on the Foxes centre-back because is eligible to play in the Champions League. He also enjoyed their post-hug following the sides’ recent Carabao Cup match as it made him feel all warm inside.
City’s move for Maguire could give Arsenal a free run at Guardiola’s other defensive target Jonny Evans, with the Sun saying the Gunners are “close to agreeing” a £30m deal for the West Brom man.
But the most intriguing news coming from the Emirates this morning appears in the Sunday Mirror, which claims that Wenger could quit as Arsenal manager “this summer” and has “hand-picked” former Gunner Mikel Arteta – currently coaching at Man City – as his successor. Although you can’t really see Wenger leaving his contract early any more than you can seeing him adding Mourinho as a LinkedIn contact.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) January 7, 2018
Riyad Mahrez is “set for a medical” at Liverpool after the Reds agreed a £49m fee for the Algerian with Leicester City, says the Sunday Mirror. Bit of a bargain for Liverpool there because the Foxes had been holding out for £50m.
Elsewhere, Derby manager Gary Rowett and Ireland boss Martin O’Neill currently head Stoke’s City’s wish list to replace the sacked Mark Hughes (Stoke Sentinel), Chelsea have pulled out of the race to sign Juventus wing-back Alex Sandro and will let Man Utd buy him (Manchester Evening News) and Man City are set to offer £25m for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez this month (Sunday Mirror). JUST OFFER IT THEN!