Gossip: Barcelona 'hopeful' on £148m Coutinho deal, Ozil 'targeted as £55m alternative', Costa 'could seal £30m Atletico move'
Like a hung parliament, a nuclear war, or a Robbie Williams concert, Deadline Day Summer 2017 was one of those events where no one who took part could say they ended up truly happy.
But do not despair… because it’s not over yet!
For today is the day when the Spanish transfer window SLAMS SHUT – and all those deals you dreamed of might still happen.
Real Madrid may yet make a last-gasp swoop to rescue Alexis Sanchez from a year of Arsenal awkwardness, Ross Barkley might pass a medical at Sevilla, Diafra Sakho could rock up at Getafe on his agent’s horse and demand to be signed.
And biggest of all, Philippe Coutinho could still sign for Barcelona.
The Express reports this morning that the Catalan giants “remain hopeful” of luring the Brazilian to La Liga in a £148m deal. Coutinho himself isn’t so convinced, with the playmaker apparently “growing anxious” that the move won’t happen – a stressful situation which doesn’t bode well for his back injury.
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These fears are backed up by Spanish paper Sport, which says Liverpool will not sanction the player’s sale until July 2018.
Let’s hope the transfer goes through if only for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sake, or he’ll end up at another club where he’s not a first-team regular.
Barca target Ozil
Meanwhile poor old Mesut Ozil, who no one even bothered talking about on deadline day despite him still not signing a new Arsenal contract, could yet have the last laugh.
The Mirror – via Cadena Cope – says the German is being lined up by Barca as an alternative to Coutinho, with Ernesto Valverde reportedly willing to pay £55m, the same amount Manchester City had offered for Sanchez.
To allow one £55m player to slip through your fingers a year before he leaves on a free transfer is careless, but two would surely be economical lunacy.
Another man whose deadline day dreams may still come true is Diego Costa, who has a few hours left to seal his long-desired move from Chelsea to Atletico Madrid.
The Express says the two clubs will hold further talks about a £30m transfer today, although flights back from Brazil take 11 hours so Diego better get his skates on.
Can’t buy a move
For those players who have no hope of sealing a last-gasp transfer to sunny Spain, however, this is a day of regrets and recriminations.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud wanted to move to Everton but the move fell through because his wife rejected it (Star), Benik Afobe stayed at Bournemouth despite Wolves being prepared to pay the Cherries £15m for him (Sun) and even the aforementioned Diafra Sakho was not allowed to leave West Ham despite a) bunking training to travel to Rennes for a medical, b) begging to leave due to “personal issues”, c) having one year left on his contract, d) trying to personally buy himself out of that contract and e) having made 28 appearances in two years due to injury (Sky Sports).
It’s perhaps this crazy tale that best sums up the paradoxical problem of deadline day. Everyone wanted to buy players, but no one was willing to sell them because they were terrified of failing to sign replacements.
But it’s OK – because the Argentinian transfer window is open until 17 September, the Burundian transfer window is open until 24 September, the Ethiopian transfer window is open until 20 October and the Yemeni transfer window closes on the goddam 23 November! And it opens today!