Manchester United dominate the transfer speculation once again on Friday, with manager Jose Mourinho reported to be lining up a move for Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic.
Spanish media outlet Don Balon reports Mourinho wants the £35m-rated playmaker, who joined Barcelona in 2014 and has become one of the best playmakers in Europe.
However, Rakitic’s agent is quoted as saying: “Ivan is happy at FC Barcelona, where he has been tremendously successful and has a contract with the club until 2019.”
Mourinho is also reported to have been given the go-ahead for a January spending spree.
With his side struggling in the Premier League, 11 points off leaders Chelsea and eight behind fourth-placed Arsenal, it is not unreasonable to assume he will given money to spend in January.
And, according to today’s Sun, that is exactly the case. The paper reports Mourinho will be given a ‘huge amount’ of money by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, the majority of which will be allocated towards boosting United’s (lack of) defensive options.
Southampton duo Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte are the names in the frame, while The Daily Record also report the manager will be given the go-ahead to sign a central defender.
United’s need is pressing, with Chris Smalling out with a broken toe and Eric Bailly sidelined with knee ligament damage he sustained in the defeat to Chelsea in October.
Wherever Van Dijk ends up in January it is unlikely to be Anfield, with Southampton manager Claude Puel dismissing reports of a move to Liverpool. “It is just rumour and not important to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are reported to have missed out on Wales Under-19 sensation Ethan Ampadu.
The Liverpool Echo says the 16-year-old midfielder who plays for Exeter is admired at Anfield but has opted to stay with his current club, with Liverpool now resigned to missing out on him.
The paper adds that Arsenal are now favourites to sign Ampadu, given that his father worked at their academy, while Chelsea and Manchester United are also interested in the teenager.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are ready to make a £50m swoop for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – if The Sun is to be believed. The paper claims Blues manager Antonio Conte wants to boost his defensive options but is holding off from a January move because Koulibaly will be playing for Senegal at the African Cup of Nations.
The Sun quotes a source as saying: “He is happy at Napoli. He will not be sold until June.”
Elsewhere, The Times report Arsenal will not invoke emergency rules to recall midfielder Jack Wilshere next month despite Santi Cazorla being ruled out for three months with injury.
And The Telegraph reports Everton and West Brom are about to do battle for Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.Reuse content