Friday, 16 May 2014

Football transfer rumours: Mario Mandzukic to Chelsea?

Yes, Bayern may be willing to listen to offers for Mario Mandzukic. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/AP

Various clubs are eager to relieve apparent football club MK Dons of their best player – though unlike the manner in which they relieved Wimbledon of its actual football club, any deal is likely to be consensual.Dele Alli is 18, and as well as being a sonically delicious half-rhyme, is also a midfielder. His style of play has been compared with that of Steven Gerrard – though whether or not this represents a compliment is unclear, his proficiency in ostentatious nonsense-barking, going again and not letting things slip still to be determined. Interested in signing him areArsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers insisted that Luis Suárez is happy in Liverpool, and "has contributed massively to our success" – a term he elected not to define. Then, on the subject of anyone wanting to leave the club, he asserted that "there's no excuse now". Other than playing for a better team, with better players, for better money, in a better ground, in a better city, obviously.

Elsewhere, José Mourinho spent the night in Belgium – not because his paunch comes through an addiction to waffles and chocolate, but to check the progress of Thorgan Hazard. Hazard, on loan at somewhere, anywhere, has scored 16 goals for Zulte Waregem, behaviour that has likely earned him a place on Chelsea's pre-season tour.

Otherwise, Chelsea continue to hawk David Luiz around, with bothBarcelona and Bayern Munich keen to reinforce suspect defences with another defensively suspect defender. Peptides Guardiola is thought to have more money to waste and is also unlikely to be deterred by a request that Mario Mandzukic form part of the deal. Though, with Diego Costa likely to be Chelsea's first-choice next term, quite what's in it for the player, apart from loads and loads and loads of money, remains to be seen. As does Mourinho's excuse for failure next season.

Talking of failure, and specialism therein, Arsenal are in talks withCheikhou Kouyaté, Anderlecht's Senegal centre-back. Both they and Liverpool expressed an interest in January, but now West Ham, Galatasaray and CSKA Moscow are participating in discussions. And, according to the Daily Star, "his signature has become more appealing now he is the proud owner of a Belgian passport". Yes, it really said that.

Meanwhile, though the tedious torrent of prediction, speculation and fabrication continues, at some point in the next aeon, Louis van Gaal will be named Manchester United manager. And his rider is rather similar to that of David Moyes, asking for provision of a Toni Kroos, a Luke Shaw, a Thomas Müller, a Mats Hummels and an Arjen Robben – or, put another way, half a team. The players having heard of him is understood to be an advantage.

But one man who may be leaving Old Trafford is Nick Powell. A mixed season at Wigan, involving nice goals interspersed with entitled posing and drink-driving, appears to have attracted Leicester City. Nigel Pearson, it seems, plans to maintain his promotion pro forma of buying United players – he already has Danny Drinkwater, Ritchie De Laet and Matty James.

Across Manchester, City are seeking a centre-back. Their initial selection, Eliaquim "Mrs" Mangala, is thought too expensive, so attention has turned instead to Roma's Mehdi Benatia.

And finally, both Arsenal and Everton are interested in signing Swansea warrior Wilfried Bony. However, John Hartson has urged Swansea to be "strong", prompting the player to invest in protective helmet and face guard.
The Guardian

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