The winter window might have shut, but the rumour mill rolls on. As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See the latest deals here.
TOP STORY: United ‘Kroos’ toward midfield makeover
A couple of years ago, Germany midfielder Toni Kroos was a major target for Manchester United — and that’s exactly what he is again, says the Star.
The paper reports that Kroos, who was wanted by United during his Bayern Munich days, is a key name on the Old Trafford wish list. It quotes a source as saying: “United want him, and he’s one of their main targets. Real are reluctant to do business with United, but the situation is different with Kroos because he hasn’t settled.”
– Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) March 4, 2016
As ever when we’re talking about Manchester United and Real Madrid, David De Gea comes into it somewhere along the line.
The Star points out that lingering Madrid resentment over De Gea’s non-move to the Bernabeu last summer lies behind their reluctance to do business with United.
But it says Madrid could be tempted to “use Kroos as bait” in another attempt to sign the goalkeeper.
And it reports that United are also keeping an eye on Roma’s Miralem Pjanic, widely reported to be a Chelsea target.
Spain pain for City in Gundogan bid?
Manchester City could soon find themselves in a battle with Pep Guardiola’s old club Barcelona and Real Madrid, says the Mirror.
It reckons the trio of clubs will be scrapping it out for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has turned down a new contract and looks all but certain to move on.
Although the paper says City are favourites to bring in the Germany international — reported to have signalled his interest in working with current Bayern boss Guardiola — they may have to work a bit harder than they thought for his signature.
Feghouli on United and Liverpool radars?
Talking of transfer battles (and who doesn’t love one?), here’s another to look forward to — both Manchester United and Liverpool are keen on Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli, who is out of contract at the end of the season, says the Sun.
Reports in Spain suggest the 26-year-old Algerian has turned down a new Valencia deal, paving the way for a potential switch to the Premier League.
But the man himself is giving nothing away, and in a classic piece of footballer-speak, said: “I am concentrating only on Valencia. I leave these matters to my agents.”
Van Gaal delighted with spirit of youth
Could United end up spending less than we might expect in windows to come?
Quite possibly, says the Sun, which quotes boss Louis van Gaal as saying that the quality of young players coming through was a reason for not spending in the previous one.
United youngsters have pepped up the team in recent games, and the Dutchman, who said it was his “policy” to give home-grown players their chance, said: “The team has more spirit. Marcus Rashford is one who has had a great contribution to the new spirit in our team.
“You have to be hungry and show desire. All the young players are like that. That is why we decided not to invest in January.”
Payet: The Evertonian who never was
There might be an Everton fan or two saying “if only” after hearing that their club could have signed Dimitri Payet, who has sparkled since he arrived at West Ham instead.
The Mirror reveals that Toffees manager Roberto Martinez opted not to bring in Payet after deciding Ross Barkley was the player he wanted to take the No. 10 role.
It says Martinez travelled to France to watch Payet, then playing for Marseille — but his decision not to bring him to Merseyside allowed the Hammers to swoop.
Payet is now arguably the biggest cult hero Hammers fans have had since Paolo Di Canio, but Martinez says he has no regrets because Barkley has also excelled this season.
– Whatever else happens in Willy Caballero‘s career, he won’t forget the Capital One Cup final in a hurry. But the goalkeeper, whose hat trick of penalty shootout saves won his side the trophy against Liverpool, has said he will look for another club if he cannot displace first choice Joe Hart.
The Sun quotes him as saying: “If I can’t play regularly for Man City, then I would like to play for another team in the Premier League. It’s tough to be the second goalkeeper. But since I joined Man City, I have been fighting for the [No. 1] spot.
– Talking of leaving, the Telegraph reports that Aston Villa captain Micah Richards can do just that for £5 million because of a release clause in the five-year deal he signed at Villa Park last summer.
Villa, it says, “will make many of their big earners available as they attempt to slash the wage bill” — and it reckons Richards “is likely to emerge as a target for Premier League clubs” despite a difficult season.
– Celta Vigo’s Spain forward Nolito has said he could have moved to England during the January window, but decided he was more than happy with things as they are.
“In December, I had offers from England, China, Russia and Dubai . . . but I’m happy at Celta,” he told Radio MARCA. “The Celta president told me that he wouldn’t sell me. I said to him that was fine by me.”