Having seen Luis Suárez propel Atlético Madrid to the top of La Liga with the best goals per game ratio in Spain, Barcelona have finally twigged that perhaps Lionel Messi was right and they did bundle the Uruguayan out of the Camp Nou prematurely. And maybe, just maybe, letting him join madcap master motivator Diego Simeone wasn’t the greatest decision, either. So how do you replace an ageing South American goal machine? With an ageing South American goal machine, of course. Yes, Sergio Agüero is top of Barça’s shopping list and with the Manchester City striker’s contract due to expire this summer, they might even be able to get him to scrawl his name on a pre-contract agreement to join for free on 1 July.
PSG are sniffing around too, mind, and if Messi decides once and for all to swap Catalonia for Paris, playing in a front three with Neymar and Messi wouldn’t be a bad way for Agüero to see out his career. The reason we didn’t mention Kylian Mbappé in that frontline is because, according to reports in Spain, Real Madrid are going to offer a “symbolic fee” of £200m in the hope of taking the striker to the Bernabéu. Mbappé will have only a year left on his contract this summer and PSG are expected to want what they paid for Neymar for the 22-year-old. To raise funds for the deal, Madrid will try to flog Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Luka Jovic, Isco, Dani Ceballos and Brahim Diaz to whoever will take them for a combined £150m. Pandemic! What pandemic?
Rumour Mill favourite Kalidou Koulibaly probably won’t be moving to Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United or anywhere else soon. Napoli have stuck a £100m price tag on the 29-year-old centre-back and have dared anyone to match it. In any case, Pep Guardiola’s mantra of “Why buy a defender when a midfielder will do?” will fuel a City bid of £30m for Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli. The rock-solid Italian is seen as the natural long-term heir to Fernandinho’s holding midfield throne, with the Brazilian weighing up offers in Europe and South America when his contract expires.
Islam Slimani is off for a medical at Lyon before a move from Leicester, where his career pretty much nosedived after joining in 2016. The burly 32-year-old striker will cost peanuts, given his contract expires this summer. Another forward who could be on the move is Mariano Díaz, who is fed up of warming the bench at Madrid, with David Moyes keen on bringing the speedy striker in on loan to fire West Ham towards the European places.
Inter Miami are sniffing around for a new goalkeeper and their nose has led them to Goodison Park. But don’t expect Jordan Pickford to be scissor-tackling players in MLS anytime soon, because it’s Jonas Lössl that David Beckham’s side wants. The Danish keeper is third choice at Everton and would likely jump at the chance to move Stateside.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah looks set to leave Manchester United and join Bayer Leverkusen for a cut-price £1.5m this month. Preston’s Josh Harrop is wanted in Ipswich and Avram Grant could be returning to Chelsea as an advisor to Frank Lampard. Can’t see that going wrong. Nope.