Soccer NewsSaturday 19th March 2016

Gossip: Batshuayi, Hazard, Higuain, Lukaku

Gossip: Batshuayi, Hazard, Higuain, Lukaku

SEO-tastic one
‘Arsenal and Tottenham monitor £25m West Ham and Newcastle target as race hots up,’ reads the headline on the Daily Express website. Plenty of teams in the headline? Check. An inflated valuation? Check. Races ‘hotting up’? Check. SEO-tastic.

The £25million target in question is Michy Batshuayi, the in-demand Marseille striker. The Belgian – isn’t everyone Belgian nowadays? – is in fine form in Ligue Un this season, scoring 13 goals in 29 appearances. Only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Alexandre Lacazette have more.

As a result, Premier League clubs are interested. Newcastle have long been linked with the forward, while West Ham recently emerged as contenders to sign him. According to French daily L’Equipe, Arsenal and Tottenham have now joined the party. Good luck, Newcastle.

The claim is that both north London clubs sent a scout to watch Marseille’s game against Rennes on Friday evening. Rennes won that contest 5-2, and Batshuayi did not score once. Poor thing.

It’s also just as likely that the scouts were sent to watch another player. Rennes forward Ousmane Dembele was in outstanding form once again, scoring one and assisting another as his side moved up to third. He now has ten goals and five assists in 19 games. He’s 18.


SEO-tastic two
‘Chelsea agree deal with Real Madrid that will boost Man Utd and Arsenal,’ reads the headline on – you guessed it – the Daily Express website. Plenty of teams in the headline? Check. Something vague enough to pique interest? Check. Agreements and boosts? Check. SEO-tastic.

And this is excellent, too. Attributing the claims to Spanish newspaper AS, the Express reports that Real Madrid and Chelsea have agreed a deal ‘in principle’ for Eden Hazard to move to the Santiago Bernabeu. They must have been impressed by his two goals in 37 appearances, none of which have come in either the Premier or Champions League.

Hazard is reportedly valued at around £78million by the Stamford Bridge club. That would make him the third-most expensive player ever. After the season he’s had. Excellent.

But where do Arsenal and Manchester United come into this? Well, Hazard joining Real Madrid ‘could pave the way’ for James Rodriguez and Isco to leave. The former has been linked with United; the latter is a reported target for the Gunners. Wonderful.


You want Champions League football, Romelu? Well you might just get it. Probably not at Everton, mind. How do you fancy a move to Italy?

Many outlets seem pretty convinced that Gonzalo Higuain will be leaving Napoli this coming summer. The Argentinean has scored 27 goals in 29 Serie A games, and will be a reported target for Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain when his third season at the club comes to an end.

As a result, the Italian media is considering who his potential replacements are. One name that has been sounded out is Romelu Lukaku. Our old friends Tutto Mercato Web report an exclusive that Napoli are watching the Everton striker. Aren’t we all?


Liverpool are keeping tabs on Hoffenheim forward Kevin Volland, according to reports in Germany…Tottenham have stepped up their interest in Anderlecht’s teenage prospect Youri Tielemans…Manchester United will battle it out with Liverpool for Marseille winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou…Leicester are set to make a summer move for West Ham’s 19-year-old defender Reece Burke, currently on loan at Bradford…West Ham have sounded out Lyon over a potential £20m summer switch for striker Alexandre Lacazette, 24…The Hammers are also interested in England and Arsenal international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 22, plotting a £15m bid for the midfielder…Manchester City are trying to do a £20m summer deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Germany Under-21 international midfielder Julian Weigl, 20…Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson’s proposed move to Manchester United has again been thrown into doubt, with his agent saying no offers have been received for the £47m-rated 22-year-old.