Like a hip-hop rapper who has just seen his girlfriend laughing coquettishly at a text message from an unknown acquaintance, Arsene Wenger is reportedly getting his knickers in a twist about things that his imagination is telling him might be happening. Except they’re not about his girlfriend; they’re about Mesut Ozil, which is essentially the same thing.
The Sun says the German international’s hesitance to discuss extending his contract at the Emirates until “after Euro 2016” has sparked a fear within Wenger that the midfielder is plotting an exit to Bayern Munich. The Gunners have apparently made it clear that Ozil could earn in excess of £200,000 a week by signing a new deal, but the player “wants to ensure that his peak years are spent with a club who are regularly challenging for the game’s biggest honours”. And reaching the last 16 of the Champions League on an annual basis evidently isn’t going to cut it.
Another reason for Wenger to be concerned is that his precocious right-back Hector Bellerin has admitted he is “happy to receive interest” from Barcelona, reports the Mirror. “As a player it’s really nice,” he added, not even pretending that he wouldn’t jump at the chance to return to Spain.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent has “cast doubt” on widespread reports that his client is heading to Manchester United in the Star, saying: “We have not decided anything yet. I think it will be a surprise in the end. Everybody is harping on about only United, United, United, that’s why I do not talk with anyone long for all journalists asking the wrong questions. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the king and the club that buys him do not have to pay a transfer fee.”
In other words, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is definitely going to United but his agent is just trying to get him a slightly higher salary. It’s fair enough - these people have all got families to feed.
Although Yaya Toure is prepared to let his go hungry, or at least go a day without fresh lobster, because the Manchester Evening News reports that the 33-year-old Ivorian has turned down the chance to be the world’s highest paid player (in China, obviously) to fight for his place at Manchester City. Awkward.
The Express says Liverpool have been told they will have to pay £45m for Barcelona winger/right-back Aleix Vidal, which sounds like a ridiculous sum to demand - explainable only by Barca noticing the Reds paid £32.5m for Christian Benteke last year.
Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski has held talks with Real Madrid (Goal), Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will “veto” Willian’s proposed move to Man Utd (Mail) and Mauricio Pochettino has sparked rumours that he is having a sexual affair with Shane Long’s agent after the pair sat next to each other during the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Holland (Telegraph). Oh, or maybe Pochettino just wants to buy Shane Long. Didn’t think of that.