The sentence “Barcelona want to buy Adam Lallana” could have been utilised for comic effect in Hot Football Transfer Gossip a year ago, but today’s Times is reporting it as actual fact, and it doesn’t even seem that silly anymore.
The midfielder’s superb season for Jurgen Klopp’s side may have got a little bit too superb, with the paper claiming the Reds are having to fend off the advances of the Catalan giants, as well as Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, for the man who once plied his trade in League One with Southampton.
The excitable broadsheet even allows itself the tabloidese prediction of a “bidding war” between “many leading European clubs” if Lallana – who has two and a half years left on his Anfield contract – does not agree a lucrative extension in the meantime.
It is claimed that Barcelona are also keen on Philippe Coutinho but may target Lallana as a “cheaper alternative”, which is unlikely to offer Reds fans much consolation.
Another player having a whale of a 2016/17 season is Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson, who the Mirror says has emerged as Chelsea’s “number one target” to be John Terry’s long-term successor in west London.
The Teessiders will reportedly demand a figure “well in excess of £30m” for the 23-year-old, which – based on the last time Chelsea relentlessly pursued a promising English centre-back in John Stones – means Gibson will eventually cost more like £50m and sign for someone else.
It’s something they might not have to think about too much until the end of the season if Terry stays at Stamford Bridge, which Sky Sports predicts he will. The club legend/mascot has apparently turned the chance to move to Bournemouth because he’s worried that if he leaves the Blues he might cry like a baby in public.
The value of Monaco’s defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko rises with each breath he takes – to the extent that he is now worth £40m and Jose Mourinho is more than happy to pay it.
The Star says Man Utd are planning to splash out some megabucks in this transfer window in order to beat Chelsea to Bakayoko’s signature – with the £22m the Red Devils are about to receive for Morgan Schneiderlin set to come in especially handy.
Poor old Christian Benteke’s stock seems to fall with every breath he takes, and the Crystal Palace striker could be shunted to another mid-table outfit as West Brom plot a bid for the big Belgian, says the Sun.
If anyone would want to create a Benteke/Salomon Rondon striker partnership, it’s Tony Pulis. But Pulis will only be able to afford Benteke if he can offload Saido Berahino in this transfer window, and with just six months left on his contract the £14m the Baggies are demanding from Stoke sounds optimistic.
Elsewhere, West Ham are close to agreeing a £15m deal for Brentford forward Scott Hogan after meeting the Bees’ asking price (Sun), Arsenal will refuse to let Per Mertesacker leave the Emirates this month despite him not playing a single minute for the Gunners this season (Mirror) and Sunderland are planning a move for midfielder Tom Cleverly in the latest part of David Moyes’ plan to build a team comprised entirely of Everton rejects (Telegraph). Next up, it’s Andy van der Meyde.