omegoing, Sopranos, the Godfather – we all love a good saga. But there is no emotional thrill like that of a long, drawn-out transfer situation – will such and such a footballer play football for such and such a club, or for such and such other club? Over how many years will the fee be amortised? Which suit will look smuggest? We must be told! These are the central dramatic questions that matter!
The feelgood story of this summer will obviously be nothing at all, because the world is in the process of destroying itself, but the story that thinks it’s the feelgood story of this summer is Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United. For a while it looked like it was just going to happen, mainly because it is just going to happen. But then we got to the end of Act II, at which point Fredo Woodward made Borussia Dortmund an offer they absolutely could refuse, so they refused it and then someone told everyone. No! All is lost! Just chill, to the next episode.
United also have an interest in acquiring the player they’re all calling the new Lee Hendrie. Aston Villa, though, would like to keep Jack Grealish, so have offered him a £100,000-a-week contract, which they are pretending – perhaps to themselves, perhaps to their fans, perhaps to both – will persuade him to stay at his hometown club. Meanwhile, Villa are interested in Odsonne Edouard, but the move is odds against – Leeds and Arsenal are also keen on the striker, who scored a 33-minute hat-trick at the weekend, and Celtic do not want to sell.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are looking to strengthen, and are supposedly close to paying £9m for Aïssa Mandi, Real Betis’s Algerian defender. Comfortable at right-back or centre-back, on the pitch he would replace Dejan Lovren, but who will enrich the ailing squad with thoughtful political insights remains unclear.
Liverpool would also like to buy some back-up for Andy Robertson – which makes sense, given his attempts to sound rousing and aggressive will eventually anger someone harder than him. As such, they intend to offer £10m for Norwich’s Jamal Lewis, a key member of a defence which conceded a league-leading 75 league goals.
Nor is that all. Liverpool’s feeder club are also working, registering interest in Deyo, Deyo, Deyovasio Zeefuik of Groningen. The 22-year-old right-back, though, is thought to prefer Germany to Southampton, with Hertha Berlin among his suitors.
Across Stanley Park, Evertonian pulses are racing: Carlo Ancelotti would like to sign Branislav Ivanovic from Zenit St Petersburg. The 76-year-old defender, who played for Ancelotti at Chelsea, is a free agent and keen on the move, but has also been linked with Crvena Zvezda.
Further north, Newcastle plan to rebound from the disappointment of not being owned by human rights abusers, with an oft-mentioned but rarely seen double-swoop. They are keen on Josh King and David Brooks, who are likely to be available for reasonable money, following Bournemouth’s relegation. But there’s a fair chance both players will have better offers; perhaps a heart-rending petition might persuade them to the contrary.
Another player in demand is Eze Eberechi – and not just because of the Eze’s good, Eze like Sunday morning, terrace anthem potential. The QPR attacker has established himself as one of the Championship’s most exciting players, so the interest of Crystal Palace and West Ham United is no great surprise. The former made an offer thought to be in the region of £12m; it was refused by Rangers, who are believed to want somewhere around £20m.
And finally, Palace have also indicated interest in Ismaïla Sarr, likely to be available following Watford’s relegation. But Wolves and Liverpool are also monitoring the situation. FADE TO BLACK.