It has long been established that Lionel Messi is the tit to Cristiano Ronaldo’s tat. So a week dominated by news of the Argentinian’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain was always going to trigger a reaction and, sure enough, today the Portuguese is being linked with more moves than Garry Kasparov. First, there’s fanciful talk of a return to Manchester United; then, there’s provocative talk of a switch to Manchester City, with reports in Italy claiming the player’s agent has suggested Ronaldo would be a much shrewder purchase than Harry Kane.
And then there’s the frankly inevitable claim that Ronaldo will leave Juventus for PSG, who want to pair him up with Messi because that’s the most Hollywood thing to do. But also, apparently, because Kylian Mbappé doesn’t want to sign a new contract and plans to leave – this year or next – for Real Madrid. Or maybe for Liverpool. If that seems outlandish, bear in mind that rumours of dubious merit insist that someone purporting to be Jürgen Klopp chats regularly to Mbappé about this and that, and ignore the fact that Liverpool’s owners FSG are only likely to sanction the acquisition of the French sensation if it’s a swap deal for Divock Origi.
PSG are also being linked with a swoop for Paul Pogba, with reports claiming that the Qatari publicity vehicle would be willing to offer him a vast pay rise without the slightest fear of falling foul of financial fair play regulations thanks to, um, social media likes or something.
As for Chelsea, they’re going to attempt to introduce an appearance of balance to their books by flogging Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley and Tiémoué Bakayoko, with this reminder that the trio are at the club signalling the start of the selling process.
Meanwhile, having been ignored while Arsenal got the run-around at Brentford, Héctor Bellerín wants to complete a move to Internazionale. And the one-time Arsenal target Manuel Locatelli is poised to leave Sassuolo for Juventus. On the plus side for Arsenal, they may be able to wangle Philippe Coutinho out of Barcelona in return for one somewhat used Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Jesse Lingard is up for grabs, too, and Manchester United have slashed their asking price to £20m. West Ham’s ears have pricked up at that news. Sheffield United, meanwhile, are hoping to persuade Ole Gunnar Solskjær to let them have Amad Diallo on loan.