football

Football transfer rumours: Lamptey and Dembélé to Manchester United?


Manchester United’s malaise continues, but moves may well be happening to restore the club to former glories. Whoever succeeds Ralf Rangnick – and remember it is Rangnick who gets to choose that – may get the use of Brighton’s former Chelsea full-back Tariq Lamptey, who will cost £50m. Rangnick has not been impressed with Aaron Wan-Bissaka or the credentials of Diogo Dalot to be the first-choice right-back.

Ousmane Dembélé could leave Barcelona on a free transfer this summer and can thus join United’s ranks of indolent flank forwards. How might such players’ wages be met? The answer is the departure of Paul Pogba to Paris Saint-Germain, as has long been trailed. Another exit may be Eric Bailly, who Milan would like on loan this month. Antonio Rüdiger, an upgrade on Bailly, may not be possible as he seems set to sign a new contract with Chelsea.

As it stands, and despite some poor performances of late, the plan is to keep Marcus Rashford on board and talks are afoot that he will sign an extension to stay. And in that gaping hole where midfield once was, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Switzerland midfielder Denis Zakaria continues to be heavily linked.

Tottenham’s defeat to Chelsea in the Fizzy Energy Cup on Wednesday included a team selection that left many a Spurs fan aghast. Neither full strength nor reserve team it appeared an attempt by Antonio Conte to show new boss Daniel Levy that fresh blood is required. And Conte sure does like a transfer or two. Will any arrive in January? The most likely seems to be Adama Traoré, who Wolves appear resigned to losing, though not on the initial loan Levy has proposed. The fee is £20m and Tottenham have been asked to pay it.

Newcastle corner: following the flagship capture of Chris Wood, the new ownership are not prepared to stop there. Interest in Sevilla defender Diego Carlos continues with a £28m fee wafted at the Spanish club. Leipzig and Mali midfielder Amadou Haidara is also linked, and so is a teenage striker in Hugo Ekitike of Reims, one of Ligue 1’s freshest talents with eight goals scored in 18 matches this season. A further player linked is Norwich’s Todd Cantwell, in a possible repeat strategy of weakening a relegation rival, in the style of luring Wood from Burnley.

Any Arsenal moves this month seem unlikely, though there appears an acknowledgment there is a Granit Xhaka-sized hole in midfield, and Juventus’s Arthur Melo is being floated as a candidate to fill it. In the long term, and this would be a costly business, a move for Youri Tielemans of Leicester is being mooted. As with Dusan Vlahovic, the finance is not there to engineer a move this month. On the way out may be Pablo Marí, the forgotten centre-back ready to join Udinese on loan.

Another club brimming with ambition are Aston Villa, already Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne to the good. Yves Bissouma, Brighton’s often excellent midfielder, is the next target for Stevie Gerrard.



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