(The Guardian) - Sun leads with news that “Chelsea are facing a £200m body blow”, with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard
both heading for the Stamford Bridge exit come summer. The twinkle-toed Belgian is Real Madrid’s No1 top target, the Spanish giants feeling “increasingly confident of signing him for a word-record £100m”, while Costa has “told friends he is sick to the back teeth of the English weather” and has heard that the climate in China is particularly pleasant at this, and indeed every other, time of year (the Mill took the liberty of looking into this for him, and can report that today in Shanghai it is 12C and cloudy, while in Shenzhen it is 28C, will be raining pretty solidly for the next three days, and is already hitting 83% humidity).
Over in Spain Don Bal?n say that Hazard isn’t the only Chelsea star on Real’s shopping list, with N’Golo Kanté in particular a player who Zinedine Zidane “tiene entre ceja y ceja desde hace mucho tiempo” – has had, in other words, between eyebrow and eyebrow for a long time. The French midfielder is one of Zidane’s “fetish footballers”, who he also wanted to sign last summer, when he was told that he should be happy with Casemiro, and would still like to sign now, possibly as part of a bumper package deal. “Real Madrid are also interested in Eden Hazard, Marcos Alonso and Thibaut Courtois,” they report.
Alexis S?nchez’s “days at Arsenal are numbered”, according to the Chilean radio station and website Cooperativa, whose correspondent in England, Maks C?rdenas, has talked to “sources inside the player’s inner circle” who revealed that he has had enough of London and is very close to moving instead to Manchester City, who will snap him up for around £50m and increase his annual salary from a meagre £59m to a more reasonable £80m.
City’s other top attacking target, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is not going anywhere near England this or any other summer, according to his current club, Borussia Dortmund. Their chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, has announced that “I think he will stay with us”, but that failing that “if Real Madrid or Barcelona come along with an offer, maybe he’ll think about it – the rest of the clubs who are interested in him are not really an option.”
Manchester United’s hopes of snaffling Antoine Griezmann from a helpless Atlético Madrid by meeting the £85m buyout clause in the player’s contract could be snuffed out, reports the Star, because the Spanish club are offering him a bumper new deal in which the buyout would be reset to “a whopping £130m”. United would earn back some of that money – not a lot of it, it has to be said, but every little helps – by selling Adnan Januzaj, who the Mail report is the subject of “interest from France, Italy and Germany”, despite his disappointing season in Sunderland.
Fulham’s 16-year-old prodigy Ryan Sessegnon can take his pick of Premier League sides this summer, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea among those who have scouted him this season, and Everton interested in a double deal also including Ryan’s twin brother Steven. Amid all this, the Mail’s report that “Liverpool hope to beat Tottenham and Manchester City to sign him” doesn’t seem to advance anything very much. City however have another young left-back in their sights, in the shape of Barcelona’s 18-year-old Marc Cucurella, whose Catalan contract is to expire in the summer.
In further top-flight bun-fight news, Schalke’s Sead Kola?inac has piqued the interest of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool but Arsenal hope to steal a march on them all, having already opened talks with the Bosnian defender, who will be available for no money whatsoever at the end of his contract this summer. “Arsenal’s European scouts attended a club meeting last week,” the Mail reports, “with the club looking to add four or five new faces depending on departures.” Though recent performances might encourage them to look for 11 new faces, and perhaps another couple for the dugout.