Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to battle Liverpool for Joe Hart?

Today’s whispers are bright as a button

It seems quite the time for potentially catastrophic proposals to be waved through. Not that anyone in football would ever be so rash or brazen, obviously, so best feet are being put forward well ahead of the summer window and Real Madrid’s nuanced, targeted transfer policy expects to bear fruit by then. Which department of the side does their club-building approach want to tweak next? It’s between the posts, where Keylor Navas – for all his good work – has rarely quite looked a comfortable fit.

Reports suggest that Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea, two ex-Atlético men, will hash it out for the privilege of replacing the Costa Rican. Perhaps the fairest means of deciding the contest would be a race between two faxes.

In more hot goalkeeping news, Arsenal – whose war chest will presumably be trumpeted any time soon – have their eyes on a reinforcement of their own. Joe Hart is apparently the man they would like to fill Petr Cech’s boots (and hopefully his near post) for a sum of at least £15m. Arsenal’s propensity to make Cech, declining powers or not, look worse than he is might make Hart more inclined to consider an approach from Liverpool, though, while surely his parent club Manchester City could use an in-form goalkeeper themselves.

Perhaps a gig at the Emirates would be a welcome challenge for Massimiliano Allegri. “Have you been in talks about replacing Arsène Wenger, Massimo?” was the question put to the Juventus manager after a 2-0 win over Crotone that left them, by their standards, a relatively precarious seven points clear at the top of Serie A. “I won’t deny or confirm anything,” was his helpful response – helpful in the sense that it might allow the Mill carte blanche to pepper a few more column inches with his name over the coming weeks and months.

One more from north London – it’s almost as if people think they need a new broom – before we move on. Sead Kolasinac, the Schalke left-back, has been linked with a Premier League move and the Gunners have started making enquiries.

There are other clubs, and there are other problems. For an outfit in complete and utter disarray, Nottingham Forest do a good job of producing sought-after youngsters and they will fight Liverpool tooth and nail to hold on to young striking prospect Ben Brereton, whose late winner against Aston Villa last weekend catapulted him into the headlines. “Why would we want to sell him?” the Forest owner Fawaz Al Hasawi asked. “Why would you have wanted to sell Oliver Burke,” thousands of Forest fans presumably replied.

Manchester United have also been linked with Brereton but might find themselves preoccupied with tying down Ander Herrera, whose contract expires at the end of next season with talks about a renewal yet to commence. Herrera wants to stay at Old Trafford, but the vultures may start circling. Herrera would follow the lead of Virgil van Dijk, who is tipped to stay at Southampton despite interest from pretty much everyone. Sometimes, after all, it is best not to rush into anything.

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