Today’s fluff is going up
One hundred million pounds. In currently-being-replaced British £1 coins it would weigh 95 tonnes and a single stack of them would be 196 miles high. Melt them down and you’d need a 125,246-litre vat in which to hold the molten liquid. It’s a lot of pounds. Coincidentally, it is also the amount of money Everton are asking for Romelu Lukaku, presumably in an effort to weed out any knaves, rogues or charlatans who might try wasting the club’s time with frivolous summer bids. The Liverpool Echo have revealed that £100m is the fee Manchester United, Chelsea or anyone else who fancies taking the Belgian striker off Everton’s hands will have to pay and while a world record fee might seem rather excessive, the club have the whip hand as Lukaku has two years left on his contract and they can force him to stay on Merseyside if nobody is prepared to match their valuation.
Elsewhere in that particular neck of the woods, Liverpool’s longest serving player may have to find a new home if he proves surplus to Jürgen Klopp’s requirements. Absolutely everybody likes Lucas, who says he’d like to stay on at the club despite the limited playing opportunities coming his way and one suspects his best chance of being offered a new deal will centre around the likelihood that nobody in the club’s hierarchy will want to be the guy or gal who tells him he is no longer wanted and has to go. “There is no doubt about my commitment to Liverpool, I just need to wait until the end of the season, work hard and make a decision together with the club,” said the player. “I have been here long enough and if the time comes for me to go somewhere else I think I will leave with the feeling that I did everything I could. I am getting to the stage of my career where I think I can help a lot, off the pitch of course, but on the pitch as well.” Should anyone at Liverpool prove cruel enough to shoot Bambi’s mum, Internazionale may revive the interest they showed in the Brazilian midfielder in January.
Depending on which spurious contrasting report from Spain you believe, Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has already agreed a deal to join Real Madrid this summer, or else he hasn’t but Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez will sanction a Lukaku-sized £100m bid for the Belgian. Karim Benzema, who was linked with a big money move to Arsenal in one of Sunday’s papers, has been busy telling anyone who’ll listen what a great signing Hazard would be for Real. “I have not seen the rumours, but it’s obvious that he would be a good signing,” said the Real striker striker on French TV show Téléfoot.
Should Hazard leave Stamford Bridge, his departure might eclipse that of John Terry, who will be heading for the door marked “Do One” come season’s end and has said he’d like another Premier League gig but will consider lucrative offers from China and MLS, should they materialise. While the good people at ESPN say there is no interest in Terry from any MLS clubs, closer to home West Bromwich Albion is already being touted as one potential destination for the Chelsea stalwart.
While they have more important things to worry about at the moment than who leaves their club in the summer, Chelsea fans should not be surprised to see Cesc Fàbregas alongside Hazard and Terry in the Stamford Bridge departures lounge. Speculation abounds that Milan and their new Chinese owners are ready to ramp up their interest in the Spanish midfielder and bid £25m for his services.
Manchester United like the cut of Ousmane Dembélé’s jib and will try to persuade Borussia Dortmund to part with the winger they signed from Rennes last summer with an offer of £50m. United are also interested in the Benfica midfielder Anderson Talisca, who has spent the season on loan at Besiktas and could send Juan Mata to the Turkish outfit if they can persuade the 23-year-old Brazilian’s Portuguese parent club to part with him.
And finally, to Belgium where the Club Brugge central defender Björn Engels is wanted by Arsenal and has signalled his desire to move to the Premier League. The 22-year-old turned down the chance to sign for the Gunners last summer, saying he wasn’t ready for the move.