Football transfer rumours: Manchester United to swap Juan Mata for João Mário?

Today’s fluff puts too fine a point on it

Manchester United want to tempt João Mário away from Internazionale and are so keen on the Portuguese midfielder that they will offer his Italian employers Juan Mata in exchange. According to the Corriere dello Sport, however, “the Spaniard isn’t particularly keen”, while Inter “would absolutely be ready to take a seat at the negotiating table if Henrikh Mkhitaryan was part of the discussions”. Apparently Inter feel Mário’s performances have not justified the €40m (plus potential €5m in assorted bonuses and add-ons) they spent to lure him away from Sporting in 2016 but they also feel it would be a bit embarrassing to sell him at a significant loss. Therefore they have hit upon the cunning ruse of swapping him for someone else, thereby putting no particular monetary value on the deal whatsoever. Paris Saint-Germain are apparently also interested, with Javier Pastore potentially making the reverse move.

Jonny Evans has some decisions to make. West Bromwich Albion want their 29-year-old centre-back to sign a new contract and stay at the Hawthorns but Manchester City plan to recommence their pursuit of the former Manchester United man in January while a couple of other clubs – Everton and West Ham, to be precise – hope to pip Pep should the defender become available. West Brom, meanwhile, are also thinking about their forward line and have sent scouts to Belgrade for the Europa League match between Red Star and Koln, to cast their eyes over Richmond Boakye, who has scored 10 goals in 11 league games this season and has already caught the attention of Chelsea.

A group of Real Madrid players including Marco Asensio and Isco have a WhatsApp group where they discuss matters football, and according to Diario Gol have been remarking in particular upon Cristiano Ronaldo’s selfishness and laziness. “In this group they complain that Cristiano only runs when it benefits him, that he does not give his all on the field and that he is focused only on his own interests, not those of the team,” they report. Perhaps uncoincidentally, they report elsewhere that the Portuguese star’s position in the squad is “no longer untouchable” and that the club are readying a move for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who was phoned by Zinedine Zidane last week for an entirely-coincidental-honest-guv friendly chat.

Could Celtic finally be ready to sell Moussa Dembélé? Brighton certainly hope so, and are “considering testing the water with an offer of £20m” for the French forward in January, writes the Mail. Meanwhile, the Sun reports that “Arda Turan has been snapped in London as serious doubts remain over his Barcelona future”, though this was not exactly a clandestine mission, the snaps having been uploaded to Twitter by Turan himself. Still, it might mean something. Meanwhile, Sunderland want Bolton’s Gary Madine and in the first drips of what may become a deluge of Everton-based rumour Sam Allardyce apparently wants to sign Steven Nzonzi from Sevilla and, more ambitiously, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.

Arsène Wenger has ruled out the possibility of allowing significant departures in January, even though players such as Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere are all liable to be feeling a bit miffed about the number of matches they are not starting and wondering if someone somewhere might show them a little more love. “I want to keep the squad,” Wenger said. “We do not want to become weaker. I have to consider the interest of the player but [more important] will be the interests of the club.” Spoilsport.

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