Football transfer rumours: Zidane to start Real spree with Mbappé deal?

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“I am not thinking yet about signings.” Zinedine Zidane could not have been clearer in his Monday night press conference after accepting the Real Madrid job for the second time that his mind was on the final 11 matches of the season and nothing else. But that didn’t stop the Mill (and other notable gossip outlets) from creaking into action, with most speculating that Florentino Pérez has promised the Frenchman the proverbial war chest to spend this summer, as well as a week’s stay in his ski chalet and a lottery ticket every week for the rest of his life in order to convince the Frenchman to return.

Zidane did appear to offer an olive branch to Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco although most still expect the estranged trio to depart in the summer as the club plan an overhaul of the squad. The first name to be mentioned? “Zidane is French so he could do something with Kylian Mbappé,” laughed Pérez, a sort of chuckling veiled threat normally used by Bond villains at the start of the movie. Pérez might be a ringer for Jean-Claude Juncker, but he’s got the swazz of Donald Tusk, so that’s £250m-ish to get the ball rolling, you would think.

Next? Neymar of course. When asked if we would prefer to sign the Brazilian or Mbappé, Pérez simply replied “both”. Stick another £200m on the bill, garçon. If all this does seem a remote possibility, it is worth remembering that PSG are perennial bottlejobs incapable of winning anything in Europe and that Neymar has also recently expressed an interest in joining the club which has won four Champions Leagues in the last five years. “Real is one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Neymar told O Globo only last week. “Everyone that is followed by Real Madrid would feel attracted to play there, but I am happy in Paris.” The other names mentioned, which seem to the Mill small-fry in comparison, are Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen. There is little doubt that money will be spent.

One player that could be leaving La Liga for pastures new is Philippe Coutinho which could deprive Liverpool of up to £17.6m in bonuses, according to the Mirror. The Reds currently receive £4.2m for every 25 La Liga appearances Coutinho makes, and also have additional clauses linked to whether Barcelona win the league or Champions League in the next couple of years. All the more reason for Manchester United to stick the boot in, then.

One problem Ed Woodward does continue to have is David de Gea. With his contract up at the end of next season, United are scrambling to get a new deal signed and have offered him £350,000 a week, which would comfortably make him the world’s best remunerated keeper. David wants more money to spend on gig tickets and is holding out for a little more, the cheeky so and so.

Mo Diamé could be set for a move to Turkey this summer, but only if he fails to make three more league appearances for Newcastle – that would earn him a one-year extension to his existing deal, something the club are apparently keen to avoid. Besiktas have been mentioned as a destination.

Incidentally, the manager of Besiktas, Şenol Güneş, has hung Loris Karius out to dry after his latest blunder against Konyaspor on Sunday. “Karius has gone a bit stagnant, something is wrong with his electricity, motivation, enthusiasm for the game,” said Güneş. “He was at fault for the goals he conceded. “Let me put it this way, if I still had Tolga [Zengin] available I would play him.” Do not be surprised to see the German back on Merseyside this summer.

Finally, Leicester and West Ham are battling to sign exciting Portuguese winger Nuno Moreira. The 19-year-old is out of contract this summer at Sporting, where he plays for the Under-23 side.