People who spend their spare time watching Portuguese football, or people who spend their spare time playing computer games? For these are those able to tell a person about Marcos Rojo, the Sporting Lisbon centre-back apparently about to join Manchester United. Somehow not affronted at being their contingency to Arsenal’s contingency for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, he is currently refusing to train, getting into the Old Trafford spirit of things by sulking until he gets his own way.
Nor will he be the only new arrival. With only Adnan Januzaj, Daniel Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa already lacking a position in Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system, the Dutchman is keen to add Angel Di María to his squad. In an effort to complete the deal quickly and amaze the Glazers with his business acumen, Ed Woodward has tabled an offer of Anderson and some luncheon vouchers. And finally, United also plan to take Daley Blind from Ajax. This, it is hoped, will aid the refurbishment of the club’s rather shabby executive boxes, by replacing Annual Curtain.
Meanwhile, leaving United, for a season at least, might be Wilfried Zaha - despite the superbly Dutch footballer nature of his forename. Crystal Palace would like him back on loan, whereupon Tony Pulis will have not the first clue how to use him.
Javier Hernández, though, will not be moving quite yet, rejecting a move to Southampton. But Ronald Koeman has refused to be defeated in his efforts to recruit a centre-forward with miserable ball control and aggravating apprehension of the offside rule, instead agreeing to pay Hull a bargain £12m for Shane Long.
And – as well as selling Artur Boruc – Southampton would also like to buybuy Jonathan Biabiany, Parma’s French winger. He scored seven times last season, and West Brom’s offer of £4.4m has already been rejected as too small – that, or the player had not the slightest interest in playing for them. Everton are also interested, but Roberto Martínez has yet to be convinced that he is as tactically astute as Tom Cleverley.
Elsewhere, Arsène Wenger is planning to buy two more homegrown young players to add to his altruistic vision of self-sufficient utopia. Eager for a midfielder with no first touch but, yes, violence, he will bid £8m for Cheick Tioté. Then, he will attempt to convince Olympiakos’s Kostas Manolas that the best thing for his career is to join Arsenal, where he will never play, but will join an illustrious list of centre-backs who Wenger either developed or turned into nationwide laughing stocks: Gilles Grimandi, Matthew Upson, Igors Stepanovs, Pascal Cygan, Philippe Senderos, Kolo Touré, Johan Djourou, Sébastien Squillaci, Mikaël Silvestre and William Gallas.
Across north London, Mauricio Pochettino is beginning to shovel towards the door those in whom he has no interest. England and ITV’s World Cup saviour, Andros Townsend, is one such type, and Aaron Lennon another. Nacer Chadli has already been offered to PSV Eindhoven as bait for Memphis Depay, but, unsurprisingly, this was summarily rejected. Others available are, in no particular order, Roberto Soldado, Michael Dawson, Sandro, Etienne Capoue, Mousa Dembélé, Kyle Naughton and Benoît Assou-Ekotto. To replace them, negotiations are already underway with Villarreal’s Argentinian centre-back, Mateo Musacchio, while Toby Alderweireld is also a target.
And finally, the most shocking news of the summer: Aston Villa intend to sign a player for the purpose of playing, rather than to be eaten by Roy Keane. So far, Aly Cissokho, Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Philippe Senderos have arrived at Villa Park, but Colombia’s Carlos Sánchez is now on his way from Elche – coincidentally, the sound emitted when teeth collide with flesh.