With only 7,328 players on their books, Chelsea have finally decided to address the shortage by adding another; well, either that or the sport of preventing Arsenal from signing someone for whom their need is greater. Accordingly, they plan to offer £35m for William Carvalho – precisely £1m per Sporting Lisbon appearance. Already standing by is Roberto Martínez, fawning speech thanking Chelsea for their altruistic generosity prepared for when the player turns up at Goodison Park on loan.

And, it seems, Arsenal are also to be trumped in their bid to sign Manchester City’s street poet, Nasty Nastasić. Not that long ago, an example of Roberto Mancini’s unrivalled eye for a young player, now he is thoroughly unrequired and likely to move to Juventus.

Across London, master of satire Mauricio Pochettino is preparing to taunt Tottenham fans by replacing Jermain Defoe with his nearest and most frustrating likeness. He has astutely realised that a religious striker willing to spend entire games either being caught offside or in pursuit of his first touch is precisely what his team is missing, so wants to buy Javier Hernández. And that’s not all; it has also been deduced that Marouane Fellaini is not required by Louis van Gaal and, by remarkable coincidence, Pochettino is seeking a clod-hopping lump unable to resist throwing elbows whenever another human is remotely in the vicinity. The pair are expected to cost a combined £24m!

Also leaving Old Trafford could be Wilfried Zaha. Originally purchased for the purpose of making clear to David Moyes precisely what needed doing with Nani, Alex Ferguson had reckoned without a man so independent that he issued shares in himself and bought them all. Accordingly, Moyes decided to award Nani a new five-year contract and ostracise Zaha; boy did that show everyone! Now Malky Mackay plans to return the latter to Selhurst Park, should the Scot be given the Crystal Palace job.

Given that he spent the last year doing nothing, United will have no cause to replace Zaha – though presumably, this is not why they did not sign Marco Reus. Yet, they did try, according to Enrique Cerezo, the president of Atlético Madrid – and he should know. And as everyone seems to know, Reus has a release clause in his contract enabling him to leave for £25m next summer, so an offer of significantly more than that might have persuaded them to sell this time around. But United, rather than acknowledge that should you ever have the opportunity to buy Marco Reus, you do whatever it takes to buy Marco Reus, instead added him to the illustrious list of players in whose connection they have arranged for themselves to be mentioned.

In other winger news, Jordan Ibe is set to leave Anfield. Liverpool have a proud tradition of developing their own players, producing a grand total of 0 first team regulars since Michael Owen broke through in 1998. Nowadays, though, youth development’s Brendan Rodgers magnanimously allows other clubs to test themselves by allocating them the difficult bits. Ibe, for example, was spotted and coached by Wycombe Wanderers, and now that Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana have been bought to go ahead of him, he will be loaned to Bolton, where Dougie Freedman will oversee his progress.

And finally for today, with the onset of middle age draining his six-pack, John Arne Riise has found a new way of proving his toughness to the world: claiming that Aston Villa would like to sign him. It is understood that Roy Keane has not yet decided whether to call his bluff.