The Mill skipped merrily into work this morning. Spring is in the air, it is true, but most of all today was going to be an absolute doddle. All we had to do, we reasoned, is chuck a few Monaco players into the mix and link them with everyone else before the big fish get all indignant about someone else nibbling at their slice of whatever pie it is fish eat and hoover them all up this summer.
In Manchester City’s case, at least, they’re too busy searching for their backbone to sit up straight and start doing some deals. So there’s an opportunity for others to get in on the action and that’s exactly what Liverpool are up to with their pursuit of the RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. The 21-year-old has been brilliant for the Bundesliga’s surprise package, scoring 14 times and counting – and also seems to fit Jürgen Klopp’s preferred style of play perfectly.
More Liverpool news – because who needs to be in the Champions League or Europa League, really? They’re also interested in the Cagliari playmaker Nicolò Barella, who is only 20, and watched him in their recent match against Fiorentina.
It’s a morning of Merseyside madness. Across Stanley Park a chequebook is being wielded by Everton, who need a contingency plan when Romelu Lukaku gives up football for a new career in telling employers what to do. Moussa Dembélé, the Celtic sensation, is apparently the man – but is he the mouth? – to fill that void. Manchester United and Chelsea are long-time lurkers in that queue, although the latter might be eliminated from the running if they re-enlist Lukaku in a few months’ time.
In theory, at least. Chelsea themselves are resigned to losing a top striker – and that’s been the way ever since Diego Costa started having Chinese dreams – so they’re fairly keen to dilute the risk of that causing problems again by purchasing two. Lukaku is one; Dembélé may well be another but Álvaro Morata is a long-time favourite of Antonio Conte and the manager may make moves to bring him in once Costa scarpers.
Oh, but talking of Dembélés, Barcelona are pretty keen too – but not on that one. They’re set on signing Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé, the rapid forward who has been absolutely electric at times this season since signing from Rennes, and will make a serious play for him before next term. There are also suggestions that Barça have been offered the services of Nemanja Matic as as they scour the planet for the new Sergio Busquets. Make your own minds up on that.
Arsenal want to sign a young, technically gifted attacking midfielder. I know! This one is the Stuttgart tyro Berkay Ozcan, who has broken into the German second-tier side’s starting XI and is tipped for a big future domestically as well as internationally with Turkey. The Mill has nothing against Ozcan whatsoever but we don’t mind if you stop us there; we know you’ve heard it before.