The next big thing? No, it’s not esports or a Mercury Music Prize-nominated artist that you’ve never heard of. It’s Marseille’s Isaac Lihadji, a 17-year-old that is so fresh off the production line, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Imagine! That hasn’t stopped Manchester United, Barcelona and Everton all doing their research on the winger that has just one year remaining on his contract. Lihadji is reportedly keen to stay at Marseille, but only if he breaks into André Villas Boas’s first-team squad.
As reported/speculated/arm-chanced in yesterday’s Mill – you heard it here first people! – the Romelu Lukaku-Paulo Dybala swap between Manchester United and Juventus is ON! A lot hinges on the decision of the little Argentinian, whose preference is to stay in Turin but could be swayed by either a huge contract offer from Ed Woodward or a big thumbs down from Maurizio Sarri when they have a talk on Tuesday about his role at the Turin club. Or both. Internazionale are still lurking in the background for Lukaku but their €70m offer is well short of United’s €83m valuation, so the Dybala swap is looking a little more likely at the mo.
With the overnight news that Eric Bailly faces four to five months out with a knee injury, United are back in the hunt for a shiny new centre-back. Rumours of a move for Harry Maguire are still circulating, but interest in Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti is also doing the rounds, with the Frenchman expected to cost half the price of the Leicester man, at around £40m.
Neymar update No 3,473. PSG have pulled the plug on any deal for the Brazilian to move back to Barça, according to Marca.
Real Madrid are contemplating kicking James Rodríguez out of a door marked “Do One”, despite the serious injury to another one of their attacking midfielders, Marco Asensio. The Colombian – the subject of the Mill’s favourite-ever headline – has only just returned from a two-year loan at Bayern Munich and at 28 should be in his prime, but Zinedine Zidane admitted this week that “I don’t know if James is going to be at Real Madrid next season.” Stinks of a move to China, if Florentino Pérez doesn’t veto it, of course.
Burnley will resolve the ridiculous situation in which they have three England international goalkeepers on their books by selling one of them, Tom Heaton, to the Premier League’s other claret clan, Aston Villa, for £8m. The Birmingham club are also poised to sign arguably the name of the window, Marvelous Nakamba, for another £11m to take their total summer spending north of £130m.
They could yet add to that, with interest in Liverpool’s £20m-rated Harry Wilson, but Newcastle could have something to say about the 22-year-old Welshman.