Football transfer rumours: Barcelona move for Ángel Di María?


Well, actually it hasn't quite happened yet, Liverpool have just said it has happened. Or that it is about to happen. Or will happen when Firmino has been probed and prodded with something cold and metallic and has completed his medical. So now we pause for you to get incredibly worked up about the fee (around £29m, if you believe the nose-tappers in the know) for a player you hadn't heard of until three weeks ago unless you're one of those dorks who watches football outside of Super Duper Mega Sky Bantz With Jamie's Jamie And Thierry Sunday. Cool. Here's more of what could be called a thing happening. After Milan had their pants pulled right down to their ankles by neighbours Inter over Geoffrey Kondogbia, it looks like they've been gazumped again, this time by Atlético Madrid for the striker Jackson Martínez, with the Colombian set to move from Porto, according to his agent who apologised with the philosophical musing that you "can't be in two places at once." Of course this is being spun as a snub for Arsenal, despite little suggestion that they were ever really terribly interested in Martínez, or indeed a striker of any stripe, Kazinform cites the Guardian. Anyway, back to ephemera, and according to whispers in Spain, Manchester United have another suitor for their wayward winger Ángel Di María, purchased last year at great expense but now seemingly on his way out of England in a sack. And that sack has a little tag on it, the sending address reading ‘FC Barcelona, Camp Nou, Camp Nou Mews, 1 Barcelona Street, Barcelona, Spain Cataluyna.' No postcode though, so it might not get there for a bit. Meanwhile, emissaries from Chelsea and Stoke have been meeting over a bowl of chips at the Daventry Harvester (we're guessing - it's roughly equidistant between London and Stoke, and they do a fine bowl of chips)to discuss the transfer of Asmir Begovic, and a solemn air has descended over proceedings. For the party from the Potteries have just made their demands, pausing and adopting a serious tone before saying something like: "Now, if these talks are to continue, we must make clear what we want. As well as the £8m, we have to insist that you include ... [dramatic, portentous pause] Victor Moses in the deal as well." To which the Chelsea officials presumably tried not to crack a grin, nodded sagely, looked at each other like Seth Johnson and his agent when faced with Peter Ridsdale*, sucked in their teeth, briefly made noises about those being tough terms before finally admitting: "We're sure we can work something out." Should that price be just too steep for Chelsea, Stoke are keen on Yevhen Konoplyanka to fill one of their wing slots. Steve McClaren has barely had time to locate the umbrella rack at Newcastle before cracking out the cheque-book, and according to the ever-infallible word on the street, he's going to scribble out a big fat one, to the tune of £14m, for QPR's Charlie Austin. Whether Austin himself will want to swap one tin repository for another is another question entirely. Elsewhere in the north east, Sunderland are going to spend £11m on Georginio Wijnaldum, a thought most depressing for any PSV or indeed Dutch fans out there; you can take it when Manchester United prove too much of a draw for Memphis Depay, but when Sunderland are sashaying away with your best players ... eesh. The Mackems, however, haven't had such luck with a £5m bid for Stewart Downing, rejected by West Ham, who themselves will guff £12m on Marseille's Dimitri Payet and have told Andy Carroll that he ain't goin' nowhere, potentially in the form of a mournful country song. It's decision day for Mo Salah, who will tell Chelsea of his intentions towards them at some point in the next 24 hours, so stand by your beds for that one, while former Blue Demba Ba will turn his nose up at the prospect of mega coin with Shanghai Shenhua in favour of a move to West Brom, which is the sort of club/player combo that makes so much sense you have to quickly nip to Wikipedia to double-check it hasn't already happened. Finally, to end on a big, crashing bang, it says here that Watford want Paulinho from Spurs.

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