Tis the season of spurious transfer stories and the gossip peddlers at rumour mill HQ haven’t disappointed those eager to lap up bogus chitchat today.
The back pages are spilling the beans on the recruitment drives of north London nemeses Arsenal and Tottenham, who are apparently in ‘hot pursuit’, to use the appropriate parlance, of two players neither need.
Arsenal – 5/1 to qualify for the Champions League quarter finals at Monaco’s expense – are looking to broaden their teeming stocks of attacking-midfield talent by spending double-digit millions on underperforming Borussia Dortmund ace Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Tottenham are also in embroiled in a similarly pointless transfer tussle, targeting troubled Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi as his struggles to make the Paris Saint-Germain first team on a regular basis continue.
It’s reported in the Daily Express that Spurs have ‘stolen a march’ on Liverpool for the 29-year-old, though the nature of the advantage they’ve gained on their Premier League rivals is questionable.
The former Napoli man, rated at 8/1 to join Mauricio Pochettino’s side by September 3rd, has found the net just four times this term and, according to the Express, is ‘seen as a pawn in manager Laurent Blanc’s arsenal that could be used to land another player.’
Who is this player Les Parisiens hope to land, you ask? Why, it’s stand-in Spurs skipper and one of the planet’s finest goalkeepers Hugo Lloris.
Replacing the Frenchman with a net minder of a similar stature is a mission Spurs won’t be able to succeed in cheaply, so relinquishing him for an aging forward deemed insufficient to cut it at the highest level would rank as one of the most stupid moves of all time.
The Lilywhites’ track record of buying Argentinian widemen hasn’t been great either, with the £30m paid for Erik Lamela prior to the 2013/14 campaign still stinging the White Hart Lane money men, which brings us back to Arsenal’s Mkhitaryan chase.
Metro correspondent Jamie Sanderson has let the cat out of the bag on what he dubs a ‘surprise transfer deal’ for the Armenian playmaker, with £17.7m the reported fee.
Die Schwarzgelben’s replacement for Mario Gotze has been woefully out of sorts this term, scoring just once in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined, two competitions in which he is yet to make an assist.
Such figures are unlikely to coerce skinflint Frenchman Arsene Wenger to get the wallet out, which is undoubtedly good news for Gooners.