Today’s tall tales emanating from the rumour mill tell of defensive reshuffles across the continent, with a pair of World Cup winners and an England international set for a summer of upheaval.
As is often the case these days, Manchester United find themselves at the epicentre of the morning’s transfer tremors rippling across the gossip columns, with their unrelenting search for a right-back likely to spark the biggest furore.
Kyle Walker – Tottenham to Man Utd
Gradually rediscovering his best form following a lengthy injury lay-off, the son of Sheffield is allegedly a £20m target for Louis van Gaal’s side.
Spurs’ fortunes have improved since Walker burst out of the sick bay; their win percentage has soared to 67% with him in the side as opposed to 52% without him.
Such statistics are indicative of the 24-year-old’s importance in Mauricio Pochettino’s team and, given the north Londoners’ notorious negotiation skills, the Red Devils may well have to fork out more than the media-mooted price if they’re serious about snaring this target.
Walker is 4/1 to join Man Utd this summer.
Benedikt Howedes – Schalke to Man Utd
Bolstering at right-back isn’t the only priority on the 13-time Premier League champions’ to do list.
Man Utd are hopeful of luring versatile German stopper Howedes to Old Trafford too and have been boosted in their pursuit by these revelations extracted directly from the proverbial horse’s mouth:
“If I am to leave Schalke one day, I do not want to move clubs within the Bundesliga. England would be my goal.”
With Arsenal also thought to be interested, however, securing Champions League football will be essential if the Reds are to succeed in this endeavour.
Shkodran Mustafi – Valencia to Tottenham
Like Howedes, the former Everton trainee is a centre-back by trade but capable of doing the business at full-back, a skill he exemplified on three occasions at the World Cup.
This could prove a shrewd piece of recruitment if Walker is sold, but with Borussia Dortmund also believed to keen on the £10m-rated defender, Spurs’ powers of persuasion will need to be at their strongest if they are to talk Mustafi into ditching the Mestalla for White Hart Lane.