It has not taken long for the vultures to start circling around Arsenal.
With the club’s players sitting battered and bruised on the roadside as they wait to see who, if anyone, can be persuaded into trying to manage them, Real Madrid and Inter have hovered into view and are ready to swoop for red-hot Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His 10 Premier League goals this season have caught the eye of Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte but the Gunners are likely to slap a £70m price tag on the 30-year-old in an attempt to keep hold of their leading marksman.
Aubameyang’s goals will come in handy when trying to sell the club to potential successors to Unai Emery. Depending on where you get your gossip from, one of either Brendan Rodgers or Mikel Arteta is the club’s No 1 target. Rodgers let it be known after his second-placed Leicester side’s 2-1 defeat of Everton that he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave but he also said he was very much focused on his job at the Foxes, which translates as: “I might be interested in the summer, but why on earth would I walk into that sorry mess right now?”
Another coveted man at Leicester is bushy-haired maverick central defender Caglar Soyuncu, whose ability to dribble his way out of any amount of trouble at the back before springing counter-attacks has put his name at the top of Manchester City’s wish-list. But Father Christmas is unlikely to pop the Turkey international under Pep Guardiola’s tree anytime soon after Soyuncu’s agent Mustafa Dogru said a “transfer is neither on his nor the club’s agenda”. Maybe Pep should ask Santa for a new “coatigan” instead.
Chelsea are champing at the bit to sign a player when their transfer ban ends and the club’s scouts have been keeping a beady eye on the developing soap opera at the Westfalenstadion, where Jadon Sancho has spent most of this season lurching from hero to villain. The 19-year-old’s goal against Hertha Berlin would have certainly impressed his Stamford Bridge suitors though they may have to find £100m to prise him away from the Bundesliga club. Wilfried Zaha might be a slightly cheaper alternative and Crystal Palace will have to cash in on him sooner or later.
Another Dortmund player who may be on the move is Julian Weigl. Sergio Busquets isn’t getting any younger and Barcelona may nip in ahead of Manchester City to land the midfield metronome – whose contract has only 18 months left to run – for the bargain price of £21m.
Julian Weigl (right) closes down Lionel Messi during Dortmund’s 3-1 defeat to Barcelona last week. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images
Memphis Depay has found that most elusive of things since moving to Lyon from Manchester United: an end product. His seven goals for Lyon this season are evidence of this and his dazzling displays have made him a January target for Liverpool and Tottenham. He won’t come cheap, mind. It will take £50m to take the shy and retiring Netherlands winger off the Ligue 1 club’s hands.
Everton have done some digging around and found out that despite growing up in a Buckinghamshire market town, Eddie Howe was a Peter Reid-obsessed boyhood Evertonian. This nugget of information means he’s the club’s No 1 target to manage the club when Marco Silva is finally put out of his misery. If Silva leaves before Wednesday’s Merseyside derby, Duncan Ferguson will take temporary charge at Anfield, which could be dangerous.
And Aston Villa want to offload 30-year-old Jonathan Kodjia this January and replace him with 30-year-old Romain Alessandrini from LA Galaxy instead.
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