There is no one in football like Diego Simeone. Only he would sign Álvaro Morata, a player who is the absolute opposite of him, to guarantee his maintenance of constant fury – for that can be the only way to explain the strangest transfer of all time. And now it seems that he is interested in pairing the temper-inducing striker with another: Atlético Madrid have, we are told, contacted the representatives of Cristiano Ronaldo. Though the Manchester United altruist feels sincere and profound love for the club that developed him, he would prefer to leave rather than lower himself to competing in a Europa League for which he was instrumental in qualifying them.
However, Erik ten Hag is disinclined to allow the move. Well, either that, or he’s desperate to rid himself of a slightly weird dressing-room influence who won’t do what he’s told – except he can’t say so because he’d like to extract as large a fee as possible. Definitely one of the two.
Meanwhile, “the Frenkie de Jong transfer saga rumbles onTM”, his protracted move to United reaching stalemate. Barcelona, it appears, are still refusing to pay him the €17m they owe him, for the sound and moral reason that they don’t want to. Verily, més que un club.
Further south, Jules Koundé might be leaving Sevilla for Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are interested, and the two parties have, it is said, agreed personal terms. An offer of £46.7m has been made to the Spanish club.
Nor is that the end of activity in Fulham. Napoli would like to relieve them of Kepa Arrizabalaga, either on loan or permanently; should that happen, and should a buyer, any buyer, also be found for Ross Barkley, it may be time to wonder if Todd Boehly is indeed the footballing savant Todd Boehly seems certain Todd Boehly is.
Elsewhere, Milan would like to take Japhet Tanganga from Spurs, whose rock-solid hairline must be too much for Antonio Conte, while Georginio Wijnaldum’s decision to leave Liverpool looks wiser with every passing day. He’s been offered to Milan and also to Roma, but for now remains a Paris Saint-Germain player.
Another defender potentially on the move is Marc Cucurella. Now that Manchester City have convinced Mikel Arteta to give requisite cashmoney for another player not quite good enough in a variety of positions, Pep Guardiola is at liberty to replace Oleksandr Zinchenko with the current Brighton and future Arsenal left-back – who will surely follow in the illustrious footsteps of Danilo, Angeliño and Nathan Aké.
And Arteta’s bid to put Arsenal right back where they belong – as a club that sometimes contests the top four – does not end there. He’d like to sign Lucas Paquetá of Lyon, and with no one else especially bothered by that, the price has been slashed from €80m to €40m.
Otherwise, Leeds and West Ham are both chasing Martin Terrier, the Rennes striker – who’ll presumably, fancy a Yorkshire homecoming. And the Irons are also after Lille’s midfielder, Amadou Onana – what’s his name? – having bid in the region of £30m plus add-ons.