Cut-price $150m deal could put Barca flop back in England, Paul Pogba reveals secret Arsenal love
Philippe Coutinho could soon find his way back to England if his employer gets its way, while wheels are reportedly in motion at Real Madrid who want Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. All that and more in today’s Rumour Mill.
Arsenal and Chelsea are set to be offered the chance to sign Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho this summer. The Brazilian midfielder is out on loan at Bayern Munich for the season, but they have decided not to sign him permanently. The 27-year-old has had an average spell in Germany, and Nou Camp chiefs have all-but given up on him making it in Spain. The former Liverpool hero is now being touted around Europe, with the two London clubs and Manchester United among those who have looked at him in the past. Barcelona have struggled to find an outright buyer for Coutinho, as they look to claw back some of the $279 million paid to the Reds in 2018.
SunSports understands the ex-Inter Milan ace is available on another season-long loan, or a deal for around $147 million could be struck. Interested clubs, which include Manchester City, would also only have to pay around half of his $569,000-a-week wages. The Brazilian showed his best form in the Premier League, and became a global superstar at Liverpool. It is understood Jurgen Klopp’s side were asked last year by Barcelona whether they would be interested in buying Coutinho back. However, the La Liga giants were told they would not be keen at the time, even for a fraction of his original price.
Real Madrid have made an initial approach for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to France Football. The Gabon striker has scored 20 goals for the Gunners this season and has been attracting interest from Barcelona, Inter Milan and now Real. Mikel Arteta is determined to keep hold of Aubameyang, but with 12 months left at the end of his contract, the situation could be beyond their control. Meanwhile, former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas has told his former employers to give Aubameyang whatever he wants. The Sky Sports pundit said: “Wholeheartedly as an Arsenal man, I would give Aubameyang the contract that he desires – you put it on for three or four years, if he wants to stay. “You give him what he wants because in a year’s time if you sell him, you get your value for money back if it’s the case that he wants to leave. I just don’t see the point of running down contracts. “If Barcelona or Real Madrid come in, I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m not surprised he would want to go there. If there was anything else in England, I’d be surprised. I don’t expect Liverpool or Man City to try and get him so it would probably be to the European stage he would go to. “At his age, if you can get good money for him and he doesn’t want to stay at Arsenal, there’s no problem, I don’t have a concern with that. “I think we’ve got people who can come in and we will miss his goals, but I can accept it if Aubameyang wants to go to Barcelona, Real Madrid or even Juventus… But he is Arsenal’s superstar and I think he enjoys that.”
Manchester United and Manchester City are both interested in signing RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. The 21-year-old France youth international has emerged as one of the best upcoming defenders in Europe, and is said to be on the lists of both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola. City, in fact, are hoping to sign two new centre-backs when the transfer window eventually reopens, having conceded more goals (31) so far this season than the previous two campaigns (23, 27), and 10 more than league-leaders Liverpool. City perused the January market but did not pursue a deal, having looked at players like Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matvyenko, and the Leicester duo Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu. Their rivals United, meanwhile, also want to bring in another centre-back, with Chris Smalling’s and Phil Jones’ futures uncertain, and they have been repeatedly linked with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. Arsenal have also been linked with Upamecano in the past but have William Saliba joining from St Etienne in the summer as well as the option to make Pablo Mari’s loan from Flamengo permanent.
Paul Pogba has admitted growing up as a Gunners fan. The France World Cup winner told Man Utd’s official podcast: “I will be honest. So, at the start, I was an Arsenal fan – obviously because of all the French players, you know. “Me and my brother were but my other brother was a Manchester United fan. “I couldn’t say anything so I used to love Henry and, because of him, I was an Arsenal fan. “Then I changed and went on to choose with my other brother. “No Arsenal, I went with the other one, the United fan!” Pogba has been heavily linked with a move away from Manchester in the summer with a return to Juventus or Real Madrid on the cards.
Tottenham have no intention of selling Harry Kane to Manchester United or any other Premier League rival, Sky Sports News has been told. Recent reports have suggested Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is willing to sanction Kane’s departure to United for a world-record fee of £200m because of financial worries during the coronavirus crisis. Spurs’ stadium cost around £1bn and the pandemic is set to have grave financial repercussions on all Premier League clubs, with Tottenham moving early to furlough some non-playing staff. Reports have also claimed Kane would be open to a move to United, but Sky Sports News has been told the England captain will not be leaving for Old Trafford or any other Premier League rival. Kane, who has been out injured since January with a hamstring problem, has openly spoken about his frustration at so far failing to win trophies with Tottenham - and says he is prepared to leave if the team does not progress.