By Sir Hardly Anyone
A quick peek in through the shuttered windows of the Toppled Bollard (favourite drinking house of football journalists across London) reveals the awful truth. It’s shut.
Which is why the rumour mill has stopped milling – or at least has reduced its normally feverish output to the merest trickle of drivel. If drivel can trickle that is.
But with the centre of operations closed, football journalists have been reduced to looking through each other’s rubbish bins in the desperate hope of finding something, anything, that someone has made up and is about to publish.
Unfortunately, a bunch of pesky school children, wise to the ways of their elders, have been feverishly printing out fake stories and dropping them in litter bins on street corners, with the intent that as inebriated sons of the rumour mills stagger home and peer among piles of rubbish in the hope of a half-full bottle of gin having been left behind by a previous passer-by they also find a story, suspect it has been mistakenly dropped by one of their compatriots, and publish it.
So yes, even in these days of lockdown we have five new tales and five updates. So, rather amazingly for a period of total shutdown, here we are, back again with another 10 transfers that Arsenal are due to make.
“Arsenal are ready to battle it out with Manchester United to sign Tolisso this summer,” they say. “The French midfielder has become a bit-part player under Bayern Munich boss Hans-Dieter Flick and is said to be assessing his options.”
They blame FootMercato for the tale, and suggest Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Napoli are “monitoring the situation” which I think means reading the Express’ on line rumour service.
2: Update: Thomas Partey from Atlético Madrid. Source Evening Standard
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“Mikel Arteta thought to be a big fan of the powerful midfielder. However, Atletico are determined to keep hold of the Ghanian international as things stand.” So maybe not.
3: Update: Coutinho . Source The Sport Review, Metro, Public News Update etc
“Arsenal and Chelsea FC have been offered the chance to sign Philippe Coutinho in a cut-price deal, according to a report in England.”
4: Update Soler. Source: Daily Star
But Soler’s agent Rodri has played down rumours his client is looking to leave the Mestalla. “Carlos and his family would be delighted to end his career at Valencia,” said Rodri on Radio Valencia. “Having people in the house who love the house is what closes the circle.”
So that’s a no then. Even though others are talking it up.
5: NEW: Jovic. Source: Daily Express / Starspost / Sport
“Jovic has endured a disappointing inaugural campaign at the Bernabeu, scoring just two goals in 24 appearances for Los Blancos,” according to the Express, who normally would never publish a single word of any foreign tongue for fear of being infected with the coronavirus, but make an exception with club nicknames, for reasons that have never become clear.
And Spanish newspaper Sport say that if the 30-year-old striker does depart (that’s Aubameyang to you and me), Arteta will pursue Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic to lead the line for the Gunners.
6: Update: Victor Osimhen. Source: TBR Football
According to The Boot Room, Victor Osimhen once spoke with Arsene Wenger, and then decided not to go to Arsenal. It may be true, the player may be making it up, or a journalist might be making it up; one just doesn’t know. But the feeling among the feverish is that “Arsenal could use Osimhen now if they sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the summer.”
He’s valued at £87m. So that’s not a problem then.
7: NEW: Mady Camara. Source: HITC
8: Update: Chris Smalling. Source: HITC, Express, Standard
The Express also have this saying, “Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool on alert as Chris Smalling set for Man Utd return from Roma.” You may or may not choose to believe this.
9: UPDATE: Layvin Kurzawa. Source: Sport, HITC, Sport Witness, Daily Star.
Kurzawa is out of contract at PSG. He is a left-back, and the scuttlers keep on telling us we need more and more and more left-backs. HITC think Arsenal have “beaten Liverpool to the signature of Layvin Kurzawa,” and he “has agreed a five-year deal to join Arsenal. Arsenal will “announce his arrival at the end of the season”
Sport Witness say, “Arsenal ‘very close’ to announcing signing – Transfer presented as being on the way”
10: NEW Axel Disasi. Source: TBR, L’Equippe, Sun.
“Arsenal are reportedly keeping tabs on Stade de Reims defender Axel Disasi… The report claims that Arsenal and Monaco both made enquiries about the 6ft 3in defensive force in January, but nothing concrete. The talented centre-back, who can represent both France and the DR Congo at international level and, according to The Sun, is worth around £18 million. “A commanding force, Disasi is also deceptively impressive with the ball at his feet and has been compared to Kurt Zouma.”
So there we are. The continent may be in partial lock down but these rumours just keep on keeping on, as the old blues singers say.
We’ll update these stories into the full transfer table in the near future. That will take us up to 47 separate players Arsenal are said to be about to sign.
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