United or City? That is the question facing one talented South American footballer today as he ponders whether to quit the freezing eastern Ukrainian winter for the sunnier climes of Manchester.
We’re talking about Fred, obviously – the Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder whose life choices currently bear an uncanny resemblance to that of his continental brother Alexis Sanchez, with both players allegedly being simultaneously pursued by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
You probably already know that Arsenal contract rebel Alexis could be snatched by Man Utd after Man City refused to budge on their £20m offer for the 29-year-old forward.
What you may not know is that Fred, a 24-year-old Brazilian male with a spiky afro, could be snatched by City after the Citizens matched United’s £45m offer for the player.
That, at least, is according to the Manchester Evening News, which claims that Guardiola has identified Fred as a “long-term successor to Fernandinho”.
This would be a blow to Mourinho, who had already identified Fred as the long-term successor to Michael Carrick. But in any case, they may both have to raise their £45m bids because Shakhtar have insisted it is “below their valuation”.
Conte wants ‘good investment’ Alexis
As for Alexis, he may still end up staying in London after all. But not with Arsenal; with Chelsea.
The Telegraph reports that Blues manager Antonio Conte has expressed his desire to sign the Chilean this month, describing him as a “good investment”.
“The amount is around £20 million. Maybe a normal price for Alexis Sanchez is €80-90m. This is my opinion,” the Italian said, although it’s not clear why he cares about good investments when everyone thinks he will be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer anyway.
On that, Conte said the club “has to decide to send me away”. Or in other words, sack him. Or in other words, give him some money to leave.
Meanwhile, football’s most flirtatious man Antoine Griezmann has been batting his pretty eyelids in the direction of Real Madrid.
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The Express claims the Atletico Madrid forward has told the European champions he will snub a transfer to rivals Barcelona and move to the Bernabeu instead if they “meet his demands”.
These are: to guarantee him first-team football, pay him more than £10m a year, keep Zinedine Zidane as manager, splash out on other new signings and help him win the Ballon d’Or. Anything else, Antoine? Daily foot massages from Keylor Navas, perhaps?
Elsewhere, Tottenham are ready to offer new deals and pay rises to attacking trio Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min (Times), Man Utd are set to hand goalkeeper David de Gea a new £300,000-a-week contract to ward off interest from Real Madrid (Sun) and West Ham manager David Moyes says he has no plans to sell either Andy Carroll or Javier Hernandez (Sky Sports). Unless someone else actually makes an offer for them, that is.
Finally, former Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla claims he would be worth £177m in today’s transfer market (Tuttomercatoweb). Which, according to our calculations, means Les Ferdinand would be worth £325.7m.