The latest Premier League clubs “battling to sign Isco” are named by the Mirror as Manchester United and Liverpool.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have all, at various times and in various combinations, reportedly battled each other to sign the Real Madrid playmaker in the past. But not today.
We’re sure it won’t be too long before the transfer merry-go-round will be swinging around in their direction once more.
Elsewhere, Leicester City have sent scouts to watch Benfica full-back Andre Almeida, 27, and winger Rafa Silva, 24 (Leicester Mercury), Inter and AC Milan are keen on re-signing Mario Balotelli after the Italian striker was involved in a racism storm playing for French club Nice (Sun).
Man City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he almost signed for Wigan Athletic 13 years ago but was “not good enough” to play for the Latics (Telegraph). Quite right too – they had Jimmy Bullard playing in their midfield back then.
Pardew on thin ice
What do we know about Guochuan Lai? Not a great deal, but confiding to the Sun late last night, a “source in China” gave a revealing insight into the psyche of the businessman and Premier League football club owner.
“Lai is not a patient man. He expects results,” the source said.
How incredibly unfortunate, then, that Lai has used millions of his hard-earned Yuan – saved up over years of building up one of China’s most successful landscape development and construction companies – to buy West Bromwich Albion, a team that has won once in 25 league games.
This tale of a man who “expects results” having his hopes cruelly dashed every weekend by a team that never gets results could barely be more tragic.
But it is now set to create an even greater tragedy – namely, the tragedy of football without Alan Pardew.
The Sun, having spoken at length with this mysterious Chinese source (whose English is impeccable, by the way), reports today that poor old Pards is set to pay the price for the Baggies’ ailing form and taxi stealing. If they don’t get a result soon, he will be sacked.
“Mr Lai is furious,” continues the “source”. “He has told the manager he wants to see points on the board. Privately, he is giving him two matches to sort out the mess on the pitch. Otherwise, he will replace him.”
The Baggies’ next two games are against fellow strugglers Huddersfield and Watford, and Pardew will presumably be gone if he doesn’t win at least one of them. Mr Lai, the poor naive soul, probably expects WBA to win them both.
Ancelotti wants to manage in England
But if Lai is looking for something positive to cling to, he may find it in the Mirror (as in the paper, not by staring at himself). That’s because the tabloid may have identified Pardew’s potential successor.
It claims that Carlo Ancelotti, the three-time Champions League-winning super-gaffer, is looking for a job in England.
The former Chelsea boss is reportedly set to reject the overtures of Paris Saint-Germain because he would prefer to work in the Premier League, having already moved back to London in preparation for his next move.
Admittedly, West Brom may not fit the criteria of being a Premier League side for much longer, but who better to help preserve their status than the legendary Italian coach?