It’s fair to say the relationship between Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti and his new manager Thomas Tuchel has not got off to the best start.
They’ve had one meeting, and the only thing we know about it is that Tuchel told Verratti he was fat. Not in a playground taunt kind of way; more in a pre-season Body Mass Index kind of way. But still, the Italian was not best pleased.
And when he told his (super) agent Mino Raiola about it, well, Raiola hit the roof! It was like Verratti had touched a nerve or something.
Outraged, the (super) agent got straight on the phone to his good, good friend Ed Woodward at Manchester United (who has been a good, good friend since he helped Raiola pocket a £40m cut from the Paul Pogba deal a couple of years ago) and the conversation that followed has somehow got back to the Daily Mirror.
The tabloid says Raiola “offered” the Red Devils the chance to sign Verratti, who they have allegedly coveted for a while and who – at the last check – was valued at around £90m.
A key man at the Parc des Princes since 2012, the 25-year-old’s future is now apparently “up in the air” following Tuchel’s arrival and subsequent body-shaming. Although in Verratti’s defence, as an Italian this might be the only chance he gets to watch a World Cup on the sofa eating biscuits. Dreamland.
Milan want Morata for Donnarumma
Another interesting Italian proposal is reportedly being considered by Chelsea, who the Express says have been offered AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in exchange for their striker Alvaro Morata.
It’s a tempting one. The future of Blues number one Thibaut Courtois is hugely uncertain, while Morata failed to adequately fill the Diego Costa-shaped hole in Chelsea’s attack last season (not enough goals or slapping of opponents’ faces). But with the Serie A giants in “financial turmoil”, any deal could get tricky.
Julen Lopetegui’s appointment as Real Madrid coach-elect has put an end to speculation about the 25 other managers who were linked with the Bernabeu job, but now there are a new round of rumours about who will replace Lopetegui for Spain.
And the top man tipped to take over, unfortunately for Newcastle fans, is Rafa Benitez. One of the few bosses not linked with Real Madrid because he already tried that once and was rubbish, the Northern Echo says Rafa is “under serious consideration” to lead his national side.
Man Utd end interest in Danny Rose
Meanwhile, Man Utd’s long-running pursuit of left-backs has ground to a sudden halt. The Mirror says Jose Mourinho has “pulled the plug” on a £50m deal to bring in Danny Rose from Tottenham – much to the Englishman’s dismay.
The Red Devils have also reportedly gone cold of the idea of signing Alex Sandro from Juventus because they think the £53m asking price is too high (Record). Luke Shaw – you’re back in the game.
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Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling has failed to reach an agreement with Manchester City about a new long-term deal at the Etihad (Sky Sports), Burnley have made a £25m offer for relegated West Brom duo Craig Dawson and Jay Rodriquez (Mirror) and Sevilla midfielder Steven Nzonzi has declared that he wants to play for “a big club” (Sun). But sadly, he’s just being linked with Arsenal.