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Football transfer rumours: Samuel Umtiti to leave Barcelona for Arsenal? | Football


Behind every silver lining, there’s a cloud. The Mill learned that the hard way. Eden Hazard may have turned Chelsea’s win over West Ham into his own private Soccer Skillz clinic, but home fans must sense the end is nigh with Hazard not so much putting himself in the shop window as renting out an entire billboard next to the Bernabéu.

Still, it’s not all bad news. Maurizio Sarri reckons declining forwards Olivier Giroud and Gonzalo Higuaín will still be at the club next season – and presumably, so will he. Hazard’s expected departure will include Mateo Kovacic in the Keith Gillespie role, signing up for three more years of touchline high-fives with Ross Barkley. In actually-not-bad news, Sarri might also funnel some spare cash towards Atalanta for Colombian forward Duván Zapata, who has 20 Serie A goals already this season.

Elsewhere, as one Hazard leaves these shores, another may arrive. Thorgan Hazard appeared set to join Dortmund from Mönchengladbach this summer – but word is that Liverpool might step in and snaffle the winger with a £40m bid. If not, then Jürgen Klopp could ramp up his interest in PSV’s Steven Bergwijn, who is also being pursued by Manchester United and both Milan clubs. Klopp also likes the look, if not the taste or aroma, of Wolves wing-back Ruben Vinagre, and could swing a swap deal involving Rafa Camacho.

Unai Emery is in a tight spot, with Arsenal’s Champions League hopes still in the balance. Wooing new players in fiscally uncertain times is a tricky business, but Emery is still hoping to sweet talk Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti. “He’s a very good player … I’ve always been able to count on French players,” he cooed. Emery will push that theory to the limit with a move for Aston Villa flop Jordan Veretout, now on the mend in Fiorentina’s midfield. Arsenal also fancy Ajax left-back Nicolás Tagliafico, whose current team-mate Daley Blind is wanted by, er, PSG?

Over in Madrid, Zinedine Zidane is in a pickle over James Rodríguez. On the one hand, the Colombian has been on loan at Bayern for so long that Zidane has since won the Champions League, left and come back again. On the other, Rodríguez now has a Spanish passport. Decisions, decisions. Neighbours Atlético are also set for an attacking reshuffle, with the club hierarchy reportedly tired of Diego Costa’s bad behaviour. If only there had been some kind of warning!

Inter’s Mauro Icardi, Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic and Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne are all on Diego Simeone’s shortlist, and he knows just the club to prise some cash from to help with the overheads. It’s Manchester City, who are interested in midfield duo Saúl Ñíguez and Rodri – both of whom are valued at £60m. Elsewhere, Braga defender Bruno Viana has caught the attention of Wolves, Watford, Leicester and Leeds.

Finally, Everton are chasing Birmingham striker Che Adams – and it can only help their cause that Adams’ middle name is literally Everton – while Newcastle and West Brom are lining up a six-player swap deal for the ages. Salomón Rondón, Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs could all move north, with Dwight Gayle, Jacob Murphy and Isaac Hayden heading to the Hawthorns. Yowza!



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