It’s one of those mornings for Toni Kroos. He switches on his phone to find that he has 117 new text messages, 6,300 Twitter notifications and 14,357 Instagram notifications.
He panics for a second. Has someone died? Has he been filmed doing something inappropriate with a lady? Has Cristiano Ronaldo tagged him in a selfie? Then he relaxes and quickly realises what’s going on, because it’s the same thing that happens to him roughly every other month.
He’s been linked with Manchester United again.
Today, it’s the Independent that reignites one of football’s most persistent transfer rumours, claiming that Jose Mourinho has made the 28-year-old German his “main midfield target for the summer”.
But none of the other hundreds of stories linking Kroos to United over the years have come to fruition, so what makes this one different?
Well for one, the Indy has Mourinho’s midfield masterplan all worked out. It says Kroos will “slot in” between Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba to create the solid triumvirate the latter player craves (as opposed to being a Pogba replacement signing). He would also fill the space vacated by the departing Michael Carrick.
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With Real Madrid allegedly looking to overhaul their squad in the summer after a disappointing season, United are set to “test how resistant they would be” to selling Kroos.
Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl, recently linked with Manchester City, is said to be another Mourinho target. But Kroos is the one United want – just as they did in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Bale knows Real Madrid want to sell him
How unfortunate, then, that Real would much rather sell them Gareth Bale. The Sun reports that the Welsh forward “already knows” the European champions are planning to flog him in the summer. Which must be quite unpleasant for him, like living with a husband who you know doesn’t really love you.
Normally United would be all over this, but their recent capture of Alexis Sanchez makes signing Bale far less of a priority. That means he will need to find another club willing to pay his mega-wages, with the Sun naming former club Tottenham as a “front-runner”.
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) February 18, 2018
However, as everyone knows (except evidently the Sun), Spurs are in no position to pay those mega-wages and would much prefer to sign Wilfried Zaha.
The Mirror says Mauricio Pochettino will try to buy the Crystal Palace winger “AGAIN” (the Mirror likes to use caps for emphasis) in the summer after two previous failed attempts.
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Annoyingly for Tottenham, Zaha’s stock has risen considerably in that time and he is now worth “in excess of £50m”. Equally annoyingly, he is also now reportedly wanted by Chelsea and Man City.
Elsewhere, Liverpool defensive target Stefan de Vrij has given the Reds a boost by rejecting a contract extension at Lazio (Mirror), Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio says he has had offers to join Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal but his club don’t want to sell him (Diario Gol) and West Ham manager David Moyes is set to observe England rugby training ahead of the Six Nations clash against Scotland (Guardian). Andy Carroll must be nearing a return to fitness then.