Let’s start up in north London, where speculation about Dele Alli’s will-he-won’t-he loan move to PSG continues to hover over the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium like a particularly stubborn patch of fog. The latest reports suggest it may hinge on Spurs’ ability to bring in a replacement for the Unsettled One and José Mourinho likes the cut of Florian Neuhaus’s jib.
The 23-year-old Borussia Mönchengladbach playmaker has inspired his side to victories over Dortmund and Bayern in recent weeks, and made the step up to the Germany team in the past year. The problem is likely to be his price of around £36m, though, and the fact that the aforementioned pair would like to avoid any future defeats against Gladbach by buying the player who helped inflict them.
A more Daniel Levy-like option would be to go hunting for players on the cheap – and what could be more thrifty than a free signing? Spurs fancy installing their very own Ángel of the North (London) in the summer after learning that PSG’s Ángel Di María will be available for nowt in July.
The Argentinian is best known in England for wandering around Old Trafford like a lonely ghost in 2014, but at PSG he has been excellent for over five seasons and, even at 32, Mourinho thinks he can get the best out of a player he enjoyed managing at Real Madrid. But why stop at one freebie? Napoli centre-back Nikola Maksimovic is also available for nothing in July and Spurs are watching carefully and ready to pounce.
Another centre-back who could be on his way to London is Dayot Upamecano. Barely a day goes by that the Leipzig and France defender isn’t mentioned in The Mill and the word is that Thomas Tuchel’s appointment at Chelsea has made it more likely that the 22-year-old could move to Stamford Bridge rather than Bayern Munich. It says here that Tuchel also fancies plundering his old club Dortmund for Erling Haaland, who will be the No 1 target this summer. The goal-guzzling Norwegian will cost somewhere between £66m and £91m, depending on who you believe.
Liverpool are going to finally sign a … oh, wait … nope. Liverpool aren’t signing anyone. But Manchester United might be! With Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba potentially leaving at the end of the season, the club is targeting the “new Michael Ballack”. Yes, Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner (no relation to space-jumping daredevil Felix, unfortunately) is being eyed up by United at a cut-price £16m but any deal is likely to take place in the summer.
Leicester have been knocked back twice by Burnley when trying to sign James Tarkowski and the Foxes hope it will be third time lucky when they make a summer swoop for the centre-back. Tarkowski will have only one season left on his current deal in July but David Moyes is also stalking Turf Moor and wants a new West Ham toy to play with.
Burnley may bolster their defence by bringing in Jonjoe Kenny, who is surplus to requirements at Everton, who are also hoping to snaffle teenage Netherlands forward Joshua Zirkzee from Bayern Munich.
Arsenal and Barcelona will do battle for the signature of Manchester City’s 20-year-old Spain centre-back Eric García, who is available for free in July. And Leicester’s Demarai Gray looks set to turn down Crystal Palace and Marseille and kick-start his stalled career at Bayer Leverkusen, after agreeing personal terms there.