Everton star’s inconceivable move to Man Utd and Newcastle’s £52m forward thinking

All the latest Premier League transfer rumours, mixed in with an inconceivable number of Princess Bride references.
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As football fans, we all fully understand that life is pain. And, as Westley so wisely said in The Princess Bride, anyone saying differently is selling something. Well, there are a lot of football teams trying to sell something to someone right now, and as expert reporters of transfer rumours, it’s our job to sum them all up for you, right here in this handy column. Oh, and what’s that? You’d like us to continue dropping Princess Bride references into the rest of column to spice it all up a bit? As you wish…

If you haven’t seen the movie, then this might get a bit baffling. Also, go and watch it, for god’s sake. You’re really missing out.

United picking up a new goalkeeper?

There’s nothing new in reports that Manchester United are looking at alternatives to the increasingly error-prone David De Gea, of course, but today we have a rumour of unusual size (those definitely exist) and it comes from The Mirror, who think that United are considering a move for Jordan Pickford.

The England goalie used his arms of unusual size to sign a new long-term deal earlier this season, but the red-top describes the idea of Pickford remaining at Goodison Park in the event of relegation as “inconceivable”. They keep on using that word, and I don’t think it means what they think it means. I am perfectly capable of conceiving the notion of Pickford playing in the Championship. Much, much stranger things have happened. The Manchester Evening News, meanwhile, reckon that United are actually taking a look at one-time Wonderkid Power Rankings inductee Bart Verbruggen of Anderlecht, a 20-year-old stopper with a bright future. One of them may even be right.

The 3AM Verdict: As my colleague Jason Jones recently observed, it’s getting pretty hard to pretend that De Gea is the force he once was and he’s been involved in a series of blunders only slightly less terrible than starting a land war in Asia. A new ‘keeper isn’t a bad idea, and although Pickford would be a pretty divisive signing, if he’s good enough for Gareth Southgate, he’s good enough for us. Verbruggen would be a very sharp signing if the plan is to continue with De Gea and bring in a young back-up as the long-term solution. We like him a lot, and you’ll hear his name quite a bit going forward.

Prepare to Diaby

Another team with something to sell are Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, and they’re looking to get a pretty hefty fee for their exciting wide forward Moussa Diaby. The 23-year-old France international has scored 14 goals this season and that’s pricked up the ears of Eddie Howe, who Sport Bild reckon are piecing together a deal.

The bad news is that Paris Saint-Germain are also in the hunt, and as well all know, you never go in against a Parisien when a transfer is on the line. Because they’ll probably outbid you. Common wisdom suggests that nobody can beat PSG to a player they want, but we only say that because nobody ever has.

The 3AM Verdict: The Moussa Diaby hype train has been gradually picking up pace over the last two seasons and Leverkusen reportedly want at least £52m. Newcastle United have the cash, of course, and he’s got all the qualities to be something of a star in the Premier League. But if PSG are serious in their interest, it’s hard to imagine that Diaby – who was born in Paris – will be going anywhere else.

Forest man might be on the move

Another wide forward who Newcastle are supposedly keeping a keen eye on is Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson. The 21-year-old Welshman has impressed since making the step up to the Premier League, but how good can he become? Put it this way… you’ve heard of Gareth Bale, Ryan Giggs, John Charles? Morons.

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Johnson seems like a decent follow, anyway, and Forest would hate to sell him, so Football Transfers reckon he’s only liable to leave the City Ground if his club go back down in a couple of weeks’ time. Aston Villa are also apparently intrigued by the prospect of snapping up the Nottingham-born winger.

The 3AM Verdict: There’s no suggestion that Johnson is trying to force a move here, but you can imagine him considering Newcastle or Villa as an alternative to The Championship. Wherever he next goes, he’s a wonderful little player and we hope it pans out – there is a shortage of perfect careers in the world, and it would be a shame to damage his.