Transfer rumours: Man Utd target has ‘more interest than Love Island contestant’, Celtic ‘cash in’ on WC star
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The World Cup is in full swing and it seems only natural that a whole host of weird and wonderful names that have starred during the tournament are being linked with ‘big-money moves’ to the Premier League.
Of course, this is nothing new. After all, who didn’t marvel at the impact Roque Junior made at Leeds United less than a year after helping Brazil to their World Cup win in 2002. His role of (dis)honour consisted of seven appearances in which the Whites conceded 25 goals and he even had time to throw in a red card on his home debut in a defeat against Birmingham City.
Other examples include El Hadji Diouf spitting…I mean hitting the headlines with Senegal at the same tournament before earning a move to Liverpool - although he did make more of an impact with a subsequent move to Bolton Wanderers. And four years earlier non-scoring France international striker Stephane Guivarc’h joined Newcastle United in a £3.5m deal after helping Les Bleus to their first ever World Cup win by scoring - checks notes - no goals during his six appearances during the 1998 finals.
So, what of the latest speculation and which World Cup ‘stars’ could be earning themselves a move to the Premier League?
First up it’s Tottenham Hotspur and their reported interest in Celtic defender Josip Juranovic, who has helped Croatia battle their way through a group containing Morocco, Belgium and Canada to set up a last-16 tie with Japan.
There were reports Celtic would look to ‘cash in’ on the right-sided defender and his form in Qatar will certainly have helped their cause after he started all three of Croatia’s group games. Former Spurs star Paul Robinson has now suggested Antonio Conte could offer Juranovic a chance to test himself in the Premier League, despite already having the likes of Matt Doherty, Emerson Royal and Died Spence in his squad.
Next up is a player that seems all-but-certain to impress wherever he ends up next season. Netherlands striker Cody Gakpo has more clubs interested in him than a former Love Island ‘star’ after taking his domestic form into the World Cup Finals.
The PSV Eindhoven forward has 13 goals and 17 assists in 24 appearances in all competitions for the Eredivise outfit and has scored in all three of the Netherland’s World Cup Finals group stage meetings with Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar. That has provoked interest from the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Dutch manager Louis van Gaal - who was once to be found lying down on the touchline at Old Trafford - has already acted as Gakpo’s agent by giving an insight into just what he would offer any interested club that decides to firm up their interest.
Speaking ahead of the tournament he said: “Things can change but Cody has everything it takes to become a star. He has a wonderful personality to become a star player because he is open minded to anything and everything. Cody is a very young player - he is 23 but looks younger. He has only been playing with PSV for two, three years and always played from the left. He did not want to play in the centre or at 10, but he did have to for me. Now he thinks I am a great head coach!”
Canada star Jonathan David has also been mentioned as a possible target for several Premier League clubs after impressing in Ligue 1 with Lille. He was seen as a key player for Canada as they prepared for a historic appearance at the finals and featured in all three of their group stage games as they emerged empty-handed from meetings with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.
Despite failing to find the net, David showed undoubted moments of ability in what felt like a promising trio of performances but actually was rather underwhelming given the hype surrounding their opening loss to fellow early exiteers (that’s a word, right?) Belgium. David has already given a hint that he could be ready to test himself in England, saying: “I am aware of nothing (interest in him). When I am at the World Cup I am just focused on trying to enjoy the World Cup and enjoying the moment, and what happens after I do not know, we will have to see. The Premier League is the best league in the world and I think every player would want to play there some day.”
And finally is an ‘update’ on one young midfielder that is not involved in Qatar and is currently shining in the second-tier of Brazilian football. Vasco da Gama youngster Andrey Santos has been linked with Newcastle, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea leaving everyone to wonder just how good the second tier of Brazilian football must be!
Anyway, Chelsea were said to be ‘close’ to agreeing a deal with Santos and his club - but SBT journalist Lucas Pedrosa has now said the midfielder ‘is not negotiating and was not negotiating with any club of European football’ and said there was ‘absolutely nothing’ in talk of a move to Stamford Bridge or St James Park. Goal Brasil have now claimed Chelsea are in talks but are ‘not that advanced in talks’ and suggest Newcastle still have a chance to sign Santos.
So that’s clear as mud then.