It’s been a busy seven days for Gareth Bale. This time last week he was sulkily contemplating being omitted from the Champions League final. Then came the overhead kick, the goalkeeping howler, the post-match burning of his Real Madrid bridges and then the unexpected reconstruction of those bridges as his nemesis Zinedine Zidane quit the Bernabeu. So it’s not surprising that he still hasn’t got round to replying to Jose Mourinho’s WhatsApps.
The Mirror says the Manchester United manager is still “awaiting a response” from Madrid with regards to the Welshman’s potential interest in moving to Old Trafford this summer.
United are reportedly keen to sign Bale, despite doubts over the size of his transfer fee and wages (that’s not generally something that concerns them). However, Zidane’s shock exit means the 28-year-old may no longer be keen to join them.
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is set to meet Real chiefs to discuss the forward’s future, with ESPN claiming the player’s preference is “to remain at Real Madrid”.
Ronaldo wants Mourinho reunion
Cristiano Ronaldo’s preference, however, is the exact opposite. At least that’s if you listen to Fabio Capello.
Sky Sports Italia have been listening intently to the former England manager, and they were particularly interested to hear his claim that Ronaldo “wants to go back to Manchester” this summer and be coached by his compatriot Mourinho.
Or maybe CR7 has just offered Fabio a small percentage of the massive pay rise he will get at the Bernabeu if he makes enough threats to leave.
Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will reject the chance to replace Zidane at Madrid, according to the man who wrote his autobiography Guillem Ballague. He is quoted in the Express as saying “there is enough evidence to stop the speculation” – mainly because Pochettino’s boss Daniel Levy would sooner appear on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! than let the Argentine leave.
Chelsea turn to Blanc
Laurent Blanc is emerging as the front-runner to replace Antonio Conte as Chelsea manager after Roman Abramovich’s top target Zidane was lined up for a “mega-money” move to Qatar, says the Sun.
Zizou’s deal to take charge of the 2022 World Cup hosts would allegedly earn him £44m a year, although on the downside it kind of means he would have to stick around for four years.
And new Everton manager Marco Silva wants West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic to “spearhead his Toffees revolution”, according to the Sun. The Austrian is valued at £50m and Silva has reportedly asked the club’s new football director Marcel Brands to support the move, although the Dutchman didn’t get where he is today by spending £50m on 29-year-olds.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are in “pole position” to land the Benfica playmaker Anderson Talisca this summer (Mirror), Everton are leading the chase to sign Norwich City midfielder James Maddison (Sky Sports) and Nigeria’s former Chelsea midfielder John Obi MIkel has tipped England to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup (Express). It’s nice to see he doesn’t hold a grudge for all those years English people said his names in the wrong order.