Paper Round: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to choose former club over Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to stun Manchester United and instead join one of his former clubs; Valencia’s Andre Gomes says he will be moving to Old Trafford; and Diego Costa is poised to leave Chelsea – the top stories from Tuesday’s papers.
‘Zlatan to choose former club over United’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is poised to snub Manchester United and instead make an astonishing return to his first club Malmo in Sweden, according to a report in The Sun. Ibrahimovic has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford to reunite with new boss Jose Mourinho, but the newspaper reports that he will instead join Malmo, his hometown club. The newspaper cites the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, saying that his next club would be a “surprise” and believes United will end up very disappointed.
Paper Round’s view: Mourinho had appeared to be in pole position to sign Zlatan – and he probably still is. But this could well just be classic bargaining from Ibrahimovic’s representatives in ensuring that United are perceived to have a clear rival for his signature. The forward was quoted telling fans in Malmo ahead of Sweden’s Euro 2016 warm-up match against Slovenia that, “I love Malmo and I wish I could play today – I apologise for that, but I will, I will… Just wait for me”. Frankly, those quotes could mean anything in terms of when he intends to play at Malmo.
‘Andre Gomes set to join United’
Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes will be a Manchester United player next season, according to various newspaper reports. The Daily Express believes that Mourinho is keen on his fellow countryman and the fact that he and the player share the same agent, Jorge Mendes, will only make finalising the deal even easier. Mendes is reportedly “convinced” that he is taking the 22-year-old to Old Trafford after dismissing a move to Italian champions Juventus, which had been thought to be a likely destination for the player. Mourinho will apparently request that Mendes ensures a deal goes through.
‘Costa to leave for Atletico’
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone wants to bring Diego Costa back to the club, according to the Daily Star. The newspaper reports that Simeone believes Costa wants to return to the Vicente Calderon Stadium and has declared the Spain striker to be his ‘number one target’. The Star reports understands that “Simeone will stay if the club back him in the transfer market by signing a new big-name striker with Costa his man”. Chelsea have reportedly refused to negotiate, but that could be about to change.
Paper Round’s view: The newspaper cites ‘Blues insiders’ as insisting that Costa is currently happy at Stamford Bridge and wants to stay and fight for his place, which would appear to make sense given that new boss Antonio Conte has not even arrived yet and could transform the club’s fortunes following a dismal last campaign. The 27-year-old will likely make a return to La Liga at some point, but if he receives assurances from Conte that he will play a key role for the club next season, there appears to be no reason why he would leave at this stage.
‘Southampton to bring back Chambers’
Calum Chambers’s time at Arsenal could be about to come to an end, according to the Daily Mirror. The newspaper reports that the 21-year-old is poised to re-join Southampton, just two years after moving to the Emirates Stadium. The headline reads: ‘Southampton to rescue Chambers from Arsenal nightmare’ and the story describes the move as “a refuge from Arsenal hell”. The paper reports that Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Swansea and Watford are also interested in Chambers, but that the player will certainly choose his boyhood club if given the choice.
Paper Round’s view: The wording of this report is very strong in terms of ‘Arsenal hell’, but the fact is that Chambers’s move has not really worked out as either party would have hoped so far. The 21-year-old failed to start a Premier League game last season and, with Ronald Koeman having spoken of his desire to strengthen his back line, this fresh start would appear to make a lot of sense. If the move is a loan deal then at least Arsene Wenger would get the chance to bring him back if he can see a first-team place for him in the future.