Louis van Gaal to make double swoop for John Stones and Gareth Bale
Published 22/01/2016 | 08:48
Manchester United's expectations of record trading results following their extraordinary deal with Adidas to supply the club's kits means, according to the Manchester Evening News, that money is no object for them now.
And so they will move for their top two targets, meet the asking price and get the job done some time in 2016.
First up is a £45m offer for John Stones that Everton will be unable to refuse followed by a £100m bid for Real Madrio's Gareth Bale that will see the player, whose agent is seriously miffed by the leaking of his contract, abandon the Bernabeu for a des res in Alderley Edge, Bowdon or Wilmslow.
Late on Thursday night France Football splashed with the report from its columnist Thierry Marchand that Manchester United held talks with the Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola last week.
According to the report the meeting took place in Paris, at the Hotel Bristol, on la rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
What was said is not disclosed, perhaps both Guardiola and the Manchester United representatives were fans of Charlie Chaplin and were making a pilgrimmage to one of his favourite watering holes or perhaps they were discussing him becoming Louis van Gaal's successor in the summer.
The Daily Star says United deny making an approach but other English and French newspapers are adamant that the tête-à-tête took place. United have emphatically denied it. Mandy Rice-Davies anyone?
According to the ironically named newspaper El Confidencial, Real Madrid have told James Rodriguez that he must improve his attitude or he risks being sold.
Florentino Perez is said to be thoroughly unimpressed with James' growing list off-the-field misdeamenors which includes his recent brush with the police after being caught speeding at 200mph.
Despite the Colombian's protests that his excessive speed was because he feared he was the subject of a kidnap attempt, the Bernabeu hierarchy are thought to be willing to sell the World Cup Golden Boot winner if they don't see a marked improvement in his behaviour.
Louis van Gaal is an admirer of the attacking midfielder and could be willing to part with the £60 million required to secure his signature.