Zinedine Zidane is not a man prone to particularly interesting public utterances or revelations, but that hasn’t stopped assorted folk pouncing on some typically anodyne comments from the Real Madrid manager in a bid to find some hidden meaning. Speaking about Gareth Bale, a player with whom he does not seem to enjoy a particularly good working relationship, Zidane stressed the winger’s importance to Real Madrid as they sleepwalk through their final 10 games of a season to forget, but was non-committal about the Welshman’s future. “Nobody can take away what he has done,” said Zizou. “We know he can bring a lot to the team and we will count on him. We are going to play these 10 games and then we will see. That does not mean that, afterwards, there will be changes.”
Reports from Spain reiterate persistent rumours that Manchester United are interested in Bale and could insist on getting him and Toni Kroos as part of any deal that involves Paul Pogba going the other way. “He has always said that, after Manchester, Madrid has always interested him,” said Zizou, shortly after stressing that Pogba is not his player. “So when his experience at Manchester ends, why not come here to Madrid?” Very subtle.
Whatever about Pogba, Juan Mata’s time at Old Trafford looks to be drawing to a close. The likeable Spaniard’s contract is due to expire come season’s end and it seems Mata could move to Barcelona. The La Liga leaders have apparently approached his dad – who doubles as the player’s “people” – with a view to taking him to the Camp Nou on a free transfer this summer. In other news pertaining to Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain may try to turn the head of goalkeeper David de Gea, while Ole Gunnar Solskjær will move heaven, earth and a small part of south-west London to bring Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Old Trafford.
Everton boss Marco Silva has dropped a sledgehammer subtle hint to his employers regarding the future of loanee André Gomes, who he would quite like to sign from Barcelona on a permanent deal. “Let’s see what we can do,” he said, shortly after lavishing praise on his compatriot. “You know my opinion, he is really important for us but, in the end, it will be business and as you know, it is not my job.”
In the section of this Rumour Mill some cynics may think is an April Fool’s joke but actually isn’t, Atlético Madrid would like to sign full-back Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. For their part, the Foxes are reported to be in talks with Monaco about making Youri Tielemans’ loan move to the King Power Stadium more permanent.
The reign of Jan Siewert at Huddersfield Town could come to an end before it really got going, if a report in the Times that the German has fallen out with several senior players turns out to be true. Huddersfield’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed by their defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
And finally – tee-hee … oho-ho-ho … wink-wink … nudge-nudge – Chelsea will offer to replay the final 10 minutes of Sunday’s victory over Cardiff City, following the glaring error from match officials that Neil Warnock feels cost his side the game. César Azpilicueta was a yard offside when he headed a Chelsea equaliser six minutes from time, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek popped up in added time to grab a late winner. Chelsea will submit their application that the end of the game be replayed – with the score still 1-0 to Cardiff – to the Premier League, who will consider their proposal and make a ruling on the matter before stumps at FA HQ later on Monday.
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