While their fellow European titans, Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, all raised eyebrows by failing to win – or in the case of the Spanish title-holders, losing – over the weekend, Paris Saint-Germain’s defeat was arguably the most surprising. Perhaps distracted by the soap opera surrounding the future of their injured striker, Neymar, the French side were beaten at Rennes, who finished in 10th place last season, 39 points behind Thomas Tuchel’s side. Speaking after the game, the PSG manager insisted that his Brazilian friend, who has repeatedly been linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona, will not be going anywhere unless a replacement can be found first.
“He will not leave without recruitment,” said Tuchel. “It is not possible. It’s clear, if he stays we will have a player who can help us win.” The word on the Parisienne boulevards is that PSG have been negotiating with Juventus over the £73m purchase of Paulo Dybala, scorer of a preposterously good turn-and-chip goal in a friendly against Triestina. Should they secure the Argentinian’s services, Neymar may go to Real with Raphaël Varane and Vinícius Júnior going the other way in a swap deal and then we can all get on with our lives.
The short-term future of Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho looks a bit more secure, now that the Barcelona playmaker has arrived in Germany to complete his season-long loan move to Bayern Munich. And another Liverpool old boy whose move from Anfield hasn’t exactly worked out according to plan, Emre Can, has been told he is surplus to Maurizio Sarri’s requirements at Juventus. Like Coutinho, the German had been hoping for a move to Bayern, but the German club’s president Uli Hoeness has announced “Our squad is now complete and we are not looking to make any other changes”. PSG could yet hitch their skirts in Can’s direction.
The pink Italian paper that is the Gazzetto dello Sport claims Alexis Sánchez’s “people” are in Milan to talk turkey with Inter regarding a loan move for their client, who “earns” a staggering £500,000 per week but may be willing to accept a pay cut. Roma had been interested in signing the Chilean, who is believed to have rebuffed their advances.
Still without a club since being released by Tottenham Hotspur, Fernando Llorente looks bound for Italy. A host of clubs including Inter, Napoli and Fiorentina are interested in giving the 34-year-old a gig, but Lazio are in the box-seat to get the dashing Spanish into a shirt that matches his sparkling aquamarine eyes.
In need of employment after being released by Liverpool and Everton respectively, Daniel Sturridge and Yannick Bolasie could be off to Turkey. Trabzonspor have been linked with both players, but will have to fend off interest from Monaco if they are to get Sturridge on board. Their Turkish Süper Lig rivals Besiktas are hoping to sign Bolasie.
Meanwhile in Glasgow, Celtic could be looking to cash in on midfielder Olivier Ntcham, who has previously been linked with moves to Porto and Marseille. Reports from France say the Scottish champions offered the want-away 23-year-old to Bordeaux, but were knocked back because the Ligue 1 side are looking for somebody with more experience.