No-Bullsh*t Transfer Rumours: Arsenal target Coutinho to take Ozil’s bench spot

The Gooners may be on the verge of shifting their most expensive ornament, and could be in the market for a new one

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Scouting Coutinho

As chatter builds around Mesut Ozil and the likelihood he’ll be released from the £350,000-a-week sentence at the Emirates with a tidy £18m payoff in his back pocket, “news” today suggests Phillipe Coutinho could be lined up to step into the malingering midfielder on the Arsenal bench role once the German vacates it.

The former Liverpool playmaker has cut a forlorn figure since his much-lobbied-for move to Barcelona that triggered the Reds’ extraordinary run to first the Champions League and the Premier League titles, and the Spanish side are presumably hoping another move for the Brazilian will work the same magic for them.

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He’s already on loan at Bayern Munich – should be an awkward Friday for him this week – and Arsenal are keen to get him on similar terms for next season as his spell in Germany hasn’t made the Spanish club any more eager to keep him around.

At least a loan deal means he won’t be sulking around the club for three years when it all falls apart…

Frank Lampard’s Stones

Not content with conceding a whopping 75 goals in all competitions this season, including a seven in their season-ending tie with Coutinho’s current club in the Champions League last 16, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are pursuing any avenue available in their efforts to allow even more next season.

That’s the only way to explain reports that the Blues’ efforts to reinforce their leaky backline will kick off with the signature of John Stones. The former Everton centre-half is set to abandon his efforts to force his way past Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Fernandinho as Pep’s second favourite centre-back.

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Nathan Ake’s arrival from Bournemouth only sees him slip further down the pecking order, meaning a £20m bid from Stamford Bridge could keep the England defender playing for a top-four side, somehow.

That West Ham look to be Chelsea’s prime competition for Stones probably tells you all you need to know about how this will go.

Teke it away

Crystal Palace are hoping the world’s dumbest billionaire stumbles across the Daily Mail’s report today that they’ll accept no less than £8m for Belgian striker Christian Benteke.

A reminder that this is the same player who’s scored six goals in the last three seasons and is currently being paid £120,000-per-week for the honour of representing the Eagles.

While it’s not on the Alexis Sanchez-level of goal-to-pounds ratio, it’s still pretty hard to see another club stumping up for the 29-year-old to this extent, which is disappointing for Selhurst Park patrons who might hope to see the club reinvest any money earn or saved in the signing of tricking winger Ismaila Sarr from Watford, who is currently valued at £40m by the Hornets.

Getting the other £32m, and indeed, the other £8m, given the state of the transfer window and finances in the league following lockdown, looks unlikely.

Who’s on the move this summer? Get the latest odds at PaddyPower.com

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