Monaco and Portugal playmaker Moutinho ready for Premier League?
Joao Moutinho could be the next big name to jump ship from Monaco, if tabloid claims that super-agent Jorge Mendes is offering the Portugal playmaker to top Premier League teams are to be believed.
Three sides, in particular, are mentioned in dispatches with a £30m price enough to get him out of the Principality where he is reportedly unhappy. So, Coral’s football experts assess whether these clubs need Moutinho and what he has to offer them.
At first glance, you would think yet another creative player is the last thing the Gunners need. Defensive cover and addressing the holding midfield berth are clearly their top priority, but Moutinho’s virtues as a deep-lying playmaker may suit Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal, 28/1 chances to win the Champions League, though, are actually short of strength in depth in terms of guile at present. Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are all out, while further back Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby remain missing.
Moving for Moutinho only creates further selection headaches for Wenger. If he reportedly turned down re-signing Cesc Fabregas, then it would be follow to purchase a similar type of player this winter.
Jorge Mendes and Jose Mourinho have done a number of deals together before, which could give 5/1 Champions League chances Chelsea a real edge in negotiations.
Like Arsenal, though, they have options aplenty in midfield. Moutinho may relish the prospect of playing under compatriot Mourinho, but he has the hugely impressive first-choice pairing of Fabregas and Nemanja Matic to get past at Stamford Bridge.
Should Spain star Fabregas get injured, however, then there is little playmaker cover. More would fall to Oscar unless the Blues bought a replacement, so this extra luxury could be a canny investment.
Moutinho has been linked with United for a number of years, but any firm interest is yet to materialise. That could all change, however, as Louis van Gaal is really short of a pass-master.
Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are both in their mid-30s and not as mobile as they once were. While Old Trafford also boasts an array of attacking talent on display, the engine room remains a neglected area.
When Daley Blind returns, his far from glamorous work putting out fires would allow a player of Moutinho’s ilk to dictate play from deep at the Red Devils, who are 12/1 third-favourites to win the Premier League title.