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Rumour Reel: Bailly Man Utd bound as Arsenal eye Mahrez

Robbie Purves | June 6, 2016

Despite the window officially opening on July 1st, it seems clubs are already chasing down their transfer targets one by one as they look to complete some of their business before Euro 2016 kicks off.

Bailly Old Trafford bound

On Saturday evening reports from Spain suggested that a deal for Villarreal defender Eric Bailly was close to being finalised between Manchester United and the Spanish side.

The report claimed the Red Devils had settled on a fee close to the 22-year-old’s £31m release clause but they are keen on drawing up a deal similar to that of Anthony Martial’s – an initial sum plus add ons based on performance.

Spain Soccer La Liga

Bailly signed for the Yellow Submarine in January 2015 for £4m as a replacement for Gabriel Paulista, who had been bought by Arsenal.

Ivory Coast international Bailly can read the game well, makes vital interceptions and is a strong tackler. He could form a formidable partnership with Chris Smalling at the heart of United’s defence and would likely see Daley Blind’s game-time significantly reduced, as doubts surrounding his future at Old Trafford continue.

Meanwhile another United target, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sent tongues wagging again yesterday after he said he will make a ‘big announcement’ on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking to Swedish media he said: “There will be a big announcement on June 7th. It will be this summer’s big bomb.”

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Ibrahimovic’s representatives have reportedly been finalising terms on a one-year deal.

Arsenal eye Mahrez

With Arsenal supposedly closing in on title winning Jamie Vardy, Arsene Wenger is eyeing another Leicester city talent, Riyad Mahrez. The Gunners have already met the £20m release clause of the Foxes striker Vardy, who is jetting off to France with England, but now will turn their attention to PFA Player of the Year Mahrez.

Manchester City v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium

Wenger is said to be shocked by Mahrez’s low release clause and will dismantle the current Premier League Champions in their hunt for the club’s first league title since 2004.

The move would likely see the end to Theo Walcott’s 10-year stay at Arsenal and possibly revolutionise the way the North London team play – perhaps putting more emphasis on counter-attacking football.

PSG chase Coutinho

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho has emerged as a sensational transfer target for PSG and Barcelona – according to reports. The French giants have been reportedly tracking Coutinho since his arrival in England and have now made a move to acquire the 23-year-old Brazilian.

PSG value Coutinho at £25m but will likely pay over the odds to bring the Anfield star to Paris. Liverpool are in a weak negotiating position after the club blew their chance of making the Champions League with a poor display in the Europa League final last month.

However, Neymar is keen on brining his pal to Spain. The Barca winger said last year: “Coutinho is a good crack. I’d like to play with him at Barca one day, he has the level to play.”

Coutinho scored 12 and assisted seven this term, but would be unlikely to start ahead of Barcelona’s trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. The creative midfielder who joined the Merseyside outfit in 2012, would provide quality depth to a Barca bench unusually thin.

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Why not check out our other editions of the Rumour Reel here.