Rumour Reel: Smalling to Everton while Mourinho to move for Pepe?
Robbie Purves | 1 January 2017
It’s finally arrived, the winter window has flung open, bringing with it fresh gossip ready to fuel the football transfer fire for the next month.
After finding himself out of favour with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, Chris Smalling to Everton is linked on today’s back pages.
Despite captaining the side seven times this term, it appears Mourinho now favours Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo ahead of the former Fulham man.
Smalling to Everton?
England defender Smalling could be edged towards an Old Trafford exit this winter window, according to reports.
The player has been at the club since 2010 and has lifted two Premier League titles with the Red Devils, but is reportedly the first central defender out the door if the Manchester side make any reinforcements.
Everton, who have had their defensive problems this season, are leading the way in the race to sign him and are looking to pair him with Euro 2016 standout performer Ashley Williams – reports suggest.
Smalling was one of United’s standout players last season and finally looked as though he was fulfilling his potential, but a toe injury cost him a place in the team in October and Mourinho has since experimented with centre back pairings that do not include him.
The United defender’s contract expires in 2019 so he would command a large fee, however the Toffees – under new ownership – are not afraid of spending big.
Mourinho to move for Pepe?
This would be a transfer that just makes sense. Today, Mourinho’s Man Utd have again been linked with nabbing two-time Champions League winner Pepe on a free after his Real Madrid contract expires this summer.
The 78-cap Portugal captain won Euro 2016 last summer, but Real boss Zinedine Zidane now favours a defensive duo of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane at centre back.
At 33 years old, Pepe still has a few years left at the highest level and reuniting with compatriot Mourinho would likely bring the best out in him. However, as with all ageing stars these days, Chinese money could tempt Pepe, or even a return to Brazil, the land of his birth, could be on the cards.
Toffees fans, what do you think of Smalling to Everton? Tell us in the comments below.