The Mill was amazed to find out that Steve Bruce still has contacts at Manchester United, and that he intends to lean on them heavily to bolster his paper-thin Newcastle squad with a trio of loan deals. With his Magpies scoring, on average, a goal every leap year he’s decided to target his, erm, defence.
The young left-back Brandon Williams’ rampaging runs up and down the flank for United in the Carabao Cup have got Bruce hot and bothered, so he’d like to slot him into his defence with a steady presence at centre-back beside him to coach him through games. The kind of cool-headed, controlled leader of men who could ensure Newcastle get the clean sheets they need to pick up the points required to spend another season treading water in the Premier League. So, why he thinks Phil Jones is the man to do that we don’t know. But there you go. He’ll also try to bring in Jesse Lingard, presumably to choreograph the celebrations on those rare occasions when they do score.
In news not involving Manchester United fringe players, it says here that Lionel Messi has Whatsapped Neymar and told him to save him a seat in the PSG dressing room because he will be arriving in Paris this summer. Mauricio Pochettino may want to take a refresher course in ego-management if this is true. Manchester City haven’t given up on signing Messi but news that Kyle Walker has received a text from Messi is yet to arrive with us. And in any case, Pep Guardiola is more interested in signing “mini Messi” Dario Sarmiento from Estudiantes. Apparently, Juan Sebastián Verón has helped broker a deal for the 17-year-old, who will not be able to join until the summer, when he turns 18.
Tottenham have sprinted ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign crafty Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. José Mourinho has made the Austria international a key target, but the summer window is a more likely time to sign the £30m playmaker whose ability to pick a pass is almost as impressive as his man bun.
Fabio Quagliarella has turned his nose up at the chance to re-sign for Juventus as a back-up striker with a rousing, if rather confusing, declaration of his love for current club Sampdoria. “If you have given so much and received even more, if every time you feel the emotion beating in your chest, it means that the bonds are stronger than anything else, which go beyond flattering courtships, that put aside current reports and respect history,” he roared. “I think, live and play like this. Forza Samp.”
And Leeds transfer guru Victor Orta has decided it might be good idea to sign a defensive midfielder to stop Marcelo Bielsa’s side getting torn apart on the counter-attack. The man they want is Fiorentina’s Erick Pulgar and they have had “concrete contact” about signing him. Diego Costa has been linked with a move to Elland Road, too, though can anyone in their right mind see the big man signing up for double January training sessions at Thorp Arch?
Football transfer rumours: Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard to join Newcastle? The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Guardian.