To Mats Hummels, the Champions League is nothing. The Premier League is nothing. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are nothing. Dortmund are everything and he’s staying there come hell or tricky relegation six-pointers against Werder Bremen.
“Fundamentally, I don’t need to play in the Champions League to be happy,” he said, which is fortunate given that Dortmund aren’t going to be anywhere near the competition next season unless they happen to win it this season. He says he wants to stay at the club despite rabid interest from English suitors. “Maybe we will indeed lose players should we not qualify for the Champions League, but what I can tell you is that we should not lose 15 players at once,” he reckons. The Mill isn’t going to bet on that one.
Another player staying where he is for now is Manchester United’s David de Gea. But that’s only because the £50m price tag that the club have strung around his neck is so heavy that he physically cannot move. Is it a ruse so that United can do a swap deal with Real Madrid for Gareth Bale? Who knows, but Louis van Gaal has realised that playing five, four, three or tea ladies and toddlers in defence isn’t working very well so is now apparently more interested in signing Hummels – who, as we know, is going nowhere – and Kevin Strootman in the summer. Even though Strootman is a midfielder, he’ll settle for bringing Gerard Piqué back from Barcelona though.
Real Madrid are in the process of playing an elaborate game of peekaboo with Juventus over Paul Pogba, in which they say they are interested, then say they are not. They are, however, expected to announce a deal for the Norwegian whelp Martin Odegaard any time now.
André Schürrle was a very good player in Germany. Then he came to Chelsea and was a very promising player in England. Then he got A Mystery Illness and has been bobbins, nicking the ball off Oscar’s feet and denying him a hat-trick against Swansea to make matters worse at the weekend. Wolfsburg want to lure him back to Germany and have £23m ready to proive they’re serious. Chelsea want £30m and not a penny less.
Another player hoping to head to Germany to revive a career is Tottenham’s anti-marksman Roberto Soldado who is hoping the goals in the Bundesliga are a foot wider and are hung 20 foot up in the air so he might find them more often. Bayer Leverkusen are making the necessary adjustments.
Sami Khedira’s heading to Arsenal, right? Erm, no. Look away Arsenal fans, Arsène Wenger is about to be Arsène Wenger. Instead of splashing the cash, he wants to look within to strengthen. “Having to find solutions internally is a blessing,” he said, conjuring all sorts of images. What he meant was that he’s going to offer Francis Coquelin a new deal on the back of one half decent performance against Manchester City.
Garry Monk has a whole lot of Wilfried Bony money burning a hole in his pocket and he wants to splurge it on the Stuttgart midfielder Alexandru Maxim and on Norwich’s Martin Olsson. Stuttgart have turned their noses up at £5.5m, but Olsson wants out of Norwich, which is odd since its town sign says it’s a fine city so who does he think he is to judge?
Finally, the Australian stopper Matthew Ryan wants to go to Liverpool which is handy because they’re in the market for that sort of thing. Kevin Mirallas’s days at Everton could be numbered after his penalty nonsense on Monday night, and Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool have been giving Leeds United’s Sam Byram the sort of glad eye more commonly employed in Ritzy’s on a Friday night.