It’s good to talk. Thursday brought news that Luis Suárez gave Juventus defender Georgio Chiellini a tinkle to hold clear-the-air talks over that infamous nibble at the 2014 World Cup. The Mill remains unconvinced by this tale, however, because Chiellini has already said he bears no grudge against the Uruguayan over the affair. In a book released earlier this year, Chiellini even wrote of Suárez: “I am a great son of a bitch on the pitch as well and I am proud of it.”
It seems the air could not be clearer, but the reason the story appeared at all is that new Juve manager Andrea Pirlo fancies signing Suárez from Barcelona as part of Ronald Koeman’s deck-clearing exercise at Camp Nou. The Mirror reckon the Italian club want to strike a “clever” cut-price deal involving performance-related bonuses, rather than an eye-watering up-front transfer fee.
Back in London, meanwhile, Frank Lampard wants to bring the Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Stamford Bridge, but the French club have informed Chelsea they’ll need to cough up £30m to get the deal over the line. Lampard originally had his eye on Lille’s Mike Maignan, but their valuation was on the high side too. Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical director, who also used to play for Rennes, is said to be locked in talks with his former employers over the Mendy deal.
With Kalidou Koulibaly heading for the exit door – potentially to Manchester City – Napoli are keen on signing the Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Arsenal following the Gunners’ acquisition of Gabriel from Lille. Elsewhere in Italy, Roma are considering a Serie A reunion for Poland international forward Krzysztof Piatek, who was offloaded to Hertha Berlin by Milan in January. And Internazionale want to buy France international N’Golo Kanté from Chelsea – but will need to permanently rid themselves of Ivan Perisic, on loan at Bayern Munich, in order to raise the requisite funds.
In a final Italian-themed story, a host of Premier League clubs including Crystal Palace, West Ham, West Brom, plus Championship pair Norwich and Watford, are being linked with a swoop for the French defender Jean-Claude Billong – who is currently on the books at Salernitana in Serie B.
Having captured Donny van de Beek from Ajax earlier this week, Manchester United are trying to summon the energy to have another bash at signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. The Mail reports that United are “preparing to finalise agent salary and fees” before making a fresh bid for the incessantly-hyped England international.
Grady Diangana’s £12m transfer to promoted West Brom was nearly hijacked by Premier League escape artists Aston Villa – but the West Ham attacking midfielder is due to have a medical with the Baggies on Friday, so looks set to be heading for the Hawthorns after all. Sticking to the subject of West Ham attacking midfielders, Mikel Arteta is weighing up a move for the Hammers’ creative lynchpin Felipe Anderson, according to multiple sources.