Antonio Conte doesn’t need much of an excuse to ship out Diego Costa, that decision was made long, long ago on a training pitch in Cobham when Conte misunderstood Diego’s plans to meet up with Oscar for a farewell Chinese as something far more money-grabbing and career ending. Conte has not forgiven Diego for this and will be delighted to see that Costa is so keen on a move back to Spain. However, Conte likes having a solid looking 2017 version of Micky Quinn leading the line and he is cash burning a hole in his pocket. Therefore, there can only be one expensive target in sight – Gonzalo Higuain of Juventus. I presume Conte is working on the theory that if the Old Lady are stupid enough to sell Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan, they might be daft enough to do a deal.
Jack Wilshere of Arsenal (still) is being linked with a move to Serie A that is more likely to match the spells of Joe Hart, Ian Rush and Lee Sharpe than those of Liam Brady, David Platt and John Charles. Sampdoria are thought to be interested in letting Jack use their medical facilities for two-and-a-half years of a three-year deal.
Crystal Palace have quietly pulled off a clever signing. Frank de Boer sneaked back into Ajax, put a bag over Jairo Riedeweld’s head and smuggled him all the way back to Croydon leaving an IOU to the tune of £8m. Riedeweld is a player, this is a very good deal for Palace. The Dutchman will join Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea, who is already on loan to the South London side and may well soon be teaming up with Bruno Martins Indi who was on loan at Stoke City last season. Martins Indi has to choose between playing for Mark Hughes who has Stoke City trying to play like the Barcelona he briefly played for and Frank de Boer who wants Palace to play a bit like the Barcelona he used to play for. Pick Frank. I mean it, pick Frank. If that has not impressed you, de Boer also wants Arsenal’s Calum Chambers. It’s almost as if he isn’t impressed with the defenders at Selhurst Park when he arrived.
Just in case Joe Hart and Claudio Bravo were in any doubt, they are not wanted back at Manchester City anytime soon. The final door being slammed in their respective faces was the news that Pep Guardiola has bid £2.5m for Napoli’s Pepe Reina. Whether Reina wants to leave a first team berth in Italy for the bench in rainy Manchester is another thing entirely.
Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny has his eyes on being the replacement of Gianluigi Buffon. The Polish international is in Turin agreeing terms with Juventus.
Finally today, England Women play Scotland Women in their first WEuro17 game tomorrow. Having seen the youth sides triumph left right and centre this summer, it is only fair at least one of the adult sides goes to battle, building up the hopes of a nation before failing miserably.