Football transfer rumours: Cristiano Ronaldo to Barcelona? Really?

Ambition has no room for sentiment. The Mill wouldn’t know much about this, having chugged along near the bottom of the transfer-gossip pyramid for the best part of 20 years, but we read it on a toilet wall once and it sounded profound. And if we had any lingering doubts about the incompatibility of ambition and sentiment, they’ve been obliterated by the burgeoning where-will-Cristiano-Ronaldo-pout-next saga!

Monday’s news that Ronaldo is making come-to-CR7 eyes at Chelsea was a knife to the memory bank for all connected with Manchester United. And Tuesday’s rags suggest he is now doing the same to Real Madrid!

According to reports, Ronaldo’s relationship facilitator Jorge Mendes has been talking to Barcelona about an unlikely extension of their geriatricos policy. Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be quite a strike force, with a combined career goal tally of 143 and a combined age of nearly 2,000.

Barcelona’s ongoing attempt to build a squad to win the 2014-15 Champions League has consequences: a mes-que-un-car-boot-sale involving a number of players who are good enough to find a decent home around Europe. The latest to be linked with a move is Memphis Depay, who Tottenham are reportedly eyeing for a bargain £17m. Depay working with Antonio Conte sounds like a Channel 4 series, a social experiment involving a talented underachiever and the man with the lowest nonsense threshold on planet Earth.

Conte is also unsatisfied with his defensive options, despite the imminent signing of Clément Lenglet on loan from Barcelona. According to tomorrow’s chip paper, Conte has turned his slightly intimidating yet undeniably moreish attention to Villarreal’s Pau Torres.

In other news, and what a helpful segue that has been for the Mill down the years, the Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt is set to leave Chelsea hanging and move to Bayern Munich instead. If that happens, Chelsea will be even more desperate to sign Sevilla’s Jules Koundé. Thomas Tuchel also remains exceedingly keen on buying Raheem Sterling and Nathan Aké from Manchester City.

One player likely to leave Chelsea is the classy Albanian forward Armando Broja. The bidding starts at £30m, it says here, and West Ham and Everton are both interested.

David Moyes and Frank Lampard are also embroiled in a metaphorical mud-wrestle for the signature of Jesse Lingard. Tuesday’s rags reckon Moyes has the edge.

Newcastle would like to continue their disappointingly level-headed post-takeover spending by snapping up the France winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen. And a number of Premier League clubs – including Crystal Palace, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Southampton – are enamoured of Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White.

Leeds fancy a piece, ideally several, of Feyenoord’s Colombian winger Luis Sinisterra, who had a storming 2021-22 season. He has been earmarked to replace Raphinha, with Leipzig’s Tyler Adams the preferred choice as the next Kalvin Phillips™.

That’s about it. There was something about Cristiano Ronaldo as well, but it’s gone now.