Inside Football: Arsenal Scout Jordan Pickford, Jesse Lingard Close to New Deal
Sunderland have suffered a miserable Premier League campaign, but without the superb form of their goalkeeper, it would have been far worse.
Jordan Pickford has enjoyed an impressive campaign, breaking through as their regular No. 1, and now big clubs are beginning to circle as the Black Cats seem destined for relegation.
Inside Football is the B/R column that takes you behind the curtain to discover which transfer deals are beginning to take shape for the summer.
There is also news on Jesse Lingard's future at Old Trafford, as it appears he could be close to a new long-term deal.
Arsenal Looking for Long-Term No.1
Arsenal are looking toward Pickford as they search for a new long-term goalkeeper.
Last month, I revealed how there are doubts over the future of Petr Cech and David Ospina as the club are beginning to look into new options between the sticks.
And as they intensify their search, checks are being made on the form of Sunderland's impressive stopper.
I understand scouts have been monitoring him up close and were in place to watch his display against Watford last weekend.
Sources have told me they believe there is a high chance Arsenal will make a move for him in the summer transfer window, but they will not have it all their own way.
Everton are already confident they will lead the race for his signature, while Manchester City also have an active interest in signing the 23-year-old.
Jesse Lingard Close to Utd Contract Breakthrough
Lingard is on the verge of signing a new contract at Manchester United.
There have been issues during contract discussions this term, causing a standoff in talks, but they have now been resolved.
United manager Jose Mourinho is putting faith in the England international and believes he can be an integral part of the club's future, and Lingard spoke recently about his desire to stay at United, as reported by Metro.co.uk in March.
Lingard has featured 29 times for the Reds this season, with three goals and five assists to his name.
Chelsea had been alerted by his potential availability, as Lingard has just one year remaining on his contract.
But I understand there has been a breakthrough in discussions and that a new, improved four-year deal should be penned very soon.
Conte Checks out Serie A Pair
Blues boss Antonio Conte has staff all over Europe checking out potential new arrivals for the next transfer window.
Belotti, 23, is high on the wish list of many top clubs following a great season in Serie A. He has scored 23 goals from 27 matches in Serie A this season.
Schick, 21, is an interesting option also being checked out. The Czech Republic international has eight league goals from 24 Serie A outings—but he has only started six of those matches.
Work-Permit Worry for Manchester United Target Anderson Talisca
Besiktas have already accepted they won't be able to activate Brazilian Anderson Talisca's transfer clause over the summer.
But other interested parties will struggle to sign him, even if they can stump up the cash.
He is on loan in Turkey right now but has a £21 million release clause, which is a trigger that a number of Premier League clubs have been considering.
I'm told Manchester United scouts have been paying particularly close attention to him.
The major problem with any switch to the Premier League, though, will be his work permit—a main reason moves to Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers broke down last year.
Talks are already underway between Benfica and his suitors, but the work-permit issue could prove tricky for any English club to work around.
Talisca, 23, has never played for the Brazilian national team.