When Manchester United signed a 28-year-old Nemanja Matic for £40m in 2017, it was pretty weird. When Chelsea preemptively replaced him with Monaco lynchpin Tiemoue Bakayoko for the same fee two weeks earlier, it made the first deal look even more stupid. Yet when Matic fared relatively well and Bakayoko struggled, we were reminded that to assume is to make an ass out of you and me.
Almost two years later, the latter could be replacing the former. With Matic inexplicably wanted by Inter Milan, Bakayoko has been unfathomably identified as a United target.
It is little more than a throwaway paragraph in RMC Sport’s claim that PSG want the midfielder. Leonardo apparently ‘enjoys the profile’ of Bakayoko (when he isn’t calling Neymar out on his sh*t), and he ‘is in contact with the entourage of the midfielder’. The sporting director was integral in bringing Bakayoko to Milan on loan last season; he’s clearly still a fan.
But after this information comes the revelation: Bakayoko ‘also interests several clubs in the Premier League’. Among them are Arsenal – Unai Emery ‘appreciates’ the 24-year-old – and United. They are ‘very interested’ and have even ‘already made contact with Chelsea’.
Here’s to a midfield three of Bakayoko, Scott McTominay and Sean Longstaff returning the title to Old Trafford this season.
Bakayoko could arrive to help fill any potential void left by Paul Pogba. Real Madrid still want him and ‘are convinced’ he ‘only has eyes for them’.
The Daily Mail say ‘a concrete bid’ will be made before the end of this month, which depends on their ability to offload unwanted players. They have almost €400m worth of squad cast-offs but are finding it difficult to source buyers.
Gareth Bale is no closer to the exit. Lucas Vazquez is wanted by Arsenal, which poses some self-explanatory problems. James Rodriguez could reunite with Carlo Ancelotti once more at Napoli, but ‘disagreements over payment methods’ are proving troublesome. Real want the €40m up front to help fund a Pogba move; Napoli absolutely do not.
Real still believe that if they ‘come close’ to offering £150m for Pogba, he will be theirs – pre-season tour or not.
AND THE REST
Bayern Munich expect Germany winger Leroy Sane to decide next week whether he wants to join them from Manchester City…West Ham United are willing to pay Maxi Gomez’s £43.5m release clause and beat Valencia to the signing of Celta Vigo’s Uruguay striker…Manchester United’s Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku is hoping to be an Inter Milan player by the time they face the Old Trafford side in a pre-season friendly on 20 July…Aston Villa have made a £7m bid for Burnley’s England goalkeeper Tom Heaton, 33…Manchester City are close to signing 16-year-old England Under-17 midfielder Morgan Rogers from West Brom…Everton are set to make a £35m bid for Barcelona forward Malcom, with Arsenal are also considering a move for the 23-year-old Brazilian…Watford are interested in signing French winger Allan Saint-Maximin, 22, from Nice for a club record £25m…Aston Villa are interested in another loan deal for 21-year-old Manchester United and England Under-21 defender Axel Tuanzebe, who spent last season at Villa Park…Sheffield United have made a £3m bid for Nottingham Forest’s English midfielder Ben Osborn, 24.