Gossip: Man United battle Spurs for £65m defensive pair

Matt Stead

It felt inevitable that reports of a Southampton exodus would eventually come. The club are in the relegation zone with six games to play, are hardly strangers to offloading a number of players in one transfer window, and have Mark Hughes as their manager. To look for greener grass elsewhere is only natural.

According to an exclusive from The Sun, one of the club’s last remaining sizeable assets in terms of playing staff is in demand. Ryan Bertrand has a £25million price tag and no shortage of suitors.

The left-back was a target for Manchester City last summer, but Everton and Newcastle are now linked. Manchester United see the 28-year-old as an alternative if they cannot sign Danny Rose, while Tottenham consider him an ideal replacement if Rose does leave.

The Sun add that Bertrand ‘will continue to give his all in the club’s relegation fight,’ but will leave this summer ‘whether they stay up or not’.


The exclusives from The Sun regarding players in the current England set-up do not end there. They do a particularly interesting line on stories pertaining to Manchester United targets too, which is certainly handy.

This rumour suggests that United are considering options to improve their central defence, and that Jose Mourinho ‘has had rave reports’ about one player: Alfie bloody Mawson.

The Swansea defender was watched by a United scout in the recent 1-1 draw with West Brom, where he is said to have done his chances of a big move “no damage” with an “assured” display.

Tottenham courted Mawson last summer and were told it would take a fee “in excess of £40m” to sign him. But United want ‘a special defender’, and Mawson is apparently their pick.


Anything United can do, Manchester City can do better and with a much bigger budget. The Daily Telegraph says Pep Guardiola wants three more players this summer to help them realise their Champions League ambitions.

Defeat to Liverpool in the quarter-finals has affected City to such a degree that the club now agree a new defensive midfielder, versatile forward and ‘probably’ a centre-half are necessary additions to the squad.

The midfield targets named are Julian Weigl, Fred, Jorginho, Jean-Michel Seri, the ‘versatile forward’ could be Thomas Lemar, Riyad Mahrez or even Eden Hazard, while Toby Alderweireld is the only centre-half listed as an option. Central defence is considered less of a ‘priority’, certainly.

The summer signings would all likely amount to around £150m. Someone let Duncan Castles know.


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will sign a one-year contract extension before the end of the season… City are hoping to make Sao Paulo’s 20-year-old defender Militao one of their summer signings, with the Brazilian valued at £20m… Brazil playmaker Willian says is happy to remain at Chelsea, despite interest from Manchester United in the 29-year-old… Chelsea and Manchester City are interested in signing Nice’s 26-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, who has a 40m euro (£34.8m) release clause in his contract… Chelsea’s 28-year-old English midfielder Danny Drinkwater will consider his future at the club at the end of the season… Newcastle are keen to sign 22-year-old Brazilian Kenedy, who is loan from Chelsea, on a permanent basis but may face competition from Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain for the winger… Tottenham and West Ham want Barcelona’s 24-year-old Portugal midfielder Andre Gomes… Former Paris St-Germain boss Laurent Blanc is a target for Chelsea, Everton and Lyon if they decide to change manager for next season… Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez says he is not a fan of signing players off the back of a good international tournament, so does not expect this summer’s World Cup to impact his transfer plans.