Even with Jose Mourinho long gone, Duncan Castles still has the ear of someone within Manchester United. Or is eager to make it look like he does, anyway. He’s not about to wait until the summer for his master to reemerge from the shadows.
The Sunday Times have let him loose on a transfer story from inside Old Trafford, with Castles claiming ‘a growing number of key players are considering leaving in the summer’. Seven players ‘have been tempted’ by fellow Champions League clubs with United uncertain of playing in next season’s competition.
Paul Pogba is the first, with Real Madrid interested. Then comes David de Gea, wanted by Real, PSG and Juventus. The keeper ‘is unhappy’ that United have still not matched his wage demands, and he could sign a pre-contract with another European club in January.
With Romelu Lukaku, PSG-bound Ander Herrera, Barcelona target Juan Mata, Eric Bailly and Alexis Sanchez also considering their futures, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be overseeing a summer of great transition.
AND THE INCOMINGS…
So many potential departures naturally means more arrivals. The first of which, in the event of De Gea leaving, will be to find a new goalkeeper.
The Sunday Express say two possible replacements are already on United’s radar. Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak are the men in the frame, and would cost £60m or £85m respectively.
Hint: Oblak is only 14 months older, and considerably better. The extra £25m might end up being a bargain.
United also want a new right-back, with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young both breaking down, Matteo Darmian perennially leaving and Diogo Dalot somewhat inexperienced. The Sun exclusively say Checkatrade Trophy fan Thomas Meunier could be of interest, and that he ‘may be available on the cheap’ from PSG.
Does someone have a streaming link for Portsmouth-Sunderland? Thanks
— Thomas Meunier (@ThomMills) March 31, 2019
Finally, a central midfielder would not go amiss. And L’Equipe say that the wonderful Tanguy Ndombele is ‘most affected’ by Lyon’s surprise defeat to Rennes in the Coupe de France. It leaves him ‘still virgin’ in trophy terms, and he will reconsider his future at the end of the season.
United want to give him something to think about and are themselves contemplating throwing between €80m (£68.9m) and €70m (£60.3m) at Lyon to tempt them into a deal. Lovely.
PIECE OF DEPAY
Elsewhere in Lyon land, Liverpool want Memphis Depay. Of course they do.
This one also comes from L’Equipe, who say the Dutchman feels he has proven himself enough on a lesser stage to have earned another shot among the bigger boys.
Last season’s Champions League runners-up are sniffing around in the case of Sadio Mane’s departure, which seems unlikely in itself. But Lyon would hold out for at least £25.8m to sell Depay, which actually seems pretty cheap considering he has been excellent in France since they signed him from United for up to £21.7m in January 2017.
Then again, he has simply failed to walk the walk time and again.
AND THE REST
Chelsea are holding out for a £100m bid from Real Madrid for Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard, 28… The Blues have made contact with the representatives of Bayern Munichand Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, 30. Chelsea are also interested in Borussia Dortmund and Sweden forward Alexander Isak, 19… Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is considering replacing England right-back Kieran Trippier, 28, with Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka… Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri wants France striker Olivier Giroud to stay at the club. The 32-year-old’s Blues deal expires in June but the Stamford Bridge club have the option to extend it by 12 months.
Leicester City have joined Everton, Southampton, Tottenham and West Ham in wanting to sign 24-year-old Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic from Fulham following the Craven Cottage club’s relegation from the Premier League… Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande also want Mitrovic and are willing to meet Fulham’s £50m asking price and pay the forward £300,000-a-week… Fulham winger Ryan Sessegnon, 18, could see out the final year of his contract with the club in the Championship next season and then sign for German club Borussia Dortmund, who would just have to pay training compensation for the England Under-21 international… Everton will earn £5m if their former striker Romelu Lukaku leaves Manchester United this summer. The 25-year-old Belgium international is wanted by Inter Milan.