Man Utd shouldn’t give Chelsea the excuse they need to sell Mason Mount

Ian Watson
Mason Mount in action for Chelsea.

Chelsea are trying it on with Man Utd over their demands for Mason Mount. The Blues need an excuse for selling ‘one of their own’ but the Red Devils shouldn’t serve it up to them…

Manchester United are testing everyone’s patience already this summer. But when it comes to Mason Mount, the Red Devils really should sit tight.

Erik ten Hag wants the Chelsea midfielder signed, sealed and delivered to Carrington for the start of pre-season. Ideally, the United boss would like most of his new recruits in for day one, but there’s little chance of that while the sale of the club progresses slower than erosion.

Despite much of their recruitment seemingly being tied up until a takeover happens, United have freed up £50million for Mount. That was the amount offered this week to Chelsea, who took a few seconds out from shipping deadwood to Saudi to tell United to try harder. To the tune of around £15million.

Restless United fans may urge the club just to stump up and move on to the even-more-crucial business of signing a centre-forward (for whom they will have to overpay) and a goalkeeper. United have often appeared incapable of multi-tasking when it comes to transfers. But, on this occasion, they would be wise to keep their powder dry and stay patient.

Chelsea are trying it on. As is their right. The Blues need cash before the end of the month but their urgency is not as great as it might have been were they not in bed and sharing a cigarette with the Saudis. With the sale of Mateo Kovacic to Manchester City imminent for around £25million, and Kai Havertz on his way to Arsenal, Chelsea can seemingly afford to squeeze United.

The Red Devils, rightly, are pointing to the Kovacic deal and demanding to know why Mount, also a year from free agency, is twice the price. And a bit more.

It’s a reasonable question. The obvious factor is their age; Kovacic is five years Mount’s senior. For that, Chelsea could attach a reasonable premium to the England midfielder’s price, but certainly not £40m. Particularly as Kovacic was the more important cog in the Chelsea machine last season, a broken-down, useful-only-for-parts, write-off though it was.

Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Chelsea, October 2022

That doesn’t mean the Chelsea fans are any happier about the prospect of losing one of the best academy graduates to come through Cobham. The supporters hold the club, not Mount, responsible for the fact it’s come to this and his exit will be rued more than any other this summer.

So Chelsea need a huge fee not only to balance their books, but also to serve up to the Shed End as mitigation for selling Mount to a Big Six rival.

That’s not United’s problem – it’s Todd Boehly’s. And the Red Devils know the American owner can’t maintain that stance through to the deadline. Especially when there isn’t a queue of clubs at his door willing to play the patsy.

Liverpool were linked with Mount; they’ve signed Alexis Mac Allister and continue to looking elsewhere. Arsenal registered an interest; they too have other priorities. Which leaves United as the only viable buyer. And, importantly, the club Mount apparently wants to join.

It’s already hard to take United seriously this summer and there’s plenty to query over their approach to a huge transfer window in which they appear too timid even to dial Spurs’ digits to talk about Harry Kane. But they shouldn’t be criticised for refusing to pay over the odds for Mount.

Read next: Chelsea book values ahead of June 30 deadline: Havertz (£24.8m), Mount (n/a), Kovacic (£8m)…