Erik ten Hag is eager to overtake Manchester United’s midfield – ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest. PLUS: Real Madrid’s Kylian Mbappe confidence.
Jump to: Madrid’s Mbappe hopes amid PSG pressure | Conte eyes spending spree | Leipzig’s Ten Hag Surprise |
Ten Hag attacks Tchouameni
Erik ten Hag, who will take over the manager role at Manchester United, is eager to sign Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, sources told ESPN.
Ten Hag discussed his thoughts on the United squad as part of his interview for the job at Old Trafford last month, and the official confirmation of his appointment could come as early as the end of April.
United’s recruiting department has also completed shortlists of players at each position for this summer’s transfer window, and Ten Hag will be allowed to present his own goals. Among them is Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder, who is enjoying a fine season in Ligue 1. Tchouameni initially impressed under former Monaco manager Niko Kovac and has raised his game further under Philippe Clement, following his arrival in January.
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Monaco are open to negotiations for a move to their rising star this summer and will ask for a transfer fee of € 60- € 70 million. Sources told ESPN that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the Frenchman, but added that as it stands, he prefers a switch away from France. Chelsea have also contacted Tchouameni’s agent and Monaco, but United may have taken over over their Premier League rivals given the uncertainty over the club’s ownership at the moment.
Tchouameni can play in all positions in midfield – from a holding position to a more box-to-box – and it is this versatility that appeals to Ten Hag.
The future manager is likely to lose Paul Pogba, who is set to leave the club at the end of his contract this summer, while questioning the future of several players at Old Trafford. Among them is Eric Bailly, who is looking to leave, according to sources. The defender has not started a game since December and has been left out of the squad by interim boss Ralf Rangnick in the last two games against Leicester and Everton despite being in full form.
Bailly, who first signed a new contract in April 2021, has been frustrated by the lack of opportunities and wants to play regular football elsewhere. – Julien Laurens and Rob Dawson
Madrid’s Mbappe confidence in the midst of PSG pressure
Real Madrid are optimistic about signing Kylian Mbappe this summer, sources told ESPN, although the club is aware that Paris Saint-Germain are trying to convince their attacking star to extend his contract.
Mbappe has long been Madrid’s primary transfer target, and after failing to make a late bid to sign him from PSG last August, the LaLiga giants have been favorites to land him on a free transfer this year when his deal expires in June. However, the French national team player has come under ever-increasing pressure from PSG to renew himself, and admitted earlier this month that he had “new elements” to consider, insisting that he should not yet make a decision about his future. .
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Sources told ESPN that despite these comments, Real Madrid remain cautiously optimistic that their long-term pursuit of Mbappe – which began when he was convicted at the club in 2012, where he met childhood idols Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, and again, when he left. Monaco for PSG in 2017 – finally ends with his signing this summer.
Mbappe has been in excellent form for PSG in recent weeks, scoring 10 goals in his last eight Ligue 1 matches, including a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Clermont on Saturday.
He shone in both legs of PSG’s Champions League quarter-final at the hands of Real Madrid, scoring in a 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes on 15 February, bringing PSG 2-0 overall at the Bernabeu on 9 March. before Karim Benzema’s hat-trick in the second half turned a draw in Madrid’s favor.
There is also optimism about a contract renewal for another player who shone that night – and against Chelsea this week – midfielder Luka Modric.
The Croatian has shown some of the best form of his Real Madrid career this season with his 36 years, and sources told ESPN that although no agreement has been reached yet, an agreement is expected to extend his stay at the Bernabeu by another season . – Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez
Gab Marcotti discusses what could have influenced Kylian Mbappe’s decision on his future at PSG.
Conte is preparing the title tilt with Tottenham spending
Tottenham are already set to commit € 80 million to make leases Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski permanent, but the club plans to further support Antonio Conte this summer as he tries to make the Spurs Premier League title candidates, sources told ESPN.
Conte has publicly indicated that the north Londoners will pay the fixed fee of 55 million. € to Atalanta for Romero, while sources told ESPN that he is pushing for Kulusevski’s temporary transfer from Juventus to be formalized by taking an option to buy the winger for 30 million.
Conte has ambitious plans to revise his team with sources suggesting that a right-back, center-back, midfielder, back-up striker and back-up goalkeeper are his top priorities; a list that seniors at Tottenham are in principle willing to support despite the club having a pre-tax deficit of £ 80.2m. in their latest economic figures last November.
Spurs’ budget will be affected by whether they qualify for next season’s Champions League and whether they can maximize the value of more players considered surplus to the requirements – which include Tanguy Ndombele and Bryan Gil, both loaned to Lyon and Valencia respectively. – but there is an acknowledgment that a large transfer window awaits ahead both to satisfy Conte and also to keep leading striker Harry Kane happy at the club.
Kane pushed for leaving Spurs last summer after being frustrated by the lack of silverware, but board chairman Daniel Levy rejected interest from Manchester City. Spurs’ chances of avoiding another lengthy altercation this summer appear to have improved as City have now reportedly turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
It was also expected that Manchester United would pursue Kane if they appointed former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino as their next manager, but Erik ten Hag’s impending arrival at Old Trafford’s hot seat means it is less clear whether they will try to reward him.
Either way, a statement of intent from Spurs will help convince Kane that he can win silverware at the club. – James Olley
Mark Ogden feels that Manchester United will have to fully support Erik ten Hag if he is to prove the right choice for the club.
Leipzig confused over Ten Hag rumors
The Manchester United hierarchy was in no hurry to agree on an agreement with Erik ten Hag to become the club’s next manager of reported interest from RB Leipzig, sources told ESPN, despite some at Old Trafford believing that links with the German side was designed as a negotiation tactic.
Ten Hag is due to be named the new permanent boss with an announcement before the end of the season and possibly even later in the month. United’s search for the new manager has been led by football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, who has reported to chief executive Richard Arnold, while co-chairman Joel Glazer has the final decision on the appointment.
The framework for an agreement with the Dutchman was agreed on the basis of reports that RB Leipzig could try to abolish the deal. But sources close to Leipzig insist they were confused about the connections, while stressing their support for boss Domenico Tedesco.
Sources added that Leipzig considered Ten Hag a candidate after the dismissal of Jesse Marsch in December, but have been impressed with the results under Tedesco since his appointment. Leipzig have only lost once in 2022 – to Bayern Munich in February – and remain in both the Europa League and the German Cup.
It has always been United’s plan to make a decision on their next manager before the end of April to give the new man the opportunity to influence summer recruitment. – Rob Dawson