It’s Monday morning and that means Fabrizio Romano is back to give you the lowdown on the latest transfer gossip in his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, with today’s piece taking a look at Manchester United’s talks over Frenkie de Jong, the latest on Sadio Mane’s possible move from Liverpool to Bayern Munich, and some potentially encouraging news for Chelsea regarding Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt…
Manchester United in direct talks over Frenkie de Jong
This saga rumbles on and on, but for now not a huge amount has changed. I can tell you that Manchester United are in direct negotiations with Barcelona, their request is for a fee of €85million, but Man United will have to convince the player, who has not yet given the green light to a move to Old Trafford.
As I have written before, Erik ten Hag is a big fan of his former player and would consider him a “statement” signing, but the big issue is the Dutchman’s desire to stay at Barca and play in the Champions League.
On a more positive update for United, Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is certainly another player discussed internally since March, and I understand the player would like a Premier League move this summer.
As I revealed in my column last month, Man United will 100% sign a new striker this summer, and it is highly likely that Nunez will leave Benfica.
United surely won’t be alone in targeting him, however, as I understand Arsenal wanted him in January, while West Ham offered €45million on Deadline Day. This offer was rejected by Benfica and he would now cost something closer to a €70/80m fee. He’s an exciting young player who could solve a lot of problems for United up front, in my opinion, and it’s going to be a story to keep a close eye on in this transfer window.
Jurrien Timber is a target that Manchester United have discussed internally with Erik ten Hag, but Ajax will try in every way to keep him. These next few days will be important to understand his future. I’m aware there has been speculation that he could be ready to reject United, but nothing has been decided yet.
Negotiations underway for Sadio Mane to seal transfer to Bayern Munich
Liverpool are waiting to complete negotiations for Sadio Mane before signing a replacement. The negotiation with FC Bayern is underway with the German club established as the top priority from the player.
My understanding is that Liverpool will definitely look to replace Mane if he leaves, but until then I wouldn’t pay too much attention to some of the speculation we’ve seen, including recent rumours involving Christian Pulisic and Raphinha being targets for Jurgen Klopp.
There is interest in Pulisic from several clubs, but so far there are still no official offers for him, because the American winger will first have to discuss his situation with the board of Chelsea. There are also question marks surrounding Timo Werner, so don’t be surprised if the club are cautious about letting too many players go at once.
As for Raphinha, Leeds want €55m paid without too many instalments. Barcelona have wanted him for a long time but they’re not able to pay €55m as of now, which could in theory allow another club in. Still, let’s see what happens later in the market as the Catalan club’s relationship with Raphinha’s agent Deco is very strong.
Matthijs de Ligt ultimatum could hand Chelsea a transfer boost
Matthijs de Ligt’s current release clause is valid for €120m, while his current contract expires in June 2024. Juventus are now negotiating with the Dutch defender to extend the contract until 2025 or 2026, but De Ligt has told the club that he will only sign a new agreement if the release clause is lowered.
So far for Barcelona, who have financial problems, it is too expensive a deal for them to seriously consider at the moment. Chelsea have been monitoring De Ligt for months, but the priority at the moment is Jules Kounde.
De Ligt is a top player and Juve won’t want to lose him, but he’s not making it easy for them here, and if Chelsea decide they want another centre-back in the near future, this increasingly looks like a serious option for them.
In other Juventus news, I can reveal that, despite the rumours, there are no Premier League negotiations for Paulo Dybala. Inter Milan are in advanced talks with the Argentine and as things stand that is his most likely next destination after he allowed his contract to run down.
Allan Saint-Maximin not a transfer priority for Spurs
This is a fine player who often dominates headlines, but there’s no concrete movement on Newcastle’s front man at the moment.
Eddie Howe is a big fan of Allan Saint-Maximin and wants him to continue as a key player for next season. So far, Tottenham have other priorities after the Ivan Perisic deal was completed. The club has always monitored Saint-Maximin, but let’s see if they will open negotiations with Newcastle.
Of course, in my opinion Saint-Maximin is an underestimated player: he can absolutely be part of a club that is fighting for the top positions, but he must feel important in a project and not just an alternative. For now it could be wise for him to stay at Newcastle, where he will be an important part of an exciting project.
Why it’s gone wrong for Georginio Wijnaldum at PSG
Gini Wijnaldum and his agent are waiting to see who will be the manager of Paris Saint-Germain before deciding on the future.
Wijnaldum would like to stay but it will depend on the choices of the new manager, because Mauricio Pochettino had wanted him at all costs in Paris but he is destined to leave. It will soon be discussed with the new director Luis Campos.
In my opinion, Wijnaldum was perfect for Liverpool and very useful to Jurgen Klopp; while Paris Saint-Germain needed a more physical midfielder than Gini, this is why it has not worked so far.
There has been talk of a return to the Premier League as you would expect, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to know for sure what’s going to happen with Wijnaldum this summer.