Exclusive: French football expert on where Man Utd transfer target will be next season following chaotic saga

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Manchester United have shown an interest in the transfer of Xavi Simons but it looks like his long-term future now lies at Paris Saint-Germain, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson in his exclusive weekly column for CaughtOffside.

Simons has just been re-signed by PSG, who activated a buy-back clause in his deal at PSV Eindhoven, and straight away sent him out on loan to RB Leipzig for the season, with no permanent purchase option.

This sends a clear signal that PSG aim to keep hold of Simons and build around him for the future, with Johnson admitting the Ligue 1 giants have some regrets over how his situation at the club has been handled so far.

The 20-year-old is clearly a top talent with a big future in the game, and Johnson admits that Man Utd and other top clubs showed an interest in him, and were disappointed that PSG were able to keep hold of him.

Xavi Simons has finalised a move to RB Leipzig on loan after returning to Paris Saint-Germain. We know there was a lot of interest in him and his situation for a while after such an explosive season at PSV Eindhoven last term,” Johnson said.

Xavi Simons celebrates a goal for PSV

“The thing I think is important to point out is that PSG always had that €6m buy-back option and it quickly became clear what a bargain that would be. So although there was interest from Manchester United and other big European clubs, as I understand, but PSG pitched the future project to him well and that was enough for him to give the green light to a return to PSG, meaning all they had to do was trigger that buy-back clause.

“A number of clubs around Europe are certainly disappointed that PSG were able to get him back and under contract until 2027.

“It’s worth noting that PSG wanted to keep Simons last summer, but the problem was at his end, as he, quite understandably, wasn’t convinced that staying at PSG would guarantee him the kind of playing time that he ended up receiving at PSV. It was always a case of damage limitation for Luis Campos from day one really, he had to come in and, of course he immediately recognised Simons’ potential, but had to find a way for PSG to not totally lose out on that. In the end they came up with the option to bring him back on the cheap, which PSV were desperate to try to negotiate out of.

“Equally, as the season went on it became clear that PSV weren’t going to be able to keep hold of Simons regardless of what PSG did – his development came on at such speed that keeping him was always going to be beyond them.

“From PSG’s end, I think there is some frustration at how this has all panned out. They want to rebuild with younger players and the key to putting together a new front line is moving on Neymar and tying Kylian Mbappe down beyond the coming season. I think there’s a sense of frustration from PSG that they can’t bring Simons in immediately and guarantee him the minutes he commands, and I think they accept that it was a bit of an opportunity missed in the way that he was handled before this new PSG era really got started.

“PSG are now looking to meaningfully turn the page with players like Simons, and that’s why they’ve been so keen to ensure they have him on board for the future. Hopefully another season out on loan will better prepare him for that than spending the year kicking his heels on the substitutes’ bench.”

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