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What next for Andre Onana? Plus more Man Utd transfer news
We start with another hugely disappointing night for Manchester United in the Champions League, as they led 2-0, and later 3-1, but drew 3-3 away to Galatasaray yesterday evening, with Andre Onana again in the spotlight after arguably being at fault for all three of Galatasaray’s goals.
I’ve said before that my understanding is Man United will continue to show faith in Onana, continue to protect the player, and personally I’m still convinced he will have a good future at the club, even if he’s not had the best start.
He’s an important goalkeeper, as he showed with some excellent performances during his time at Inter Milan – he just needs lot of confidence to perform at top level. He needs to feel important for the team. It will take some time but I remain convinced about his value.
Staying with Manchester United, it remains their plan to invest in a top centre-back in 2024, and on the list they have some specific names: Antonio Silva of Benfica, Jean-Clair Todibo of Nice, Edmond Tapsoba of Bayer Leverkusen – these are some of the names they are scouting. Soon they will have a new director under Sir Jim Ratcliffe, so let’s see then who they’ll decide is the player they really want, but for sure they will sign a top centre-back in 2024.
Silva is on the list, for sure, as I told you months ago, but what I want to add is that Benfica believe a deal for the January transfer window is really complicated. Silva is protected by a release clause of €100m, but I’m told Man United will return to keep scouting Silva, along with his Benfica teammate Joao Neves.
The idea is to keep scouting these two talented young players in the next weeks and months, and for sure Silva is firmly on the list for United in this important position for Erik ten Hag’s squad.
The situation is less clear with Timo Werner, despite my understanding being that United have asked to be kept informed on his situation as it’s possible he could leave RB Leipzig this January after becoming unhappy at the club. There’s still nothing advanced at this stage, and again the new director at Old Trafford will be key to seeing how this deal progresses, or if they pursue it at all.
Barcelona want to keep Bayern target Ronald Araujo
I’d like to clarify the situation surrounding Ronald Araujo, with some reliable reports in Germany stating that Bayern Munich have an interest in the player. He’s on their list for January as Bayern are looking for a new centre-back, and he’s always been appreciated as he’s a fantastic player.
Many top clubs have been looking at Araujo, but, from what I’m hearing, although Thomas Tuchel and other figures at Bayern love the player, Barcelona’s position is that he is untouchable. They are not willing to enter into negotiations for Araujo – this is the position of the club as of today, and also they have a strong intention to offer a new contract to the player very soon.
Araujo’s current deal expires in 2025, so it’s not an urgent situation, but Barca want to offer him a new deal, with a new salary, so the discussion will take place soon with his representatives. It will be an important moment, because it’s true that Bayern like the player, but the chances of signing him in January are not so concrete because Barcelona have a strong position on keeping him.
Chelsea not in the race for Gabriel Moscardo, plus Andrey Santos return
As I told you yesterday, it is not a done deal between Chelsea and Gabriel Moscardo, and Chelsea are not currently in the race for his signature. Chelsea considered Moscardo last summer and had some contacts in recent months, but they never presented a new proposal and they don’t currently have the intention to enter the race for Moscardo.
Let’s see if that will change in the next weeks, but for now there is no change to this situation. There are other English clubs showing an interest in Moscardo, but at the moment PSG are really pushing – they have had meetings with the agent of the player, they’ve been tracking him for a long time, and their idea is to open talks with Corinthians soon.
My understanding is that Corinthians want something like €25m for this talented young midfielder, and PSG will hold talks to find out the final package for the player, but let’s see if other English clubs also join the race.
Another young Brazilian midfielder that Chelsea now have to think about is Andrey Santos, as they’ve decided to recall him from his loan at Nottingham Forest this January. The 19-year-old has not been playing for Forest, and Chelsea are not happy with the situation, so it’s an easy decision for them. The priority will be to loan him out again once he returns.
It’s a strange saga and I don’t have details about why Santos didn’t play more for Forest – Steve Cooper simply trusts other players more than Andrey, and now Chelsea want him to end the loan and come back.
In other news…
Lois Openda – It’s been a superb season for Lois Openda at RB Leipzig, and as I reported earlier this week, he’ll have a release clause worth €80m that only becomes active in 2025. It’s too early to mention clubs interested in him, but there is normal scouting activity going on, and a move to the Premier League has always been a dream for the player.
Jeremie Frimpong – Arsenal have been scouting Jeremie Frimpong, as reported yesterday, and a new right-back is one of the positions they are exploring, for sure. It’s not something imminent but they are keeping close eye on right-backs for 2024. We’ll have to see soon who the concrete names end up being, but my opinion remains that Joao Cancelo is one of the best in the business in that role and a bargain for Barcelona this season.
Saudi Pro League – My information remains that I don’t think we’ll see super big names moving to Saudi in January, as we saw in the summer. It will be more about opportunities, perhaps for players who are not happy at their current clubs. The mission is for a quieter January, and then to go stronger again in summer 2024.