Transfer news: Man United trio to Saudi, Arsenal ask about Newcastle star, LFC done deal & more

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Saudi optimism over double Manchester United raid, but Bruno Fernandes might not be realistic

Bruno Fernandes is on Saudi Arabia’s radar, although dealmakers don’t hold much optimism anything is possible this summer. And there is other interest in him from both Bayern and Inter.

Manchester United still view Fernandes as really important, which is unsurprising given he’s their captain. But it’s a patient Saudi recruitment strategy, and from Saudi’s perspective it’s Al-Nassr who are the club to watch.

In the long-term, Saudi are making finding another marquee Portuguese star a priority, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo soon entering into the final year of his contract.

Portugal has unsurprisingly proven one of the biggest TV markets for the Saudi Pro League since Ronaldo made the switch. International TV rights renewals take place in 2025, and league executives are keen to maintain the strong Portuguese audience during a cycle when Ronaldo will leave.

It’s not a given that is in 2025, since Ronaldo could yet extend for a year, but he certainly won’t be playing for the next full rights cycle. Then Fernandes links aren’t new. Saudi are across many top players and waiting for the right time to make a concrete approach.

Right now, there is more confidence that Fernandes’ Manchester United teammates Casemiro and Raphael Varane could move to Saudi this summer.

Casemiro has been discussed by Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal. Although he’s healthily contracted until 2026, it was made clear to John Murtough in January that any fee for the Brazilian would be nowhere near the £70m package United paid to Real Madrid. I understand dealmakers are looking more around the £25-30m mark, potentially with some bonuses on top.

Varane has confirmed he’s leaving United on a free this summer. Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr are both interested. Dealmakers have been laying groundwork since last summer. Varane is also open to a Lens return, but would have to cut his wage significantly. And MLS is also an option for Varane.

The latest on Bayern Munich’s difficult search for a new manager

Bayern’s search to replace Thomas Tuchel has played out really publicly.

It would be a real twist if Tuchel is eventually asked to stay on, but options are somewhat running out.

Bayern thought they were going to get Ralf Rangnick, only to find he decided to stay as Austria coach.

And there was plenty of talk about a Julian Nagelsmann return, but the board were divided about making an approach and there was always a chance the former Bayern boss would extend as Germany coach, which has now happened.

Erik ten Hag has been linked, even though he’s still in a job at Manchester United, but again no concrete approach has been made to date.

Erik ten Hag

Olivier Glasner was never going to want to leave Crystal so soon, or be allowed to do so. He’s only just joined, is enjoying his time at Selhurst Park, and doing a superb job.

A Hansi Flick return has now got a lot of attention but there are reservations about rehiring him as well.

However, Roberto de Zerbi is still an option even though he has said he wants to stay at Brighton. Lille’s Paulo Fonseca has also been discussed internally at Bayern but it’s not thought he’s a frontrunner and, more importantly, looks set to accept an offer from Marseille.

As for Tuchel, he would welcome an approach from Manchester United should a vacancy emerge. He is still pretty shocked by his Chelsea sacking and feels he has unfinished business in the Premier League. There has been no approach made yet to Tuchel, but he would be open to discussing a vacancy if Ten Hag does depart.

Arne Slot to Liverpool announcement just a matter of time

Arne Slot’s move to Liverpool is just a matter of time. It’s all agreed. Liverpool will pay €9m+2m to Feyenoord for Slot, with backroom staff compensation taking the total package close to €15m.

Slot’s assistant will be Sipke Hulshoff, and the delay on finalising everything was down to his own Liverpool contract. Hulshoff was also assistant to Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman and was set to be a key part of the coaching staff for Euro 2024. But Liverpool didn’t want a delayed start date, so Hulshoff was happy to step down from his role and has been replaced today by Dwight Lodeweges.

The Slot deal can now be considered done, but when it’s made public will depend on Liverpool, who have always been conscious not to overshadow Jurgen Klopp’s farewell, with his final game at Anfield against Wolves on Sunday.

The deal being done and the appointment made public are two separate things, with the latter all about timing. Liverpool have never been in a rush to officially announce Slot. The plan was simply to ensure they had a replacement ready before the end of the season, and that has now been achieved.

Bruno Guimaraes’ future, plus other ins and outs to watch at Newcastle this summer

A lot has already been made of potential Newcastle exits ahead of the window opening.

My understanding remains that Alexander Isak is not for sale. Although Arsenal appreciate the Swede, who has 20 Premier League goals this campaign, they are also well aware of Newcastle’s stance.

Even though it’s true the club need £30-50m to ease any PSR concerns, Isak is not a name they plan to sacrifice.

Newcastle also don’t want to lose Bruno Guimaraes, but the decision could be taken out of their hands if someone triggers his £100m release clause, which is valid between late May and the end of June.

As long as the clause is active, Newcastle are going to simply point to its value, but it’s understood offers exceeding £80m could be entertained should Guimaraes wish to leave for a Champions League club.

It should be stressed, Guimaraes is happy at Newcastle, but it’s also true that both Manchester City and Arsenal have made contact with his camp.

Manchester City are the most active of the suitors. Arsenal appreciate Guimaraes, but have no intention to trigger his clause meaning they would only enter the race if the price drops.

PSG have also considered Guimaraes but decided against moving forward this summer, and will instead focus on trying to land Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.

Newcastle also don’t plan to sell Anthony Gordon despite recent links with Liverpool. And as far as I am told, there is actually no Liverpool interest either. It’s true Liverpool are planning for a wide attacker or winger. Leeds’ Crysencio Summerville is one name they have discussed, but targets are still being finalised.

Newcastle hope to bring in two defenders. They are actively working on both Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo and Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly. Both are available on free transfers.

Kelly is open to the move. Progress is being made on Adarabioyo as well, who has several suitors. Although Newcastle consider themselves in a strong position, Manchester United could enter the race. And interestingly, Tosin’s agent was at Old Trafford for the Arsenal game.

I also expect Newcastle to bring in a right-sided wide forward or winger, especially with Miguel Almiron struggling for goals. Newcastle will listen to offers for the Paraguayan having verbally agreed a deal close to €30m in January with Saudi side Al-Shabab, only to find the player didn’t want to move.

Michael Olise, who is a Manchester United target, is a possibility if funds allow. Olise has a complicated release clause that can be triggered in the region of £60-65m.

Newcastle could add another striker as well, especially given Callum Wilson’s future is unclear. Benjamin Sesko is one name they had discussed under Dan Ashworth, but it’s important to note their new sporting director, if eligible to start this summer (which isn’t a given), may have other ideas.

Dominic Solanke, who Eddie Howe signed at Bournemouth, isn’t on Newcastle list. But they could be a dark horse for Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee, even though Milan are currently favourites.

If Guimaraes did depart, I expect Newcastle to add another central midfielder, even with Sandro Tonali back from his ban for gambling breaches next season.

I am not aware of Newcastle rekindling any interest in Kalvin Phillips but Conor Gallagher is a name of interest. The challenge is going to be meeting Chelsea’s £50m+ asking price.

Even if Newcastle qualify for the Europa League, I don’t expect them to go on a crazy spending spree.

More Stories Alexander Isak Arne Slot Ben Jacobs Bernardo Silva Bruno Fernandes Bruno Guimaraes Casemiro Erik ten Hag Julian Nagelsmann Michael Olise Ralf Rangnick Raphael Varane Thomas Tuchel

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