Transfer news: Man United update, Sesko Arsenal alternatives, Duran to Chelsea swap deal, and more

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Erik ten Hag STAYS at Manchester United

Big news last night as, after a long review, Manchester United have decided to keep Erik ten Hag as their manager. It’s decided, it’s confirmed, and it comes more than two weeks after Ten Hag guided Man United to victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final. Many people thought that maybe that would be Ten Hag’s final game in charge, but he’s staying, and they have also started discussing a new contract for the Dutch manager.

A contract extension is now expected for Ten Hag – positive conversations have started and will continue in the next days and weeks, but Man United want to give their manager a longer contract to show their trust in him and his ideas, and so not to have rumours already after the first few games next season in the Premier League. Conversations are ongoing, and there is a very good chance to see Ten Hag extending his contract at Old Trafford.

So, what happened? It was obviously a difficult season for Manchester United, but it’s also impossible to ignore the injury crisis they had. There were more than 65 separate cases of injuries and illness over the course of the season, an incredible amount. Internally, Man United believe this was a crucial point in terms of why the season was so poor, especially in the Premier League, and also finishing bottom of the Champions League group, but still winning an important trophy at the end of it.

The injuries were something discussed in this long review by Manchester United, with the directors, the board, and also co-owners INEOS really active in this – Sir Jim Ratcliffe himself was working on this review to make the best decision possible for Manchester United. This review ended up taking more than two weeks, because they wanted to consider all the options available for the best solution for the club.

This means that, yes, Manchester United met some managers. Thomas Tuchel had a direct meeting with Sir Jim Ratcliffe – they decided not to continue with this meeting, but it did take place, and I can guarantee that Man United also met other managers, not only Tuchel, because they wanted to have a clear picture of all the options available on the market. Still, despite meeting with numerous agents and representatives, they never decided to make an advanced proposal to any candidate.

In the end, the feeling was that they wanted to take their time, and now they are sure, after final meetings, that Ten Hag is the man they want to keep. They know Ten Hag was not able to do his best job as manager with this incredible amount of injuries, they feel this is unacceptable, and Ten Hag spoke about it publicly as well, saying that he had to change his back line more than thirty times – this is not normal, especially when you are a top club, so to fix the injury situation is a total priority for Manchester United.

In terms of the managers they considered, we already mentioned Tuchel, but also options like Mauricio Pochettino and Gareth Southgate. Despite some reports to the contrary, Southgate was never close to the job and he never wanted to entertain any proposals before the Euros with England, and for Manchester United to wait more than one month for their new manager was almost impossible. They also considered Roberto de Zerbi and also one more manager that I’m going to tell you about in the future – but after speaking to the representatives of different managers, they never really had the feeling that this was something they had to do right now.

In February, March, April and May, Manchester United and Ten Hag were always discussing ideas for the summer transfer window – they always kept Ten Hag involved in their plans, and they are now 100% sure that Ten Hag is the best man available to make special things happen at Manchester United for the long term. One crucial thing was how Ten Hag is able to deal with young players – the incredible rise of Kobbie Mainoo, for example, is something they feel was able to happen thanks to the manager. Ten Hag also trusted and protected Alejandro Garnacho, and Manchester United want to keep going like this, trusting young players, this is going to be one of the key sentences of the new era at the club.

This summer will be important, though, with the feeling at the club being that this summer they can’t fail on the transfer market. Financial Fair Play is an issue, so United can’t do crazy things on the market, and Ten Hag knows that, but it’s important to sell some players. Jadon Sancho is available on the market, Mason Greenwood as well, Juventus are there and United will try to find a solution, while others will leave on a free and Casemiro is someone who could leave the club, so there will be a lot of movement there.

Still, you can forget about some of the fake news we’ve seen around Kobbie Mainoo, from a source which I don’t believe to be very credible. There is nothing between Mainoo and any other club – he is a crucial asset for Manchester United and he is also very happy at Manchester United. We know they are working on a new contract for him, it’s one of their missions for this year – they will be pushing for that in the next months, so there is nothing to the rumours about Barcelona or any other club. I hope these fake stories will stop so Mainoo can just focus on doing his best job on the pitch – he’s a super talent and super professional so just let him do his best for Manchester United and for England and forget about transfer rumours and all the negativity around him.

Benjamin Sesko snubs Premier League for RB Leipzig stay

Benjamin Sesko has made the decision to stay at RB Leipzig and sign a new contract. He had possibilities from Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal – these three clubs offered Sesko the possibility to join Premier League football.

But, Sesko had a new contract proposal from Leipzig since three weeks ago and he decided to accept. It’s an important contract, he’s expected to be the star of the squad, a key player for Leipzig next season, and an important player for the manager Marco Rose.

Sesko decided to stay because he decided this was the best option for his development, something similar to what Erling Haaland did in summer 2021 when he was at Borussia Dortmund. As I always reported, Sesko didn’t want this to be a long-drawn out saga going into July or August, he wanted to resolve his future quickly, and now it’s done.

So, Sesko stays and his new contract will be signed in the next 24 hours, and then at some point later a future in the Premier League is still very possible, but not for this summer. Sesko is staying at RB Leipzig, and I expect the new contract to be finalised really soon.

Despite the interest of Chelsea, United, Arsenal, and also AC Milan, these were never advanced talks. Milan’s focus has always been on Joshua Zirkzee, while these other clubs also never entered into advanced negotiations over this deal, even though they were interested and Arsenal really tried strongly. Sesko also immediately rejected huge money from Saudi weeks ago.

So why did he come to this decision? The reality is that he’s really happy at Leipzig and thinks it’s the best place for his development. He believes staying and being an important player at Leipzig for the entire season is the best option for him, while the club also really pushed to keep him.

In Sesko’s new contract, there is a gentleman’s agreement for him, between the player, the club, and his agents, to leave the club in 2025 or 2026 under different conditions than the €65m clause that was there this summer. It’s not a new clause, but a gentleman’s agreement, something discussed privately, so let’s see if they decide to share that information at any point. For now, though, he can focus on continuing his excellent form for RB Leipzig.

For sure, Premier League clubs will remain there for the future, but for now Sesko will stay at Leipzig with a bigger salary, and it’s similar to Haaland when he had the chance to leave Dortmund for the Premier League, or to Juventus, in summer 2021, before deciding to stay there for one more season and then move to Manchester City in 2022.

Chelsea keen on Jhon Duran in potential Conor Gallagher swap deal

So, we know that Sesko is not going to Chelsea, but there is another player who has been on their radar since January and that is Jhon Duran at Aston Villa. He is a player Chelsea really like and he remains on their shortlist. With Sesko not joining Chelsea, Duran could be another option, and they already had some conversations with Aston Villa because we know that Villa have issues with Financial Fair Play.

But another key detail is that Villa also like Conor Gallagher, he’s one of their dream targets. They will sign Ross Barkley in midfield, but Gallagher is also a target and considered a fantastic player. So there have been club-to-club talks, and they have discussed Duran – he won’t be cheap, though, probably around £35-40m.

Despite interest from some clubs in Italy, Duran is now understood to be giving his priority to Chelsea – he’s really keen on joining Chelsea and would love this possibility. Let’s see what Gallagher also wants to do, but for sure Duran is on Chelsea’s list as a new striker and he is absolutely keen on this possible move, while some talks have taken place, so it’s surely one to watch.

I’ve had some Chelsea fans asking me again about Victor Osimhen as this story has seemed quiet recently. I still see Osimhen leaving, but at the moment the reality is that it is quiet, so we can only wait and see what happens. Osimhen will meet with his agent in the next days to assess all the options and decide what’s best for him. Osimhen’s priority remains to leave Napoli this summer, the plan has not changed.

Douglas Luiz to Juventus transfer gathering pace

The Douglas Luiz to Juventus story, along with Weston McKennie and Samuel Iling-Junior to Aston Villa and the whole package deal, is advancing fast. It’s not a done deal yet because Juventus and Aston Villa need to clarify the final details of the agreement, but it’s really close between the clubs.

So, Luiz could be set to join Juventus, and Villa would receive €20m cash, plus McKennie at a value of €25m and Iling-Junior with a value of €20m. We are waiting for a final club-to-club agreement, but also all three players involved need to discuss the salary and on the contracts. Luiz is super keen on joining Juventus, but the next step is for all the parties to agree terms, so it could take some time.

Thiago Motta is also set to be confirmed as the new Juventus manager, and he’s given the absolute green light for the Luiz deal. Motta has communicated this to director Cristiano Giuntoli, and so it’s heading in a very positive direction, with Luiz also wanting the move to Juventus.

It’s important to note that the Duran and Luiz sagas are not linked – some people have asked me if Villa’s Financial Fair Play situation means they might only sell one of them but not the other, but all I can say is that they are two separate stories and two separate deals, not connected at all.

Jonathan Tah in, Matthijs de Ligt out?

Bayern keep working on the Jonathan Tah deal. As previously reported, the Bayer Leverkusen defender sees Bayern as his favourite option if he is to leave Leverkusen. So now let’s see what Tah will decide to do, but my understanding is that he’s already in advanced talks on contract terms with Bayern.

So, Bayern are working on signing Tah, though we’ve also had rumours about interest in Chelsea’s Levi Colwill. It’s important to clarify that for Chelsea’s owners, directors and staff, Colwill is a really crucial player. He is expected to stay at the club in the summer transfer window, he won’t leave unless something crazy happens, or if the player asks to go. Colwill remains a really crucial part of the Chelsea project – this is why they offered him a new deal last year, and why they are not considering discussing his exit.

Another Bayern story we’re seeing is about Matthijs de Ligt and other big names who could reportedly leave for the right price this summer, but I think this is something for later in the window as De Ligt, for example, is now fully focused on the Euros. As I’ve said before, though, Joshua Kimmich is someone who can leave in case of a good proposal.

Arsenal have been scouting Youssouf Fofana

Youssouf Fofana is leaving Monaco this summer as he approaches the final year of his contract with the club. Manchester United followed him last year, and Arsenal have also had their scouts follow him in recent months, so let’s see if they decide to go for Fofana now.

In any case, the expectation is for Fofana to leave Monaco this summer – the player feels ready for a new opportunity and there is no negotiation over a new contract. So he will be one to watch in this summer’s transfer window.

NO truth to Antonio Rudiger Saudi links

I wanted to clarify some stories about Antonio Rudiger’s future at Real Madrid. From what I’m hearing, he is absolutely not planning to go to Saudi. We’ve had some stories in the last 24 hours or so about Al Nassr and others, but Rudiger is happy and is only focused on Real Madrid.

Rudiger believes Real Madrid is the best project in the world at the moment, and so he is absolutely not negotiating with any Saudi club. It’s normal for Saudi clubs to be attracted by the best players in the world, and Rudiger is absolutely one of them, but there is nothing concrete or serious going on between Rudiger and Al Nassr or any other Saudi club because his full focus is only on Real Madrid.

After extending the contracts of other stars like Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez, Rudiger is another player who is considered a crucial part of the project, and so Florentino Perez and Carlo Ancelotti want to keep him, so everyone is on the same page with this one.

Julian Alvarez approached by PSG, while Atletico Madrid move looks impossible

At the time of writing, Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez still hasn’t received any formal proposals. Atletico Madrid like the player, but because of the finances involved it looks almost impossible.

Man City still hope to keep the player because they view him as a key part of the present and future project, though Alvarez wants to play more, which of course is not easy when you’re competing with Erling Haaland for a place in the team.

The only club with a really concrete approach on the player side is Paris Saint-Germain – they have an interest, but at the moment there is no green light from Man City, and so it’s not something imminent.

Is Justin Bijlow really a target for Arsenal and Liverpool?

Feyenoord goalkeeper Justin Bijlow continues to attract speculation, with some fans asking me about recent stories involving Arsenal and Liverpool, as they are perhaps two clubs who could do with a new backup goalkeeper, particularly Arsenal as it looks like Aaron Ramsdale will have a good chance of leaving this summer.

Still, I don’t have something concrete yet on this, nothing in terms of talks or concrete negotiations. Bijlow was Man United’s plan B to Onana last summer, but it didn’t work out at that time, so let’s see if Premier League clubs will arrive this summer.

More Stories Antonio Rudiger Benjamin Sesko Conor Gallagher Erik ten Hag Fabrizio Romano Gareth Southgate Jhon Duran Julian Alvarez Mauricio Pochettino Thomas Tuchel Victor Osimhen Youssouf Fofana

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