Erik ten Hag can’t wait to see the Manchester United midfielder again – ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest. MORE: Real Madrid’s Kylian Mbappe confidence.
Jump to: Madrid’s Mbappe hope amid PSG pressure | Conte watches the spending madness | Leipzig’s surprise Ten Hag |
Ten Hag targets Tchouameni
Erik ten Hag, who is expected to take charge of Manchester United, is keen to sign Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, sources have told ESPN.
Ten Hag discussed his thoughts on the United squad as part of his interview for the job at Old Trafford last month and official confirmation of his appointment could come as early as the end of April.
United’s recruitment department has also finalized the shortlists of players in each position for the summer transfer window, and Ten Hag will be allowed to present his own targets. Among them is Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder who is enjoying a fine season in Ligue 1. Tchouameni first impressed under former Monaco manager Niko Kovac and raised his game further under Philippe Clément, after arriving in january.
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Monaco are open to negotiations regarding the transfer of their rising star this summer and will ask for a transfer fee of 60-70 million euros. Sources have told ESPN that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the Frenchman but added that as things stand they are in favor of a France departure. Chelsea have also made contact with Tchouameni and Monaco’s agent, but United could have the edge over their Premier League rivals given the uncertainty over the ownership of the club at present.
Tchouameni can play in all positions in midfield – from a holding position to a more box-to-box position – and it’s this versatility that appeals to Ten Hag.
The new manager is likely to lose Paul Pogba, who is set to leave the club when his contract ends this summer, amid question marks over several players’ futures at Old Trafford. Among them is Eric Bailly, who is looking to leave, sources say. The defender hasn’t started a game since December and was left out of the matchday squad by caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick for the last two games against Leicester and Everton, despite being fully fit.
Bailly, who only signed a new contract in April 2021, has become frustrated with the lack of opportunities and wants to play regular football elsewhere. — Julien Laurens and Rob Dawson
Mbappe’s confidence in Madrid amid PSG pressure
Real Madrid are optimistic about signing Kylian Mbappe this summer, sources have told ESPN, although the club are aware that Paris Saint-Germain are trying to convince their star striker to extend his contract.
Mbappe has long been Madrid’s top transfer target and after failing with a late bid to sign him from PSG last August, the La Liga giants were favorites to land him on a free transfer this year when his deal expires. in June. The France international is under increasing pressure from PSG to renew his contract, however, and admitted earlier this month he had ‘new elements’ to consider, insisting that he had not yet made a decision about his future.
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Sources have told ESPN that despite the comments, Real Madrid remain cautiously optimistic about their long-term pursuit of Mbappe – which began when he went on trial at the club in 2012, meeting the childhood idols Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, and again when he left. Monaco for PSG in 2017 – will finally end with his signing this summer.
Mbappe has been in exceptional form for PSG in recent weeks, scoring 10 goals in his last eight Ligue 1 games, including a hat-trick in a 6-1 win at Clermont on Saturday.
He shone in both matches of PSG’s Champions League Round of 16 elimination at the hands of Real Madrid, scoring in a 1-0 victory at the Parc des Princes on February 15 and putting PSG 2- 0 overall at the Bernabeu. on March 9 before Karim Benzema’s second-half hat-trick tipped the tie in favor of Madrid.
There is also optimism surrounding the contract renewal of another player who shone that night – and against Chelsea this week – midfielder Luka Modric.
The Croatian has shown some of the best form of his career at Real Madrid this season at 36 and sources have told ESPN that although no deal has yet been agreed, a deal should extend his stay at the Bernabeu d another season. — Alex Kirkland and Rodri Faez
Gab Marcotti debates what could influence Kylian Mbappe’s decision regarding his future at PSG.
Conte prepares title tilt with Tottenham’s spending spree
Tottenham are already close to committing €80million to make loan signings Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski permanent, but the club plan to back Antonio Conte more this summer as he tries to turn Spurs into contenders for the Premier League title, sources have told ESPN.
Conte has publicly indicated the north Londoners will pay Atalanta the fixed €55m fee for Romero while sources have told ESPN he is pushing for Kulusevski’s temporary transfer from Juventus to be made official by taking an option to buy the winger for 30 million euros.
Conte has ambitious plans to overhaul his squad with sources suggesting a right-back, centre-back, midfielder, substitute striker and substitute goalkeeper are his top priorities; a list that senior Tottenham officials are prepared to back in principle despite the club recording a pre-tax loss of £80.2million in their latest financial figures last November.
Spurs’ budget will be impacted by their qualification for next season’s Champions League and whether they can maximize the value of several players deemed surplus to requirements – which include Tanguy Ndombele and Bryan Gil, both on loan at Lyon and Valencia respectively – but there is recognition that a big transfer window awaits both to keep Conte happy and to keep striker Harry Kane happy at the club.
Kane pushed to leave Spurs last summer after being frustrated by a lack of silverware, but chairman Daniel Levy rejected interest from Manchester City. Spurs’ chances of avoiding another protracted row this summer appear to have improved, with City now turning to Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
Manchester United were also expected to pursue Kane if he named former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino as their next manager, but the imminent arrival of Erik ten Hag in the Old Trafford hot seat means that it is less clear whether they will attempt to ward him off.
Either way, a statement of intent in the Spurs market would help convince Kane that he can earn silverware at the club. –James Olley
Mark Ogden believes Manchester United will have to fully support Erik ten Hag if he is to prove the right choice for the club.
Leipzig perplexed by Ten Hag rumors
The Manchester United hierarchy have been in no rush to strike a deal for Erik ten Hag to become the club’s next manager by reported interest from RB Leipzig, sources have told ESPN, although some within Old Trafford believe that the ties with the German side were designed as a negotiation tactic.
Ten Hag is expected to be named the new permanent boss with an announcement expected before the end of the season and possibly even later this month. United’s pursuit of the new manager was led by director of football John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher, who reported to chief executive Richard Arnold, with co-chairman Joel Glazer having the final decision on the appointment.
The framework of a deal with the Dutchman has been agreed amid reports that RB Leipzig may be looking to sabotage the deal. But sources close to Leipzig insist they were left baffled by the links while stressing their support for boss Domenico Tedesco.
Sources added that Leipzig were considering Ten Hag as a candidate after Jesse Marsch was sacked in December, but had been impressed with the results under Tedesco since his appointment. Leipzig have lost just once in 2022 – to Bayern Munich in February – and remain in both the Europa League and the German Cup.
United have always planned to make a decision on their next manager before the end of April to allow the new man to have an influence on summer recruitment. -Rob Dawson