With just over a week to go until the transfer window closes, Manchester United’s business in the player market seems far from done, with all deals seeming to be trapped in a never-ending pipeline.
With so much floating around in the media, it seems valuable at this point to summarise some of the main stories being reported in terms of ins and outs at Old Trafford.
First, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in: the British media have revived the corpse of the Jadon Sancho transfer story again this week, claiming that United are readying a take-it-or-leave-it first and only offer of £75 million plus up to £15 in add-ons. Even if it’s true, we think it will be far too little, far too late.
One player who was lined up as a possible alternative should the Sancho bid fail is Juventus’ Douglas Costa, but that ship is about to sail according to Tuttosport, who claim that superagent Jorge Mendes is brokering a deal to take the Brazilian to Wolves to replace Diogo Jota, who has joined Liverpool.
Talk of United’s bid for FC Porto full-back Alex Telles has gone very quiet in both the Portuguese and British press, but transfer guru Fabrizio Romano remains upbeat about United’s chances of signing the 27-year-old before the deadline, saying ‘slow deal … but Man United are convinced they can find an agreement with Porto soon.’
…talks still on for Alex Telles with Porto. Slow deal but #MUFC working on it. Remember: he’s not the only option as LB but Man United are convinced they can find an agreement with Porto soon. ???? #ManUtd https://t.co/0zCXisjPzF
Red Bull Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano made some cryptic remarks this week, saying ‘For the moment I am with Leipzig but it is true that I was able to discuss with certain clubs…For now, I am focused on Leipzig and I will continue to play for Leipzig. And then we’ll see.’ However, with his €42 million release clause not active until June, United would have to bid in excess of €50 million to tempt Leipzig and are, in any case, believed to need to sell before they can buy in the centre-back department, so it’s a very long shot at best.
And on the subject of selling centre backs, Roma’s ridiculously slow pursuit of Chris Smalling is still ongoing and while that is his preferred destination, Inter Milan could swoop for the 30-year-old to replace Milan Skriniar, who they are about to sell to Spurs for €60 million.
Tottenham have opened talks for Milan Skriniar as possible target. He's one of Mourinho's fav options as new centre-back [no more chances for a swap deal involving Ndombele]. Price tag is the main issue: Inter have asked €60m to sell Skriniar. ⚪️ @DiMarzio @SkySport #THFC #Inter
Marcos Rojo is not attracting much interest because of his £80,000 per week wages and the fact that United want a transfer fee on top. A return to his home club of Estudiantes seems the most likely if United are willing to forgo the fee.
Kalidou Koulibaly remains available as Man City look to have turned to Benfica’s Ruben Dias instead, with a €60 million plus Otamendi offer in the pipeline. But Napoli are still believed to be holding out for €80 million for the Senegalese international.
Jordan Pickford’s woeful form at Everton has led to reports that the Toffees could make a move for Sergio Romero, who is now surplus to requirements at Old Trafford after Dean Henderson’s return from loan.
And finally, rumours continue to rumble on that Leeds United want to sign Dan James – either on a permanent deal or a loan, which could certainly be an option for United if another winger is signed before the deadline.
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