Manchester United’s attempts to sign Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga are ‘complicated’ and could hinge on Paul Pogba’s future.
Various reports from very reliable sources such as RMC Sport’s Mohamed Bouhafsi and transfer guru Fabrizio Romano have claimed that the 18-year-old is United’s top midfield transfer target this summer.
Our own exclusive interview with Get French Football News’ Rich Allen also revealed that the asking price for the player has been slashed by more than half since last summer, with Rennes likely to settle for something between €30 and €40 million (£26-£34m).
It was all beginning to look like smooth sailing for United, but The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell has poured some cold water over things this morning.
‘United have explored his signing, but sources say any move would be complicated as Camavinga has lots of options,’ Whitwell says.
‘A switch to Real Madrid or Barcelona is believed to appeal to the player, who could yet decide to sit out his final 12 months and join a new club when finances across Europe have recovered further from COVID-19.
‘Bayern Munich are interested and it is said there is “no rush” about reaching a conclusion this window.
‘Rennes will hope to spark a bidding war for Camavinga. PSG are said to be keen.’
There is actually nothing particularly contradictory about most of Whitwell’s claims, but they perhaps have a more pessimistic air than others. Yes, Camavinga has been reported to fancy a move to La Liga, with Real particularly linked last year. But his progress in 2020/21 faltered a little and los Blancos’ interest has dampened.
Barca, for their part, are in such an appalling financial situation that they cannot even register their new signings, Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay, nor re-sign Lionel Messi, without selling up to six players. The chances of them signing the Frenchman are virtually nil.
PSG are perhaps more likely to bid and it has been said that staying in France would be a better move for Camavinga at this stage of his career. But as Whitwell says, this is complicated by Paul Pogba’s future.
‘PSG are making inquiries about the United star’s availability and some within the industry believe they could be holding off on Camavinga for that reason,’ Whitwell writes.
‘There are no indications yet, however, that Pogba is interested in a move to the Parc des Princes.’
And as Allen said in our interview, if Pogba stays at United, whilst that might cause PSG to look harder at Camavinga, it also strengthens United’s hand as the 28-year-old is his younger counterpart’s idol. The allure of playing alongside him at Old Trafford could hold tremendous appeal.
Whitwell’s assertions that the teenager ‘could yet decide to sit out his final 12 months’ and that ‘there is “no rush” about reaching a conclusion this window’ do seem to contradict all other reports, as most say that both player and club are very keen to get things sorted out this summer.
In addition, Rennes have reportedly already lined up the Angola-born star’s replacement, such is the belief he will move on, according to reports.
One thing that Whitwell does agree upon with other reporters, including Allen, is the likely price that Rennes will demand.
In our interview, Allen said ‘My belief is that they would be looking at around €30-40m, with a real push towards the top end of that,’ and Whitwell confirms:
‘Privately, Rennes are dismissing the suggestion a deal could be done for €30 million, insisting to some they would only talk for €10 million more,’ he said, adding that football’s financial crisis has bitten particularly hard in France due to the recent collapse of Ligue 1’s TV rights deal with Mediapro.
Another club reported to be interested is Chelsea, so there could yet be the bidding war that Rennes desires. But despite the negativity of Whitwell’s article, it still looks very much as if United are in the box seats to sign one of the world’s top teenage talents this summer for a bargain basement price.