Thursday, June 24, 2021

Manchester United looking to raid Premier League rivals in a bid to overhaul squad

Manager Jose Mourinho will be handed a £100 million war chest in January to reinforce his struggling Manchester United side, and the club have been linked with quite a few players as a result

Mourinho has reportedly made Chelsea star N’Golo Kante his No 1 transfer priority. In what would be a sensational signing for the club — and a big blow to their rivals — reports from Caught Offside claim that such a deal is not out of the question. United have apparently sen out feelers to the Blues over regarding any possible deal. However, what is certain is that they will face competition from Europe’s elite should the Frenchman become available. The 27-year-old has not yet signed an extension to his current contract at Stamford Bridge, which lapses in 2021.

Manchester United target Kante

Elsewhere, Marko Arnautovic has once again spoken about his uncertain future at West Ham. When the current international break started, the Austrian claimed he wanted to move to a bigger club — and United are the early frontrunners to sign him. Speaking post-Austria’s 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League, the 29-year-old was still vague about his next move.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I am concentrated on West Ham,” he said. “We have a big game against Manchester City on Saturday and I am only thinking about this game and the following games and what is being said is not my business. My business is to perform on the pitch, to put in performances and that is what I want to do.”

David de Gea is one player who could exit the club as he is yet to reply positively to contract negotiations. The 28-year-old’s deal expires at the end of the season — although United can extend his contract by a year. A deal has been placed on the table but if the Spaniard does not sign, United could lose him for cheap come summer or on a free at the end next season. That has prompted the Red Devils to seek replacements — and Everton star Jordan Pickford, 24, could be that man.

The Sun claim Mourinho sees him as the ideal replacement and that his staff agree. Apparently, a bid of around £60m could tempt Everton to sell. One person who is not yet convinced by Pickford is club legend, Gary Neville. Speaking before Pickford played in England’s clash with Croatia in the UEFA Nations League, Neville said he was unsure about the shot-stopper. “I thought he was a risk before the World Cup. It was one of the points I was most nervous about.”

“I actually think international football suits him a lot in the sense of the way the team play. I think the fact you get more time to play out the back than you normally would in the Premier League. I think he’s suited to international football. I was nervous about him before the World Cup but he’s winning me over slowly.”

“He’s not my idea of what a goalkeeper should be. I always thought a keeper should be dominant. There are so many keepers now of his ilk and his stature and his ability in terms of agility that you have to change with the times. I was always of the Peter Schmeichel, the big presence. He (Pickford) doesn’t look huge in goal but is agile and does make great saves.”

Author’s take:

Every potential transfer for United spoken off here makes sense, with the most important perhaps being the future of De Gea. Easily in the top three for the best keepers in the world, it would be a travesty if the Spaniard leaves Old Trafford. But Pickford seems like a good replacement, and United have time till the of the 2019-20 season to gauge him properly before deciding on a move, provided they have not been able to tie down De Gea by that point.

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