Man Utd planning to hijack first Pochettino, Chelsea transfer as Ten Hag moves to replace declining starter

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino and Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Man Utd are sizing up a Bundesliga standout who’d both scupper Mauricio Pochettino’s first transfer at Chelsea and lay the foundations for a senior star to leave Old Trafford.

First up on Pochettino’s to-do list at Chelsea this summer is reportedly signing a new No 1 goalkeeper. That’s according to the Mirror, with Pochettino understood to be ‘unconvinced’ by both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy.

Inter Milan’s Andre Onana is a viable replacement in the Blues’ sights. Elsewhere, reports out of Germany previously confirmed Chelsea are eyeing up Borussia Dortmund starter, Gregor Kobel.

A calamitous error against Bayern Munich on April 1 aside, Kobel has been a revelation for Dortmund this term.

The 25-year-old Switzerland international is among the Bundesliga’s leading goalkeepers and his technical ability with the ball at feet makes him tailor-made for Pochettino.

German publication BILD recently reported Kobel is the player Chelsea have settled on as their upgrade to Kepa and Mendy. However, a fresh report from the Independent suggests Man Utd could hijack a move.

Firstly, the Independent acknowledge Chelsea have confirmed interest in Kobel. However, so too do Man Utd despite zeroing in on a new contract for David de Gea.

The report adds Man Utd are ‘considering a move’ for Kobel who would provide stiff competition for the 32-year-old. The idea, per the piece, is to have both players available to Ten Hag.

De Gea’s limitations with his feet are well documented and signing Kobel would give Ten Hag tactical flexibility when determining who to select.

However, given he’s seven years younger than De Gea and already among German football’s leading stoppers, logic would dictate he’ll eventually oust De Gea as the regular starter.

De Gea remains in talks with United over a new deal. His current contract expires this summer and it’s understood he’ll be expected to absorb a hefty cut to his base salary. The Manchester Evening News view that as an admission from United that De Gea is a player on the decline.

The Independent aren’t the first to tout a move to Old Trafford for Kobel. Indeed, German outlet Sport1 did the same back in April.

To help fend off the interest from both Man Utd and Chelsea, the Independent add Dortmund are readying fresh talks over a new and improved contract for their keeper. His current deal doesn’t expire until the summer of 2026.

However, the English sides can go above and beyond anything Dortmund can pay and the lure of being a regular starter in the Premier League could appeal.

Kobel was signed from Stuttgart in 2021 for just €15m (approx. £13m). Transfermarkt now list his value at €35m (approx. £31m).

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