Transfer Gossip: Man Utd chasing record-breaker dubiously compared to club pariah; Liverpool make huge commitment for World Cup stand-out
Man Utd will battle Juventus for the signature of a midfielder who’s been compared to a divisive figure, while Liverpool have made a huge commitment that’ll help them secure a major addition for a player not named Jude Bellingham – both in Wednesday’s Transfer Gossip.
MAN UTD CHASING ITALIAN RECORD-BREAKER
The Red Devils are prepared to battle Juventus for the signing of a player who the latter believe can become the new Paul Pogba, per a report.
United had the real Paul Pogba on two separate occasions, though on neither did he justify the hype.
The Frenchman did show flashes of why United twice sanctioned deals to sign him. However, few can argue he was ever a genuine success at Old Trafford and his contract was allowed to expire over the summer.
Many of a United leaning were happy to see the back of Pogba, though per the Mirror, they may soon see the next iteration.
The Mirror report Man Utd are in the mix to sign Benfica B starlet, Cher Ndour. The 19-year-old is a multi-time Italy youth international and already holds a record.
The 6ft 3in midfielder joined Benfica’s ranks in 2020 and went on to become the club’s youngest ever player to represent their B team. At 16 years and 279 days, Ndour took the record previously held by João Félix (16 years and 312 days).
Ndour is yet to debut for Benfica’s senior side, though is highly regarded and was among the 100-strong list of nominees for the most recent Golden Boy award.
Barcelona are credited with a minor interest, but United’s main competition will come from Juventus. Ndour was born in the Italian city of Brescia and reportedly counts Pogba as his idol. Juve hope the fact Pogba is currently in Turin will aid their cause in any transfer battle.
Regardless, United won’t go down without a fight and reportedly hold an advantage of their own. Ndour shares the same agent as Bruno Fernandes.
Ndour is out of contract at Benfica at season’s end, meaning a deal could be struck in January. Ndour will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs come January 1.
Given he plays in Portugal, that avenue is open to all three of Man Utd, Barca and Juve.
LIVERPOOL MAKE HUGE COMMITMENT
Claims Liverpool have struck a ‘pre-agreement’ to sign Argentina international Enzo Fernandez have been backed up, and the latest report revealed how far Liverpool will go to secure a deal.
Midfield is the obvious area Jurgen Klopp must address in 2023. James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are all well into their 30s. Fabinho’s form has nosedived this season, while Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all off contract at season’s end.
Jude Bellingham is the club’s primary target. The England ace, 19, is valued around the £130m mark by Dortmund and the Reds are believed to be leading the race at present.
However, a second addition is seemingly in the works too and it’s an impressive one.
The Mirror brought news from Spain and Portugal earlier this week of Liverpool striking a ‘pre-agreement’ to sign the Benfica star. Fernandez operates primarily in central midfield and has shone for World Cup finalists Argentina.
That’s been backed up by Portuguese outlet O Jogo who claim Liverpool have ‘promised to match’ any and all bids Benfica receive for the 21-year-old.
Fernandez is already described as ‘in Liverpool’s hands’ and a deal in 2023 is taking shape. While many Reds fans may hope for a January arrival, a summer signing is deemed more probable.
That’s because Benfica will hold out for Fernandez’s €120m (approx. £103m) release clause if parting ways next month. Liverpool think a deal can be struck for a lesser fee and will wait until the summer.
Fernandez reportedly favours the Reds over all other options. As such, Klopp and co. have no desire to rush things and potentially wind up overpaying.
It’s important to note the ‘pre-agreement’ spoke of is not a pre-contract agreement. The latter is something that stars whose contracts have less than six months remaining can sign with potential suitors.
Fernandez’s current deal with Benfica runs until 2027, meaning a free agent arrival is obviously out of the question.
As such, the pre-agreement spoken of would represent the broad framework of a deal. In other words, details such as player salary, bonuses, transfer fee and add-ons, along with the player indicating he wishes to join them.
CHELSEA RIVAL TOTTENHAM FOR SERIE A MOVE
Chelsea have joined Tottenham in the race to sign Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, per a report.
That’s the news coming from Gazzetta dello Sport, with a winter window switch now a distinct possibility.
Despite impressing for the USA in Qatar, Juventus have not shifted their stance on the 24-year-old central midfielder.
McKennie is still deemed surplus to requirements and via ESPN, is among a cluster of players on the chopping block.
Spurs have drawn frequent links with McKennie and Serie A signings are the forte of Fabio Paratici. However, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are providing competition this time around.
While not stated in the piece, previous reports have revealed Juventus hope to generate a maximum of £26m. But given he’s clearly one they’ve earmarked for an exit, suitors could succeed in driving the price down.