Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Paper Talk: Man Utd plot double deal with deadline on heavily scouted midfielder set

Man Utd target Cody Gakpo

Ralf Rangnick is the driving force behind a double Man Utd raid amid positive updates on both fronts, while Chelsea would consider a Newcastle sale if they receive £50m – according to Sunday’s transfer gossip.

MAN UTD SCOUTING MISSIONS REVEALED

Man Utd continue to scout Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Palhinha and PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo ahead of a double summer move, according to a report.

That’s via the Mirror who claim interim boss Ralf Rangnick is pushing the Gakpo deal specifically.

The 22-year-old Eindhoven winger is making his mark in the Netherlands this season. Gakpo – who operates primarily from the left side – has bagged 13 goals and 13 assists across all competitions during the campaign. That form saw him earn his first four Dutch caps in 2021.

Gakpo had emerged on the radars of both Arsenal and Man City earlier in February. He will reportedly command a fee of around £25m.

Speaking to PSV TV earlier this month (via Voetbal Primeur), club chief John De Jong confirmed the widespread interest in his exciting forward. He then admitted it will be difficult for PSV to retain their star man beyond the summer.

Writing on the wall for PSV, Gakpo

“Interest started early in the season, when he performed well, also with the Dutch national team,” said De Jong. “My goal is to keep him at all times for the season.

“I don’t know how long we can keep him out of the hands of the big clubs in Europe. How he performs is the most important thing,”

And according to the Mirror, Man Utd are now in the mix. The outlet states Rangnick has ‘instructed’ the club’s recruitment team to monitor Gakpo closely.

He was scouted in PSV’s recent Europa Conference League victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv – in which the forward scored the winning goal.

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Harry Kane could force a move out if his conditions aren't met.

United are deemed on the hunt for attacking reinforcements with doubts over the long-term futures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. The pair are 37 and 34 respectively, while Mason Greenwood may never play for the club again.

The second name on their radar is Sporting’s Joao Palhinha.

The 26-year-old holding midfielder would add bite and steel to the club’s engine room. He was recently scouted in Sporting’s fiery battle with FC Porto in which Palhinha – along with three others – was sent off in a 40-man brawl.

The report stated Palhinha has been scouted by United  ‘at least eight times’ this season. The Portuguese international recently signed a new contract in Lisbon, but that’s believed to be more a case of Sporting protecting their asset ahead of a future sale.

Joao Palhinha, Sporting Lisbon midfielder during the Liga Portugal Bwin match against CS Maritimo at Estadio Jose Alvalade

It’s suggested via Portuguese sources that United have a ‘preferential option’ to buy Palhinha. Precisely what that means isn’t clear. Though relations between the two clubs have proved fruitful for United in the past, most notably when acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.

The Mirror conclude United must commit to buying Palhinha by the ‘first week of June’. If they delay, Sporting will offer the midfielder elsewhere.

Palhinha holds a release clause within his contract around the £50m mark. But Sporting could reportedly sell for anything north of £20m.


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CHELSEA OPEN TO £50M NEWCASTLE SALE

Newcastle are battling multiple LaLiga clubs in the race to sign goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga – who Chelsea will sell if they receive a bid worth £50m, per a report.

The 27-year-old has had to play second fiddle to Edouard Mendy since his arrival 18 months ago.

Kepa has rebounded well this season with a string of impressive displays when Mendy has been absent. However, should the Blues receive any ‘sensible offers around the £50m mark’, they will sell, claims the Daily Star.

Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea

Even that lofty figure would represent a £22m loss for the Spaniard who cost £72m back in 2018. Nevertheless, any club must take note if offered £50m for a back-up star and that money could go towards strengthening a starting position elsewhere.

Newcastle are entrenched in the battle for Kepa, and the report claims a loan with an obligation to buy could be worked out. Of course, the Magpies could simply offer a straight cash deal. Either avenue is dependant on Newcastle retaining their Premier League status.

Several LaLiga clubs are reportedly in the mix, with Atletico Madrid seemingly set to provide the strongest competition.

LIVERPOOL ‘HOT’ ON £40M FORWARD CAPTURE

Darwin Nunez Benfica v Braga November 2021

Liverpool are eyeing yet another addition to their forward line in the form of Darwin Nunez. What’s more, the Uruguayan is ‘keen’ on moving to Anfield, claims a report.

The Reds have acquired Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz over the last 18 months to provide direct competition for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane respectively.

Liverpool’s front line is arguably the envy of Europe once again, but per Football Insider, they’re not finished yet.

The outlet state Liverpool are ‘hot’ on signing Benfica’s versatile 22-year-old striker, Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan had drawn links with West Ham late in the winter window, but ultimately stayed put in Portugal.

A £40m bid was reportedly lodged, though Benfica now value Nunez around the £55m mark. His 23 goals from 29 matches across all competitions this season indicate why.

However, Portuguese clubs are often at the mercy of the Premier League’s big hitters in the market. And the outlet state both Liverpool and the player are receptive to forging a summer deal.

Any move is likely dependant on a breakdown in contract talks with one of Mane, Salah and Firmino. The trio are all out of contract in 2023.

If it becomes apparent one of the three won’t pen fresh terms – or if a surprise sale is sanctioned – Nunez could be the man to fill the void. Reports out of Portugal earlier this week also put Newcastle in the frame.