Man Utd are seeking to make Christopher Nkunku one of Erik ten Hag’s first signings, while Arsenal have been warned a recent transfer decision was the wrong one – all in Wednesday’s transfer gossip.
MAN UTD EYE NKUNKU COUP
Erik ten Hag could begin his managerial career at Manchester United with RB Leipzig ace Christopher Nkunku in his forward line.
That’s according to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, who claimed ‘internal talks’ have already been held at Old Trafford regarding the 24-year-old’s transfer.
Nkunku operates primarily in an attacking midfield role, though is also capable of playing wide or as a second striker.
The Frenchman has been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season, notching 17 goals and 14 assists from just 29 matches.
But even more impressive was his fearsome Champions League record. Nkunku bagged seven goals in just six outings in Europe’s elite competition this season.
Unsurprisingly, that has seen him emerge on the radars of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. According to Plettenberg, United are one of them.
The journalist tweeted Nkunku is ‘on United’s list for the summer’. Furthermore, current boss Ralf Rangnick is deemed a ‘big fan’.
Rangnick connections could help snare Nkunku
Rangnick holds excellent connections with the Red Bull clubs and could prove decisive in any negotiations.
The German will take a consultancy role and advise on transfers from upstairs when replaced in the managerial hot-seat by Ten Hag. The Athletic’s David Ornstein recent shed light on the progress United’s pursuit of Ten Hag has made.
Plettenberg added ‘internal talks’ have already been held at Old Trafford with Nkunku the topic up for discussion. He concluded they are ‘considering bringing him to Manchester United‘.
However, the journalist did sound a warning to those already getting their hopes up. He noted there are ‘still too many other options in the squad’ at present.
Christopher Nkunku race hots up again
RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is a target for Manchester United and PSG this summer
In other words, United may first be required to trim the fat before an Nkunku move becomes viable.
Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are all expected to leave as free agents. The exits of that trio alone could aid their position regarding Nkunku.
ESPN previously reported Leipzig would listen to offers beginning at £63m. They also declared Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool to be in the frame. French outlet Foot Mercato also reported PSG could be involved.
ARSENAL TRANSFER DECISION WAS A MISTAKE
Former Arsenal centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos warned of a worrying trend at Arsenal when claiming the decision to axe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January wasn’t the correct choice.
Aubameyang was shipped off to Barcelona in the winter window after being frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans.
The striker had returned back late from an authorised trip to France, leading to disciplinary action including the stripping of the captaincy.
Aubameyang has rediscovered his best form in Spain, plundering 10 goals from his first 14 matches.
Arsenal did initially enjoy a purple patch of form after his exit, though back-to-back defeats have since seen possession of fourth spot surrendered to Tottenham. What’s more, Aubameyang’s successor – Alexandre Lacazette – has scored just one league goal in 2022.
Now, speaking to the Sun, former Arsenal centre-back Sokratis explained why axing Aubameyang was the wrong call.
In doing so, he also claimed the cloud under which Aubameyang left is not a new phenomenon at Arsenal, with he too leaving in similar fashion after after being frozen out in 2021 before returning to Greece with Olympiacos.
“Other players left like that” – Sokratis
“Aubameyang is not the only one who left this way from Arsenal,” said Sokratis. “Other players also left like that; including myself.
“That was the team’s choice, each footballer works for the team and has to respect that choice.
“I don’t know and personally I don’t think it was the correct choice, the matter could have been resolved differently.
“I’ve known Aubameyang for many years, I know what he can do as a footballer. I am certain of what he will do at Barcelona.
“I wish him good luck and all the best. The same goes for Arsenal despite the way I also left. I wish them well.
“[The way I left] Was not the best, I was left out of the team. But it’s a matter I haven’t spoken about yet, I respected the manager’s choice. I spoke with him.
“I’m a professional, I worked for the club and love the club. I will definitely continue to be a friend and fan just like I am for all the other clubs I played for, such as Dortmund and [AC] Milan.”
LIVERPOOL DEAL SPARKS FULHAM RESPONSE
Meanwhile, Fulham are ‘closing in’ on a £7m signing to replace Fabio Carvalho who will join Liverpool in the summer.
The Reds have all but wrapped up a deal to sign the attacking midfielder after seeing their January attempt beaten by the clock. The latest on that deal – including fee, contract length, and why Liverpool are delaying an announcement – can be found here.
In response, the Daily Mail report Fulham are making progress in their efforts to sign Shakhtar Donetsk winger Manor Solomon.
The Israel international, 22, will set the Cottagers back around £7m. He is one of a number of Skahktar players who will be allowed to move on this summer with football in Ukraine currently suspended indefinitely.