Bayer Leverkusen director of sport Simon Rolfes has warned Manchester United to forget about signing star defender Edmond Tapsoba – unless they’re prepared to pay something close to a world-record fee.
Tapsoba has excelled for Leverkusen since joining them in January 2020. He has played in 22 of a possible 24 Bundesliga games this term.
The defender has enjoyed a rapid rise since moving to European football with Leixoes in Portugal in 2017. He then moved to Vitoria Guimaraes before his Bundesliga switch.
Still only 22, Tapsoba has been strongly linked with a move to United this summer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – said to be acting on a recommendation – is reported to have instructed United to launch an enquiry.
It had been claimed that Tapsoba has a £44m exit clause in his contract, which United could be willing to exploit.
Rolfes, though, insists that’s not the case. In an interview with BILD, via Sport Witness, he explains that he does understand the admiration for the Bukina Faso star. However, he claims it would take a fee similar to the one that took Kai Havertz to Chelsea for them to consider a sale.
“I am not surprised that Eddy’s quality arouses interest. But the player is not for sale,” before adding that it would take an “immoral” offer, similar to what they got for Havertz, for them to consider a sale.
Havertz joined the Blues for an initial £70m – but if bonuses are met that fee could rise to nearer £85m. Quite whether United would pay anything close to that in Covid times seems unlikely.
But Rolfes’ statement is clearly intended as a warning to those who think Tapsoba could be bought on the cheap.
As well as United, the centre-half has been linked with Juventus and Barcelona.
United rejected Ronaldo reunion
United, meanwhile, rebuffed the opportunity to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus last summer, according to an Italian journalist.
In a conversation on CMIT TV La Repubblica journalist Emanuele Gamba claimed that Ronaldo was being hawked around the big clubs by his agent Jorge Mendes.
Calciomercato have covered the story and report that Ronaldo, who was mentioned as a target for United last summer, was open to a Turin departure.
However, United were apparently not keen on re-signing the 36-year-old and adding his mega-wages to their books.
Gamba said: “Will he leave? I think the only time there was a chance for that was last summer. But I think his staff moved in that direction.
“Mendes moved to see if there were any possibilities and did not find them.
“I doubt that a year later, with an even older and more out of fashion Ronaldo, these possibilities will reappear.
“Essentially, Mendes had urged Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United to make a move, who both said no.
“Frankly, I don’t see the possibility of anything different happening now, at least in Europe.”