Fabrizio Romano confirms Man Utd v Chelsea battle to sign French ace has begun; eye-watering price tag revealed

Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Kouadio Kone

Man Utd, Chelsea and a true European giant are all chasing a French midfielder who’s expected to move this summer, while Fabrizio Romano has revealed the minimum amount a deal will cost.

While signing a new centre-forward is expected to hoover up the headlines at Chelsea and Man Utd this summer, an addition in midfield may be no less important.

Indeed, the Blues could be on the cusp of losing both Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount. TEAMtalk has learned Chelsea chief Todd Boehly won’t allow players to enter the final 12 months of their contracts and if Mount or Kovacic don’t sign fresh terms, both could be sold at season’s end.

At Old Trafford, meanwhile, an easily achievable permanent move for Marcel Sabitzer has now become complicated.

The Austrian’s loan deal from Bayern Munich does not contain an option to buy. However, Sabitzer would love to join Man Utd outright and under Julian Nagelsmann, he had no future back in Bavaria.

Yet Nagelsmann was surprisingly sacked by Bayern last week and new boss Thomas Tuchel may yet find a place for Sabitzer back in Bavaria. Whether a United move for Sabitzer is even viable is now completely in Tuchel’s hands.

With Scott McTominay being courted by Newcastle, Erik ten Hag may soon require reinforcements in midfield.

Now, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, United and Chelsea are converging over a Germany-based French ace.

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Man Utd, Chelsea, PSG launch Manu Kone race

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Romano revealed both English clubs – along with PSG – have taken the first steps towards signing Kouadio Kone.

The 21-year-old – colloquially known as Manu Kone – plies his trade for Borussia Monchengladbach.

The central midfielder cost Gladbach just €9m when plucked from Toulouse in the winter window of 2021. Fast forward to the present day and his price tag has increased by over 500 percent.

Kone is under contract until the summer of 2025 and Gladbach have an option for an extra 12 months. However, Romano stressed a move this summer is expected, with Gladbach poised to generate a colossal profit on their in-demand midfielder.

“It’s my understanding that three clubs at this moment are leading the race for Manu Kone,” said Romano. “One, for sure, is Chelsea.

“They have many players in their list. We have to include Romeo Lavia (Southampton), Declan Rice they are always monitoring, but we know Manu Kone is a player they are following. Chelsea will be there.

“Man Utd are following the player too, so Chelsea, United and PSG.

“Kone is French, so PSG are always keeping their eye on these kind of opportunities. Kone is really appreciated in Paris too.

“They are yet to decide who is going to be their manager next season, but Chelsea, PSG and Manchester United are all interested in Manu Kone.”

READ MORE: Shock sacking puts Man Utd transfer at serious risk, with Ten Hag and player both powerless to resist

Transfer cost revealed

Romano then stated there’s still time for other suitors to muscle in on the race, though the three clubs he mentioned are “already exploring contacts” and as such, are the frontrunners at present.

On the subject of how much a move could cost, Romano added: “The expectation is for a summer move and it’s my understanding it’ll be worth at least €50m (approx. £44m) with add-ons [on top].”

Kone has racked up nine yellow cards in the Bundesliga this season, something that would suggest he’s little more than a tough tackling spoiler in midfield.

However, there is far more to his game, with blistering pace, sound technical ability and defence-splitting vision all in his repertoire too.