Transfer Gossip: Dominant centre-back open to joining Liverpool in bitter blow to Man Utd hopes of deal; ruthless Ten Hag ready to ditch eight United stars
Liverpool have leapt in front of bitter rivals Manchester United in the race to sign a top Serie A centre-back this summer, while Sunday’s Transfer Gossip claims that a ruthless Erik ten Hag will axe as many as eight Old Trafford stars in order to create funds for new additions.
NAPOLI STAR LEANING TOWARDS LIVERPOOL SWITCH
Liverpool are expected to get positive news in their chase for Napoli centre-back Kim Mim-Jae, who reportedly favours a switch to Anfield over Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp’s men need a huge lift after their 4-1 humbling at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday and Kim could ultimately provide it following the latest reports.
Defensive and midfield struggles have hampered the Reds significantly all season long, and those issues were evident again in the heavy loss at The Etihad, where City could easily have doubled the four goals they actually scored.
Those struggles have led Klopp to look for significant upgrades in both areas for next season, and Kim is very much in the running to bolster the back four.
Footmercato in France claims that Liverpool have already approached Napoli to declare their interest in the former Fenerbahce star.
It is also suggested that the South Korean’s entourage would welcome a transfer to Anfield, although it remains to be seen if their Champions League participation will be an issue.
Napoli paid just €18.05m to sign the towering centre-back Fenerbahce in July 2022. And it’s reported that Kim has a release clause worth €45m (£39.5m) that is valid only for foreign clubs from the summer of 2024.
Napoli trying to tie down outstanding Kim
However, runaway Serie A leaders Napoli are determined not to lose their man and trying to negotiate improved terms on his current contract.
One thing that is unclear is whether they will then completely remove his exit clause or add a higher one instead.
Kim moving to Merseyside would come as a huge blow to United though.
Erik ten Hag is a big fan of the player, who is being tipped as a replacement for Harry Maguire in the Red Devils squad.
RUTHLESS TEN HAG TO HAVE SUMMER CLEAR OUT
Manchester United rae reportedly ready to start an eight-player clearout by letting Axel Tuanzebe go permanently this summer.
The 25-year-old defender is currently on loan at Stoke City but is already looking for a new permanent home as United look to offload several big names to fund new signings.
Football Insider reports that Erik ten Hag has told Tuanzebe he is free to find a new club, with his Old Trafford contract ending in June.
The club do have the option to extend it by 12 months but are not expected to.
It was revealed last month that the versatile defender’s contract has a clause that would mean his pay rises to £62,000-a-week if his deal is extended.
Tuanzebe is expected to be one of eight United senior stars to leave in the summer window.
United are also putting Anthony Martial, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Dean Henderson, Brandon Williams and Harry Maguire up for sale, while longstanding number one David de Gea has yet to agree an extension to his expiring contract.
Loan star Wout Weghorst is not expected to sign a permanent deal at Old Trafford after scoring two goals in 18 appearances.
To that end, a striker remains their main focus in terms of incomings.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Napoli ace Victor Osimhen and Benfica star Goncalo Ramos all believed to be on the shortlist. However, a proposed move for Eintracht Frankfurt star Randal Kolo Muani now looks to be off the cards.
TOTTENHAM WELL PLACED TO SIGN MAN CITY DEFENDER
Manchester City are reportedly ready to sell Aymeric Laporte with the defender in search of first-team opportunities, and Tottenham are ready to strike.
The Spain international has been unable to regain his place in the side after missing the start of the season following knee surgery.
Indeed, Laporte is now behind Ruben Dias, John Stones, Nathan Ake and summer signing Manuel Akanji in the centre-back pecking order.
The 28-year-old has only made 16 appearances for City ii total this campaign, and that has led to significant rumours that he will look to move on in the summer.
Both Spurs and PSG are among the teams who have been offered Laporte’s services, with both clubs looking to upgrade the centre of their defence.
Managerless Tottenham have turned to Laporte after missing out on Alessandro Bastoni last summer, while Josko Gvardiol is out of their price range.
They are, however, expected to turn Clement Lenglet’s loan spell from Barcelona into a permanent one.