Transfer Gossip: Man Utd brush Liverpool aside as first of three gigantic deals takes shape; Pochettino v Klopp for Belgium midfielder
Man Utd have assumed the position of favourites in the race to sign a Liverpool target, while the Reds will battle Chelsea for a £40m-rated Belgium midfielder and Newcastle are eyeing an impressive double coup – all in Friday’s Transfer Gossip.
MAN UTD TAKE LEAD FOR MASON MOUNT
Erik ten Hag’s Man Utd are on pole position for the shock signing of Mason Mount, and the Chelsea ace could be just phase one of a gigantic triple arrival at Old Trafford, per a report.
Mount, 24, is Chelsea’s two-time and reigning Player of the Year. As such and given the fact he’s a homegrown player, it’s somewhat surprising he’s tracking to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Mount has just one year left on his contract come the summer. As yet, there is no indication Chelsea are prepared to make him one of their top earners and if that standoff continues, Mount will be given the greenlight to leave.
Liverpool had been mentioned as being prepared to pounce if Mount does take flight. The Reds are in desperate need of a midfield overhaul and Mount had been earmarked as a proven and readymade option.
However, the Athletic recently reported it’s actually Man Utd who are Mount’s preferred destination if leaving the Blues.
Now, a fresh update from Sky Sports has confirmed Man Utd are favourites in the race. What’s more, it’s claimed they’re showing stronger interest than Liverpool and have already made ‘a number of enquiries’ into the potential move.
Man Utd are being ‘encouraged’ by Mount’s contract situation at Chelsea. Mount appointed Neil Fewings of the ROOF agency earlier in 2023 in a move that many believed was a pre-cursor to leaving Stamford Bridge.
Incoming Chelsea boss, Mauricio Pochettino, will hold talks with Mount once installed at the helm. However, it’s reiterated the writing already appears to be on the wall regarding an exit and Man Utd look his most likely destination at present.
Chelsea are understood to value Mount around the £80m mark. However, with just one year on his contract and no sign of an extension, they’ll have to compromise.
A more modest fee in the region of £55m-£60m has been cited by varying publications.
Harry Kane, Declan Rice also wanted
Aside from Mount, Sky Sports also double down on Man Utd’s interest in England teammates Harry Kane and Declan Rice.
Kane is believed to be Ten Hag’s No 1 striker target this summer. Rice, meanwhile, has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with West Ham that will see him leave if an offer totalling £120m are bid.
Rice is being chased by Arsenal, though Man Utd could use West Ham’s interest in Scott McTominay to leverage a move to Old Trafford.
Kane, meanwhile, could leave Spurs if refusing to sign a new contract in the coming weeks and months.
Like Mount, Kane is out of contract in the summer of 2024 and an exit at season’s end would therefore make sense if a new deal isn’t forthcoming.
Sky acknowledge Tottenham will be reluctant to sell to a domestic rival. However, Man Utd can offer far higher sums than his suitors abroad, most notably Bayern Munich.
LIVERPOOL, CHELSEA EYE SAINTS ACE
Man City have left the door ajar for Liverpool and Chelsea to sign Southampton ace and Belgium international, Romeo Lavia.
That’s according to the Times who stress the 19-year-old holding midfielder could be on the move this summer.
Lavia was a £12.5m signing for the Saints when arriving from Man City last summer. The combative midfielder has been among the very few bright sparks on the south coast in a season which has ended in relegation for Southampton.
Man City inserted a clause into Lavia’s contract which stipulates they have the opportunity to match any bids made for his services.
However, according to the Times, City will not pursue Lavia at season’s end.
As such, Liverpool and Chelsea are free to duel for the player who Southampton are ‘expecting bids for’. They regard Lavia as their most valuable asset and a £40m price tag is cited.
Lavia is already a full-fledged Belgium international having made his senior debut during the last international break in March.
NEWCASTLE PLOT ARSENAL, LEICESTER RAIDS
Newcastle intend to go big this summer and an Arsenal defender and Leicester’s best player are in their sights, per a report.
Qualification for next season’s Champions League is expected to net Eddie Howe and his team a sizeable boost to their transfer budget.
To that end, the i newspaper report moves for Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney and Leicester playmaker James Maddison are on the agenda.
Tierney is out of favour at the Emirates thanks to the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko. Football Insider previously reported a deal can be struck for around £30m.
Maddison, meanwhile, will reportedly be allowed to leave Leicester this summer even if they beat the drop. The 26-year-old is out of contract in 2024 anyway and with a new deal off the table, the Foxes cannot afford to lose a highly saleable asset for free.
Maddison could cost in the region of £50m-£60m and is termed a ‘long-term target’ up at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle tried to sign Maddison in each of the previous two windows. They saw multiple bids including one worth £50m knocked back last August, per Sky Sports.
However, with Newcastle trending in one direction and Leicester the other, the story is expected to be different if and when Newcastle try their luck a third time this summer.