Man Utd have made enquiries into the availability of three midfielders amid fears their Mason Mount deal will collapse, while Man City have tabled a world record bid for a defender and Fulham have made a loan offer to Leeds Utd – all in Monday’s Transfer Gossip.
MAN UTD EXPLORING MOUNT ALTERNATIVES
The Red Devils are refusing to budge on their upper limit for the transfer of Mason Mount and a report has revealed enquiries into three wildly contrasting alternatives have been made.
Man Utd and Mount have an agreement on personal terms in place, though how much a player with only one year remaining on his contract should cost is a sticking point.
Indeed, Man Utd have seen three separate bids rejected by Chelsea. The latest was worth £50m plus £5m in add-ons. Chelsea counteroffered to the tune of £58m plus £7m in add-ons.
Fabrizio Romano confirmed Mount still has zero intention of signing an extension at Stamford Bridge. United’s bid totalling £55m remains valid, though fears they’ll abandon their if Chelsea don’t lower their demands are growing.
Indeed, the Times claimed United could ‘walk away’ if their third bid was rejected. The newspaper subsequently stated Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is an alternative they’ll consider pursuing instead.
Now, according to ESPN, Caicedo is one of three players Man Utd have made enquiries into signing if Mount can’t be plucked from Chelsea. The others are Taylor Booth from Utrecht and Ajax’s lethal attacker, Mohammed Kudus.
Kudus ‘set to leave’ Ajax; £40m enough
Of the trio, Kudus is arguably the player whose game is most similar to Mount. Caicedo is an out-and-out holding midfielder, while USA international Booth, 22, is a central midfielder who can also cover up and down the right flank.
Kudus, meanwhile, is very much an attack-minded option and bagged 18 goals across all competitions for Erik ten Hag’s former club Ajax last season.
The Ghana international, 22, can operate at centre-forward and on the right wing too. However, given he’s being eyed as an alternative to Mount, it stands to reason Ten Hag would utilise Kudus in an attacking midfield role.
ESPN add United are working with a ‘strict budget’ this summer, hence their unwillingness to spend the extra £10m Chelsea are demanding for Mount.
Factoring into their thinking is the need to sign a new goalkeeper if David de Gea leaves, a new centre-back and a new striker.
None of those moves will come cheap and Kudus – who David Ornstein stressed is ‘set to leave’ Ajax this summer – would represent a cheaper option to Mount.
Indeed, Ornstein claimed around £40m should be enough to seal a deal for Kudus this summer.
MAN CITY GO BIG FOR GVARDIOL
On the back of reaching an agreement over personal terms, Man City have tabled a record-breaking bid for RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, per a report.
Despite coming off the back of a treble-winning season, Pep Guardiola is determined to make his Man City side even fiercer next term.
Indeed, Marca claimed a move for PSG’s Achraf Hakimi has been initiated. The Moroccan right-back would be viewed as the replacement to Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker. The latter is in advanced talks over joining Bayern Munich.
Elsewhere, Fabrizio Romano revealed Man City had struck an agreement on personal terms with Croatian centre-half, Josko Gvardiol.
Despite being just 21, Gvardiol is already among the world’s finest centre-halves and as a left-footer, would be seen as an upgrade on Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte.
Gvardiol’s current contract with Leipzig contains a release clause worth a mammoth €110m (approx. £94.3m).
The clause does not activate until the summer of 2024, though that won’t stop Leipzig demanding a similar fee before allowing Gvardiol to leave one year early. Indeed, Romano stressed Leipzig won’t sell for less than €100m.
Now, according to Sky Germany, Man City have thundered in with a slightly lower – though no less impressive – bid worth €90m.
Leipzig are yet to respond to the bid, though the report notes the offer would make Gvardiol the most expensive defender of all time.
At current exchange rate, €90m would equate to £77.1m which is below the £78.3m Harry Maguire cost when joining Man Utd back in 2019.
However, in terms of euros, Maguire’s deal at the exchange rate four years ago cost €87m. In any case, add-ons in City’s €90m bid for Gvardiol would take the final figure beyond the Maguire sum in terms of pounds anyway.
Gvardiol is labelled Guardiola’s ‘dream player’ at centre-half. As such, even if City’s colossal bid is rebuffed, logic would dictate an improved offer could be on the horizon.
FULHAM LODGE LEEDS UTD LOAN OFFER
Fulham have tabled a bid to sign Leeds Utd attacker Brenden Aaronson on loan, and the presence of a key clause should make a deal straightforward, per a report.
Aaronson was a £24.7m signing from RB Salzburg last summer, though was far from alone in struggling at Elland Road last season.
Per the Daily Mail, a clause in Aaronson’s contract stipulates the American can leave via the loan route if Leeds suffered relegation. The Whites finished 19th to bring their three-year return to the top flight to a close.
Fulham have now emerged as a candidate to sign Aaronson, with the Mail reporting an approach over loaning Aaronson has been lodged.
Cottagers boss Marco Silva reportedly plans to utilise Aaronson as a No 10 if signed, though there is a hitch.
Indeed, the Mail note Fulham have thus far ‘failed to meet the full conditions of the loan’.
Details beyond that vague statement were in short supply. While not stated, one potential sticking point could come in the form of what percentage of Aaronson’s wages Fulham are prepared to absorb.
In any case, the fact Leeds cannot prevent a loan exit given their relegation means an Aaronson departure is very much on the cards this summer. Whether Fulham will be the ones to complete a deal should become clearer in the coming days and weeks.