Cristiano Ronaldo could end up playing with a prime Manchester United target next season as Al Nassr are planning a stunning raid for him, Steven Gerrard has set his sights on an Aston Villa star after joining Al Ettifaq, while Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip claims Leeds United are in ‘total agreement’ with an Italian club over a summer move.
AL NASSR BATTLE MAN UTD FOR STAR
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag will be fuming if the club misses out on the signing of goalkeeper Andre Onana, with Al Nassr now ready to battle them for the Serie A star.
Onana had a fantastic season with Inter in 2022-23, keeping 19 clean sheets in 41 appearances across all competitions. He helped Inter win both the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, finish third in Serie A and reach the Champions League final. However, they couldn’t add the Champions League trophy to their domestic triumphs as they lost the final to Manchester City.
With the future of David de Gea unclear following the expiry of his Man Utd contract, Ten Hag has settled on Onana as an ideal replacement.
Man Utd recently accelerated talks with Inter to try and capture the Cameroon international. They have also dropped their interest in Porto keeper Diogo Costa, which means Onana is now the main target for the position.
But the Red Devils will now have to fend off serious competition for the shot-stopper. As per CBS Sports, Al Nassr have joined the hunt by sending a ‘lucrative’ contract offer to Onana.
The Saudi Arabian club, who signed Cristiano Ronaldo on a free transfer from Man Utd in January, need a new keeper as current option David Ospina will miss most of the 2023-24 season after picking up an injury.
Al Nassr have been credited with an interest in De Gea, too. But the report explains how ‘rather than doing a favour to Man Utd’ they could now land a ‘significant blow’ to Ten Hag’s transfer plans by getting to Onana first.
The Saudi Pro League side have decided on the 27-year-old as their ‘first-choice’ to replace Ospina.
Andre Onana pursued by super wealthy club
Man Utd will try to convince Onana to remain in Europe by banking on the fact he can continue starring in the Champions League with them. But Al Nassr represent a big threat as they have the finances to easily match Inter’s asking price as well as offer Onana a huge wage.
Indeed, stars such as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly have headed to Saudi Arabian teams this transfer window.
Amid Al Nassr joining the chase for Onana, Sky Italia (via Inter News) reveal how the discussions between Man Utd and Inter are going. They state that Man Utd will open the bidding at €40million (£34.3m). However, this will almost certainly be rejected as Inter have set his price tag at €60m (£51.5m).
The report suggests the two clubs might be able to compromise at the €50m (£42.9m) mark. However, it is clear Man Utd need to get a move on and agree terms with both Inter and Onana himself, as Al Nassr are lurking.
STEVEN GERRARD EYES ASTON VILLA REUNION
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has been named as the new manager of Al Ettifaq and could link up with an Aston Villa player in Saudi Arabia, according to one journalist.
Gerrard was sacked by Villa in October 2022 after 11 months in charge. Villa chiefs took the decision to let him go after he guided the team to just two wins in their opening 12 Premier League games. They then brought in Unai Emery as Gerrard’s replacement and the Spaniard has done a brilliant job.
Rather than taking up another Prem role, Gerrard has decided to manage Al Ettifaq next, where he will undoubtedly be picking up a big salary. The former midfielder has penned a two-year contract with the club.
According to transfer insider Ben Jacobs, Al Ettifaq have ‘ambitious spending plans’ under Gerrard as they aim to improve on last season’s seventh-placed finish. And those plans involve Villa attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, with the Brazilian identified as a ‘big priority’.
Gerrard also played with Coutinho during his time at Liverpool and has therefore suggested the playmaker to Al Ettifaq chiefs.
Coutinho signed for Villa on loan in January 2022 and enjoyed a good start to his Prem return, registering four goals and three assists in his first eight league outings. Villa went on to sign him permanently last summer, though his impact waned last term as he only managed one goal in 22 games.
Coutinho is not the only well-known Prem ace Gerrard is eyeing up. Jacobs adds that the manager is also interested in taking Jesse Lingard to Al Ettifaq.
Lingard, who is currently training with David Beckham’s Inter Miami, is described as being ‘open to a Saudi move’ after a disappointing campaign with Nottingham Forest.
LEEDS AGREE DEFENDER EXIT
Leeds United have come to a ‘total agreement’ with Roma over the departure of centre-back Diego Llorente, according to a reporter.
Llorente originally joined Roma on loan in January and went on to play 12 times for the Serie A outfit, including in the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.
Jose Mourinho’s side had the option to buy Llorente for £18m but did not activate it.
Instead, Roma have negotiated a completely new deal with Leeds. As per Gianluca Di Marzio, the two clubs are in ‘total agreement’ over a fresh loan switch.
Should the Spaniard play in 50 per cent of Roma’s matches next term, then they will be obligated to buy him for €5m (£4.2m).
While Leeds were originally hoping to receive £18m for Llorente, their negotiating position has been seriously weakened by their relegation to the Championship.
Several other Whites stars could follow Llorente out of Elland Road this summer. The list includes Tyler Adams, Robin Koch, Jack Harrison, Crysencio Summerville and Willy Gnonto.