Erik ten Hag is set to ramp up his pursuit of Frenkie de Jong at Manchester United – the latest Insider Notebook from ESPN. Plus: Neymar could be on the move.
Ten Hag to escalate the manhunt for de Jong
Manchester United prepares to test Barcelona’s resolve to finish Frenkie de Jong Despite doubts over whether they would be the midfielder’s first choice if he left Camp Nou, sources told ESPN.
United want a midfielder this summer, and De Jong, who worked under Erik ten Hag at Ajax during the duo’s tenure at Ajax, is one of the names under consideration.
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Despite playing a key role at Barcelona last season, there is a feeling at Old Trafford that the La Liga giants may have to offload the Netherlands international to fund their summer transfer business. Sources have told ESPN that De Jong should be persuaded to join United, especially after they pulled out of the Champions League, but the move has not been completely ruled out.
Intermediaries working on behalf of Barcelona have tried to find potential suitors for the 25-year-old, and although PSG and Bayern Munich have asked to stay informed, United’s interest is strongest. Sources have told ESPN that Manchester City are moving away from De Jong, choosing instead to focus on Leeds United Calvin Phillips as a substitute for FernandinhoWho will leave the club this summer.
United have also registered an interest in Phillips, but sources said he would be reluctant to move to Old Trafford given Leeds’ fierce rivalry with United.
Barcelona are already looking for replacements for De Jong, whose transfer fee is said to be around £75m. United are unlikely to meet those conditions and will have to seek to agree to lower fees, but it is believed that Barcelona’s financial situation could leave room for compromise. – Rob Dawson
Paris Saint-Germain series continues as Neymar makes it available
Paris Saint-Germain’s position marks a new turnaround at the club, following Mbappe’s decision to stay when it looked certain he would leave on a free transfer. Neymar signed a new contract with the club last year and has three years in a row, but PSG are hoping to get rid of him this summer.
Mbappe’s new agreement, which runs until 2025, marks a new era for the club, as sporting director Leonardo is expected to leave his post soon, to be replaced by Luis Campos – Mbappe’s ally, after his successful spell in Monaco together.
Campos was in Monaco when Mbappe came on the scene and won the Ligue 1 title in 2017, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals. The 57-year-old has a reputation for spotting top talent and securing significant transfer fees for hidden gems, with Mbappe being one of many notable successes. Campos joined Monaco in 2013, and four years later, the club won their first title in 17 years. He will be officially announced as PSG’s new manager in the coming days, but he is already working on forming the squad, according to sources, with a focus on younger players.
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Neymar, 30, is in Qatar with some PSG sponsors and this week said he wants to stay at PSG but the Ligue 1 champions want to raise transfer money to form their squad. The Brazil international joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222m from Barcelona in 2017, but has only made 50% of the club’s matches since joining, amid a string of recurring injuries.
Neymar’s hefty salary, which costs PSG around €35m a year, could be a stumbling block should any interested clubs come up with an offer, but Chelsea have a long-standing interest in the striker. – Julian Lorenz
Julien Lorenz and Gap Marcotti discuss Neymar’s future amid reports that PSG want him to leave.
Barcelona presses for mass exodus
Sources told ESPN that Barcelona will tell more than 10 players that they are free to leave the club this summer as Xavi Hernandez plans to reform the squad after a titleless season at the Camp Nou.
However, sources add that it will not be easy to transfer many unwanted players due to their reluctance to leave and their high salaries.
Xavi has already confirmed his talks with Rikui Puig and Oscar Mengueza Martin Braithwaite And Samuel Umtiti In it, he tells them that they are not part of his long-term plans. Clement LengletAnd Ferran Gutglathe lenders lok de jong Adama Traore and loan returnees in other places, such as Francisco Trincao and Miralem PjanicThey may also be invited to leave.
There is also uncertainty surrounding the future Ousmane Dembele And Dani Alveswhose contract will expire next month, while sources add that Barcelona’s financial situation may force them to listen to big offers Memphis Depay And Frenkie de Jong.
Despite Barcelona’s desire to hammer out the changes, they are already facing hurdles. Braithwaite and Pjanic have both spoken of wanting to fulfill the final two years of their contracts, while the high salaries being earned by players like Lenglet make finding a suitor difficult. – Sam Marsden and Moyes Lorenz
Bale, Di Maria ignored by Atlético
Gareth Bale Angel Di Maria has been offered Atletico Madrid as potential free transfers this summer, sources have confirmed to ESPN, but the La Liga club has rejected the opportunity to sign any of the players.
Bale, 32, will leave Real Madrid after nine years at the club when his contract expires in June, while Di Maria, 34, will leave Paris Saint-Germain when his deal expires.
Spanish radio station COPE first reported on Monday that Bale’s representatives showed him to Atletico, saying the discussion took place at a meeting with the club’s sporting director Andrea Berta. Sources told ESPN that Atletico appreciated the offer but felt the financial resources involved in such a deal would make it difficult to justify, given Bale’s age. If they want to boost their attack, they prefer to focus their efforts on a player who can contribute to the team over a longer period of time.
Bale is preparing for Real Madrid’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris on Saturday after suffering a season-disrupting injury. Sources close to the player told ESPN that no decisions will be made about his future until he plays Wales in their matches in June, which include the World Cup qualifiers final against Scotland or Ukraine. Bale and his family were happy to live in Madrid despite his role in the team being reduced in recent years, and his family remained in the Spanish capital during his 2020-21 loan to Tottenham.
He was also shown to Atletico Di Maria, who played his last game for PSG last week, as he started and scored in the 5-0 win over Metz at Parc des Princes. He played 295 games for Ligue 1 club since his signing from Manchester United in 2015, scoring 92 goals.
“I’m calm. There is time, I have to think,” he told ESPN on Saturday. “This is not just my decision, I will always think of my family and then of me. I will decide what is best for everyone.” – Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Fayez
Karmo in demand
A number of Premier League clubs are eyeing the summer transfer of the Braga central defender David Carmosources told ESPN.
The 22-year-old is highly rated in Portugal and was called up to Fernando Santos’ squad for Nations League matches against Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic in June.
Sources have told ESPN that a €25m bid would secure a move away from Braga with a number of English clubs already registering their interest.
Manchester United are among the clubs looking for a left central defender this summer to achieve more balance in their defense and put Villarreal at the center of their defence. Pau Torres in their shortcut menu. – Rob Dawson