David de Gea bids farewell
Fresh doubts have emerged regarding David de Gea’s future at Manchester United as the Spanish goalkeeper was not included in the club’s list of retained players. The list, which was published on Friday and features Mason Greenwood, encompasses players currently under contract at Old Trafford and those being offered new deals.
De Gea’s exclusion suggests that negotiations for a new contract, aimed at replacing his current £375,000-a-week agreement, are not progressing as previously anticipated. Sources have confirmed that United now holds less optimism about the 32-year-old’s likelihood of staying. A brief statement from the club stated, “Discussions remain open with David over a potential new contract.” De Gea’s existing deal expires on June 30, allowing him to leave Old Trafford as a free agent, thus concluding his 12-year tenure at United. He has been linked with a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.
Despite expectations that the former Atletico Madrid keeper would reach an agreement, negotiations have encountered delays, even considering the pay reduction and the lack of a guaranteed No.1 spot. During the previous season, De Gea faced criticism for several high-profile errors and his ball-playing abilities, despite ending the campaign as the recipient of the Premier League’s Golden Glove award.
Criticism intensified during the FA Cup Final last month when De Gea was at fault for Ilkay Gundogan’s crucial second goal in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over their local rivals. He also faced scrutiny for his poor distribution from the back. Manager Erik ten Hag declined to single out De Gea for criticism after the Wembley match but acknowledged the need for the Spaniard to work on certain aspects of his game. Ten Hag is known to desire a goalkeeper with greater competence on the ball, and United is keen on signing a new goalkeeper this summer regardless of the outcome of De Gea’s contract situation. However, the number of funds available to Ten Hag for a new signing could depend on whether the intention is to bring in competition for De Gea or secure a new first-choice goalkeeper to replace him.
Another potential option could be Dean Henderson, who spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest and has been earmarked for a permanent move to the City Ground if De Gea remains at United. Henderson is presently recovering from surgery for a thigh muscle injury but is expected to be fit for the start of the new season.
The list of retained players includes two other United goalkeepers, Tom Heaton, and Nathan Bishop, as the club confirmed the extension of their contracts, along with defenders Rhys Bennett and Ethan Laird. While Under-21 player-coach Tom Huddlestone and forward Mateo Mejia were listed as having been offered new deals, De Gea’s omission is conspicuous.
Greenwood’s inclusion in the list, however, is significant and reflects the fact that the 21-year-old striker is under contract at Old Trafford until 2025. It is unrelated to the outcome of an internal club investigation following the Crown Prosecution Services’ decision to drop charges of attempted rape and assault against him in February. United has yet to make a final decision on Greenwood’s future, but recent reports suggest that a loan move to a foreign club for the upcoming season is one option being considered.
Eric Bailly and Alex Telles, who were both on loan last season, are listed, although they are expected to depart. Other players leaving this summer include Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Fred, Scott McTominay, Anthony Elanga, and Brandon Williams. United has confirmed the departure of Phil Jones, who spent 12 years at Old Trafford, along with Axel Tuanzebe, Ethan Galbraith, and Di’Shon Bernard.
In the race to sign Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal has overtaken Newcastle United, with Manchester United also expressing interest in the French winger.
Diaby has been with the Bundesliga side for four years, having made 172 appearances since his move from Paris Saint-Germain.
Newcastle has been actively pursuing Diaby as a priority target for the past year and a half. However, recent reports from L’Equipe indicate that Arsenal has now emerged as the frontrunner, surpassing Newcastle in the pursuit of the Frenchman’s signature.
Diaby has never considered Newcastle as a top priority, which has allowed Arsenal to move ahead in the race. Manchester United has also been previously linked with the player, who scored 14 goals and provided 11 assists for Bayer Leverkusen last season.
There is also a possibility of a return to PSG for Diaby, considering his significant progress in Germany. Leverkusen is reportedly demanding around £65m for the 23-year-old, and they have agreed to let Diaby leave, along with his teammate Jeremie Frimpong, who is also linked to Manchester United.
While Diaby’s current contract with Bayer Leverkusen runs until 2025, the club has a history of selling players before their contracts enter the final year.
Currently, Diaby is with the French national team squad for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece.
French national team manager Didier Deschamps was asked about the impact of the transfer window on the team, but considering the absence of major competitions, the subject is relatively relaxed if necessary. Deschamps stated, “Let the players move, no, they are in training. But if there is a special request, we can adapt. The door is open to facilitate the situation of the player concerned.”
Bayer Leverkusen finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season, trailing 21 points behind champions Bayern Munich and runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
If Manchester City wants to sell Bernardo Silva to PSG, they will require the Ligue 1 giants to agree to a part-exchange deal involving talented teenager Warren Zaire-Emery. PSG has long held admiration for the Portuguese star Silva, but they would need to push Man City to sell as the Treble winners have no intention of letting go of the 28-year-old just yet.
In an attempt to reduce the £70m asking price for Silva, PSG is offering various players, but RMC Sport reports that Pep Guardiola’s side is solely interested in one individual who is also not available for sale.
Guardiola holds high regard for Zaire-Emery, the gifted 17-year-old midfielder who already made 31 appearances for the first team this season. Zaire-Emery even became the youngest player ever to start a Champions League knockout game when he faced Bayern Munich in February.
While Guardiola believes he can shape Zaire-Emery into a top-class player for the long term, PSG considers their young talented midfielder untouchable, leading to an impasse between the two prestigious clubs.
Zaire-Emery has been associated with PSG’s youth teams since 2014 and is expected to remain within the club’s ecosystem for at least a decade, as he still has two years remaining on his contract.
Earlier this year, Mail Sport highlighted the emergence of players like Zaire-Emery and El Chadaille Bitshiabu, suggesting a shift in PSG’s mindset from solely relying on big-name players who dominate the headlines.
In the pursuit of Zaire-Emery’s future services, Manchester City faces competition from Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund is actively monitoring the availability of the 17-year-old as they seek a replacement for Jude Bellingham following his significant transfer to Real Madrid.
The Harry Kane Saga
Manchester United have decided to end their pursuit of Harry Kane as they are unwilling to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s demands for the striker. Despite being a top priority for United manager Erik ten Hag and featuring prominently on their summer transfer shortlist, the club has abandoned its interest in Kane. The English captain had been seen as a viable target due to his contract with Tottenham expiring in a year. Furthermore, Kane’s impressive performance in the previous season, where he scored 30 goals in the Premier League and finished second in the race for the Golden Boot behind Erling Haaland of Manchester City, added to his appeal.
Ten Hag had expressed his admiration for Kane, highlighting his goal-scoring ability, key contributions, and overall qualities as a player and person. However, it now seems highly unlikely that Kane will make a move to Old Trafford. According to The Guardian, Manchester United has withdrawn from the competition for his signature due to the club’s belief that Spurs’ asking price needs to be revised. Levy is determined to retain Kane’s services and is even willing to risk losing him on a free transfer next summer when his contract ends. In April, Levy stated that he believes Kane can achieve success and become a legend at Tottenham, expressing his hope for a statue of the player outside the club’s stadium.
Although Ten Hag is reportedly disappointed with the club’s decision, he understands the circumstances. This may lead Manchester United to pursue alternative targets in their search for a striker. Several names have been linked to the club, including Victor Osimhen from Napoli, Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Ramsus Hojlund from Atalanta.
On a different note, Arsenal is considering bidding for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia to strengthen their midfield in the upcoming summer transfer window. The Gunners have been exploring various options and have previously considered Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice. Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United are also interested in signing Lavia. Despite Southampton’s difficult season, the 19-year-old midfielder made a strong impression in his debut campaign, making 34 appearances across all competitions.
Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka is expected to join Bayer Leverkusen once Declan Rice’s transfer is finalized. Xhaka confirmed his departure from Arsenal and is set to return to Germany soon. Arsenal is also interested in signing Chelsea’s Kai Havertz but faces competition from Bayern Munich, who view Havertz as a more affordable alternative to Dusan Vlahovic and Kolo Muani.
In addition, Chelsea has shown interest in Celta Vigo’s highly sought-after midfielder Gabri Veiga. The 21-year-old, who has a release clause of £34 million, had an impressive season in La Liga, scoring 11 goals and providing four assists in 36 appearances. Veiga could potentially replace Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was not offered a new contract by Chelsea after making 43 appearances during the 2017/2018 campaign before being loaned out.