THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE
It took until mid-June 2023 for Manchester United to realize Daniel Levy and Aurelio De Laurentiis were not worth the trouble of negotiating with. The former has been in control of Tottenham Hotspur since 2001, while the latter has been in charge of Napoli since 2004. This should not be breaking news.
Nonetheless, Manchester United has abandoned approaches for their apparent first and second-choice striker targets. The money required to sign Harry Kane from north London would be ‘unrealistic,’ and Victor Osimhen would ‘likely be out of reach’ as well.
According to The Guardian, Erik ten Hag is ‘disappointed’ but ultimately tolerant of decisions made with the club’s larger transfer objectives in mind.
According to Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, Manchester United regard a Kane move as a “non-starter for the time being.” A cost for a player turning 30 next month would have been at least £100 million; Napoli values Osimhen at £120 million.
In any case, it’s encouraging to see Manchester United side with Liverpool.
Those stats make a move for Rasmus Hojlund all the more appealing – and ‘the jewel of Atalanta’ has certainly been the focus of an apparent Manchester United approach.
The aim is that €60 million ‘plus extras’ will be enough to persuade Atalanta to sell the striker, but Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla believes the Serie A club will demand €70 million instead.
And perhaps just to avoid their apparent concern of dealing with the recalcitrant chairman, Man Utd has not actually been in direct communication with Atalanta yet; this agreement has been lined up through ‘intermediaries’. It appears that they will need to speak with the high-powered CEOs at some point rather than sending a mate to inquire whether targets will go out with them.
That could even be one of the reasons Manchester United is missing out on another player with whom they have been linked. Bart Verbruggen was mentioned as a possible successor to David de Gea, but Brighton has moved to sign the Anderlecht keeper amid a lack of movement at Old Trafford.
IN TIME’S NICHE
The Nicolo Barella saga appeared out of nowhere on Wednesday evening, with the Daily Telegraph’s initial article on Newcastle’s £50 million move sounding very certain the sale would go through.
That does not appear to be the case upon deeper examination. Fabrizio Romano believes that while there is “genuine interest” in Barella at St James’ Park, it has not yet shown itself in a bid or even a “formal approach.” When it happens, Newcastle may not get the news they want about his valuation.
The Italian media, maybe predictably, dismisses the speculation. According to Calciomercato, Barella’s agent has never even spoken to Newcastle, and ‘the certainty is that £50m won’t be enough for him’.