The pressure is off Manchester United to sign a new striker now that Edinson Cavani has agreed to stay for another year. I am informed that their concentration is focused on spending that money to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford. Despite a failed attempt to sign him in January Dortmund have indicated they might be persuaded for a fee of £80million. Sancho would solve United’s problem on the right wing where Mason Greenwood has ably fitted in during a temporary fix. I posed the question of how Sancho would fit into a United team and was told that a 4-2-3-1 line-up would be most likely. It is worth noting that Dortmund also played this formation and Sancho scored 16 goals and provided a credible 20 assists this year. The formation is also Solskjaer’s favourite option. According to my sources United’s likely attacking line would be Fernandes, Rashford, Sancho and Cavani. Solskjaer has already planned for Sancho to work closely with Cavani to bring a lethal goal threat against opponents. With Cavani’s incredible skills he would convert most of those 20 goal assists if Sancho can reproduce his Dortmund form. Sancho could line up on Cavani’s right side with Marcus Rashford operating on the left. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay would support Sancho and co from behind.
David Alaba joins Real
Bayern Munich defender David Alaba has signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid. He left as a free agent after his contract expired and he could not reach a new agreement with the German club. This will possibly enable Real to consider transferring Raphael Verane and several Premier League clubs are interested in signing him. Incoming manager Carlo Ancelotti has said from the beginning that he would not sanction a second season for Gareth Bale to return to Tottenham as he sees Bale and Eden Hazard as crucial to his team plans for next season. There are rumours that Cristiano Renaldo could also return from Italy however my contacts at the club tell me that Real could not afford his wages at the moment unless they get some new financial investment.
Klopp shows confidence in Konate
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident Ibrahima Konate will fight for a place in the first team. Klopp is also confident he can improve 22 year-old Konate. The Reds have agreed a deal for £36million with RB Leipzig which will become official on July 1st. Signing Frenchman Konate means Liverpool will not take up the £18million clause on Ozan Kaba’s loan deal from Schalke.
Mourinho eyes Xhaka
New Roma boss Jose Mourinho has earmarked Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka as his first major signing. Mourinho takes over in the summer and is a big admirer of the Swiss and two years ago called him a “true leader”. Roma have mentioned a fee of £10million for the 28 year-old however Arsenal may want around £25million. Gunner’s fans have always been divided about Xhaka and despite being stripped of the captaincy after an emotional verbal insulting outburst towards supporters he has always played with total commitment. Hector Bellerin is being courted by Spanish side Real Betis and forward Eddie Nketiah is on Brighton’s radar.
Chelsea’s Tuchel finally meets Abramovich
Astonishingly, Saturday’s celebration after winning the Champions League is the first time that manager Thomas Tuchel has met owner Roman Abramovich. After the Champions League celebrations the two met to discuss next season and Roman promised his manager that funds will be available to strengthen the squad. If anyone doubts Thomas Tuchel’s intentions of staying in the Premier League, I can tell you that he is already making plans for many years to come. Since joining the Blues Tuchel has lived in a hotel however his family arrive from France in two months and they intend to buy a house sometime in July after researching the property market.
De Gea failed to listen to advice
David De Gea’s career at Manchester is in serious doubt as Dean Henderson is likely to start as No1 next season. De Gea, whilst not being blamed for losing the Europa League to Villarreal, did not save any of the 11 penalty shoot-out goals. He annoyed the United bench as he failed to play according to the list given to him which highlighted where each Villarreal player usually placed his kick. He ignored advice on the scrap of paper handed to him which said Moi Gomez’s sudden-death kick would go down the middle. De Gea dived to his left but the ball went down the middle and would have been fairly simple to save.
The Bees in the Premier League
At last we welcome a team to the Premier League who prove that persistence, good management and determination will enable you to achieve your goals in life. Minnow club Brentford have been promoted to the big time. Brentford are a west London club and their nearest neighbours are QPR, Fulham and Chelsea. For 74 years they have tried to reach the world’s elite league and finally achieved it at their new stadium which holds only 20,000 (they moved only a year ago from their old stadium which held a mere 12,000). Having watched them many times I can tell you that the fans make as much noise as 50,000 voices. Their Danish manager Thomas Frank has come through the ranks having spent 15 years coaching youth teams and Brondby in Denmark before joining Brentford in 2016. Nicknamed “The Bees” Brentford will now receive over £100million from the Premier League to invest in players. Recruitment has been a strong force in the Bees’ rise to the top level having sold and bought top quality players whilst working to a strict budget and not going into debt. Their star striker is Ivan Toney who has scored an incredible 37 goals this season. He is the one who rouses the players in a huddle before the game and then works tirelessly bossing defenders and rising above them. It will be interesting to see how central defenders such as Harry Maguire and Virgil van Dijk cope with him.
Knives out for Pep in a difficult summer
With Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City I was surprised at the criticism aimed at the master Pep Guardiola. If football was a university, Pep would be the Professor and most other managers in the world would be his students. But this time the master got his strategies wrong and he lost. Following the game the critics sharpened their knives and none more so than Sergio Aguero’s brother. Aguero refused Juventus and is going to Barcelona on roughly half the salary he earned at City. The main incentive is that he is joining one of his closest friends Lionel Messi. However, Sergio’s brother aimed insults at Pep Guardiola. He blamed him for limiting the striker’s game time in his last season. Aguero started only eight games and came off the bench for a mere 13 minutes. Mauricio del Castillo said that his brother had wanted to stay at City for another season but Pep refused his request. He also Tweeted, “Since Guardiola arrived at City, he has never liked my brother.” His Tweet was quickly removed however. Pep has also lost Eric Garcia on a free transfer to Barcelona who said it was an important step in his career. Pep is also facing difficult talks with Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte who are both unhappy about what City can offer their careers. Guardiola and City’s main intention this summer is to sign Harry Kane from Spurs and therefore Jesus will not have the game time he thinks he deserves. Benjamin Mendy is not required by Pep and he also wants away, however with a salary of £100k a week, this is likely to prove difficult. Mendy is behind Oleksandr Zinchenko and Cancelo in team selection.