Date published: Friday 7th December 2018 9:00
UNITED WANT POCH – AND ONLY POCH
Ed Woodward and his cronies have apparently decided that Mauricio Pochettino is the only man to replace Jose Mourinho.
Manchester United have yet to sack their manager, of course, but the suggestion is that should the Red Devils fail to qualify for the Champions League, then Mourinho is toast.
That would make United liable for a smaller compensation pay-out to Mourinho, while The Sun reckons Woodward has his sights firmly fixed on Pochettino as a replacement.
Neil Ashton writes that United are willing to spend £40million – £12million less than the amount they spluffed on Fred – to tempt the Spurs manager to Old Trafford and the Red Devils still believe they are a more attractive proposition. Which is perhaps a large part of their problem.
The story offers no suggestion as to what that £40million is for. That is presumably the compensation that Spurs would be entitled to, given Pochettino is currently on an £8million-a-year contract at Spurs.
PREM CLUBS EYE UNITED RIGHT-BACKS
With Mourinho’s future in doubt, a few of his exiled players might want to hang fire before bolting for the Old Trafford exit.
Antonio Valencia’s relationship with the manager appears to have broken down completely. “I could never have imagined was what a great person he is,” Mourinho said of the United captain 18 months ago. “I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.” His opinion seemed to lurch after Valencia apparently liked an Instagram post calling for Mourinho to be sacked – the right-back hasn’t been seen in the team since.
Valencia is out of contract at the end of the season and, according to The Sun, West Ham are keen to replace one veteran right-back from Manchester with another.
Another right-back possibly on his way is Matteo Darmian. The Italian, Mourinho’s ’emergency player’, was back in the United XI for the visit of Arsenal on Wednesday but he is still expected to leave either in January or next summer. That said, he’s been on his way for the last three windows…
Fulham are keen to offer Darmian the chance to stay in the Premier League but Tuttomercato says the 29-year-old would prefer to return to Serie A, where Juventus, Napoli and Inter are all sniffing.
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CITY’S KEEPER DEAL COMPLETE
Man City have been linked with USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen in recent weeks. Goal says the deal is done.
The 23-year-old Columbus Crew keeper will join City for a fee which could rise to £8million but Steffen will struggle to get a work permit. So he’ll be packed off on loan, most likely to Girona, but Nice are also mentioned as a possible destination.
Steffan might have more joy with his application in the summer if he can retain his starting spot for USA through the Gold Cup.
The former Freiburg keeper is seen as a long-term prospect, which doesn’t address City’s more pressing need for some cover for Ederson.