Manchester United want to swap one stropping Portuguese for another, while Chelsea have been ‘encouraged’ to make a January move for De Jong.
RONALDO OUT, FELIX IN
It looks like Jorge Mendes will be a busy boy in January. Cristiano Ronaldo, his most famous client, has got his knickers in a royal twist, and having asked to leave Manchester United in the summer, now looks as though he may be booted out the back door. While Joao Felix, another of his most expensive clients, is desperate to be more than an afterthought for Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
Fortunately for Mendes, one man’s departure could open the door for another. A swap deal has been mooted but the Atletico fans would kick off should the prima donna so inextricably linked with Real Madrid arrive at their club. Ronaldo likely won’t get his wish to play Champions League football (what a shame), particularly after his latest flounce, and will have to take what he’s offered – Inter Miami are keen – but Felix is a very real option for Man United.
As reported by Spanish outlet Cuatro, the Red Devils were interested in a summer move for the 22-year-old, who joined Atletico from Benfica for a whopping £115m in the summer of 2019. There’s no way United could get anywhere near that transfer fee given their hefty summer outlay, but probably won’t have to, and there are mumurings of a loan move in January with an option to buy in the summer.
The report suggests Felix would be a ‘quality subsitute’ for United, which has quite possibly been lost in translation, as United have lacked quality in wide areas under Erik ten Hag this season. If Felix is coming, he’s starting. Or perhaps United will replace one stropping Portugal international with another. The ‘new Ronaldo’ sounds like it should be a good thing, but given Felix’s reported tantrums in training, he appears to echo Ronaldo’s less enviable qualities as well as many of his good ones.
SOUND THE DE JONG GONG
You might just remember Frenkie de Jong’s name from transfer gossip columns during the summer window. Manchester United were desperate to land the Dutch international, who dug his heels in at Barcelona despite the La Liga side accepting an €85m bid from the Red Devils. Chelsea also made a play late in the window, and both of them retain an interest, with Liverpool also supposedly joining the race.
De Jong has started five of Barcelona’s nine La Liga games this season, trading starts with Sergio Busquets at the base of Xavi’s midfield. But there are consistent rumours of the Catalans looking for a long-term replacement for Busquets, and with Pedri and Gavi seen as very much the future in the more advanced midfield positions, it feels as though De Jong is being slowly pushed out of the reckoning.
That’s not a huge surprise given Barceona really wanted to see the back of him in the summer, and according to ESPN, Chelsea have ‘received encouragement that De Jong may be willing to reconsider his future’.
The Blues will almost certainly be making a January move for a midfielder given N’Golo Kante is out for four months with a hamstring injury and both he and Jorginho are free to talk to overseas clubs in the new year with their contracts expiring in the summer.
The report claims Chelsea co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have a good relationship with HCM Sports Management, who count De Jong among their clients.
NEVES FOR BUSQUETS
Ruben Neves didn’t do a great deal to play down his links with Barcelona. “Who wouldn’t want to play at Barcelona? I think that’s a question any footballer would ask himself.”
Neves has long been on Xavi’s wishlist and the Portugal international is quite possibly a bit sick of Wolves, as he watches from the base of midfield while the forwards fluff chances in front of him.
As we mentioned earlier, Barcelona are looking for a long-term replacement for Busquets and Neves could well be the one.
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The article Transfer gossip: Ronaldo out, Ronaldo Mark II in at Man Utd; Chelsea ‘encouraged’ into De Jong move appeared first on Football365.com.