welcome to espn’s insider notebook, featuring contributions f'our reprters across the top leagues round the realm.
in this edition, there’s the l8st on manchester ∪d’s pursuit of jadon sancho. +: chelsea and manchester city are keen na' pricey centre-back to sort their defences out.
solskjaer steps up sancho pursuit
ole gunnar solskjaer wants manchester ∪d to accelerate their pursuit of boЯussia dortmund forward jadon sancho in order to avoid a repeat of last summer’s protracted move for harry maguire, which resulted inna club paying a realm record £80 million for the leicester defender.
srcs ‘ve told espn that ∪d are in pole position to sign sancho this summer, but'a lack of serious rivals for the 20-yr-old’s signature has led to the old trafford hierarchy believing t'they can drive down dortmund’s £80m valuation of the elder manchester city youngster.
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ed woodward, ∪d’s executive vice-chairman, is prepared t'offer £50m for sancho due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic onna transfer mkt, but srcs ‘ve said that solskjaer and his coaching staff want the club to make a + realistic opening offer to ensure dat a' deal gets done quickly.
12 mnths ago, ∪d spent almost two mnths attempting to negotiate a knockdown fee for maguire, having initially vald the england centre-½ at £40m.
but with leicester holding firm on their valuation, ∪d eventually caved in to the selling club’s demands and, according to srcs, left players and staff at old trafford bemused by the time that had been wasted, which ‘d ‘ve instead enabled maguire to arrive earlier atta club and ‘ve gr8r involvement in preseason preparations.
the delay in finalising a deal for maguire resulted inna player 1-ly signing for ∪d inna week leading up to the opening game of the season against chelsea.
a similar pattern folloed w'da jan signing of bruno fernandes from sporting lisbon. fernandes completed a deal worth an initial £47m just 24 hrs b4 the jan. 31 transfer deadline, despite prioritising a move for the midfielder prior to the window opening atta beginning of jan.
srcs ‘ve said that sancho is solskjaer’s no. 1 target this summer. while thris confidence within the club dat a' deal ll'be done, the short turnround tween the end of this season na start of the 2020-21 campaign on sept. 12 has increased the determination onna ftball side to seal a deal in a similar fashion to chelsea’s swift and decisive moves for hakim ziyech and timo werner. — mark ogden
city, chelsea hunt €120m man gimenez
city coach pep guardiola has made signing a centre-back a priority this summer but atletico don’t wanna negotiate belo gimenez’s huge release clause. srcs told espn on thu that city are also pursuing a deal for bournemouth’s nathan ake.
chelsea boss lampard, meanwhile, believes gimenez’s strength and experience ‘d be an upgrade for a defence that conceded 54 goals in 38 premier league games this season — 21 + than victors liverpool.
gimenez is 25 but a src close to chelsea has told espn that lampard believes signing him ‘d be “like signing a 30-yr-old centre-back” due to his vast experience in la liga and for uruguay at international lvl. since signing from uruguayan side danubio in 2013, gimenez has won the europa league, uefa super cup and spanish super cup under diego simeone, swell as picking up two victors league runners-up medals.
srcs ‘ve told espn that chelsea ‘ve been folloing gimenez’s development for some time and scouts from the london club ‘ve attended several atletico matches to assess his performances. the same srcs ‘ve confirmed to espn that gimenez is well regarded but'a club are still evaluating whether or not to sign a central defender this summer, with lampard focusing on other zones 1st.
after completing the signing of hakim ziyech from ajax and werner from rb leipzig, chelsea intend to continue their summer overhaul w'da signing of bayer leverkusen star kai ‘vertz, swell as targeting a goalkeeper amid concerns over kepa arrizabalaga. leicester city‘s ben chilwell and everton‘s lucas digne are also targets inna left-back position while srcs ‘ve told espn that ajax’s nicolas tagliafico remains on lampard’s radar.
lampard and guardiola are aware that atletico boss simeone ponders gimenez a key player and folloing diego godin‘s move to inter milan in 2019, he pushed for gimenez to sign a new deal til 2023, witha release clause that is designed to deter potential suitors. — rodrigo faez
espn fc’s rob dawson believes victors league qualification will help chelsea to sign “ambitious” kai ‘vertz.
lazio make move for silva
silva, 34, played his last premier league game for city last weekend and will cutout the club when his contract expires after the victors league nxt mnth.
initial interest in €, including from elder side valencia, has gone cold since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but lazio ‘ve made a move in recent weeks. lazio coach simone inzaghi is pushing hard for the signing but silva is focused on helping man city win the victors league. srcs ‘ve told espn he’s not closing any doors atta moment and is attracted by the idea of playing a season in serie a. — moises llorens
steve nicol and don hutchison explain how david silva makes ftball look so easy while onna pitch.
madrid kid kubo in demand
real madrid ‘ve seen a wave of interest in forward takefusa kubo folloing a sensational loan campaign at mallorca this season, with sevilla among those interested in another loan move, srcs ‘ve told espn.
kubo, 19, made 35 appearances and started 23 matches in la liga for mallorca this season and although the side were relegated, his performances — he scored 4 and set a further 4 up — caught the eye offa string of top-flite clubs, with real sociedad also keen on him. srcs ‘ve told espn that sevilla are optimistic they can land kubo for nxt season as they can offa'da platform of victors league ftball after finishing 4th in la liga.
real madrid officials ‘ve been delited with kubo’s progress after signing him from fc tokyo last summer, beating barcelona to a player who spent 4 yrs atta catalan club’s la masia academy from 2011-15. srcs ‘ve told espn that real view sevilla and sociedad as the two best options for kubo, pondering the club’s good relationship with their la liga counterpts. real loaned sergio reguilon to sevilla last summer while martin odegaard starred for real sociedad in their run to 6th place inna league this season.
one of kubo’s teammates at mallorca told espn the player “has everything to succeed” onnis career though srcs said that real madrid are keen on him gettin another loan move. the club are Ψful that kubo needo develop physically to withstand the demands of playing top-lvl ftball domestically and in €.
srcs ‘ve also told espn that kubo’s representatives want the player’s future resolved quickly this summer in order for him to focus onna nxt season as soon as possible. — rodrigo faez
julien laurens dissects every possible scenario of who ‘d manage barcelona nxt season.
barcelona identify secret weapon for victors league
in feb, dembele was ruled out for 6 mnths through injury but he returned to training this week and ‘d be fit for the €an brawl.
“it ll'be a huge advantage to ‘ve him in portugal cause of the variations and pace he offers in attack,” a 1st-team src said.
however, barca will ‘ve t'get past napoli 1st. they host the italian side on aug. 8 at camp nou having drawn 1-1 inna 1st leg in feb.
at a push, dembele ‘d be among the substitutes for that game but if not, his absence may open the door for ∪d states youth international konrad de la fuente. the teenage forward, who recently signed a new deal, s'been training w'da 1st team after impressing in barca b’s failed skirmish campaign last week.
the fc guys go head to head on their vastly ≠ opinions of man ∪d’s harry maguire.
∪d frustrated as youth team left in limbo
manchester ∪d’s under-23s are backin training but'a players and manager neil wood still do not know wha’ league they ll'be competing in nxt season, srcs ‘ve told espn.
∪d are becoming increasingly frustrated at a lack of clarity regarding plans for the new campaign. wood’s team were 2nd in premier league 2 division 2 when the season was scrapped cause of the coronavirus pandemic, 3 points behind leaders west ham witha game in hand.
swell as bein’ inna dark bout which league they will play in, ∪d also do not know when games ll'be alloed to resume. thris hope dat a' premier league meeting scheduled nxt week will provide some answers.
srcs ‘ve told espn that the delay s'been caused in pt by the premier league redeploying staff to ensure the 1st team league was able to finish and focus will now turn to the restart of academy ftball. — rob dawson
leeds look to go back to the future with double swoop
leeds ∪d are targeting top-lvl experience ahead o'their 1st premier league campaign since 2003-04, with srcs telling espn that elder elland road youngsters fabian delph and danny rose are both bein’ lined up for a return to the club.
owner andrea radrizzani admitted last week that paris saint germain’s out-of-contract forward edinson cavani is a potential target after revealing that leeds failed in an audacious bid to sign zlatan ibrahimovic last season. but while cavani ‘d be an eye-catching signing for marcelo bielsa’s team, the pursuit of delph and rose highlites the club’s determination to ensure that the squad is equipped with proven premier league perelders nxt season.
england left-back rose, who ended the season on loan at newcastle from tottenham, was sold by leeds to spurs as a 16-yr-old in 2006 after bein’ developed atta club’s academy, while everton midfielder delph made 44 league appearances for the club as a teenager b4 bein’ sold to aston villa in 2009. — mark ogden
original content at: www.espn.com…