Manchester United look to Jules Kounde as Laporta targets Aguero for Barcelona – Transfer Notebook
In his latest Transfer Notebook, Dean Jones examines how new Barcelona president Joan Laporta will aim to keep costs down by targeting free transfers such as Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero. There’s also news on Manchester United who will likely look to bring in defensive reinforcements with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde expected to be a primary target.
Jules Kounde of Sevilla FC looks on during the Training Session of FC Sevilla on March 8, 2021 in Dortmund, Germany
Published 09/03/2021 at 11:06 GMT | Updated 09/03/2021 at 11:15 GMT
Manchester United are trying to work out their summer spending budget for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They will aim to sign at least two big-name players in a bid to boost their title credentials for the 2021/22 season but are currently unsure how far they can stretch their funds - and also do not know how fierce competition will be for key targets.
Jadon Sancho remains on the list if Borussia Dortmund are willing to become more reasonable over a valuation but there is also still a temptation to pursue Erling Haaland if he becomes available. That situation could become a bidding war with every top club in Europe but would also provide the focal point and guarantee of goals that takes the side to the next level.
United are also likely to attempt to sign a central defender—with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde set as a target—but will check on that situation at the end of the season. Much could depend on Eric Bailly’s situation, as the club still believe he could become a perfect partner for Harry Maguire if he finds top form and can stay fit.
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The club need to decide on the goalkeeper situation too. Sources say that Dean Henderson has a great chance of going into next season as the No.1 and if that’s the case they will be keen not to have £375,000-a-week David de Gea sitting on the bench.
LAPORTA TARGETS AGUERO
Barcelona are preparing to look deeper into Sergio Aguero’s situation in hope they could sign him on a free transfer this summer.
Joan Laporta is back as President at Camp Nou and plans are getting underway to fix the holes in a broken squad.
The first mission is to convince Lionel Messi to stay and part of the detailed task ahead is to explain how the current team can be strengthened at a time when there are deep financial issues.
Leo Messi (FC Barcelona) and Sergio Kun Agüero (Manchester City)
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Laporta has pledged that the club will find a way to strengthen and one of the ways he is expected to do that is to explore players available on free transfers.
Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba are two such cases but sources say a priority is to sign a new forward - and that Aguero is very much on the radar.
His contract at City expires at the end of this season and Barca have had an eye on him as an affordable option that can help them transition into a new era.
Nothing is yet signed with City and it is thought he may even wait until the very end of the season before making a decision. With that in mind, Barca may have a window of opportunity to offer Aguero a new challenge.
Aguero is 32 and is City’s all-time top goalscorer but this season has been a difficult one. Game time in the Premier League has been limited to just 202 minutes due to a knee injury and contracting Covid-19.
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There is still a possibility he opts to stay for one more year but doing so would also mean reduced terms.
The loss of Luis Suarez has hurt Barca, particularly as he has been so good for Atletico Madrid, and there remain complications over the types of contract they will be able to offer new signings.
But under Laporta, Barca are expected to find new ways to boost their financial situation with new takes on sponsorship, marketing and even esports.
Newcastle eye Cantwell as Buendia continues to be linked with moves
Newcastle United are planning to join to the chase to sign Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell at the end of the season.
The club are currently battling to retain their Premier League status but one of the big problems Steve Bruce has identified from this term is a lack of energy and creativity from the midfield.
Todd Cantwell of Norwich City celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Crystal Palace
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Options were limited for them in January but if they win the fight against relegation Cantwell is exactly the type of player they want to attract.
Norwich are currently top of the Championship and have every intention to fight to keep their top players on board. Fellow stars Max Aarons and Emi Buendia are also being linked with big moves.
Buendia was wanted by Arsenal in the winter window but the Gunners were told he was not available at any price. Sources are indicating that they do plan to revisit the situation at the end of the season though and are expected to make an offer for Buendia.
Fulham want to keep Areola
Fulham intend to activate a clause to keep Alphonse Areola if they win their fight for Premier League survival.
The goalkeeper is on loan for the season from Paris Saint-Germain and has been in superb form - keeping nine clean sheets for a side battling against relegation.
Fulham have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool this season and only one more goal than Manchester United and Leicester City, who sit second and third in the table.