Rumour Has It: Man Utd to target Leicester City's Youri Tielemans in January

By Sports Desk September 18, 2022

Manchester United have identified Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans as a key target in January, filling one of the three gaps the club reportedly believe they need to address at the next opportunity.

Tielemans, 25, has already earned 52 international caps for Belgium and fits the bill as a creative technician in the middle of the park, with Fichajes claiming United feel Christian Eriksen is their only current option for that role.

Leicester have been unwilling to part ways with one of their best players, but with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, January will be their last chance to cash-in before he can leave on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE TIELEMANS AS THEIR NEXT MIDFIELD MAESTRO

Due to Tielemans' contract situation, United may be able to scoop him up for well under his market value, although the player himself will ultimately have all the leverage if he chooses to wait things out and become a free agent.

As well as a central midfielder, the report also includes United are aggressively hunting another right-back – particularly in the Dutch market – and a forward.

Their January budget is said to be at £70million, but if they can find a team to take Cristiano Ronaldo off their books then that number will rise to £100m.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting a bidding war is set to break out between United and Liverpool over 21-year-old Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes, who is believed to be valued at over £30m.

– According to Ole, Moises Caicedo is keen to follow former Brighton manager Graham Potter over to Chelsea

Chelsea are locking up 18-year-old midfielder Lewis Hall on a contract that will keep him tied to the club through 2025, per Football London.

Arsenal are joining Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the hunt for Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who Calciomercato are reporting is worth £17m.

– Transfer Tavern is reporting West Ham will make another run at Torino full-back Ola Aina in January after having their interest rebuffed the last time around.

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    The Portugal captain departed Old Trafford by mutual consent last month following an explosive interview that saw him roundly criticise the club, manager Erik ten Hag and owners, the Glazer family.

    It came after a difficult first season back following his return to the club from Juventus, in which the veteran striker looked ill at ease under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

    Now Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medal winner and United supporter, says he is disheartened by the star's exit, but stresses he understands his reasons.

    "It's sad to see him go," said Bolt of Ronaldo. "He played such an important role for us last season. He kept us in the Premier League last season. Because many games he was the one he scored, kept giving us points.

    "So it is sad to see him go, but I understand by listening to his interview there is a lot going on that a lot of us don't know.

    "I wish him all the best on his journey because I am a massive Cristiano Ronaldo fan. So it is sad to see him gone."

    The exit of Ronaldo has prefaced a potential sale by the Glazer family, who have long been the target of ire from the club's fanbase, and Bolt adds that it has been something supporters have been keen to see for a while.

    "For me, it has been [a] long time [coming] for the fans," he added. "[They] have spoken about this for years. Since Alex Ferguson [left], the club has been up and down,

    "It surprised me as a supporter to know that the club hasn't really moved on technology-wise to try to improve and to help the players to move forward.

    "So, to get new owners, hopefully they'll come in and develop the club in a way that is necessary."

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    The West Ham midfielder has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years, and his solid international displays will have done little to reduce interest in his services. 

    Asked whether his desire to reach the top of the club game had increased as a result of his time with Gareth Southgate's side, Rice said: "Yeah, 100 per cent. 

    "For the last two or three years I have been saying that. I have been playing consistently well for [my] club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.

    "I see my friends here who are playing in the Champions League and for big trophies. 

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    Rice has made seven interceptions at the World Cup so far – at least five more than any of his England team-mates, while only Jude Bellingham (18) and Luke Shaw (17) have recovered possession more often than he has for the Three Lions (14).

    England take on Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday, having progressed through five of their previous seven last-16 ties at the World Cup (failing to do so against Argentina in 1998 and Germany in 2010).

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    Former Athletic Bilbao star Laporte said he had not "even looked" at who might await Spain in the last-16 stage and had "no idea" of the possibilities of who that might be.

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    He told the Guardian: "I'm not a football addict. Honestly, I don't like watching matches."

    The 28-year-old accepts he is not the sharpest at keeping tabs on his team's workload, even at City.

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    However, Laporte has done little wrong on the pitch in Spain's opening games, a 7-0 win over Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Germany.

    Heading into Thursday's run of games, of all defenders to have played at least 90 minutes in this World Cup, Laporte had averaged the most passes per 90 minutes (125.5 – 11.31 more than anyone else) and the most passes in his own half (89 – 18 more than the next player on the list).

    He had had the third-most touches per 90 minutes (132.5) among defenders, with only team-mate Jordi Alba (136.23) and Germany's Nico Schlotterbeck (132.58) having more.

    It helps that Spain play in a similar vein to City, with their possession-based game one that suits Laporte, and it can only help to have Rodri with him, even if for their club the former Atletico Madrid man is typically deployed in midfield.

    Laporte had no doubt Rodri would be an ideal fit for defensive duties, and he is coaching his friend through games.

    They had another job to do against Japan on Thursday, with Spain knowing a draw would be enough to secure progress.

    "Rodri's intelligent, he knows how to adapt," Laporte said. "It's different for him. He seeks advice, asks a lot of questions; it's all very natural.

    "We've only let in one and we hope there aren't any more. Basically, I answer the questions he asks. Do I step out? When do we drop? Do I have to go with the striker when he runs into the space? Do I hold? Do I follow? Do I step out with the ball?

    "He asks lots of questions: being firm, decision-making, with the ball, without it. And I try to help as best I can."

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