Chelsea wanted Erling Haaland amid doubts over Romelu Lukaku’s future – ESPN’s latest Insider Notebook. In addition: Ten Hag is keen on the rise of the French striker.
Sanctions stop Chelsea Haaland pursuit
Chelsea are frustrated that restrictions stemming from penalties imposed on owner Roman Abramovich have halted their pursuit of Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, sources told ESPN.
The Blues cannot sign players under the special license granted to continue playing matches after Abramovich was identified as a key figure with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The 39 best players aged 21 and under: What is Haaland’s advantage?
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Head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted last week that in the regular season, “we will have some goals and we will definitely have contact with some players and find out their situation. [but] Our hands are tied.”
Sources told ESPN that Haaland is one of the options that senior figures in the club wanted to discuss. Chelsea looked at the 21-year-old last summer before signing Romelu Lukaku, only to be told by Dortmund he would retain his services for another year.
Lukaku’s first return season at Stamford Bridge has been quite frustrating, and the Belgium international is expected to discuss his future once Chelsea’s ownership status is resolved. It is possible that Lukaku will be allowed to leave if Chelsea recoup a large sum of the 115 million euros they paid Inter Milan, but a replacement must be identified and by the time the club can act on it, it may be too late to take out Haaland.
There are strong expectations that Manchester City will land the Norway striker, largely because they have been laying the foundations of a deal for several weeks. But sources told ESPN that Citi would not break its pay structure in order to acquire Haaland’s land. The deal framework – including the agent’s fee – is already in place, and City have until June to officially trigger the release clause of Haaland’s €75m contract at Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland is set to become one of the top earners at the Etihad, but the club was clear during talks with Haaland’s representatives that they would not break their budget. Sources told ESPN that negotiations over his salary did not go beyond the level agreed with Kevin De Bruyne when the Belgium midfielder signed his last extension in April 2021, worth around £375,000 a week.
Chelsea wanted to see if Haaland was interested in a move to West London and may have discussed the terms of the contract, but the ownership situation remains long. A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boyle is the preferred bidder but talks are ongoing between commercial bank Raine Group, Chelsea and the British government over the finer points of the agreement.
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is awaiting a competing bid while the UK government remained set a May 31 deadline for completion. The Premier League transfer window opens on June 10. James Ole and Rob Dawson
Gab & Juls discusses reports that Erling Haaland is close to moving to Manchester City.
Ten Hag is keen on Eketek but Bayern, Arsenal and Newcastle are lurking
Manchester United have made an inquiry about Reims striker Hugo Eketek, sources told ESPN, but Bayern Munich is also in the running for the exciting young player.
The sources added that Newcastle, who almost signed Ikitaki in January, as well as Arsenal are also keen on the 19-year-old, who has scored nine goals in 22 games so far this season, with 14 games coming from the start. Sources said Ekitike will be available for around €15 million.
Manchester United interim manager Ralph Rangnick said the club needed strikers in the transfer window as well as the need to target rising stars rather than established names.
Ekitike fits the bill in this regard, and sources said an approach has been taken to the player’s representatives to find out his plans for next season. Arsenal also need a striker likely to lose Mikel Arteta, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah on free transfers this summer while Bayern look to the future with 33-year-old Robert Lewandowski, whose contract will expire at the end of next season.
A summer of change is expected at Old Trafford with the resignations of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani, with two key scouts leaving the club as well as the recent resignation of Director of Football Negotiations Matt Judge.
New manager Erik ten Hag will be presented with a list of goals the club was working on prior to his arrival and the next coach will have veto power over what is proposed, as well as the ability to put his own names up for consideration. . Tin Hag combines his current role as coach of Ajax – who lead the Eredivisie by four points with three games remaining – as well as paving the way when he officially moves to United, but has been asked by the Premier League club. space while he was looking forward to achieving the league title for the third time in a row.
– ESPN Indoor Notebook: Ten Hag Tells United: Leave Me Alone!
The sources added that while many parties are in the mix of Ekitike as they believe he has huge potential, he has yet to make a decision on where he wants to move next. – Julian Lorenz
Mark Ogden cries as Ralph Rangnick at Manchester United after being appointed coach of Austria.
Hannibal explained Rangnick’s contempt
Hannibal Mejbri’s role in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool went well with Manchester United fans and analyst Gary Neville, but sources told ESPN interim manager Ralph Rangnick was not a fan.
The 19-year-old played in the final six minutes at Anfield in April and was shown a yellow card after undertaking a number of tough challenges.
Former United captain Neville said he was “proud” of Hannibal for “making his presence felt” on a humiliating night for United but Rangnick did not share his opinion. Sources told ESPN that Rangnick reprimanded Hannibal for reckless and erratic performance and penalized the Tunisian international for returning to the under-23 team.
Hannibal has been left out of the match squad since the defeat to Liverpool, with youngsters Alejandro Garnacho and Alvaro Fernandez selected on the bench for the 3-0 win over Brentford on Monday. – Rob Dawson
Futbol Americas reacts to English headlines after tying with USMNT in Group B.
Do not spend! The boat appears as a residence option at the World Cup in Qatar
Sources told ESPN that the lack of accommodation for the World Cup in Qatar is prompting some innovative solutions with friends and family of the England national team expecting to share a boat permanently docked in the Gulf country.
It is estimated that the number of visitors to the tournament during the months of November and December is 1.2 million, with only about 130,000 rooms available.
Although the VIPs still expected a degree of preferential treatment, the battle to secure accommodation for the tournament extended to those associated with the 32 competing teams. Sources told ESPN that England’s wives, girlfriends and friends will get a stake of about 25% of capacity on a boat that also hosts FIFA delegates, who will make up 50%. The rest will be made up of friends and family from other countries, with two other European nations believed to be among those involved in the talks.
One source suggested that the boat would be based on The Pearl, an artificial island in Doha that boasts luxury shopping, private beaches, and restaurants.
Understandably, some family members have looked at residing in Dubai and traveling to Qatar for matches and on days when families are allowed access to players, but the boat has emerged as an option to reduce travel.
The base of the English team has not been publicly confirmed, but sources said that they will be staying at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel, located south of Doha. – James Ole