O’Rourke: Man United plot £30m raid as three-man shortlist revealed

O’Rourke: Man United plot £30m raid as three-man shortlist revealed

Welcome to the latest edition of my biweekly column – bringing you exclusive transfer and contract news, as well as news from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and beyond.

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The Premier League champions find themselves in a sticky situation regarding the future of Ilkay Gundogan.

The 32-year-old midfielder is out of contract at the Etihad Stadium this summer, and he has multiple offers on the table.

It is understood that City are locked in contract talks to try and convince Gundogan to stay, with Pep Guardiola playing a key role in negotiations.

The City boss is desperate for Gundogan to stay put in Manchester and he is personally urging the club board to get a new contract across the line.

But the German international is tempted by a move to Barcelona, and the Spanish giants have made contact with his representatives and proposed a contract.

The La Liga side lead the race to sign Gundogan, but there are also offers on the table from Saudi Arabian clubs.

There are multiple Saudi offers which would all guarantee Gundogan a huge pay rise, but my current understanding is that Gundogan will reject them as he would prefer to stay in Europe and compete in the Champions League.

With Gundogan potentially on his way out of the club, Declan Rice is City’s first-choice target to replace their club captain.

Guardiola is a big admirer of Rice’s leadership skills at West Ham and believes he could help fill the void left by Gundogan in the City dressing room.

David Moyes admitted this week that there is a “good chance” that West Ham will be without Rice next season, and City are prepared to go head-to-head with Arsenal for his signature.

Jude Bellingham was another midfield option for City, but they are shrinking in confidence about their chances of landing the Borussia Dortmund star.

City will continue to try and convince Bellingham to join the club, but Real Madrid are considered strong favourites and are closing in on a deal.



The Red Devils are in the market for a new central midfielder this summer.

Erik ten Hag wants to add more depth to his midfield department and specifically wants a player with physical attributes to complement the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen.

Everton’s Amadou Onana has emerged as a target for the club, with Ten Hag impressed by his debut season in the Premier League.

The Toffees are eager to keep hold of Onana and build around him for the future, but they accept that he will leave if they are relegated.

In the event of demotion, Everton are willing to accept bids of around £50million to let Onana leave.

The Belgium international is under contract until 2027 but it is understood that he will push to leave by handing in a transfer request if relegated this season.

Mateo Kovacic is another midfielder on United’s radar.

The Chelsea star is entering the final year of his contract, and talks over a new deal have collapsed.

United are monitoring the situation closely and could submit a bid if Chelsea choose to sell him this summer.

I understand that the Blues value Kovacic between £30-40million.

Man City have also registered interest and could rival United for Kovacic’s signature if Chelsea choose to put him up for sale.

The third name on United’s midfield shortlist is Bayern Munich youngster Ryan Gravenberch.

Ten Hag knows the 20-year-old well from their time at Ajax together, and he is open to a reunion at Old Trafford next season.

Gravenberch has endured an underwhelming season in Germany and struggled to cement a regular spot in the starting lineup.

I understand that Bayern are willing to let Gravenberch leave in pursuit of more first-team action, with both Liverpool and United interested in striking a deal.



Spurs are looking to appoint a new director of football as soon as possible.

Chairman Daniel Levy wants to fill the vacancy before the end of the season so that the new director can contribute to the club’s manager search.

I understand that the North London club have already contacted multiple candidates and are well into their recruitment process.

Brentford technical director Lee Dykes has been considered for the role, with Levy a big admirer of his player recruitment in recent years.

But talks between Dykes and Spurs are slowing and Johannes Spors is now in the running for the job.

Spors currently oversees recruitment at a number of clubs in his role as 777 Partners Global Director, but Tottenham insist that he will have to give up his other responsibilities if he is appointed in north London.

Spors has built a fine reputation as both a scout and director from his work in Germany, Australia and Italy.

Once a director is appointed, all focus at Spurs will shift towards finding a long-term manager that suits the club’s philosophy.



The Eagles are braced to finally lose Wilfried Zaha.

I’m told that it is ‘very likely’ that the 30-year-old forward will depart Selhurst Park and become a free agent when his contract expires this summer.

I understand that Palace have held contract talks with Zaha over a new deal but an agreement is not close and the Ivory Coast international is keen to pursue a new challenge.

Zaha’s contract situation has drawn attention from Marseille, Arsenal and Chelsea, who are all interested in signing him as a free agent.

With Zaha set to leave, Palace have put extra urgency on a new deal for Michael Olise.

The 21-year-old has been a standout performer for Palace this season, and the club are eager to reward him for his progress with a bumper contract.

Talks have been initiated by Palace and a long-term deal will be offered to fend off interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

Palace are also expected to enjoy a busy summer window as far as new arrivals are concerned.

My sources inform me that Palace are keen to add a new right-back, central midfielder and striker to their roster.

A Zaha replacement is the top priority, and Palace are willing to spend big to replace their attacking talisman.

Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is a top target to fill the void left by Zaha, with the 26-year-old set to become a free agent this summer when his contract expires.

There are a number of Premier League clubs willing to offer the Frenchman a deal – including Aston Villa – but Palace are willing to submit a lucrative deal to lure Dembele to London.


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