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 £200m: Salah remains top priority for Saudi League in January

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Saudi Pro League star Fabio Martins expects a renewed effort to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool when the January transfer window opens.

When Saudi officials first approved their immense investment plan, Salah was named as a top transfer priority alongside Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. The duo were earmarked for potential moves in 2024 but, in Salah’s case, the plan was accelerated 12 months.

Al Ittihad saw a verbal bid of £150m knocked back and, despite vowing to break the global transfer record – Neymar’s £200m move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 – they failed to convince Liverpool to entertain offers for Salah.

Saudi Pro League director Michael Emenalo recently admitted the door remains open to another push to try sign Salah in the future, and Martins, who joined Al Khaleej in January, expects to see those efforts made as soon as January.

“If this transfer happens, it will be another big star arriving here to the country,” Martins told Stats Perform at the Thinking Football Summit. “Playing against Salah would be very special too.

“It didn’t happen [this time] but I think in the next market in January, they will try for sure again to bring him, and let’s see what happens.

“I will be very happy because Salah is a player that I like, he’s similar to me, because of the hair, the way he plays. So, I like Salah, and I hope that he comes to Saudi.”

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Transfers

Saudi Arabian club offers Osimhen €700m annually

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Osimhen: Napoli risk fine, points deduction

Napoli’s talented striker, Victor Osimhen, is generating significant interest from clubs in the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia.

An undisclosed club is reportedly preparing a substantial offer to prevent European teams from securing the services of the Super Eagles player, as reported by ThePAPERS.

It has been confirmed that Osimhen quit the Serie A this summer as Napoli has reportedly reignited interest in Crystal Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta as a possible replacement.

The Partenopei are ready to sell the Nigerian star this summer, a deal that’ll see them earn around €120-130m, and have started to plan out their transfer market, wanting to rejuvenate the squad after their miserable 2023-24 campaign.

According to sources from Italy, a mid-table club in the Saudi Arabian League is reportedly interested in signing Osimhen, who is already being pursued by Chelsea, Arsenal, and PSG.

The club is rumored to be offering a substantial annual sum of €700 million to any footballer, potentially impacting their participation in European competitions.

“Victor could shock everyone, just last night, he had offers in Saudi Arabia with €700m annually but the guy is breathing to see what could happen,” the source closer to Osimhen told ThePAPERS.

If the deal falls through, Victor Osimhen will become the highest-paying player in the world and will be joining the ranks of top goal scorers like Neymar Jr, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema to compete for goals.

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Barcelona confident of signing Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich

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La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are reportedly confident of winning the race to sign Joshua Kimmich from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are reportedly confident of winning the race to sign Joshua Kimmich from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

According to a report by Spanish outlet SPORT, Joshua Kimmich is the subject of interest from Barcelona. The Catalan giants are keen on signing the 29-year-old Bayern Munich utility man. And they are optimistic of beating the competition in the race to sign him from the Bundesliga club.

Joshua Kimmich has established himself as one of the best players in the world during his stint with Bayern Munich. The German international has been with the Bundesliga heavyweights for nearly a decade and has excelled in multiple positions, producing world-class displays as a right-back and a holding midfielder.

The 29-year-old has turned out nearly 400 times thus far for Bayern Munich, chipping in with 42 goals and 104 assists. However, Kimmich’s long-term future at the Allianz Arena is uncertain due to his run-ins with Thomas Tuchel this season. Such a situation has not gone unnoticed, capturing the attention of several high-profile clubs, including Barcelona.

Reports a few weeks ago had suggested that Barcelona might put off a move for Kimmich until the 2025 summer transfer window. The Bayern Munich utility man will enter the final 12 months of his contract with the Bavarian giants on July 1, thus making him an attractive target for his suitors.

As for Barcelona, they will hope to sign Joshua Kimmich on a Bosman move if he does not sign a new contract and remains at Bayern Munich until the end of the 2024/25 season. However, his other suitors, like Chelsea and Arsenal, can afford to cough up a big-money sum to secure his services this year.

In addition, the report by SPORT mentions Paris Saint-Germain as a prospective suitors. Meanwhile, Kimmich’s market value is €60 million, and it will not be surprising to see Bayern Munich demanding a figure close to that sum. However, while that can put a spanner in the works for Barcelona, the Catalan giants are optimistic of landing him.

Barcelona will have to sell a few high-value assets to raise the funds to secure Joshua Kimmich’s services. So, it will be interesting to see if a summer move for the 29-year-old German utility man sees the light of day.

 

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Man United eye Brentford manager as Erik ten Hag replacement

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50-year-old Brentford manager Thomas Frank is reportedly a strong contender to replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

50-year-old Brentford manager Thomas Frank is reportedly a strong contender to replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

According to a report by the Daily Telegraph, Thomas Frank is the subject of interest from Manchester United. The Red Devils are scouring the market for a new manager heading into the summer amid uncertainties surrounding the future of Erik ten Hag.

And the 50-year-old Brentford manager is a ‘strong contender’ to replace the Dutchman at Old Trafford.

Thomas Frank has become one of the most sought-after managers in the Premier League alongside Roberto De Zerbi in the last 12 months. Both tacticians guided their clubs to a top-half finish in the 2022/23 season. Interestingly, Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion have struggled to match the heights of last term and might end in the bottom half in 2023/24.

However, Frank and De Zerbi’s stocks remain high despite their teams’ inconsistencies this term. The former has seen links with almost every top Premier League club, with recent reports claiming Liverpool held talks to sign him. However, the 50-year-old has emerged as a ‘strong contender’ to join Manchester United.

The Red Devils are scouring the market for a new manager heading into the summer. Manchester United would have hoped for Erik ten Hag to usher in an exciting new era of sustained success after winning the EFL Cup last season. Manchester United also reached the FA Cup final and finished third in the Premier League.

However, the Red Devils have struggled thus far this season, and they might go into next term without any European football. In addition, Manchester United bowed out of the UEFA Champions League and the EFL Cup in the early stages. The FA Cup is thus the only avenue for respite, with Manchester City their opponents in the final.

So, it is hardly surprising that Manchester United are searching for the ideal candidate to replace Erik ten Hag, whose stock has plummeted. The Dutch tactician might have three more games left to save his job. In the meantime, Thomas Frank has emerged as a target for Manchester United, with the Daily Telegraph pinning him as a ‘strong contender’ to replace Erik ten Hag.

It will not be surprising to see Manchester United dropping the axe on the Dutchman in the coming weeks after a dreadful 2023/24 campaign. And Frank might replace the incumbent at Old Trafford in the coming months.

 

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