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Man United might know their perfect Nemanja Matic replacement

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Erik ten Hag’s big challenge this summer is that he must not only improve a Manchester Utd side that has underperformed so poorly this season, but he must also improve it while replacing a cluster of players who will leave for free once the transfer window opens.

Signing a new midfielder was labelled the ‘biggest’ issue by club sources even before Nemanja Matic made it public that he would leave at the end of the summer, while there was always an acceptance that Paul Pogba would not be signing a new deal at the club.

In an ideal world, Man United would sign two top-class central midfielders this summer to compensate for those two exits, with Donny van de Beek and James Garner both contenders to bolster the squad with improved roles under the new manager next season.

It doesn’t always work that way, though.

Man United are still exploring a possible move for Frenkie de Jong this summer, but such a move is complicated given the uncertain future of the club under his former manager and the fact he doesn’t exactly want to leave Barcelona.

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A deal for Kalvin Phillips was also being worked on, though that has become a lot more difficult to complete after Leeds remained in the Premier League on the final day. The Leeds-born battler is also believed to be of interest to Manchester City, a move which makes far more sense for him.

Declan Rice is still somewhat of a dream acquisition but would take a budget-blowing club-record fee this summer and West Ham are under absolutely no pressure to sell him.

It means United might have to get creative if they are to address their midfield issues this summer, and Chelsea star N’Golo Kante is certainly one player worthy of consideration at the very least.

At the age of 31, Kante is by no means a long-term solution for United, but he could represent a valuable short-term one to effectively replace the experience and defensive expertise of Matic at the base of midfield.

Signing the Frenchman this summer could prove a cheap alternative to other midfielders under consideration and would act as the perfect mentor should United choose to sign another raw defensive midfielder, who could then learn his trade at a slower pace before replacing him.

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Kante’s arrival could also serve as the ideal adviser for youngster Garner, who could act as an understudy himself and learn from one of the all-time greats about mastering the deep role in the Premier League.

However, there is an obvious reason to be cautious.

The Chelsea star missed 12 games this campaign due to injury, excluding the four he sat out due to positive COVID-19 tests. Over the last three seasons, Kante has experienced 14 separate injuries.

Kante is more susceptible to muscle injuries because of his relentless running approach to the game, but speaking last week, Thomas Tuchel highlighted the worry he has about the Frenchman’s fitness issues.

“It’s hard to live with because it’s important for him to be there and to have the rhythm,” he said. “He constantly starts getting rhythm, and once he has rhythm, he gets a little injury and he’s out again.

“This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game is only here for 40-something per cent of the games. This is huge for us. We’ll do everything to solve it. I don’t blame him, but it’s a concern.”

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But if he can be managed carefully, then Kante remains a priceless asset to any side that can accommodate him.

Tuchel added: “We miss him a lot because he brings something that is unique in world football, he has that ability to lift everybody up and make the difference and this is the challenge for him and for us.”

With the preference to sign two midfielders this summer, United could do far worse than Kante as one of the potential pair who arrive this summer.

There needs to be a sense of realism about just how much he will be able to offer next season and an understanding that he might well miss a few matches through injury if his woes continue.

But for the unique qualities and experience he would bring to the team, he might still be a priceless acquisition.

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Report: Arsenal now really Keen to sign ‘Astonishing’ attacker who scored more goals than Gabriel Jesus last season

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According to But Football Club, Arsenal want to sign Bayer Leverkusen and France winger Moussa Diaby before the transfer window shuts.

The Gunners are looking for a new wide player. Raphinha was high on their wish list and Mikel Arteta tried really hard to bring him in. The Brazilian, however, joined Barcelona for £55 million (Sky Sports) instead, and Arsenal have now apparently turned their attention to Diaby.

Arsenal really keen to sign Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen

Diaby is one of the finest players in the Bundesliga.

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The 23-year-old France international scored 17 goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions, which is a truly sensational return for a wide player.

His performances have caught the eye of a number of clubs, including Arteta’s Arsenal. The report claims that Diaby ‘strongly appeals’ to the Gunners boss, who is really keen to bring in a new winger before the window shuts.

The ‘astonishing‘ winger has come out and claimed that he wants to stay at Leverkusen this season, while the German outfit are keen to retain his services too.

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However, the report claims that if an offer in the region of £59.2 million arrives, they will let him go.

Arsenal don’t intend to pay that figure, but the report claims they will try to negotiate a deal for a lower fee.

Diaby still has three years left on his contract at Leverkusen.

Diaby really is a sensational player.

31 goal involvements in a single campaign for a 23-year-old wide player is a truly sensational return.

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Even Gabriel Jesus, who is viewed as the answer to Arsenal’s goalscoring woes, didn’t score as many goals as Frenchman last season.

Arsenal’s backup winger at the moment is Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian, on his day, is unplayable, but sadly for Arsenal supporters, those days have rarely ever occurred over the last three years.

Diaby would be a massive upgrade over Pepe, but whether Arsenal can lure him in remains to be seen.

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Report: Star ready to join Man United now wants £33.7million contract

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The latest reports in the media are anything to go by and Adrien Rabiot’s mother-agent, Veronique, is proving to be a difficult negotiator.

Last night, we covered a story (via La Gazzetta Dello Sport) claiming that the French international has demanded a three-year deal worth £25.4million to move to Old Trafford.

This morning, as per Corriere dello Sport (news image provided below), the Red Devils have agreed a fee worth 17-18 million euros with Juventus but the dilemma is that the agreement with the player is still missing.

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Ten Hag contacted Rabiot to convince him to join Man Utd which is why the midfielder became willing to negotiate personal terms.

However, Veronique now wants a four-year contract worth 40 million euros (£33.7million) for his son and the negotiations have slowed down.

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Manchester United’s midfield department is in desperate need of reinforcements and Ten Hag may end up losing out on signing Frenkie de Jong to Chelsea.

The last big signing for the central midfield was done back in 2018 when Mourinho splashed the cash to lure Fred from Shakhtar. The Red Devils must act fast to strengthen things in the center of the park.

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Rabiot is neither as creative as Pogba nor as versatile as De Jong. However, he has experience of winning big titles with PSG and Juventus and even with France. So, in all fairness, he would be an upgrade to McFred.

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Man United pushing for Pogba replacement in more ways than one

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Manchester United may be about to take on another troublesome Frenchman, having just gotten rid of one.

The departures of Paul Pogba and others this summer have left new manager Erik ten Hag with a bare cupboard in terms of midfield options.

United have turned to Juventus outcast Adrien Rabiot, who is available for £15 million, after failing to secure Frenkie de Jong, the Ten Hag’s top transfer target, from Barcelona.

Rabiot, 27, isn’t particularly popular at Juventus and hasn’t replicated the form that established his reputation during the seven years he spent at PSG before that.

But it isn’t just on-field sluggishness that has harmed the reputation of a player who was once regarded as France’s golden boy.

Off-field squabbles and indiscretions, not only by Rabiot but also by his formidable mother and agent Veronique, have earned him a reputation as a difficult customer in the game.

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However, Ten Hag and United are becoming increasingly desperate. Despite the club’s insistence that their interest in Rabiot was firm prior to Sunday’s season-opening loss to Brighton, the timing appears to be a reactionary move.

And Rabiot’s rap sheet contains numerous items that could cause United to live to regret their decision.

Rabiot was on the verge of breaking into the PSG senior squad after graduating from their academy in 2012.

Rabiot was supposed to travel to Qatar with the team for a mid-season tour, but his mother insisted on accompanying him.

Veronique, Rabiot’s uncompromising agent, enters the picture. After his father, Michel Provost, suffered a stroke in 2007 that left him with locked-in syndrome, she took over his career. Michel is paralysed but fully aware.

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Her insistence on accompanying the tour caused friction, and Rabiot was eventually loaned out to Toulouse.

Even stranger, she allegedly insisted on attending all of their training sessions while there.

Two years later, Rabiot was on the verge of leaving PSG after Laurent Blanc demoted him to the reserves.

Veronique was waiting for Blanc as he left PSG’s Camp des Loges training facility one evening.

‘You can’t treat him like that. ‘I’m not going to agree to that,’ Blanc was told, presumably forcefully.

PSG had no choice but to call in security, but the confrontation appeared to work.

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Rabiot’s contract with PSG was renewed – and on better terms – not long after he failed to secure a move to Roma.

France’s hopes of adding the European Championship to their World Cup glory last year ended when they lost on penalties to Switzerland in the last-16.

Afterwards, an extraordinary video emerged of Veronique confronting Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, after the PSG striker missed the decisive spot-kick.

It is thought she said: ‘It is embarrassing how he struck that, for a player of his level. He hit it too lightly, I hope you are going to scold him.’

Apparently during an earlier discussion, Veronique told Wilfried his son was ‘arrogant’, has a ‘big head’ and gets ‘too much protection from the press.’

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