Daniel Levy always dreamed of having Jose Mourinho at Tottenham and also set his heart on taking Gareth Bale back to North London. But now he must weigh up whether he can continue with this vanity project.
Levy has been frustrated to see Dele Alli, one of this favourite players, alienated by Mourinho and is now watching a similar picture unfold with Bale, who he worked hard to bring back from Real Madrid.
Mourinho’s job is not in immediate danger, despite the side slipping down to ninth in the Premier League table, but sources say it is fair to say his position will be assessed as the season plays out. No action is expected before the end of this campaign but European qualification is vital to how Levy will view the future.
RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann is being tipped as a candidate to succeed Mourinho, should he lose his job, but sources say Brendan Rodgers is also very likely to be considered if Levy looks for a new boss. Levy has tried, and failed, to talk him into taking the job before.
As he considers the big picture, Levy must also make a practical decision over Bale’s future. In a past article we revealed how Levy would be willing to keep him on beyond this season - and that remains the case in the right circumstances. However, it cannot be an emotional decision. Mourinho was never fussed about the signing of Bale and sources claim Levy is prepared to be more clear minded about potentially re-signing Bale when the time comes.
It’s a key time in the club’s history as they prepare for a Carabao Cup final and also look to tie up star players Son Heung-min and Harry Kane to new contracts. This is not quite the way Levy saw a Mourinho-Bale fantasy world playing out - let’s now see whether either remains at the club beyond this season.
United monitoring Ramos, Kounde price a potential problem
Jules Kounde of Sevilla FC celebrates goal 1-0 during the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Sevilla v FC Barcelona
Image credit: Getty Images
Jules Kounde is emerging as a leading transfer option for Manchester United but they will be faced with a huge price tag if they try to sign him from Sevilla in the summer.
United are having to look at new options after RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano opted to join Bayern Munich. They have also been checking out the situation with Sergio Ramos but are yet to make any contact with his representatives. Ramos’s contract at Real Madrid expires in the summer and that is why he is being monitored by United as well as Paris Saint-Germain.
For United, Sevilla’s Kounde is emerging as an interesting alternate option. Recruitment staff have been keeping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer up to date with scouting assessments and the boss is becoming more convinced that he would be a great fit for the side.
Kounde, 22, has a superb reading of the game and has been pretty much ever-present when fit this season.
Such importance at such a young age means Sevilla value the player upwards of £60million though, and with a contract in place until 2024 United are going to struggle to knock that valuation down.
Meanwhile, Valencia are expected to make an attempt to lure Juan Mata back to Spain at the end of the season. Mata, 32, has been at United since 2014 but his contract ends in the summer and there are no current plans to extend his stay. It means he will be available on a free transfer and his old club hope they can tempt him back.
Free agent Sturridge an option for Newcastle
Daniel Sturridge is available as a free agent and is one of the players on Newcastle United’s radar.
Callum Wilson’s injury means they might attempt to sign a striker on a short-term deal and Sturridge is understood to have been put to them as an option to consider.
Sturridge, 31, had his contract terminated at Trabzonspor last year but is now open to offers as he looks into a return.
Another potential option that has been discussed by Newcastle is 28-year-old Ahmed Musa, formerly of Leicester City.
Prem clubs circle for new Bundesliga talent
Keep an eye on American teenager Matthew Hoppe at Schalke, as a host of Premier League clubs are considering an offer in the summer.
Hoppe, 19, only signed his first professional contract two weeks ago and part of the reason was that there is so much interest in him and Schalke feared they might lose out on the forward as he made a rapid rise from their under-23s.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool are among the English clubs with scouting reports and data that could lead to a move at the end of the season, with Schalke stuck at the bottom of Bundesliga.