Rumour Has It: Man Utd could turn the page on De Gea, with Jan Oblak as his replacement

By Sports Desk September 15, 2022

Manchester United are reportedly ready for a major change, with Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak said to be a priority target.

Both Oblak, 29, and current United number one David de Gea, 31, are in the last season of their respective contracts. While a January move may be possible, it appears more likely United will try to bring in Oblak on an end-of-season free transfer, as Atletico will also want to hold onto their world-class keeper for as long as possible.

De Gea has publicly declared his desire to remain at Old Trafford, but if Erik ten Hag decides his time as the number one is coming to an end, then he will likely have to leave unless United want the most expensive backup keeper in the world.


TOP STORY – UNITED TARGET JAN OBLAK AS LONG-TERM GOALKEEPER REPLACEMENT

According to a report from French publication Jeunes Footeux, United are looking for a goalkeeper of international calibre and are willing to pay up for the man with 359 appearances for Atletico since 2014.

It claims United are willing to make an offer of €18million per season – almost double the current salary of the 29-year-old Slovenian – to convince him to make the jump to the Premier League.

The report includes a nugget of information about Paris Saint-Germain also being interested in securing Oblak's services, as questions continue to be asked about Gianluigi Donnarumma.

ROUND-UP

– GiveMeSport is reporting Arsenal are "very close" to securing a contract extension for 21-year-old Bukayo Saka.

– According to Calciomercato.com, Manchester City are joining Chelsea in the chase for Milan's Rafael Leao as he bides his time on signing a new contract.

– Calciomercato is also reporting Milan are looking for forward reinforcements after recent injuries to Divock Origi and Ante Rebic, with Club Brugge winger Noa Lang named as a possible future target. Lille's Jonathan David and Salzburg's Noah Okafor have also been linked.

Brighton are offering new deals to Alexis Mac Allister and Leandro Trossard in an effort to fend off transfer offers, according to Ekrem Konur with Fichajes.

– After being one of the most in-demand centre-backs in the world this past transfer window, Inter's Milan Skriniar is expected to be awarded with a new and improved contract, according to Foot Mercato.

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    Reported Chelsea target Thomas Frank is in no rush to leave Brentford, saying "the grass is not always greener" for managers who choose to jump ship.

    Chelsea are hunting their fourth permanent boss under the Todd Boehly regime, having surprisingly parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino by mutual consent on Tuesday.  

    With the Blues reportedly looking for a dynamic young coach capable of working within their existing set-up, Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna and Bees boss Frank have been touted as possible successors.

    Brentford's finish of 16th in 2023-24 was their worst since Frank led them to the Premier League in 2021, but they remained comfortably clear of the drop zone despite battling a lengthy injury list and seeing Ivan Toney suspended for the first half of the season.

    Across their three seasons in the Premier League, Brentford rank ninth for expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes (1.44) and eighth for expected goals against (xGA) per 90 (1.38).

    While Frank has refused to rule out a move after almost six years as Brentford's head coach, he is not actively searching for a new job.  

    "I will probably be on that touchline on August 17," Frank told The Athletic. "I think that will happen. I'm happy here. I've said it many times and I mean it. 

    "It's close to the perfect football life. I'm not in any rush or searching to do something else but I also think I've learned in life I'm open for what can happen.

    "I can see myself being here for a long period. Can I stay here for seven more years? I don't know and that's not that I don’t love Brentford, it's just, do I want to try something different? 

    "I'm very aware the grass is not always greener in the garden next door, even if it looks like it. You get in there, take a closer look and see there are a lot of weeds in the grass."

    Brentford have already seen set-piece coach Bernardo Cueva agree to join Chelsea, and reports have suggested the Blues' hierarchy were unimpressed with how Pochettino's staff dealt with dead balls.

    Brentford ranked second for xG from set-pieces in the Premier League this season (15.7) and allowed opponents the third lowest xGA figure from such situations (8.6), behind only Arsenal and Manchester City.

  • James advises Slot to block out Man City and target 90 points in first Liverpool season James advises Slot to block out Man City and target 90 points in first Liverpool season

    Arne Slot should block out any noise around trying to catch Manchester City and instead set his sights on compiling 90 points in his first season in charge of Liverpool.

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    While Klopp lifted the EFL Cup in his final campaign as manager, James feels it is very difficult for Premier League teams to set any targets relating to any silverware due to the consistent dominance of City under Pep Guardiola.

    City have won an unprecedented four straight Premier League titles and will face rivals Manchester United this weekend at Wembley in an attempt to win back-to-back FA Cup crowns. Guardiola also has four EFL Cup trophies to his name.

    James feels Slot should therefore focus only on what he can control and believes 90 points is an aspirational target that will at least put the Reds in contention.

    Liverpool made it to 82 points in 2023-24, which saw them finish nine behind Man City and seven adrift of second-placed Arsenal.

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    "As we have seen under Jurgen Klopp, the fantastic manager, there are teams around in the Premier League who don't really care what you think you want to do, namely Manchester City," James said to Stats Perform when asked what Slot's minimum target should be.

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    "If you get 90 points, and I know this has happened to Liverpool and they have got records to prove it, but if you get 90 points or even more and still don't win the league, then it's not down to you doing something wrong, it's down to the excellence of whoever finishes above you. 

    "I would say minimum Champions League qualification and then just going for 90 points and see where it takes you. As I say, 90 points is the benchmark in the Premier League.

    "You know, it isn't that difficult to achieve when you think about it. You can literally lose to the four best teams, again subjectively, four best teams, home and away, and as long as you beat the others, the other 30 games, that's 90 points.

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    Nicolas Jackson appeared to question Chelsea's decision to part company with Mauricio Pochettino as Cole Palmer paid thanks to the Argentine.

    On Tuesday, Chelsea announced Pochettino had left the club by mutual consent after just one season in charge, which ended in a sixth-place Premier League finish.

    Several pundits expressed shock at the decision, after an upturn saw Chelsea recover from a poor start to the season to clinch European qualification.  

    Only four teams – Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle United – had a better expected goals (xG) figure than Chelsea (75.3) in the Premier League in 2023-24, while only three – City, Liverpool and Arsenal – had more shots on target than the Blues (215).

    From March 11 onwards, Chelsea's return of 27 points was only bettered by eventual champions Manchester City, who took 28 in that span.

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    Leading goalscorer Palmer, meanwhile, paid a heartfelt tribute to Pochettino in an Instagram post of his own.

    "Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true," the England international wrote. "All the best."

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    Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Brentford's Thomas Frank have been touted as possible successors, with co-owner Todd Boehly reportedly looking to hire a progressive young coach to work within Chelsea's existing structure. 

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