There are many ways for England’s biggest tabloids to attract hits, but none seem to be more functional than linking players to the nation’s biggest club, Manchester United. However, sometimes the rumours are intolerable, linking United to players who aren’t appropriate or factual transfer targets, and linking players who are obviously staying away from the club.
This exact situation has occurred threefold today, with some ridiculous transfer rumours surrounding the club in recent days. Jesse Lingard is reportedly heading to Chelsea to link up with Antonio Conte, according to the Metro. Meanwhile, the Guardian are reporting that United are after young Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe, and according to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils will try to lure Harry Kane from Tottenham.
I am well aware that many people will be excitedly waiting for Jesse Lingard to turn blue, or for Kylian Mbappe to become the next Anthony Martial, or for Harry Kane to turn up at Old Trafford. Before you get your hopes up, none of these will happen, and the following excerpts will explain exactly why not.
First of all, it must be said that the fact this rumour comes from the Metro should make it a crucifiable offence. They are a step away from surpassing Caught Offside to become the worst paper in England. The article, which is about 150 words long, states that United could be forced to sell Lingard because he will have a year left on his contract this summer.
The Warrington youngster likely never wants to leave United, considering he shows no discontent with being a complete backup member of United’s squad at the age of 24. Hypothetically, if he was to leave United, presumably to play more football, why would he join Chelsea? More importantly, why would United sell to their most competitive rivals?
Most importantly, though, he has no place in Chelsea’s side at all. Perhaps he could be a backup to Victor Moses at wing-back, but that doesn’t seem to make sense- the Nigerian is better at both defending and attacking than Lingard, and offers more physically, which could see Lingard become a liability at Chelsea. The odds of Lingard leaving are low, and the odds of him joining Chelsea are even lower.
After signing Anthony Martial for £36 million two summers ago, and him becoming one of the best prospects in world football, the Guardian believes Kylian Mbappe is also likely to attract pursuit from United this summer. While this seems completely realistic, and the Guardian isn’t known for sensationalist click-bait compared to the Metro, moving for Kylian Mbappe makes no sense for United.
United’s current strikers consist of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is living frivolously on his last legs, Wayne Rooney, likely to leave this summer, Martial, an almost world-class winger who is still a work in progress as a central striker, and Marcus Rashford, who is good enough to be a part of the squad, but still needs to develop massively before he carries the burden for the club.
I listed the strikers in order of age; Ibrahimovic is 35, Rooney is 31, Martial is 21, and Rashford is 20- there is a massive age gap between Rooney and Martial, which needs to be plugged if United are to be successful. This perfectly explains the pursuit of Antoine Griezmann, who will play second foil and assist Rashford and Ibrahimovic with goal burdens, helping bridge the gap and becoming an even better player for the near future.
This also explains why signing 18-year-old Mbappe makes no sense- while he could be the best player in the world over the course of his career, he simply isn’t something United needs right now and will get in the way of other players at the club, unless Mourinho plans on selling Rashford in the summer- and we all know that isn’t happening.
Manchester United has been linked with Harry Kane since his breakout campaign- earning his spot in the side in November, he still managed to finish the season with 20 Premier League goals, which is incredibly hard to do in England. However, no one has realized Kane’s development as a footballer and prospect, and, in turn, the progression of what this transfer would be.
Kane is the best striker in the Premier League- he was the top scorer last season, the most prolific scorer the season before, and the top scorer now, for a side that doesn’t even boast the same creative outlets as the rest of the top six. Arguments could even be made that the Englishman is the best player in the Premier League and the natural successor to Wayne Rooney at a tender 23 years of age.
However, with Tottenham’s transfer structure, this move would be colossal. Recalling the power shift that occurred when Robin van Persie joined is the best comparison, except in this situation, Kane has at least another 10 years at the top-level. The sheer quality and consistency he has shown for three seasons now would make this the biggest transfer in English Premier League history, and likely the most expensive.
Combine this with the fact that Kane is yet to show any ability whatsoever on the European or International stage, and this move seems incredibly far-fetched. Romelu Lukaku has one fewer goal than Kane this season, plays for Everton, is a similar age to the Englishman, and, most importantly, shares an agent with Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and was at Old Trafford at the time of Pogba’s move to speak with Mino Raiola.
United will make some ridiculous transfers this summer, but there is a very low chance that Jesse Lingard, Kylian Mbappe, or Harry Kane, will be involved. Lingard is United born and bred, and would not join another club without the promise of first-team football. Mbappe could become the best striker in the world, but at United, he would simply be another obstacle from a tactical and developmental perspective.
Kane is one of the best prospects in world football and the best striker in the Premier League, but Ed Woodward would have to conduct the biggest transfer in Premier League history for a player who hasn’t dominated on the biggest stage yet. United needs to hit the nail on the head this summer if they are to hit the ground running next season, and none of these transfers would be sensible in helping United compete in the Premier League and (hopefully) Champions League.