Jose Mourinho, is it a last dance with AS Roma? Leo Messi, between Europe and rest of the world; Houssem Aouar is not so close to Italy. Here are some of the main stories over the last few days of the transfer market from TribalFootball's transfer expert Rudy Galetti...
MOURINHO, A LAST EUROPEAN MATCH WITH ROMA?
Defeated in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinal by Feyenoord, AS Roma are called to overturn the result (1-0) in the return match scheduled for Thursday at home. If the Giallorossi fail to win, the match at the Stadio Olimpico against the Dutch club could be the last one in Europe for Josè Mourinho on the AS Roma bench.
The Portuguese coach, despite a contract expiring in 2024, could leave the Italian team in June to embrace a new project abroad. Not for nothing, his entourage has received many offers that are increasingly convincing the Special One to get away: at the moment, the richest proposal comes from Saudi Arabia.
After sacking Rudi Garcia, Al Nassr put Mourinho in their sights for next season, offering him a two-year contract of 60 million euros. A monster figure that the Portuguese coach is seriously considering. However, nothing is decided yet: Mourinho is also hoping for a call from Chelsea for June. In the event of an offer from the Blues (anyway, Julian Nagelsmann is in pole position), José would be ready to return to the Premier League, accepting a great challenge: to bring Todd Boehly's club back to being one of the strongest in Europe.
LIVERPOOL DESPERATELY NEED A MIDFIELDER
With the Jude Bellingham's track increasingly cold – given the very high requests from Borussia Dortmund – Liverpool decided to change their strategy to strengthen the squad in midfield. So, now the name at the top of the Jurgen Klopp's list is Mason Mount: the English midfielder, whose contract with Chelsea expires in 2024.
Mount has been the focus of many rumors in recent months, but this time the Reds want to get serious. A first contact with the Blues for preliminary info already took place. Anyway, the race for Mason is far from simple and, in the event of future steps forward, it will certainly be a long negotiation.
That's why LFC have already identified some backup solutions for the midfield, an area of the pitch that needs to be reinforced over the summer. The alternatives to Mount are different: Declan Rice - his contract with West Ham will expire in 2024 and, in all likelihood, he will change clubs in June - Moises Caicedo, already protagonist last January of an intricate market story between Brighton and Arsenal, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, spearhead of Lazio, whose President Claudio Lotito has no intention to sell, except for an astronomical offer.
MANCHESTER UNITED, NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN ATTACK
After finding Marcus Rashford and having already won a first trophy of this new adventure, Erik Ten Hag is not going to stop. We can therefore say that his cycle with Manchester United is only at the beginning: after going through the somewhat eventful initial part of the season with poor results, the Red Devils - after Cristiano Ronaldo's farewell - changed gears.
However, the former Ajax coach has never hidden the need for new players. In particular, United are looking for a prolific striker who can play and fit in with Rashford. We told you last time, the Red Devils are interested in Goncalo Ramos. But now there is more: Man Utd have started the first contacts with Benfica for the young Portuguese forward. The will of the United management is to anticipate the competition with those 80 million euros, which we told you about. A figure that, however, now seems to be no longer enough for the Portuguese club: the interest of PSG and Chelsea, in fact, may start an upward auction that would knock out the Red Devils.
In the coming weeks, important developments are expected on this negotiation: the Lusitanian talent will surely be in the spotlight of the summer transfer session.
MESSI, TAKING STOCK ON HIS FUTURE
Lionel Messi's future is still a puzzle to be deciphered. We have often talked about him: many proposals arrived in recent weeks on the table of his entourage, to convince the Seleccion captain - whose contract with PSG expires at the end of the season - to start a new football adventure. But how do things stand right now?
Let's clarify. His current club PSG would like Leo to stay with them. However, the issues with Christophe Galtier - even if in all likelihood he will no longer be the Paris coach at the end of the season – and, above all, the lack of a clear project from the French club, have cracked relations a bit, currently making it difficult to extend his contract.
Then, there is the suggestive option to return to Barcelona: on the bench, a great former teammate as Xavi would certainly like to have him in the squad, but the economic difficulties of Barca make the move complicated.
Finally, there are options outside Europe: in MLS, with Inter Miami interested, despite coach Phil Neville's denial ("there is no truth in the speculation that we are interested in Lionel Messi"), and in the Saudi Pro League, with Al Hilal leading the race. The main reason? As we told you, the Saudi club offered $400-450m to convince Leo. No answer arrived yet and no decision has been made: the player, in fact, asked for a little more time to evaluate his future. Although the Al Hilal proposal is growing in his preferences, the final choice will be made in the coming weeks.
AOUAR, WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
However, the reality of the Olympique Lyon midfielder seems to be slightly different: despite these rumours, at the moment the Giallorossi and the Algerian player are not in advanced talks. The Italian team is in contact with his entourage, and this is true, but nothing is agreed or at a good stage in the negotiation.
Many European clubs are following the situation of the OL player: at the moment, the best position seems to be held by Real Betis, which are strongly pushing to sign him. Already in January, the Spanish club had started contacts with the midfielder, who was sure of not renewing his contract with OL.
The Verdiblancos and Aouar are very close, but some details are still under discussion in order to close definitively. What is certain at the moment is that Betis are leading the race for Aouar: to snatch him from the Spanish club, the other teams must speed up things.