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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Transfer Talk: Man United to pay £25m for Mertens, promise Martial centre-forward role

Clubs are slowly turning their eyes toward the summer window. Transfer Talk has updates on all the latest rumours.

Man United to pay Mertens' release

A listless Man United slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Brighton on Friday night, and even though Jose Mourinho had rotated his side, it's no surprise he's already looking to the summer window to find some added scoring punch for the 2018-19 Premier League season.

And according to The Sun, the Portuguese boss is looking to Serie A and Napoli's Dries Mertens, with an eye to paying his £25 million release clause in order to bring him to Old Trafford.

Mertens joined Napoli from PSV Eindhoven in 2013, but his scoring return took some time to materialise, with the 30-year-old scoring 45 goals in Italy's top flight over the last two campaigns and helping the Naples club push Juventus to the wire for this year's Scudetto.

The outlet suggests that the Belgium international's affordable fee as well as his versatility -- he can line up as a striker or an attacking midfielder -- has led Man United to reach out to "Mertens' entourage to enquire over his availability."

And a possible further peak into Mourinho's summer plans came in his postmatch comments following the Brighton loss when he said his fringe players simply weren't good enough and that is why they "don't play more."

However, one of those fringe players that wasn't good enough was Anthony Martial, who has been linked with Juventus among other clubs in recent weeks ahead of a possible summer departure from United. But French outlet RMC says the opposite is actually true for the France international, with Mourinho promising he'll use the 22-year-old in his preferred centre-forward role next season.

Despite Mourinho's protests to the contrary, it sounds like it's going to be another busy summer for Manchester United.

Barca eye 'New Neymar' Rodrygo

Barcelona have their sights set on signing the newest "New Neymar," according to Sport.

The paper reports the Catalan club have met with the father and agent of Santos' latest wonderkid, 17-year-old Rodrygo, to "get the ball rolling" with the prolific forward.

The outlet continues that the player, who has put on some eye-opening performances in the Copa Libertadores this season, is keen to know the current La Liga and Copa del Rey champs' intentions.

However, should Barca decide to ultimately pull the trigger, Rodrygo won't come for anything less than €50 million, which represents €5m more than rivals Real Madrid paid for then-16-year-old Flamengo forward Vinicius Junior ... the other "New Neymar."


- Rising Argentine star Lautaro Martinez is set to sign for Inter Milan in the summer window, but reports that club president Victor Blanco says he'll try to persuade the Serie A club to allow the Racing Club striker stay in Argentina until January.

- Chivas will attempt to lure West Ham striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez back to his first club as it prepares for the Club World Cup in December, a source has confirmed to ESPN FC.

- Brendan Rodgers has admitted that Chelsea could be set to recall on-loan Charly Musonda due to a lack of playing time with Celtic. The Belgian is six months into an 18-month loan, but the Glasgow Evening Times quotes the Scottish champions' manager as saying: "There is an agreement in place which is fairly relaxed. He's probably not played as much as he would have liked to."

- Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez says he has withdrawn his transfer request, but his future with the club remains in doubt.

Mahrez asked to leave Leicester in January, with Manchester City reportedly keen to sign him, and missed two games as he tried to force through a move.


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