Manchester United News: Southgate, Simeone, Coutinho

Two New Names ‘On United’s Wishlist’

Gareth Southgate England manager
Image: Ben Sutherland

Manchester United are being linked with Gareth Southgate and Diego Simeone as they continue to seek out a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho. The news comes amidst speculation that United’s first choice for the job, Mauricio Pochettino, is likely to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.

United travel to Wembley Stadium today to take on a Spurs side that lie ten points ahead of them in the Premier League table.

Pochettino has shown no sign of any interest in the United job. Plus Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is said to be demanding anywhere between £34million and £42million in compensation if the Argentine leaves.

Fresh speculation has now turned to Gareth Southgate. The England manager signed a new contract with the FA in October that will see him lead the national team to the 2022 World Cup finals.

A number of outlets claim today that he is on the Manchester United short-list. However, there has been no official approach to the FA as yet. That suggests either the story has come from inside Old Trafford or it is simply an unsubstantiated rumour.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror claims that Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone is also a potential target for United. The Argentine is 18 months away from the end of his present contract. He is already the longest-serving manager in Atletico’s history having recently completed seven years in his post.

The Mirror suggests that intermediaries claiming to be working on behalf of United have contacted Simeone’s representatives. Whether those intermediaries have been hired by United is open to question. Agents often take on such freelance work but without any authority from the club they claim to represent. If they believe a deal is possible they then approach the club – in this case Manchester United – where they would present Simeone as a fait accompli and take a huge fee.

Simeone has been linked on countless occasions in the past with a move away from Atletico. But he has always resisted the temptation to leave.

Coutinho Rules Out United Move

Someone else who may resist the temptation to move to Manchester United is the Barcelona forward Phillippe Coutinho.

Reports on Saturday linked the Brazilian with a £108million move to Old Trafford this summer as Barca pursue their former player Neymar.

However, the Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo claims that despite his representatives having been contacted by United, Coutinho has no desire to leave Barcelona at present. He is unhappy with having been left out of the last four league games but his family are settled in the fashionable seaside resort of Castelldefels, just outside Barcelona. His second daughter was recently born in the town.

A move looks unlikely for now.