The arrival of José Mourinho at Manchester United has really thrown the cat among the pigeons regarding a number of transfers this summer.
The likes of André Gomes and John Stones could conceivably have had summer moves already lined up, but Mourinho’s appointment at Old Trafford has certainly given them pause for thought regarding their next destination.
Another player who can be added to that list is Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
The Belgian international looked almost nailed on to be one of Antonio Conte’s first signings as Chelsea manager, but reports in the Italian press have suggested that Mourinho has thrown a spanner in the works.
Chelsea have already seen one bid of €29million rejected by Roma – who are holding out for over €40m – and their insistence on haggling may come back to haunt them if their former manager has anything to say about it.
Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Nicholo Schira has claimed that Chelsea are wasting their time even bidding for him – if he does leave the Stadio Olimpico (and that apparently is big if), it will only be to go to Manchester United.
— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) May 28, 2016
Translation: “Nainggolan rejects Chelsea. he wants to stay at Roma. In the event of a transfer, his preference is Manchester United.”
It should be stressed in that report that it says nothing of Manchester United’s interest – Schira only says that the player wants Man United should he decide to leave, nothing has been said in terms of if the feeling is mutual.
Though Mourinho will almost certainly have a look at the highly-rated 28 year old, he is believed to be pursuing other targets at this time – Valencia midfielder André Gomes and former Manchester United youngster Paul Pogba have been two of the more prominent names linked.
That could all change this month, however – Nainggolan will be a part of Belgium’s squad this month, and a strong display in France could see some of Europe’s top clubs (including Manchester United) become interested.
It’s unlikely – but not impossible – that Nainggolan will be leaving Roma for Manchester United this summer. He may be interested in the move, but Mourinho might not be. That being said, one (or more) of Nainggolan, Kostas Manolas and Miralem Pjanic is almost certain leave the club this year.