Reported Manchester United transfer target Tiemoue Bakayoko has talked up the idea of joining Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the 22-year-old powerhouse sounds more open to moving to the French capital, per TalkSport: "If the opportunity presents itself, I will not refuse a move to PSG. But I am only 22 and I feel very good at Monaco."
Bakayoko also described how he previously came close to joining the Paris outfit during his days as a youth prospect: "The opportunity to sign for PSG’s youth academy presented itself after Montrogue. But my dad and my brother chose Rennes, the best youth academy at the time. Not going to PSG hurt me, I even had tears in my eyes."
Talking up a switch to Monaco's nearest rivals in Ligue 1 is unlikely to endear Bakayoko to his own fans. It's also something maybe capable of cooling United's interest.
The Red Devils were said to have tried to sign Bakayoko during the January transfer window, but Monaco refused a deal, per Uche Amako of the Daily Express. Amako also noted how "United are prepared to make another attempt for Bakayoko at the end of the season."
Earlier this month, another report from Le Parisien (h/t Metro's Louis Sealey) revealed Bakayoko had knocked back the offer of a new contract from Monaco. Combined with his latest words, Bakayoko seems to be sending the clearest signal he wants out of Monaco before next season.
There's no doubt United manager Jose Mourinho would welcome a midfielder with Bakayoko's defensive instincts and imposing brawn. He has routinely liked to underpin the middle and protect his defence with a natural holding player.
Claude Makelele and Nemanja Matic fulfilled this vital role for Mourinho's squads in separate stops with Chelsea. But Mourinho doesn't have quite the same player on the books at Old Trafford.
Michael Carrick is an astute passer, as is Ander Herrera. Yet neither player is athletic and aggressive enough to consistently break up play in today's fast-paced, marauding game.
Landing Bakayoko would stabilise a key position in United's starting XI and move the club a step closer to playing the way Mourinho prefers.
United in Strong Position for Bernardo Silva
PSG might thwart any attempts to sign Bakayoko, but United are reportedly in a strong position to win the race for another Monaco midfielder, Bernardo Silva.
Both Chelsea and Manchester City are keen on the classy playmaker, but French source Le10 Sport (h/t Andrew Richardson of The Sun) revealed United have the edge for Silva: "His agent is Jorge Mendes—who also represents Jose Mourinho—and he agreed a price at which the Red Devils would be guaranteed Silva’s signature."
Richardson also detailed how the proposed fee for Silva is likely to be as much as £70 million. It's a gaudy figure, but one a player also drawing interest from La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid has merited this season.
Silva has scored six goals and provided five assists in France's top flight this season, according to WhoScored.com. His natural flair and ability to prove decisive in the final third have taken Monaco to the summit of the league table, while also alerting some of the game's biggest clubs.
The only issues regarding all the Silva-to-United talk is whether the Red Devils even need another creative type. After all, Mourinho's squad already contains Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata.
However, the latter could be sold by Mourinho a second time after being ditched by the Portuguese boss at Chelsea in 2014, per BBC Sport's Garth Crooks: "You think at this point it's only a matter of time before Mourinho moves Mata on once more. Not only does Mourinho mess the Spaniard about with tactical substitutions that only he understands—and at moments in the game that seem insignificant—Mata always seems to rise above it."
If Mata is moved on, there would be a natural spot for Silva, although for £70 million, he'd need to start every week.
Of the two, United have a greater need for Bakayoko than Silva. The former could become United's linchpin at the base of midfield for the next decade.