Man Utd ‘very interested’ in former Chelsea defender Christensen

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Christensen ‘could come fairly cheap’ for Man Utd or Newcastle

Manchester United and Newcastle are “very interested” in signing former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, according to reports.

Christensen, 27, has struggled for consistent game time at Barcelona this season, prompting interest from both Man Utd and Newcastle.

Erik ten Hag’s side are said to be in the market for a defender with injuries disrupting their backline this season, while Eddie Howe has also had to contend with a lengthy injury list.

A report in The Mirror reads: “Manchester United and Newcastle are both ‘very interested’ in signing Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen.

“Christensen’s time in Catalunya could be up after less than two full campaigns.

“According to Catalan outlet Sport, United and Newcastle have registered their interest in a January move. It’s added that Newcastle have previously explored a deal, as Magpies boss Eddie Howe bids to strengthen his back line.

“However, Christensen has made it clear that he wants to stay at Barca, despite manager Xavi favouring three other centre-backs. The 27-year-old has only played four games in a row once this season, with Xavi preferring Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and summer signing Inigo Martinez, who’s left-footed.

“Crucially, Barcelona are looking to sign a new centre-back, with Real Betis youngster Chadi Riad piquing their interest. Barca sold 20-year-old Riad last summer but are reportedly planning on activating his €7 million (£6m) buy-back clause.

“It hasn’t emerged how much Barcelona would be willing to sell Christensen for, but their perilous financial predicament suggests that a sale would come fairly cheap. The Denmark international, whose nation will face England at Euro 2024, is contracted to Barca for another two-and-a-half years.”

Chelsea target Athletic defender Paredes

Chelsea have their sights set on Athletic Bilbao defender Aitor Paredes, claims The Sun.

The Blues have watched Paredes “seven times” this season as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his squad in January.

Paredes’ form has been instrumental to Athletic’s impressive form this season as the Basque club currently occupy fourth in La Liga.

“Chelsea are looking to bring Athletic Bilbao defender Aitor Paredes in to strengthen their backline this month,” the outlet states.

“SunSport understand that Chelsea have sent a scout to watch Paredes, 23, seven times this season, including in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Sevilla, where he scored the second goal of the game.

“SunSport understands Chelsea have asked Athletic Club’s board to set a price but they have so far been reluctant to do so.

“The defender is contracted at the club until 2025 and could be available for around £20 million.

“Paredes has already been approached by Real Madrid this month, with Inter Milan also showing an interest.

“Chelsea could be forced to move quickly for Paredes with two of their defenders being linked with a move away from the Bridge.”

Arsenal prepared to wait for Frimpong

Arsenal are prepared to wait until the summer to sign a new full-back as they “eye up a move to sign Jeremie Frimpong when his release clause becomes active”.

Mikel Arteta has been left short of options at full-back with Jurrien Timber still on the sidelines after a serious knee injury, while Takehiro Tomiyasu is currently at the Asia Cup with Japan and Kieran Tierney is on loan at Real Sociedad.

Frimpong has been a standout player for Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen this season and Arsenal are said to be keen on recruiting his services.

An article Mirror reads: “A new striker, central midfielder and two new full-backs are understood to be at the top of Arsenal’s January shopping list.

“Ivan Toney is Arsenal’s primary forward target, while Martin Zubimendi has been named as a potential midfield option. As for the full-back Arsenal want, Frimpong has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates after impressing for Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen this season.

“According to Bild, Arsenal had their sights set on signing a full-back in January, but are prepared to delay their pursuit due to a £34million release clause inserted in Frimpong’s contract, which will become active in the summer. Frimpong still has four-and-half years left on his current deal at BayArena and has started in each of their 16 Bundesliga matches this season, scoring five goals and grabbing seven assists.”

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