Mason Mount now looks virtually certain to leave Chelsea this summer after agreeing personal terms with Manchester United, according to reports.
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The midfielder is about to enter the final year of his contract with the west London club but talks over an extension have hit an impasse, with Chelsea begrudgingly ready to cash in now rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.
A host of clubs have been interested in signing the England international, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag all keen.
But it appears Manchester United have won the race, with The Telegraph reporting that Mount has agreed personal terms.
Ten Hag is confident he can secure the 24-year-old, who will bring tenacity, work rate, creativity and goals to his midfield.
Talks are said to have progressed positively in recent days, with the two clubs speaking directly after United played against Chelsea at Old Trafford last week – a match the Red Devils won 4-1.
Although new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino had hoped to convince Mount to stay, he is determined to leave and appears to prefer a move to United over Arsenal or Liverpool.
Chelsea remain eager to exact as high a fee as possible despite Mount’s precarious contract situation, with previous reports suggesting they could demand as much as £75million.
Mount has had a rather unspectacular campaign for Chelsea in a thoroughly disappointing season for the club, netting just three times and laying on two assists in 20 starts, while he has been hampered by injuries.
He had an outstanding campaign last year, though, netting 11 times and laying on 10 assists in 32 Premier League appearances and he was named as the club’s Player of the Year for the second time running.
Losing Mount will be a big blow to Chelsea and he is unlikely to be the only big name leaving Stamford Bridge this summer, with the Blues giving Manchester City permission to speak to Mateo Kovacic.
The Croatian is also out of contract next summer and unwilling to sign fresh terms, while N’Golo Kante’s current deal expires at the end of this month and he could yet leave on a free.
Pochettino knows he has to completely rebuild his midfield this summer and wants to bring in Sporting Lisbon holding midfielder Manuel Ugarte, while he has also been linked with a swoop for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
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