Manchester United have reportedly agreed personal terms with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount. A transfer fee is yet to be agreed, with the west London club understood to be holding out for around £60 million to get the deal done. The 24-year-old has been touted as a target for Liverpool and Arsenal but it looks like the Red Devils will win the race for the England star.
In some ways it would be a surprising first transfer for United this summer. Erik ten Hag’s side clearly need reinforcements in attack and most chatter has surrounded signings in that area. Harry Kane and Neymar have both been linked, with the former links particularly strong. With United also tipped to go for Napoli’s title-winning defender Kim-min Jae, few were expecting Mount to be in the reckoning, never mind the first deal over the line.
While nothing is confirmed, Old Trafford is looking like Mount’s likeliest destination. So what awaits him when he arrives? And what can United fans expect from Chelsea’s departing midfielder?
Mount has often battled dual-perceptions during his career. Like the likes of Gareth Barry and Jordan Henderson before him, Mount is often underappreciated by fans while being cherished by managers. Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Gareth Southgate have all relished the player’s talents. But his style, more hard-working than box-office, has not had the same effect on a lot of supporters.
Mount is not a prolific goalscorer from the middle of the park, despite occupying a more offensive role positionally. Equally, he is not a Mesut Ozil-type assist-machine. In 129 Premier League matches he has hit the net on 27 occasions and provided 22 assists. Not spectacular numbers for a player who generally occupies an attacking midfield position.
Yet managers adore Mount for what he brings. His pressing is a vital part of the successful sides he has been a part of, with the England man able to effectively defend from the front and disrupt opposition build-up. His movement in the final third is also vital and he is an effective passer of the ball. Mount has also shown promise playing off a lone striker. He primarily operated in this role during the 2021/22 season and had his best scoring year, netting 13 times in all competitions.
Mason also ticks several boxes for United in terms of squad building. At the age of 24 he is only just entering his prime years. Given the fact that Christian Eriksen is 31 and actually played a surprising amount of games given his Euro 2020 health scare, expect Mount to ease the burden on the Dane. Mount can also provide relief for Bruno Fernandes, who has not played less than 45 games in a season since he was at Sampdoria in the 2016/17 campaign. The Portugal midfielder is a vital part of United’s identity, but even talismans need a rest. Mount could slot in alongside Casemiro and one of Eriksen or Fernandes to make quite the formidable midfield three.
Can Mount win over the Old Trafford faithful? Chelsea fans have been divided during his tenure. But Ten Hag is reportedly very keen on the player, obviously seeing what Mount’s previous coaches spotted in the midfielder. If a deal can be done with Chelsea, who are keen to cash in as the player enters the final year of his contract, Mount will certainly be given the chance to shine. Given the way he contrasts with Bruno and Eriksen, he may just give the Red Devils midfield the balance that it sorely needs.
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