Man United can offer Leicester Midfielder exactly what he is looking for after Erik ten Hag gesture

Youri Tielemans is expected to leave Leicester at the end of the season and Manchester United have been linked with him.

As Youri Tielemans prepared to replace Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall for Leicester City on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag moved towards the Belgian, casually walking over to the 25-year-old on the touchline. The Dutchman gave the Foxes star a cheeky tap on the back before he ran onto the pitch.

Given that the midfielder is out of contract at the King Power at the end of the season – and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent transfer windows – United fans were quick to joke that their brief touchline interaction was a sign that the Belgium international would be a Reds player come next season.

Obviously, it does not work like that. However, it appears increasingly unlikely that Tielemans will be playing for the Foxes next term, and he continues to be linked with a move to several clubs on a free transfer in the summer. It is thought that United are indeed interested in the Leicester ace, with current league-leaders Arsenal also said to be keen on the player.

With Tielemans’ contract running down, he was heavily linked with a January move away from Leicester. The Foxes had a difficult decision to make, but ultimately, they chose to keep the midfielder, even though it means that they will probably lose him for nothing at the end of the season.

Ten Hag’s gesture has only intensified the speculation that Tielemans could be on the move to Old Trafford, but his comments last year might have already outlined his stance on a potential switch to United. In September, he insisted that he did not regret staying at Leicester, despite the club’s winless start to the season at that point in the campaign.

“I’m not going to speak too much about my contract situation at the moment. I didn’t leave Leicester in the summer as I always said the project had to be the right one,” said Tielemans. “Just because things are getting worse now at Leicester doesn’t mean I should regret [staying].”

It was not the first time that the Belgian had stressed the importance of being presented with a “great project” to persuade him to move on from the Foxes. Last summer, prior to the start of the season, Tielemans was asked about leaving the King Power club. He insisted that he was comfortable at Leicester, but refused to rule anything out.

Speaking ahead of Belgium’s UEFA Nations League clash with Poland back in June, the Leicester star told RTBF: “You need to stay calm. I’m good where I am. I still have a year left on my contract. I’m not in a rush. When you change clubs, you don’t change just to change. You change because there is a great project on the table.

“For a player, the most important thing is to play. It’ll be up to me to make the right decision regarding my future this summer, but now, I’m relaxed and focusing on the Red Devils.”

Youri Tielemans

Intriguingly, it appears that United are now in a position to offer exactly what Tielemans is looking for. Under Ten Hag, the Reds have made incredible progress – which came as a surprise to many people after the disappointing defeats to Brighton and Brentford at the start of the campaign.

United are currently the only side in England still competing on all four fronts, and they have a chance to lift their first piece of silverware since 2017 when they face Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. It appears unlikely that they will truly be able to challenge Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League title, but the fact that they are in the conversation is credit to Ten Hag and his players.

Moreover, should the club get past Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League play off tie on Thursday night, they will be confident of going on to win the competition outright. And that is all without mentioning the quiet progress United are making in the FA Cup.

Despite the progress made this season, United are very much still on the path back to the top, rather than at the end of the road. It is a project that will undoubtedly feature bumps, but the end goal is now back in sight. After a calamitous 2021/22 campaign, the signs are promising, and Ten Hag looks to be the perfect person to guide the club back to glory. For Tielemans, the prospect of playing an influential role in steering United back to the very top is exactly the type of project which is likely to entice him.

The Reds, after missing out on Frenkie de Jong last summer, are expected to recruit a new No.8 in the upcoming transfer window. The injury to Christian Eriksen shows that they need depth in that area next season. Tielemans would be cost-effective option, and one who would appeal to both Ten Hag and the Old Trafford hierarchy.

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