Erik ten Hag’s pursuit of Mason Mount is five years in the making with the Chelsea midfielder keen to move to Manchester United. Mount is increasingly likely to leave the Blues this summer, with United believed to be the England star’s preferred choice.
Ten Hag has seemingly tracked the 24-year-old for at least five years. Aged 19, Mount was linked with Ten Hag’s Ajax side in the summer of 2018.
Mount had enjoyed a sensational start to life in senior football, embarking on a loan spell with Dutch side Vitesse in 2017-18. The then-teenager scored 14 goals and provided 10 assists for Chelsea’s affiliate side, catching the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
It was claimed at the time that Mount had attracted attention from at least three Premier League clubs who were interested in taking Mount on loan for the 2018-19 campaign. Several Championship clubs were also keen, too, including Frank Lampard’s Derby who ultimately won the race for the playmaker’s highly-sought signature.
But according to The Sun, Ten Hag’s Ajax also expressed an interest. The United boss had narrowly missed out on the Eredivisie title to PSV and was keen to inject a creative spark into his side.
Mount was supposedly considered as a summer addition at the Johan Cruyff Arena but it is unclear how far that interest progressed. There was no further update on a potential move to the Amsterdam-based club.
Among Mount’s other European suitors that summer were supposedly PSV, Sporting Lisbon and Werder Bremen. Instead, the Portsmouth-born star joined Derby for the season and scored 11 times in 44 appearances.
Derby, who were managed by Lampard and had fellow Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori, narrowly missed out on promotion. They were beaten by Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final, although Lampard went on to become Chelsea boss that summer and integrated Mount and Tomori into the first team.
Several years on, Mount could finally link up with Ten Hag, who has likely tracked the player’s progress since his Vitesse spell. It is reported that Old Trafford is Mount’s preferred destination, but that talks between Chelsea and United have stalled over the transfer fee.
Despite Mount only having a year remaining on his contract, the West Londoners are supposedly holding out for an eyebrow-raising £70million, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. United, who are expected to complete several signings this summer, do not want to pay such a high fee.
Mount’s arrival could be part of a busy window for United. Ten Hag is expected to make the addition of a new striker his priority, having seen his side struggle for goals in 2022-23.