Louis Saha: ‘France are well placed to win Euro 2024’

 | Wednesday 12th June 2024, 9:37am

Wednesday 12th June 2024, 9:37am

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With Euro 2024 kicking off on Friday evening, former France forward Louis Saha has exclusively told Betfred that he believes his former national side are well placed to win the competition, but believes England and Portugal will be their closest challengers to the crown. Louis also spoke to us regarding Erik ten Hag staying at Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes to Bayern Munich rumours and whether he believes Luke Shaw has a long-term future at Manchester United.

Euro 2024 Betting Odds

  • France to win Euro 2024 @ 4/1

Who do you believe are the favourites to win Euro 2024 this summer?

“I think France are well placed to win the competition because they have a very strong defence, midfield and strikeforce and obviously they also have Kylian Mbappé, so what a team!

“I can see England and Portugal competing too, so it will be very interesting to see who wins it. It’s so difficult to predict because I personally believe that the Euros is a harder competition to win than the World Cup.”

How relieved are you that Kylian Mbappé’s future has been sorted ahead of Euro 2024. Were you worried it could have served as a distraction for France if it wasn’t sorted?

“No, I didn’t think it would be a distraction because for the past two or three years, there’s always been a lot of speculation surrounding Kylian. Going into the Euros, he will be very, very focused and that would have been the case if his club future wasn’t sorted. He’s never shown signs of any disturbance or lack of concentration because he’s a very, very strong lad mentally. He knows where he wants to go, he knows what he wants to do and he knows the responsibility that is on his shoulders. I don’t think there would have been any problem that would have stopped him from coping with this pressure. 

“With the situation over his club future resolved, then that’s a good thing for the players, but I never thought it would have distracted Kylian. It will be a relief for the manager to not have to discuss Kylian’s future in press conferences or interviews and the whole group can focus solely on winning the competition.”

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Now onto Manchester United. With it being confirmed that Erik Ten Hag will remain in his job at Old Trafford, do you believe it was disrespectful towards Ten Hag for INEOS to have conversations with various managers which were known to the public?

“This is a normal situation. There’s new ownership at the club and there’s a new board, so they had to assess everything and analyse different options. Erik ten Hag may have felt that he needed an answer very quickly so he could prepare for next season. However, this is a situation which is normal in my opinion. I don’t believe the discussion with other managers was completely behind his back, but it’s something that needed to be addressed and I’m sure it was painful for Erik ten Hag.

“He won the FA Cup, which was great, but you can see that he hasn’t solved all the issues he needs to and he needed to be challenged about that. I believe the situation wasn’t straightforward and if they played anywhere near like they did in his first season, then these conversations wouldn’t have happened. The people in charge of the club were trying to do what was best for the club and that needs to be respected.”

With Marcus Rashford being left out of England’s squad for Euro 2024, do you believe Manchester United can benefit from Marcus having a full summer off and returning for the new season fresh?

“It’s the only option he has now. I’m sure he’s very disappointed to have missed out on a place in the squad, but the only solution he has now is to assess what happened last season and come back fresh and try and prove people wrong. 

“Gareth Southgate believes that Marcus hasn’t done enough to be in the squad and if he had played well last season and didn’t make mistakes off the pitch, then we wouldn’t be talking about his name not being in the squad and that’s the reality, so he needs to assess those things and digest them. He needs to come back as strong as possible because I know we all see a great, great player in him and it seems as if he’s wasting his potential currently, but hopefully he can come back stronger and prove what a great player he really is.”

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Bayern Munich are said to be interested in Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes. Do you believe he would struggle to turn down a move if they formally presented an offer for him?

“We all know that Bruno Fernandes loves Manchester United and he always gives 100%, if not more, when he plays. He’s the captain and he works as hard as he can for the team, but the club is currently in transition and it’s proven that there’s still some issues to resolve. He’s been criticised a lot over the past year in regards to the captaincy and things like that and I’m sure he will want to be playing in the Champions League. As an individual, you really need to think about these things and if Bayern Munich or any other huge club comes in for him, then he should be allowed to think about what’s best for him. 

“Manchester United aren’t in a great position at the moment and they won’t be competing in the Champions League next season. There’s also a lot of consistency issues within the squad and considering that there’s a new board, Bruno may need to be reassured of a few things before pledging his future to the club. 

“I’ve seen a lot of criticism go in his direction and it’s really sad to see because he’s the only player that’s performed consistently for Manchester United over the past few years.”

Bournemouth’s Milos Kerkez is said to be one of Manchester United’s primary transfer targets at left-back. Have you been impressed by what you’ve seen of him in his debut season in the Premier League?

“Yes, you can only be impressed. He’s been very consistent and shown great quality against big teams, especially against Manchester United. I’m not surprised he’s been linked and I won’t be surprised if he gets even better. He’s very, very young still and I’m surprised he was able to play that well in his debut campaign in the Premier League. He’s shown a lot of ability and I’m sure he’s keen to improve, so it’s very exciting if Manchester United can complete this transfer because it would be great.”

Do you believe Luke Shaw has a long-term future at Manchester United considering his injury record?

“It’s difficult to answer because you can’t predict whether Luke is going to have a spell out injured again. He’s a really good player and he offers that security that the team really needs. When both he and Lisandro Martínez are fit, the team is defensively way better. 

“All players need competition and last season was really bad for the team in terms of the injuries they suffered. What’s been rumoured is that INEOS are only prepared to look at players under the age of 25 and a player like Milos Kerkez fits the bill.”

Youssouf Fofana is reportedly a £20 million target for both Manchester United and Arsenal this summer. Do you believe he is good enough to make a move to a top Premier League club and do you believe £20 million is great value for money?

“I think that would be value for money. It’s almost a bargain because the guy has been really impressive this season for Monaco and he’s dominated the midfield. I think Didier Deschamps now knows that he’s a good asset for France’s midfield too, but there’s still room for improvement and the Premier League would definitely be a good platform for him to do that. 

“He’s a big player with great quality, but physically and technically. It would be interesting to see him in Manchester United’s midfield because we need legs and power in that area of the team and I believe he can provide that.”

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Omari Forson has agreed to join Serie A club Monza, leaving Manchester United on a free transfer. Do you believe Manchester United could look back at this with a bit of regret, similar to when Paul Pogba left for Juventus in 2012?

“I think when you’re making those decisions, then you don’t look at them with much regret. We could compare him to Paul Pogba who left the club on a free transfer when he was 19 years old, but the difference between him and Omari is that Paul at the time he left was already an exceptional player and he had a disagreement with the manager, but the manager still really wanted him. 

“With Omari leaving, then that’s not great because you need to prove yourself, play enough games and show that you deserve a consistent run in the team. Nobody in this Manchester United team, especially now, has any guarantee whatsoever, so I’m a little bit baffled that a player of his age is leaving the club so suddenly. If he really wanted to stay at Manchester United, then he needed to reconsider the talks he had with his agent. He needed to prove himself and show that he was willing to wait for his opportunity. That fact that he didn’t is possibly a good indication for why he shouldn’t have remained at the club. 

“There’s no need for regret. He needed to play 15 or so games and prove how good he is, like what Alejandro Garnacho has done. I won’t be surprised if he has a great career, but Manchester United needs the right characters in their squad and that’s the most important thing. The club needs to get back to where it was and there’s more important things needed than having a six-month discussion over a contract with a teenager. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Wolves’ Matheus Cunha is also another target for Manchester United this summer, if reports are to be believed. Do you believe he’s ready to step up a level in the Premier League?

“Yes, I think he is. Everytime I see him play, he’s very creative, very powerful, he can break any line, and that kind of skill he’s got is the missing link that we need. He’s a player that’s capable of accelerating the game, whether that’s by him passing the ball or dribbling, and he possesses a lot of quality. 

“I won’t be surprised and I have no doubts that with some stronger players around him, he can be a terrific player.”

And now we want to ask you the same question regarding West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus? He’s also said to be a target.

“I think he’s shown that he’s one of the top players and he has unbelievable potential. I think he’s surprised everyone during his time at West Ham with how quickly he’s been able to showcase his quality and he’s definitely one of their main men, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he signed for a bigger club this summer.

“If Manchester United can sign a player like him, he’s the type of footballer that has that high level of confidence and consistency that’s very impressive. He’s a very flexible footballer that has provided goals and assists in not a particularly strong setup at West Ham, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up at Manchester United. He’s a strong, quality player.”

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In recent months, do you believe Sofyan Amrabat has shown signs that Manchester United should attempt to sign him permanently this summer?

“I don’t think he’s had the best season. In terms of commitment, you can see that he’s tried his best. He’s a very talented player that works really hard but for him, it’s definitely been a difficult season. 

“He was very impressive for Morocco during the 2022 World Cup and I believe that was one of the main reasons why he earned his move to Manchester United. I’ve seen him in interviews and I’m sure he loves the club.

“If he’s put in a team with the right balance and right characters, then he, as well as every other player, can produce 30% more than they have been doing. When the right setup is in place, your performances will improve and everyone in the team will as well. 

“I don’t believe Amrabat has had the best season, so I’m unsure whether he will remain at the club permanently because I won’t lie and say I’ve been really impressed, because that’s not been the case.”

We’ve asked you previously regarding Manchester United’s interest in Leny Yoro, however if he were to sign for the club this summer, do you believe he’s good enough to make an immediate impact for the club?

“I think he’s a great player for his age as he’s only 18 years old. He’s a right-footed centre-back like Raphaël Varane and he’s a very strong defender from what I’ve seen of him. However, as with every player that moves to the Premier League, he would need to adapt mentally and physically but he’s a clever boy and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was to have a strong impact defensively for this current Manchester United team. That’s what this team needs. We need a player who’s capable of bringing that calmness to the defence, similar to what Lisandro Martínez and Raphaël Varane brought when they were both fit and playing alongside each other. I’m looking forward to something like this.”

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, two of your former clubs, are both said to be interested in Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze. At this moment in time, which club do you believe Eze would prefer to join?

“It’s difficult to say. There’s one team in particular that has more problems when it comes to producing the flair we all look for and that’s Manchester United. In the early part of last season, James Maddison was providing that for Tottenham and all their forward players seemed to click. Eze’s a very strong and talented player and I believe he’s good enough to play for either side. 

“He may view Manchester United as a bigger club that now has the capacity to resolve their problems and become a force again. I still believe that Tottenham also have issues to resolve despite starting last season really well. It’s difficult to say which club he’ll join if they both pursue his signature this summer.”

Check out our other Euro 2024 Betting Tips here. 

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