2pm Man Utd news LIVE: Saul Niguez ‘very close to joining United in £70m deal’, Gomes to QUIT, Dembele wants transfer – The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED are set for a busy summer in the transfer market.

As Premier League clubs hope to restart the campaign when safe to do so, the Red Devils are reportedly eyeing up a move for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Follow all the latest updates and transfer news below…

  • WHATSAPPENING?

    Premier League players are using a WhatsApp group to express fears over Project Restart.

    The Government have given the go ahead for the Premier League to resume behind closed doors from June 1 but some of the top flight's biggest stars are worried about returning to work.

    The welfare of players is still one of the biggest issues facing the prospective return of matches on June 12 – even though no fans will be in attendance.

    And a WhatsApp group containing some of the League's biggest stars is full of concerned messages over the return while coronavirus continues to kill hundreds of people every day in the UK.

    Some players reportedly feel their worries are being overlooked so the Government can make political gains by “boosting the nation's morale”, according to the Mail.

    Prem clubs will consult their players on the latest plans over the next 48 hours and the stars' concerns will be relayed back to team chiefs during those calls.

  • ROD ONES OUT

    James Rodriguez is in advanced talks with Atletico Madrid over a summer transfer, according to reports.

    The news will come as a blow to Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United who have both been linked with the Colombian playmaker.

    Real are willing to sell Rodriguez, as his contract expires in the summer of 2021, meaning he is free to negotiate with other clubs in January.

    But he is likely to be shipped out before then to ensure Los Blancos can recover some cash for the midfielder.

    And Atletico are leading the way, according to prominent Colombian journalist Javier Hernandez Bonnet.

    Speaking on Blu Radio, he said: “If Real want to get some money back, they have to close a transfer.

    “James has several cards to play, but we have been told he is convinced by Atletico in all aspects – in the sport and in the staff – and it is 80 per cent sure he will be a new player for Atlético Madrid.”

  • WELL I NEV-ER

    Gary Neville has called for Project Restart to be delayed until July as “25 per cent” of players are concerned about playing.

    The Government have given the go ahead for the Premier League to resume behind closed doors from June 1.

    But the former Manchester United defender has urged the English top-flight to consider pushing back the restart date.

    Speaking on Sky Sports' The Football Show, he said: “I don't think anybody is clear, in football or in the country.

    “You've all seen the fallout of the rambling mess we had to witness on Sunday night.

    “It became a little bit clearer yesterday with the further info that was released, but I think the Premier League were hanging their hat on further guidance that they didn't get.

    “Maybe at this moment in time they need to be thinking on a July start rather than a June start. We're getting closer and closer to a deadline.”

  • ANGEL DELIGHT

    Angel Gomes is reportedly close to QUITTING Manchester United amid stalemate over a new £30k-a-week contract offer.

    Chelsea could get one over their rivals by prising the 19-year-old away from Old Trafford for free when his deal runs out this summer.

    The United starlet's contract expires on July 1 but he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with the clock running out.

    Old Trafford are desperate to keep the academy graduate in their clutches and have tried to tempt the youngster with hefty new terms.

    But as reported by Goal, the negotiations between the youngster and Old Trafford remain in a deadlock.

    He was originally offered a £20,000-a-week deal at the start of the season but the hotshot's entourage have been concerned over the ace's lack of first-team game time.

    Chelsea have suggested they are willing to match United's contract offer to Gomes with Frank Lampard keen to add the star to his exciting crop of youngsters.

  • ALM WRESTLE

    Man Utd have stolen a march on Premier League rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Argentine talent Thiago Almada, according to reports.

    Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to invest in youth as he looks to transform his Red Devils squad.

    And the 19-year-old Velez Sarsfield playmaker fits the bill following his four goals in the Argentine top division this campaign.

    It was previously revealed how Almada has attracted interest from Premier League rivals Manchester City linked.

    But Solskjaer is not willing to hang around and reports claim he has already swooped for his signature.

    According to Tutto Mercato Web, the boss has made contact with the club over his potential availability.

    It adds that the player has a £22million release clause but Solskjaer is looking to pay in the region of £16m.

  • UNITED FRONT

  • PJAN OF ACTION

    Juventus star Miralem Pjanic has reportedly “refused” to join Manchester United to pursue a move to Barcelona. 

    Cash-strapped Barca are ready to offer the Bianconeri a number of aces in return for the Bosnia-Herzegovina international.

    Pjanic has clocked up 167 appearances for Juventus since arriving at the Allianz in 2016, and has won six major trophies – including three Serie A titles – but he looks set to leave in the summer. 

    United had hoped to secure the midfield maestro's services as part of a swap deal for wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba.

    Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to inject even more creativity into his midfield, following the signing of Portuguese maestro Bruno Fernandes.

    But according to Sport, the 30-year-old has snubbed a move to Old Trafford and PSG after receiving an offer for a dream move to the Nou Camp.

    The report claims that the Catalan giants have reached a verbal agreement with Pjanic and have offered up a number of players to secure the Juve star's signature.

  • AD ENOUGH

    Man Utd have been in contact with Adrien Rabiot’s representatives over a possible move from Juventus, according to reports in Italy.

    The Frenchman, who joined the club just last summer, has started 11 matches in Serie A and 16 in all competitions this campaign.

    Maurizio Sarri is overloaded in central midfield, favouring the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi over Rabiot.

    Calciomercato say United are ‘serious’ about signing Rabiot and the Frenchman’s agent is ‘at work’ trying to seal a move to the Premier League.

  • HES A KEEPER

    Man Utd's third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant has been keeping himself in shape in his garden.

  • KING HENRY

    Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has been voted the Premier League’s greatest-ever striker.

    The Frenchman beat the Prem’s all-time top goalscorer Alan Shearer and Manchester United’s club record scorer Wayne Rooney in Sun Sport’s exclusive poll.

    Over 33,000 readers cast their vote amongst the star-studded list of names available.

    But it was the Gunners hero who prevailed with a huge 38 per cent of the votes, followed by Shearer and Rooney.

    Rooney just edged out Man City icon Sergio Aguero, with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba completing the top five.

  • ROMERO WORLD

    EXCLUSIVE – Man Utd's Sergio Romero has been ordered to tear down a £20,000 adventure playground on his front garden — after neighbours ­likened it to a “theme park”.

    The Argentinian goalkeeper, 33, and wife Eliana installed the enormous playhouse for their two young daughters without planning permission.

    It boasts a clubhouse, 12ft-high castle, a 10ft slide and a 14ft-high penthouse den.

    The family’s £2.8million mansion is a few doors down from former manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s home.

    After Romero retrospectively applied for planning permission, one neighbour in Wilmslow, Cheshire, complained: “This enormous installation is more suited to a commercial theme park than a quiet residential road.”

    Another said: “Usually such a structure would be expected to be positioned in the back garden.”

    A council official who later inspected it agreed it was too big and impacted “the street scene and the wider neighbourhood”.

  • PREM WORRY

    EXCLUSIVE – Premier League clubs should brace themselves for a raft of possible injuries post-lockdown according to the leading compiler of player fitness data.

    According to data supplied by Premier Injuries Limited, 38 of the 46 Premier League footballers whose nations reached the quarter-finals or beyond ended up getting injured or ill during the 2018-19 season.

    This equates to 83% being sidelined after being rushed back so soon into competition.

    Ben Dinnery of Premier Injuries Limited said: “Even with the best intentions in the world, you won’t get a player to maintain the fitness required to perform at the highest level working in self-isolation.

    “They will have a base line of fitness but ideally in any pre-season programme for the first 7-10 days, you are testing and building fitness.

    “Then you introduce competitive play into that – i.e. friendlies. We don’t have time to prepare that for the players. So there is an increased risk of injuries. Introducing five subs from Fifa is one solution.

    “But there is no escaping our competitive play is different to any other in the world no matter how much planning or preparation you do.”

  • GOOD MORNING RED DEVILS FANS

    Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is wanted by Chelsea – but prefers a move to United.

    According to the Daily Star, the ex-Celtic hitman has told the Red Devils he is keen on joining them.

    And United are growing increasingly confident of landing the 23-year-old in a £60m deal.

    United could have saved £51MILLION on Bruno Fernandes if they’d waited until the summer transfer window, according to Sporting Lisbon president Frederico Varandas

    He told SIC: “The crisis caused by Covid-19 harms the European football industry in general.

    “But, of all countries, Portugal is the most affected because 50 per cent of revenues come from the sale of players.

    “Fernandes was sold for £68m in January.

    “Today, what would he be worth? Maybe £17m? £27m? Nobody knows.”

    Premier League chiefs got the Government’s green light for a return to action next month.

    But the good news came with red flags as the 20 clubs were faced with a number of issues including scrapping neutral venues, a £760m broadcasting bill and doubts from players over returning.

  • COSTLY BRU-WOE

    United could have saved £51MILLION on the Bruno Fernandes if they’d waited until the summer transfer window.

    That’s according to Sporting Lisbon president Frederico Varandas, who claims the £68m United paid for Fernandes in January would not be feasible this summer amid the coronavirus crisis.

    Varandas believes United would be getting Fernandes for a snippet of the fee they did shell out had they waited until the end of the season.He told SIC: “The crisis caused by Covid-19 harms the European football industry in general.

    “But, of all countries, Portugal is the most affected because 50 per cent of revenues come from the sale of players.

    “Fernandes was sold for £68m in January.“Today, what would he be worth? Maybe £17m? £27m? Nobody knows.”

  • MAN U OR A MOUSSA

    Lyon striker Moussa Dembele could be close to a £60million switch to United, reports say.

    The uncapped Frenchman, 23, formerly of Fulham and Celtic, is thought to have been trailed by Old Trafford scouts over the past year.

    And the Daily Star suggest United are now confident of signing the former Under-21 international.

    Lyon missed out on European football next season as Ligue 1 was halted early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    And their president Jean-Michel Aulas believes that could mean selling some players.

  • CASH FEARS UNITE PREM CLUBS

    Two months of nitpicking and name-calling has weakened the bonds holding together the Premier League’s 20 clubs.

    But if there is one thing that unites them, it is cold, hard cash.

    And while some of the strained relationships will perhaps never be the same again, the thought of watching millions of pounds disappear down the drain proved the catalyst for a new resolution.

    Even the biggest of the Prem giants will be hit by losing their share of more than £300million being demanded back by broadcasters for a disrupted, delayed and virus-distorted season.

    Waving goodbye to all £760m they have already banked between them for the final quarter of the season would be a hammer blow to every one of them.

    League chief executive Richard Masters, who has recognised the scale of his job in recent weeks, denied vitriol had been an issue but agreed that the bitterness had to end.

    He said: “When we’re dealing with some of the challenges and complications, it’s understandable there are differences of opinions between clubs.

    “We were able to paint a picture about what would happen in various scenarios, playing out the season and not playing out the season.

    “The way the clubs came together, I feel people can see some of the issues are now starting to be addressed and I can see momentum building.

    “What there was, was a view that we were better together and talking through one voice and better off acting at all times like a collective. That was the unanimous view.”

  • DON'T PUNCTURE MY HALO

    ODION IGHALO will plead with Shanghai Shenhua not to end his Manchester United dream when his Old Trafford loan runs out at the end of the month.

    The Chinese Super League club have upped their valuation of the Nigeria striker, 30, to around £22million if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to keep him on for when the season resumes in June.

    Ighalo is desperate to stay for the final nine league games — as well as helping United in the FA Cup and Europa League.

    Now he is ready to put his case to Shenhua.

    But with the Chinese season also starting in June, the club want Igahalo back unless United pay up.

    United had signed the former Watford front man in January for a loan fee of £3million until the end of the season.

    But with the seasonsuspended due to the coronavirus timeis fast running out. Ighalo had been valued at £15m when he first arrived, but FOUR goals in eight games made Shenhua’s hierarchy revise their valuation.

  • RYAN ALMOST WENT WANDERING

    Ryan Giggs almost quit Manchester United in 2003 and could have signed for BOLTON WANDERERS.

    The Welshman ended up staying with Sir Alex Ferguson's side and went on to win ten more trophies with the Red Devils before his retirement in 2014, aged 40.

    Giggs told BeIN Sport: “Around 2003/04 I didn’t have a great start to the season.

    “It was the summer that David Beckham went, that was the probably the closest I got to going.

    “My form wasn’t great, and it was the transition period where I’d gone from flying winger to coming in a little bit more inside.

    “If I hadn’t ended the season strong, who knows. I was in and out of the team towards the end of my career but I was fine with that.

    “I was 35 to 40, I was fine, and I had got my head around that quite quickly, that I would be in and out of the team.”

    Inter Milan and Juventus were both linked with the United legend and even Sam Allardyce’s high-flying Bolton were keen.

  • PREM RETURN GETS GOV GREEN LIGHT
    Premier League chiefs were given the Government green light for a return to action next month.
    But the news came as the 20 clubs:

    • Were told they face a £375m repayment bill from broadcasters even if the season is played out, with demands for the full outstanding £760m if it is scrapped
    • Forced Prem bosses to go back with a plea to let the season be completed in home stadiums rather than neutral venues
    • Received a grilling as FA chairman Greg Clarkewarned Wembley would not sanction the season being voided or relegation scrapped
    • And were still seeking to agree medical protocols that the players will accept as a condition to return to training.The apparent U-turn on neutral grounds came amid a groundswell of opinion from clubs that league chiefs had kowtowed too swiftly to pressure from police.
    • Clubs asked why there had been no real pushback to police concerns over fans congregating outside grounds where matches were being played behind closed doors.

    ROSE: PREM RETURN IS 'F***ING JOKE'

    Danny Rose slammed plans to bring football back, fuming: “I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale – lives are at risk”.

    The Premier League is plotting a return in June, with the government keen to lift the country’s spirits.

    But the Newcastle defender, on loan from Tottenham, is aghast at plans to return while death rates remain high.

    On Instagram, Rose blasted: “It's a f****** joke, I'm not even going to lie.

    “The government is saying bring football back because it's going to boost the nation's morale, I don't give a f*** about the nation's morale. People's lives are at risk, you know what I mean?

    “Football shouldn't even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively. It's b*******.

    “We'll see, I think I'm getting tested on Friday, so we'll just have to wait and see.

    “I listened to the announcement, no football until June 1st or something, I don't even pay attention to any of that.

    “I'm sad that people are getting sick and being affected. Football should be the last of things that need to be sorted.

    “I think everyone will get tested as soon as they get back and we'll see what happens.I just hope the numbers stay low so we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

    UTD DUO ARE TWO KEEN

    United stars Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Timothy Fosu-Mensah got a little bit ahead of themselves on Monday — and weresent home for their troubles.

    The good pals, both 22, thought they would make the most of the Government’s lockdown easing by training outdoors together at the private Saint Ambrose College in Cheshire.

    However, the new guideline on being allowed outside with one person who is not from your household does not come into force until WEDNESDAY.

    And red-faced defenders Wan-Bissaka and Fosu-Mensah, were then told to HOP IT by college staff because they did not have permission to be there.

    The duo were snapped using a football and doing keepy-uppies in between shuttle runs.

    And they certainly practised social distancing rules by maintaining the required two-metre gap at all times.

    Premier League players are expected to return to training this month while adhering to new health and safety guidelines.

    LAY THE ODDS ON LEAVING

    PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa has been offered to Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle, reports in Italy suggest.

    The 13-cap France star has been a regular for his country's top club this season but is not expected to be offered a new contract.

    Serie A giants Inter Milan and Juventus are also tracking the 27-year-old, according to FC Inter.

    But although he would available on a free transfer, his £100,000 weekly wages will deter all but the most keen suitors.

    £35M LOS AND GAIN

    United are lining up a £35million raid for Benfica goal machine Carlos Vinicius, according to reports.

    The Brazilian striker heads the Portuguese scoring charts with 15 goals in 19 Primeira Liga appearances – and 20 from 33 games in all competitions.

    Vinicius, 25, has already attracted interest from Liverpool. A £15million buy from Napoli last summer, he is under contract until 2024.

    Lisbon media now claim Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign the striker during the close season.

    Vinicius has an £88m release clause in his contract.However the inflated figure is seen as highly unrealistic with the transfer market hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

    And Portuguese media reports say United are ready to test Benfica's resolve by offering 40 million euros – £35m.

    The Red Devils have already made one highly successful signing from Portugal this year in Bruno Fernandes.

    'UNLESS RONALDO QUITS, POGBA CAN'T JOIN JUVE'

    Juventus could only afford to sign Paul Pogba this summer if Cristiano Ronaldo retires.

    That's the blunt verdict of European football expert Gabriele Marcotti – not least as the coronavirus pandemic adds to clubs'financial woes.

    Juve's Adrian Rabiot, 25,has been linked with a part-exchange deal involving Manchester United's fellow France midfielder Pogba, 27.

    But as Pogba still has two years left on his Old Trafford contract, Marcotti believes the possible £100milion transfer fee plus huge wages would be beyond the Serie A champions.

    He toldESPN FC: “What they're talking about is some complicated thing where Miralem Pjanic goes to Barcelona and then Pogba comes in.

    The fact of the matter is I think everything is on hold until they get a clear picture of finances and Pogba is happy at United.

    “He would be happier at a United team that was competing for the title.

    “But the way his wages are now, I don't see Juventus making this work, unless Cristiano retires or something, which obviously would be bad for other reasons.

    “I should clarify, the bit about Cristiano Ronaldo retiring, it's purely hypothetical, I have no suggestion he will anytime soon.”

    UNQUALIFIED SUCCESS OR FAILURE

    Uefa are reportedly considering ditching qualifiers for the 2020/21 Champions League and Europa League.

    Sides like Celtic and Ajax are set to rely on the play-off pathway for reaching European football's elite club competition when next season eventually kicks off.

    The highest placed teams from leagues such as the SPFL, Eredivisie and Swiss Super League are typically left to fight it out for the final six group stage spots but are potentially facing a major change of rules.

    A report in The Times outlines concerns that there will simply not be enough time to play out qualifiers for either competition.

    The 2019/20 tournaments are set to be completed in August due to the coronavirus pandemic, after the protracted domestic campaigns are allowed to finish this summer.

    A start date of October 20 has been set for the next campaign's group stage, leaving little time for play-offs to take place.

    Clubs across France, the Netherlands and other countries where football has been subject to a lengthy ban may not play again until September.

    It is reported that the four rounds of Champions League qualifiers could be shortened to either one-legged rounds or even a shootout between the 12 highest-ranked countries in Uefa's coefficient system who are not already represented.

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