Menu

Ousmane Dembele ‘very close’ to signing for Manchester United – reports

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is reported ‘very close’ to signing for Manchester United this summer. Spanish news source AS has suggested that the French winger signing for United would unlock the funds required for Barcelona to sign Memphis Depay this summer with the player seeking to leave Lyon. Dembele was linked to United back in May and it was suggested at the time that the player could have been available for £37 million back then, which is not quite the case at this moment in time. The report from AS suggests the Old Trafford club would need to spend between €50-€60 million on the player, which is a lot more than £37 million.

If the player was to leave Barcelona, it would allow the club to drop their wage bill, which will already be high because the club have kept hold of Lionel Messi, who is the clubs highest earner on nearly £1 million per week. It is suggested in the report, which was translates by Sport Witness, that United would be happy to pay between €50-€60 million for the French winger this summer, despite his seemingly poor record at the club after signing from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017. Since signing for the club, he has missed 80 matches in three seasons due to various injuries with hamstring injuries the most regular.

This could well be a concern for United, who have many players already at the club who seem to spend a lot of the time on the sidelines through injury, rather than being available to play regularly instead. Dembele, if he signed for United, would need to watch himself and ensure that he was available more often than not, if a certain injury is preventable. The report does not state that any deal has been done or that an offer has actually been made but for something like this to be generated, there must have been some initial talks which might have reached advanced stages or that this whole story has been made up by the media. It seems strange to be true right now.

Lyon are said to be keen to sell Depay this summer with the player wanted by Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, so if this happens, it could see Barcelona raising the money to bring Depay to the Nou Camp this summer. Depay seems to have a €25 million selling price this summer and the French club could half that to €12.5 million in order to sell the player this summer. There must be something desperate going on in order to do something like that – probably financial problems that could have become escalated because of the coronavirus pandemic or something similar. It seems strange that United have all of a sudden been linked with Dembele once again.

Dembele has played a total of 75 times for Barcelona in three full seasons 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, including the one appearance he has made so far this season. In total, the French winger has scored 19 goals and 16 assists at the club, which is not something that will be seen as outstanding, in all honesty. Whilst at Borussia Dortmund, Dembele made a total of 50 appearances, scoring 10 goals and 22 assists, which for his age at the time, was good. The player is still only 23 so with injury avoided, he could find his feet at a new club, providing this is true and not just another rumour that goes nowhere, like we have seen all summer with Jadon Sancho.

At his first club, Stade Rennais, Dembele made a total of 29 appearances, scoring 12 goals and five assists. There seems to be few options for United this summer when seeking to sign a new winger with Sancho said to be the number one target all summer. If United do in fact make a move for Dembele, it would suggest that United will no longer pursue Sancho, which seems strange. There was a chance to sign the player this summer, but it passed by with nothing. Could this be a move to show Dortmund that United would be prepared to go elsewhere, seemingly alerting them that they will move for another player or it is just a rumour that has no legs?

Written by John Walker

If Manchester United were willing to spend £153 million on Ansu Fati; why the hesitation to sign Jadon Sancho?

Manchester United are reportedly willing to spend £153 million on Barcelona winger Ansu Fati before his club hand him a new contract which will include a £360 million release clause. Spanish news source Mundo Deportivo, reported by The Sun have reported the claim which seems rather peculiar based on the fact that if United had this much money to spend on a player, they would have paid the £108 million needed to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund this summer.

It is suggested that United offered the German club between £60 million and £70 million up front with the rest to be paid in instalments, which seems rather strange. Now United, who don’t seem to want to spend much money on Sancho, are seemingly offering more to sign Fati, 17, who will turn 18 on the 31 October 2020. Obviously, the player has done well to fight for a place in Barcelona’s first team with his stock only set to rise. But the same could be said for Sancho, 20.

To me, it seems that either the club, of Ed Woodward are briefing the media of what they want to do, rather than doing it, or the media around Europa are just making everything up, which is not a good way of doing things either. If United want to do something, get it does and make sure it is well publicised that you have done it, whether it results in a successful transfer or not. United need to get something done this summer and nearly a month after the transfer window opened, nothing has happened.

A rumour in the media means nothing at the end of the day but it is life either Woodward or the journalists writing this news don’t care about what could be caused because of things like this. At this moment in time, Chelsea, who finished just below United in the Premier League, have had a rather successful transfer window already signing Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner with Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz close to being completed, plus Thiago Silva is linked to the club, leaving Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent this summer.

United need to be doing things like Chelsea, fixing a squad which has a good first XI but is poor when it comes to quality depth. There are many players at the club who should have played their last matches by now and should be getting ready to leave the club, but it would seem that another summer transfer window could come and go with United taking the simple options of allowing these same players to continue to be carried by other players at the club, making sure United achieve nothing of note, which is not what many of the players, the coaches or the manager wants.

To suggest that United will be willing to spend £153 million on Ansu Fati and not spend £108 million on Jadon Sancho is preposterous. Many have the mind that the club is playing the media and the supporters, despite what has been done in the past. United signed Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire then signed Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window and this summer, the right-wing, the defence and the midfield require some rebuilding in some way. How long can United continue to make it look like they are doing nothing?

Written by John Walker

Barcelona respond to reports of new approach for Ansu Fati by Manchester United

Manchester United have reportedly made a fresh approach for Barcelona’s talented forward Ansu Fati according to Sport. This week, United’s summer move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho seems to have stalled with the player heading to Switzerland with his club on a pre-season training camp after the 10 August deadline expired with the German club now suggesting that they plan to keep the 20-year-old for the 2020/21 season in some defiance on their Twitter account.

United have been linked with Fati, 17 already this summer but it seems that the Catalan club will be retaining the services of the player. This season, in 32 appearances, the teenager has scored eight goals and one assist and looks to be a player for the future, hence the interest from United who really need to sign a right-winger this summer. Fati predominantly plays on the left though, a position that could be occupied by Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or even Daniel James. On the right, United have few options that actually work.

The Spanish source claim that Barcelona have made it clear that Fati will not be sold this summer, which is what has always been said but the Catalan outfit. Fati has a contract that will expire in the summer of 2022 but the club has an option to add a further two-years on that if they want to, giving them power over the future of the player. In December 2019, Fati signed his new contract which saw his release clause rise from £84 million to £144 million but that would rise further to £339 million when the player signs his professional contract when he turns 18 in October.

In United are counting the pennies this summer, which looks like the car because of the coronavirus pandemic, the mere fact they they will not pay €120 million for Sancho would suggest that they will not pay £144 million for Fati, should the player even want to leave Barcelona. In my opinion, this is just United testing to water to get a deal for Sancho done. This is the same tactic that other clubs have used in the past, even United. That said though, Sport suggest that Fati will be on lower wages and agent fees would not be as high as they would for Sancho.

It is clear that United want to sign players this summer but seem to be doing things in an amateurish fashion, which always seems to be the case with the club. The executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward has been in charge of transfer for eight summer transfer windows now and there always seems to be drama which could be avoided with months of planning, talking to agents, clubs and when allowed, the players they want to sign. Imagine if this set of thing was concluded before the transfer window even opened, making the club look professional rather than a club that just wants to penny pinch so the owners end up getting a better windfall.

These rumours that eventually lead to nothing will keep coming until the transfer window closes on the 5 October in order to make it look like United have the intentions of doing business. However, that intention should be shown by actually making the signings that United needs rather than seeking out players who will be much cheaper and therefore not the player that was wanted in the first place. To accumulate, you need to speculate. If United signed a player like Sancho, they would make money in marketing and other avenues.

Whilst the club would not make money from shirt sales, with that covered in the £75 million sponsorship payment from adidas each year, with other sponsors and other avenues, United could make proportions of large transfer fees in those areas. Then, when the football is working fully on the pitch, things will sort themselves out. Greedy people seem to want to take more than they want to give which is why United are still in debt.

Written by John Walker

Barcelona interested in signing Portuguese defender Diogo Dalot, 21 this summer – reports

Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot this summer. The 21-year-old has fallen out of favour under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after being purchased by Jose Mourinho during his reign of the club. It seems a shame but the player has not been in the best of form when he has been used this season. ESPN has reported the possibility of the Catalan club making a move for the player, which could be good for him.

Dalot signed for United in the summer of 2018 and has a contract which expires in the summer of 2023, so any transfer fee will be in United’s favour, however, if Barcelona are interested in the player, they will claim financial hardship and try to pay a pittance for the player. United will need to stick to their guns. The Catalan club will not be the only club interested if the player is going to be put up for sale this summer. The Portuguese defender, who can play at right-back, left-back and right midfield.

This season, Dalot has made just 11 appearances for United, playing in the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, scoring just one goal which came against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup in a match which United won 6-0. During his time at the Theatre of Dreams, Dalot has made 34 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal and three assists. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arrival last summer and the fact he’s the best right-back at the club, not to mention Brandon Williams’ progress – he can play in both fullback positions, Dalot has been left in the cold most of the time.

United signed Dalot at the age of 19 from FC Porto for £19 million, as reported by The Sun and at the time he was the best young European right-back, which is not something that has continued into first team football. At Porto, he made a handful of first team appearances before United purchased him, many of those from the left-back position. It is not his fault that it has not worked out for him and not Solskjaer’s either. When players arrive under one manager, they don’t always make it under another.

Now that Tim Fosu-Mensah has returned to the first team after a spell on the sidelines through injury for much of the season after two loan spells away from the club, which were not all that successful, it could well be that Solskjaer will fancy him as the stand in for Wan-Bissaka, although he also has Williams, who has largely played in the left-back position as a replacement for Luke Shaw, who is currently injured and missed the last few matches of the season. Dalot was not called upon then so it would seem to be the end of the road for him at the club.

Dalot is a player that could find his feet at a club willing to trust him to succeed. That is clearly not going to happen at United, which could well be a regret, however, United seem to be well stock in both fullback positions in the first team right now and have the likes of Ethan Laird, who can play in all four positions in the back four, and with him being a product of the clubs academy and having bagfuls of talent, Solskjaer might fancy his chances to break into the first team more than Dalot. He gave it a chance at United, it did not work and I think the player will remain humble.

Written by John Walker

Barcelona defender Marc Jurado confirms he is quitting the club as Manchester United set to snap him up

Barcelona academy defender Marc Jurado has confirmed that he will be leaving the La Masia development side of the club this month after being linked to Manchester United for the past few months. The 16-year-old made the announcement on Instagram and will be a free agent from tomorrow (Wednesday 1 July 2020).

The right-back has been heavily linked to United and reports in May suggested that the player had agreed personal terms with the Old Trafford club ahead of a summer transfer. Barcelona were desperate to hold onto the teenager but it was suggested the offer from United was too good to turn down. Jurado, on his personal Instagram account, said:

“It’s never easy to leave a team that has given you everything. FC Barcelona has been my second home, my second family, where I have developed as a player and as a person.

“Today it’s time to say goodbye, but not before expressing my gratitude to each of the people who have helped me since I started in the prebenjamín in the year 2011.

“I have been lucky to share my passion with a fantastic generation, with which I will always be linked.”

The player has seemingly decided to leave the club and try England, just like Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, both doing quite well before returning to the Nou Camp at a later date, which is a path that Jurado might follow – who knows? After Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba signed new contract, Barcelona were confident of securing Jurado too.

However, that is not the case with the player leaving the club and officials a free agent tomorrow. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to entrust youth in his era of club management and it seems United are doing that by investing in some of the best youth players from around Europe. United won’t have to pay a transfer fee but will be expected to pay compensation.

It is expected that United might have to pay £200,000 for Jurado, which might not be so good for Barcelona as the player has been part of their academy since he was seven-years-old. It will be a bargain for United. This is similar to the way Paul Pogba left United in the summer of 2012 with only compensation payable from Juventus. Speaking on his Instagram account, Jurado also said:

“We started as boys who just wanted to run after a ball and I say goodbye, nine years later, calling them friends.

“Only we know the immense luck we have had with all the coaches who have developed us and helped us to keep fulfilling our dreams.

“Every stage has a beginning and an end. Mine, having reflected a lot with my family, has come. I leave behind unforgettable memories which will always stay with me.”

Manchester United fail with £135 million bid for young Barcelona star Ansu Fati – reports

Manchester United has apparently seen a second bid rejected for Barcelona teenage winger Ansu Fati, this time upped to £135 million which included performance-related variables, according to reports. The 17-year-old burst onto the scene in the Barca first team this season and has received praise from the likes of Lionel Messi and other teammates.

United were reported to be interested last week when reports of an £89 million bid, which was rejected, first emerged. It would seem that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is highly interested in the teenager, who could become the next best thing in world football and a player that United would be looking to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Times is the source for the reports that United have seemingly upped their bid but the Catalan club will be seeking the full £151 million release clause to be paid in order to sell the player this summer. It would seem that United might have to pay that sum of money to land the player that seems to have stirred their interest ahead of the summer.

The 17-year-old is a good talent and with reports already suggesting that Barcelona intend to put every player up for sale this summer, apart from Messi, Antoine Girezmann, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Fati who are seemingly safe but United, activating the release clause could change that. Club director Xavier Vilajoana said:

“For us, there’s no story with Ansu, we have never spoken about selling him.

“We won’t use players from the academy to make cash.

“In principle, we have no intention of selling the players we believe will make the first team.”

Barcelona intend to raise funds by selling Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti and Arturo Vidal – however, United probably don’t have any interest win these players and the transfer fees will be quite high for their ages. If United come back with £151 million for Fati, Barcelona would have something to think about.

Manchester United make £89 million move for Barcelona star but fail – reports

Manchester United failed in an £89 million bid for Barcelona teenage sensation Ansu Fati, according to reports. It is also suggested that the Old Trafford club has given up on luring Jadon Sancho to the Theatre of Dreams this summer. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to bolster his attacking this summer, in order to challenge once again.

It was suggested that the 20-year-old England winger could cost more than £100 million this summer and amid the financial uncertainties regarding the coronavirus pandemic, with the club already £28 million down which will become more as long as supporters are not able to watch matches in stadiums.

Spanish news source, Sport, has suggested that Solskjaer has turned to 17-year-old Barcelona winger Fati, who has broken into the clubs first team this season. However, the Barcelona board were uninterested in United’s approach, seemingly turning it down. When Martin Braithwaite arrived earlier this year, his minutes were cut severely at the club.

With the return of Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele also returning to fitness, this could have a negative impact on the teenager also. United would have to come back with an offer of £150 million, the player’s release clause, to get the ball rolling on a possible deal. This season, Fati has made 24 appearances, scoring five goals and one assist.

Fati could become one of the world’s best players in the years to come, which is also something that Lionel Messi has spoken about and for that reason, Barcelona probably would not sell the player for anything less than his release clause. However, United might still pursue a possible deal, seeking to find the right player for the club this summer.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Barcelona has added all players by Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong in order to raise funds for the summer and beyond, so the player will have his price. United might need to import the possibilities of the club selling the player, going higher than £89 million but not as much as £150 million.

Mino Raiola could be the only person wanting Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United; PSG now interested in the Frenchman – reports

Manchester United reportedly believe that Mino Raiola, the agent of French midfielder Paul Pogba, is the only person pushing to get the 27-year-old to leave the Theatre of Dreams this summer, according to reports. The FIFA World Cup winner has been linked with a return to Juventus, a move to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, the financial problems which have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, seem to have given United a problem in trying to secure the £89 million they paid for the player four years ago, if the player is sold this summer. Last summer, after announcing that he wanted a new challenge, United wanted £150 million for him.

A move to Real Madrid was not viable because of the players £15 million wage each year, something the Spanish club were not keen on having at the club, which would spark a wage row amongst a number of players at the club. Something Alexis Sanchez’s arrival at United seemed to park, considering the Chilean offered next to nothing at the club.

The Times states that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees the Frenchman as integral to his squad and has plans for him in the future, so based on that, the Norwegian would like to see him stay at the club he once described as his destiny. Club legend, Bryan Robson, whose quotes were carried by the newspaper, seemed to suggest just that, talking about Pogba and January signing, Bruno Fernandes, saying:

“They are both special talents. We all know that Paul is a great talent. What he’s got to do now is to fit into whatever role that Ole wants him to play, whether that’s further forwards, with Fernandes dropping back, or the other way around.

“It’s like when people used to say [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard couldn’t play together because they were similar but I think they could have done.

“Lampard was always going to be an attacking player, and Gerrard had it in his locker to defend and read the game well.

“He could play that sitting role, and Paul has got the ability to do it too, but what he has got to do is to take on more responsibility on the defensive side of the game if Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] is going to ask him to play that role.”

United supporters are excited to see what United can achieve with both Pogba and Fernandes playing in the same team. It would be fair to say that the Frenchman would not be the only player expected to pull the string in midfield, making it easier for him to shine. Personally, playing in a deeper role could suit him now, running forward to support the attack.

Slightly contradicting this report is another one from the same newspaper, confirming that Pogba is open to a move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, which would be an embarrassing move for him, given the fact the club, despite having Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in attack, do not seem to be a force in the UEFA Champions League.

French news outlet, Le10Sport, suggest the French champions have thrown their hat into the ringer United World Cup winning midfielder. They go on to suggest the Real Madrid is the club leading the race to sign Pogba, despite reports stating his wages would be a problem. Juventus are also mentioned, probably trying to find more past it players to add.

It would seem that nothing will cast aside this speculation other than Pogba himself committing his future to the Old Trafford club, not only signing a new contract but publicly announcing that he does not see his future anywhere else. However, I do not think for one minute that this will ever happen. If it does, perhaps I called it? That is what a journalist would claim after covering all the bases.

Paul Pogba could have been signed in 2013 but David Moyes opted for failed Cesc Fabregas approach instead

Former Manchester United manager David Moyes could have signed Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba in the summer of 2013, instead the replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson opted to spend the summer chasing Cesc Fabregas, who had no intention of joining the Old Trafford club, according to reports.

Moyes was rightfully sacked in April 2014 after seeing United regress considerable despite being the reigning champions of the Premier League, exiting the FA Cup in the first round, the League Cup in the semi-final, falling to Sunderland on penalties and getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League weeks before he was sacked.

United finished seventh that season, which was pretty much defined at the time Moyes was sacked. The man nicknamed the ditherer, especially in the transfer window, seems to have made pigs ear of his time as United manager, despite being given a six-year contract at the moment he replaced the legend that was Ferguson.

Just one year after Pogba left the Old Trafford club as a free agent, not yet breaking into the first team at the club, the Frenchman, at least according to The Athletic, was open to returning to the Theatre of Dreams, however, the ‘Chosen One’ opted to chase Cesc Fabregas, who was at Barcelona the time, despite having no intention to sign for United.

At the time, Moyes was led to believe that Fabregas was interested in leaving the Catalan club with Andres Iniesta and Xavi the chosen midfielders, giving him little playing time. United made a £25 million bid for the former Arsenal midfielder, which was unsuccessful and resulted in the player staying in Spain for another year.

Pogba, at the time, had not become the star that he had seasons later for Juventus but a little bit of hindsight could have saved United from an £89 million club and then world record fee from being spent on the player. However, United could still have Moyes at the club now, which based on what we know, does not bear thinking about.

Obviously, Arsenal were the club that Fabregas wanted to return to but seemingly, based on comments from the player, that did not happen either, instead the player agreed to return to London, with Chelsea, a year after United were interested in signing the player. It is probably for the best as the player was close to passing his best. Fabregas said:

“Once I decide to leave (Barcelona), Arsenal will have the first option of any other club and I cannot speak to any other club for one week to see if Arsenal want me or not.

“Arsene didn’t give an answer, we just had to wait one full week to see if they responded. Definitely this was my first option, in my mind I’m telling everyone I’m going to Arsenal – this is what I want.

“Arsene can see this. I didn’t want to be a beggar, they know the situation, in one week they haven’t said anything, straight away I knew they probably didn’t want me back.

“They waited the full week without giving me a response. After the week I had to take my chance, I had Manchester City, United and then I spoke to Mourinho – which I didn’t think would ever happen.

“To be honest, after I left the room with Mourinho I said, ‘that’s it, I don’t need to talk to anyone else, I’m going to Chelsea.’ What he told me, the team he wanted to make, what he thought of me, how he wanted me to play, this is what I wanted.

“On top of that it’s London and not Manchester, London was my home.”

Looking back at the mistakes that were made by United and Moyes, I would not change them for the world. Ed Woodward had to learn a lesson and the only shame there is that is took more than six years for that to happen. The days of chasing players all summer seem to have gone with United now chasing player they want who will make the team better.

Philippe Coutinho offered to Manchester United; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer not interested – reports

Manchester United have reportedly been offered Barcelona attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, according to reports. The former Liverpool man has been on loan with Bundesliga side, Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 season and is currently returning from surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

It is suggested that the Old Trafford club were contacted so they could speak to the player, presumably through his representatives, but current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned down the opportunity, cutting United’s interested in the player with immediate effect. United were once interested in the Brazilian, but during Jose Mourinho’s time at the club.

ESPN has reported that Solskjaer, who is seeking attacking reinforcements this summer with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Moussa Dembele and Timo Werner being linked to the club. However, Coutinho, who has seemingly failed to shine since leaving Liverpool, is not the player the manager will be seeking – which is great news.

The 27-year-old will probably still have suitors from the Premier League, however, it must be somewhat an insult that United are not interested in the player. Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Leicester City hold an interest, which shows how much the player has fallen in stature, even if Newcastle end up Saudi-owned this year.

A few years ago, if United were offered such a player, the clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward would have made a move for him, bringing him into the club for a high transfer fee, with high wages and wondering why things failed, just like they did with Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez, just to name a few.

It shows that Solskjaer has a plan for United, which should be respected, allowing the Norwegian manager to get on with things, as United have changed direction since the days of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, and Mourinho. Things are looking to be a but more exciting, despite problems with squad size, fitness and injury. Patience is a virtue and all that.

copyright: JW