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Arkadiusz Milik linked to Manchester United once again with Spurs chasing the Polish international

Manchester United are reportedly ‘ready to move’ to sign Napoli’s Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik this summer. The transfer window will be open for another week with United not signing a player since Donny van de Beek arrived at the club from Ajax at the start of September. This summer was supposed to be a big one for the Old Trafford club, but the coronavirus pandemic has put a proverbial spanner in the works with many clubs losing out financially because of the fact that supporters are not back in stadiums at the start of the season with plans shelved for that to even be started once again – which was due to happen in October.

Tottenham Hotspur were said to be leading the chase to sign Milik, 26, this summer but Rai Sports reporter Ciro Venerato has suggested that United have shown interest in the Polish striker and held informal talks, along with RB Leipzig, Manchester City, Fulham and Spurs. This gives the suggestion that it is not clear cut what could happen this summer but United, in terms of the size of the club, the fact they will be playing in the UEFA Champions League, as will Leipzig and City, but Spurs will only play in the Uefa Europa League with Fulham only just returning to the Premier League from the Championship and will play no part in European football this season.

Venerato recently spoke to Radio Kiss Kiss, which was reported by The Sun in which he spoke about the clubs that have an interest in signing Milik this summer. United were linked to the player back in April 2020 whilst the Premier League was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic and it was expected that the club were getting ready for the summer transfer window, which was expected to be delayed with it not known at the time whether the Premier League would continue that season or be scrapped. It would seem that Spurs are still in the driving seat for the Polish striker this summer but United could involve themselves. Venerato said:

“An intermediary told me that there’s informal talks with Leipzig, Manchester City, Manchester United, Fulham and Tottenham [Hotspur].

“The latter are the most reliable track, but the formula requested by Napoli does not convince [Jose] Mourinho.”

This season, United have Anthony Martial, who scored 23 goals and 12 assists during the 2019/20 season, as the number one striker at the club with Odion Iglaho, who is on loan from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua until the end of January 2021 as the second-choice striker at the club. The thing is that Solskjaer would need to bring in a new striker sooner rather than later with that expected to happen during the January transfer window, with Ighalo leaving the club by the end of that month. If United can sign a striker this summer, then it would show that Solskjaer needed a boost to the clubs firepower this season.

Ighalo has not scored a goal since the 2-1 victory over Norwich City in the Emirates FA Cup last season, which was played on the 27 June 2020. Ighalo has made two appearances so far this season, playing 88 minutes of football and has yet to score or make an assist. During the 2019/20 season, Milik made a total of 35 appearances for Napoli, scoring 14 goals and no assists. He might not be the first choice striker at the club but in terms of goals, he could offer something to help carry United forward, having a different kind of attacking player on the bench, rather than the same players all the time, which is likely this season.

United have a good first XI but after that, the quality is not as good and needs to be looked at. This is the problem with the club. The strongest XI that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has available, when fully fit and raring to go, will do the job that is needed but that XI cannot play across an entire season and will need to be rotated, especially with the club being involved in four competitions once again and definitely because there was a short break this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic which will leave the players a lot less fresh as the season develops. United do have a big squad but there are many players that just do not cut it and end up letting the club down.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United receive boost in race to sign Kalidou Koulibaly with Napoli likely to sell players this summer – reports

Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso has admitted that he expects to retain between 70-80% of his squad at the Stadio San Paolo after the summer transfer window, meaning 20-30% of his players will be sold this summer. The Coppa Italia winners have a host of top players, some of which have been linked with above away this summer, including Kalidou Koulibaly.

United could be boosted by Gattuso’s comments as they have been linked with a new central defender this summer with Koulibaly having been linked to the club over the last few summer transfer windows with the club signing Harry Maguire last summer for £80 million. Many expect the club not to make such a big move this summer, but who knows?

Other players linked with an exit from Napoli this summer are Arkadiusz Milik, Hirving Lozano and Allan and Lozano has been linked to United already, although that seemed to be speculation more than anything of substance. There will be lots of thing happening with football this summer with clubs seeking to balance the books due to the coronavirus.

Gattuso spoke to the media about what could happen at the club this summer, confirming that he would not need to use the transfer market much, but will need to see which players will be leaving the club first, before coming up with a plan for the future, seeing which players they will need to replace. The former Italian midfielder said:

“We don’t need to operate too much in the market. We have to see who’s going to leave us. Our chairman knows it – we speak about it every week.

This is a strong team but I think that only 70-80% of the players will stay with us. We will do a few transfers but I know this team has great quality [already].”

Koulibaly is a good player but United should be focussed on using the money they have on a problem area, which is the right-wing. It is possible they they could operate Mason Greenwood in that area, although a player more experienced in that role would be so much better. United’s defence could be tested with Eric Bailly or Axel Tuanzebe forming a partnership with Maguire.

Manchester United in tussle with Arsenal for Napoli’s Polish striker – reports

It is being reported that Napoli and Poland striker, Arkadiusz Milik is set to leave the Italian club this summer which has seemingly put a number of Premier League clubs on alert, according to the reports. The Poland international is contracted at the club until the summer of 2021, so perhaps this is the player trying to get a new contract?

The Pole has made a total of 22 appearances in Gennaro Gattuso’s team this season, scoring 12 goals in total before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football. It is expected that the Serie A will target a return to action on the 13 June, with the Bundesliga already back in Germany, and the Premier League and La Liga planning to resume.

It is stated that the 26-year-old appears unlikely to renew his contract at the Italian club this summer, forcing them to sell him this summer or lose him as a free agent in a year’s time. Juventus are believed to hold an interest in the player, despite having little money and still wanting new additions, it seems strange they still expect to compete in the market.

Napoli valie the player at £45 million for overseas clubs and so not to strengthen Juventus this summer, or whenever the player actually leaves the club, Napoli would lower their valuation of the player, presumably creating a market for a bargain the summer, at least for clubs interested in the striker. Arsenal ate the frontrunners, according to La Repubblica.

That would seem right, give the fact that United extended the loan spell of Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo this weekend, not only keeping the player for the remainder of the rescheduled Premier League season, but until the 31 January 2021, meaning the club are not restricted to signing a new striker this summer, now able to wait until January.

The financial market because of the coronavirus pandemic might change considerably by the start of 2021, especially if there is a not a second wave of the disease in Europe, which is something that we all hope for. Supporters might be able to once again watch live football in stadiums closer to this time, giving clubs a financial boost.

It is stated that United are admirers of the Poland international but with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Ighalo and Mason Greenwood in attacking ranks, it is unlikely that manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will spend money this summer that could be spent in other departments – right-wing for instance, which really needs addressing.

Arsenal would be a club more likely to sign the Pole, especially given the fact that the club could sell both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette this summer, giving them a real need for a player like Milik. Solskjaer will need to bring in a new striker at some point but with Ighalo’s extension, the urgency has now gone.

United have been linked with Moussa Dembele of Lyon, who could leave the club this summer, meaning United could miss out, unless they do a deal which would see the player remain at Lyon until January with United buying the player then, which will be important considering the fact Ighalo will leave the club at the end of that month.

Manchester United revive interest in Senegalese central defender with rivals also interested – reports

Manchester United are reportedly reviving their interest in Napoli central defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to reports. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to strengthen his defence this summer, despite bringing in Harry Maguire for £80 million last summer. Only yesterday, United were linked to Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan.

United have been a long-term admirer of the 28-year-old and were linked with him last summer and the summer before, a time where Toby Alderweireld was also linked to the Old Trafford club and a time whereby United desperately needed a new commanding central defender – conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone that season.

Since signing from Genk in the summer of 2014 on a five-year contract, Koulibaly has become one of the best defenders in the Serie A. There has been a suggestion that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was interested in the Senegalese defender, partnering him with Virgil van Dijk at the current Premier League leaders.

Newcastle United have also been linked to the player, but their change of ownership will need to be ratified before they even think about signing any players, so for now, that move seems to be just speculation. It was suggested that United once made an £89 million move for Koulibaly, although this has not been verified as being correct.

The coronavirus pandemic, which suspended world football in mid-march, seeing only the Bundesliga return in Europe so far, will cause many financial repercussions and this could affect player’s values ahead of the next transfer window opening, whenever it may be. It is suggested that Koulibaly could be available for £70 million.

Solskjaer could be ready to bring the player to the Theatre of Dreams, despite needing strengthening in the attack, in the form of a striker and a right-winger, but with doubts on Victor Lindelof’s suitability at the club and the fact that Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and even Marcos Rojo could be directed out the Old Trafford exit, reinforcements will be required.

During the 2019/20 season, until it was suspended, Koulibaly made a total of 21 appearances at Napoli, playing 1,757 minutes of football. Clubs interested in signing the Senegalese defender have reportedly been altered that the 28-year-old, who will turn 29 next month, is ready to leave the Italian club after six years to service there.

Paris Saint-Germain hold an interest in the player but it has also been reported that a move to the Premier League wold be more appealing for the player – you cannot blame him really as it really is one of the best leagues in the world. Napoli may try to replace him with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, who was once on United’s radar.

This summer, despite the after effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Solskjaer and United will be seeking to add to their rebuild which has so far seen Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes arrived at the Theatre of Dreams. United will be expected to challenge for the Premier League title sooner rather than later.

Manchester United to target Mexican winger from Napoli in £38.5 million transfer – reports

Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Napoli and Mexico winger Hirving Lozano in a £38.5 million deal, according to reports. It is not the first time that the 24-year-old has been linked to the Old Trafford club – before he moved from PSV Eindhoven to Napoli, he was a reported target for United.

Last summer, Napoli smashed their transfer record to sign the winger from the Dutch club, paying a reported €42 million for the player, signing hims to a five-year contract. Lozano had not had the best start playing in Serie A as the player was struggling for minutes prior to the coronavirus-enforced suspension of world football.

Italian news source, Corriere dello Sport, has suggested that United are not just interested in the Mexican for his footballing ability, but for his potential marketing value too. After the club signed Javier Hernandez a decade ago, the player became a cult hero at the Old Trafford club leaving the club with many Mexican’s still supporting United.

Chicharito, as he was known, made 157 appearances for United, spending five years at the club before leaving for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2015. The Mexican scored 59 goals, also assisting a further 20 whilst playing for United, and was a poacher of goals, one of the best players to come off the bench with United needing a goal.

This season at Napoli, Lozano, who United feel could open up the market in Mexico for the club once again, has made a total of 23 appearances, scoring three goals and two assists for the club, which is not a great return, considering the club broke their transfer record to sign him almost a year ago. This could give United a strong hand in negotiations.

Prior to moving to Italy, Lozano enjoyed his two-year spell at PSV Eindhoven, a club that United have dealt with many times in the past. The 24-year-old made a total of 79 appearances for the club, scoring 40 goals and assisting a further 23 – a total of 63 goal contributions in 79 matches, a goal or assist every 0.80 matches, which is not a bad statistic.

The Mexican, nicknamed Chucky, has played for his national side 39 times, scoring 10 goals. In the opening match for the country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Lozano stunned Germany by scoring the only goal of the game in the 1-0 victory for the Mexican side. Lozano has achieved a lot in his short career so far and will be looking to achieve a lot more.

Whilst playing for Pachuca in his native Mexico, Lozano made 141 appearances, scoring 41 goals and a further 28 assists, winning the Liga MX Clausura and the CONCACAF Champions League at the club. Whilst at PSV, the player helped his side win the Eredivisie and whilst playing for Mexico as a youth, he helped his country to win the CONCACAF U20 Championship and the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

Lozano can play in many positions and this season has featured as a right-winger and a centre-forward (11 times in each position), also playing as a left-winger and a second striker. He scored two of his three goals as a centre-forward, the other as a left-winger. He might not be United’s number one priority but could be on the list somewhere.

Arkadiusz Milik could be on Manchester United’s radar as they look to permanently replace Romelu Lukaku

Manchester United sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan in the summer of 2019, not replacing the player, which was something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was slated for at the start of the season. In the January transfer window, Odion Ighalo was brought in on a loan deal until the end of the season, which has been hampered by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This summer, or later if the transfer window is delayed, Solskjaer will be seeking to add some extra firepower to his squad. Ighalo would be a perfect player to sign permanently, if the player and Shanghai Shenhua are interested, but having another striker in the ranks would not be a mistake. One player currently linked is Arkadiusz Milik.

The Poland international currently plays for Napoli after signing from Ajax in the summer of 2016 for a fee reported to be around €35 million. During the 2019/21 season, before it was halted, Milik had played 22 times for his club, scoring 12 goals; nine in Serie A and a further three in the UEFA Champions League.

Milik’s contract runs until the end of the 2020/21 season, meaning he has just over a year remaining which could give United some clout if they are seriously interested in the 26-year-old. The reported fee is suggested to be around £60 million, which may be merely speculation but I am sure Napoli would be looking to recoup their initial investment, making a profit also with football being more of a business these days.

Reports suggest the player did not have the best childhood after his father walked out on the family but a football coach in the country, Sławomir ‘Moki’ Mogilan, helped him succeed in the game and get to where he is right now, which shows the level of discipline that the player may have – a trait that Solskjaer may be looking for to completely redevelop the mentality at the club right now.

Milik is a Manchester United supporter and has previously talked about playing at Old Trafford but at the time he was playing for Bayer Leverkusen (2013-15) and had recently made the move from Polish club Górnik Zabrze after coming through the youth ranks of Rozwój Katowice. The 26-year-old also played for FC Augsburg (loan) and Ajax (loan) before signing for the Dutch club permanently. Speaking about United, Milik said:

“I am a Red Devil supporter, so I would love to play at Old Trafford one day.

“For now, however, I am a Bayer Leverkusen footballer, and I am very far from Manchester.”

The player was once on the radar of English clubs, having a trial with Tottenham Hotspur back in 2011 when Harry Redknapp was the manager but after he seemingly failed to impress, Spurs decided not to pay Rozwój Katowice the £100,000 fee they were looking for. Championship club, Reading also turned down the players year before started performing was on the road to becoming a decent striker.

During his career so far, Milik has played 259 competitive matches, playing for five different club in nine seasons, scoring 112 goals and assisting a further 34, playing a total of 15,271 minutes of football. Whilst those figures may not be amazing, he seems to be a striker capable of finding the back of the net, whether playing as the main striker, or the second striker.

Milik is described as a ‘versatile and well-rounded left-footed’ forward who is ‘capable of playing off another forward’. The 26-year-old has the ‘ability to both score and create goals’ and ‘possesses pace and good movement off the ball, as well as a powerful and accurate shot, which make him an excellent finisher and goalscorer’. He is also ‘physically strong, agile, and a good header of the ball, which allows him to excel in the air’. Milik has been compared to compatriot Robert Lewandowski by the Polish sports media.

copyright: JW