Manchester United announce the signing of Raphael Varane – a determined and talented winner

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Raphael Varane, who has arrived from Real Madrid for a reported fee of £42 million, signing a four-year contract with the option of a fifth. The Frenchman arrived at United’s training ground in Carrington on Tuesday to start his medical ahead of the move being completed and it has been suggested that he could feature in the squad to face Leeds United in the opening Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford on Saturday. It is an exciting time for United, who have already signed goalkeeper Tom Heaton and winger Jadon Sancho this summer in a bid to strengthen the squad ahead of a possible title charge during the 2021/22 season which will need to end positively for United and Solskjaer.

Varane, 28, started his football career as a youth in 2000 with Hellemmes, leaving the club in 2002 for Lens, making his first team debut in the 2010/11 season, playing a total of 24 times for the French club, scoring two goals. In the summer of 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson, the then United manager, was interested in signing Varane and ended up signing Phil Jones for £16.5 million from Blackburn Rovers instead and less than ten days later, Varane signed a six-year deal with Real Madrid, which on hindsight, was a better move for him considering Ferguson retired two-years later and United suffered massively under the management of David Moyes, then Louis van Gaal, then Jose Mourinho before Solskjaer arrived at the club.

Varane made 360 appearances for Real Madrid in his ten seasons at the club, scoring 17 goals and seven assists and during his period at the club he won all the major honours he could at the club, winning three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey trophy, three Supercopa de España trophies, four UEFA Champions League trophies, three UEFA Super Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups – an 18-trophy haul at the Spanish club. Varane is also a regular in the France national team having been capped 79 times for his country, scoring a total of five goals. He also helped his country win the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018, which was a big feat for the country twenty years after winning the tournament for the first time – on home turf in 1998.

Varane is a winner and will want to continue to achieve such things in the challenge that he has accepted. Ten years ago, he would have been a good signing for United but in the same period of time, United have won one Premier League title, one Emirates FA Cup, one Football League Cup, one UEFA Europa League and three FA Community Shields – which is not comparable to what he achieved in Spain. It might have been different is Ferguson had not retired at the end of the 2012/13 season, but I doubt it would have been the same. The right decision was made by the player and he achieved everything he could with his teammates at Real Madrid and now the challenge will be to help get United back to the top, which is the major challenge.

Real Madrid would have preferred to re-sign Varane on a long-term contract but it was a new challenge that he craved. Along with United, there was interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, who had already signed former Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos, who was a free agent this summer. It did not look feasible for the French club to sign Varane based on the players that they had signed this summer, which seems to have ended with a big signing, getting Lionel Messi as a free agent, who left Barcelona at the weekend. But it was suggested that Varane only wanted to sign for United, which makes the so-called fans who continue to moan about the manager look silly as they reckon top players do not want to play for Solskjaer.

That is clearly not the case as both Jadon Sancho and Varane will have signed for the club this summer, both of them exciting talents who will help to improve United going forward. The defence will be much stronger with both Varane and Harry Maguire in the centre of defence and the strength in depth will continue with Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly – providing they all remain fit – giving some quality on the bench as well as on the pitch. With Sancho’s signing, United brought in an experienced winger to play on the right, which has been a problem position for many years at the club, despite the arrivals of both Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, who arrived last summer and in January, respectively.

Varane will be looking ahead to the new challenge that lies in wait at United, playing in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup. It may take in a while to settle into the team and he may not start immediately, which will depend on his fitness levels. He did upload content onto social media this weekend, an image of him watching the pre-season match against Everton, with United winning 4-0 and a video of his training in the garden in Manchester, after he arrived earlier in the week. There is a chance that his fitness level will be quite high and that he can get started as soon as possible. Speaking to the official Manchester United website about signing for the club, Varane said:

“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down.

“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies.

Having spoken to the manager I can see how much progress has been made over the last few seasons and I now join a group ready to play at the highest level.

“I want to make an impact here and I will give everything to become part of this club’s illustrious history.”

Solskjaer will be please with his business so far this summer; signing Heaton, Sancho and Varane so far, which could be better with a defensive minded midfielder arriving too, but that will result on getting fringe players out of the door too, whether on loan or on permanent deals. The challenge of the 2021/22 season will be tough for Solskjaer as he will be expected to win a trophy or the so-called fans who think he should be sacked will become prevalent in their own circles once again – thinking that can control what happens at the club. The squad has been turned around since Mourinho was sacked – perhaps these people cannot see this? Solskjaer, speaking to the official Manchester United website about his new signing, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure one of the best defenders in the world over the last 10 years.

“Raphaël [Varane] is a proven winner who we have tracked over a long period of time and we know just how much of a dedicated professional he is.

“We have great depth of international defenders and he will add his immense skill set and leadership to that group.

“He is a unique defender with a rare combination of top-level attributes that I know will rub off on our younger players.

“He has won everything there is to win but I know that he is still determined to succeed, I can’t wait to welcome him into the squad.”

Written by John Walker

Where Are They Now? Ruud van Nistelrooy – 150 goal striker was a great purchase for United

Manchester United signed Ruud van Nistelrooy for £19 million in the summer of 2001 but wanted to complete the deal in the summer of 2000 but the player suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate knee ligaments during a training session, which kept him out of action for the following year. At the time he was signed by United, it was a relatively risky deal considering the injury he had suffered a year before but United were ready to take the gamble. At the time he signed for United, Van Nistelrooy said:

“The price is not heavy for me – it lifts me up because it means United have big confidence in me.”

The Dutchman spend five seasons at United, playing 219 times and scoring 150 goals – a feat in modern day football. In terms of goals scored for United, Van Nistelrooy sits in eleventh place with the likes of Paul Scholes, Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs, Joe Spence, George Best, Dennis Viollet, Jack Rowley, Denis Law, Sir Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney ahead of him. The Dutchman was a great striker of the ball and a great player of his time.

Van Nistelrooy also assisted 21 times for United, showing that he was not always that selfish striker and would lay on goals for his teammates. This is something that was good to see at the time as most players would prefer to score themselves. He scored six hat-tricks for United in his time at the club, scoring three goals in a match five times, scoring four goals once. United had not seen a hat-trick since Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one against Saint-Étienne in the UEFA Europa League in February 2017 until Marcus Rashford scored his first senior career hat-trick against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Before signing for United, Van Nistelrooy has youth careers with Nooit Gedacht (1981-90), RKSV Margriet (1990-91) and Den Bosch (1991-93), making the senior team for the latter from 1993-97. He then signed for Heerenveen, leaving in 1998 for PSV Eindhoven, the club he left for head to United. Van Nistelrooy was passionate and according to former teammate, Paul Scholes, he used to sulk if rival, Thierry Henry had scored. Scholes said:

“I played No.10 with Ruud van Nistelrooy for a season and I loved it.

“He’s just a ruthless, ruthless goalscorer. He just lived for scoring goals.

“Whenever he did score or didn’t score, the first thing he would do when we got on the team bus after the game was see if Thierry Henry scored.

“If Thierry Henry had scored he wouldn’t talk to anybody for the full trip home because he was so engrossed in being the leading goalscorer, not just at United but in the league, in the world, everywhere.”

Van Nistelrooy won the Premier League Golden Boot for the 2002/03 season, with Henry winning the season before and the three seasons after, with the Dutchman scoring 25 goals in the league alone that season. Van Nistelrooy is amongst five players who have won the Golden Boot for United in the league; Dwight Yorke (1998/99), Cristiano Ronaldo (2007/08), Dimitar Berbatov (2010/11), and Robin van Persie (2012/13). The rivalry with Henry was intense.

Van Nistelrooy scored 95 goals in 150 Premier League appearances, which is a great feat considering the five seasons he was part of at United. Scholes also spoke about his former teammate’s finishing, which was rather spectacular. Scholes has played with Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie but classes the Dutchman was the best finisher of the lot, saying:

“I loved the way he finished. Look, I played with some unbelievable centre-forwards. You are thinking [Andy] Cole, Yorke, [Teddy] Sheringham, [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer. There are loads. Van Persie I played with as well.

“There are some unbelievable goalscorers. But to me, Ruud was the best, he was the best finisher.”

Former United teammate Darren Fletcher also spoke to the media about Van Nistelrooy, confirming that ‘if he hadn’t scored he’s be absolutely raging,’ which shows how passionate the Dutchman was about finding the back of the net. Perhaps he went too far by raging if he didn’t score, but you will understand the challenges they he set himself, aiming to score every time he played, which is a great work ethic. Fletcher said:

“Ruud [Van Nistelrooy] was brilliant and a great guy in the dressing as well.

“I sat beside him and he really looked after me when I first got into the team. I didn’t drive for a while and he used to pick me up and be my chauffeur!

“But he was [obsessed with scoring].

“We’d win a game 4-0 but if he hadn’t scored he would come into the dressing room and throw his boots against the wall, he’d be slapping his boots down, he’d be absolutely raging!

“Everyone else was like, ‘we’ve just won 4-0’, but for him he was that ruthless as a goal scorer he just wanted to score in every game.

“It didn’t matter if we won 5-0, 4-0, 3-0 – if he hadn’t scored he’s be absolutely raging.

“That was his weekend destroyed!”

In the summer of 2006, Van Nistelrooy left United, with then manager, Sir Alex Ferguson confirming that the player wanted to leave, seemingly after a furious bust-up between the pair in the final Premier League game of the 2005/06 season, which was unfortunate. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich seemed interested in the player with a €14 million bid accepted and the player heading to Madrid. It was a shame to see this prolific goalscorer leave the club.

Van Nistelrooy spent three and a half seasons in Madrid, playing 96 times, scoring 64 goals and assisting a further 16. After Madrid, he left for the Bundesliga, signing for Hamburger SV in January 2010 for 18 months and played 44 times, scoring 17 goals and a further three assists. After his time in Germany, La Liga called again with his signing for Malaga, spending one season at the club, where he played 32 times, scoring five goals and one assist. That was the end of the road for the Dutchman, playing anyway.

Van Nistelrooy has a glittering career as a player, winning two Eredivisie titles and one Johan Cruyff Shield at PSV, one Premier League title, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one FA Community Shield at United, winning two La Liga titles and one Supercopa de Espańa at Real Madrid – a total of ten different trophies for three different clubs. At international level, Van Nistelrooy played for the Netherlands, making his debut in 1998 and hanging up his boots for his country in 2011, playing 70 times and scoring 35 goals – his first against Morocco in a friendly in 1999, his last against Hungary in 2011 as part of the qualification for UEFA Euro 2012.

On the 22 June 2013, Van Nistelrooy joined former club PSV Eindhoven as a coaching intern working with the U17 level within the club’s academy. Just three years later, it was revealed that the Dutchman would become the striker coach for the U17, U19 and the reserve team. Whilst back at PSV, Van Nistelrooy helped then Netherland’s coach, Guus Hiddink after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after Louis van Gaal left the team for United, this was additional to he work with PSV.

Van Nistelrooy is the coach for the U19s at PSV after succeeding Mark van Bommel, who was promoted to first team head coach after Phillip Cocu left for Fenerbahçe, at the time. He is also the assistant coach of the Netherlands and was part of Ronald Koeman’s coaching staff before he left for Barcelona. The Dutchman is obviously setting up the foundations for a career in management, starting at youth level, aiming to work his way up. Currently 44, he has plenty of time to set his sights on the goal he wants. Perhaps he’s happy having a role in the development of the teenagers he’s working with. At the time he was made the head of PSV’s U19s, Van Nistelrooy said:

“This is a great opportunity to take the next step in my development. I have thought about it and talked about it extensively with a number of people.

“This is a great time to take on this job. I am really looking forward to working with this talented group in this position.”

Written by John Walker

Manchester United closer to signing Sergio Reguilon but no buyback clause wanted

Manchester United are reportedly nearing a £23 million move for Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon this summer. Spanish news source Marca, also considered as the mouthpiece of the Madrid club has reported that United want to purchase the player without a buyback clause attached to his contract, something which has been mooted in the past week or so. It was also suggested that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane had also come to terms with the fact a buyback clause was not wanted.

At the weekend, it was suggested that Reguilon would have rather re-signed for Sevilla this summer, however, the Spanish club have seemingly signed Marcos Acuna from Sporting Clube de Portugal, negating the need for the 23-year-old left-back at the club this summer. United have also been linked to FC Porto left-back Alex Telles, who is a more attacking left-back but had scored 13 goals and 11 assists during the 2019/20 season for his club, which is something that could be utilised for United, going forward.

The Madrid club are now said to be seeking to insert a buyback clause which could be activated in a season or two, just in case the player blossoms in the Premier League. This is not something that United would accept unless it was at a higher fee than they had paid for the player and that it would only be available for a short period of time, not something that would be in the favour of the Madrid club. Madrid could ask for a first refusal if the player was ever to be sold, which might work both both clubs?

Reguilon had a good season for Sevilla, ending it with a trophy with the club winning the UEFA Europa League for the sixth time in the clubs history, beating United in the semi-final stage of the competition, whcibwas played out in Germany only last month. In Madrid, both Ferland Mendy and Marcelo will be ahead of him in the pecking order at the club, resulting in very few, if any first team minutes in the game, which would be something that could hamper his development as a player.

United will need to remain firm with Real Madrid regarding the buyback clause, maybe even paying a slightly inflated fee to avoid that being part of the contract. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hopes of signing the Spanish left-back seemed to be fading at the weekend with Reguilon said to rather a return to Sevilla this summer, but the pending arrival of Acuna from Sporting would scupper that from happening, leaving the player with one other option – signing for United this summer.

Solskjaer is said to want some competition for Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams this summer with Shaw ending the 2019/20 season on the sidelines through injury, which seems to be the story of his United career and Williams still requiring some development before he can be considered a regular fullback for United. The teenager can play at both left-back and right-back, so could rival Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the squad too, also playing in a more advanced position in the team, which he has played alongside Shaw at times over the past season.

Written by John Walker

Left-back target prefers Sevilla return than signing for Manchester United – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly been dealt a blow in the chase to sign Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon this summer. For weeks now the Spanish fullback has been linked to United with reports suggesting that the player would like to move to United. But reports from Spanish source AS now suggest the player would rather rejoin Sevilla on loan rather than move to Manchester this summer. There is a problem with that happening though.

It is suggested that Sevilla, the winners of the UEFA Europa League last season, who knocked United out at the semi-final stage on Cologne, Germany, are in talks with Sporting Clube de Portugal about left-back Marcos Acuna, which could result in no need to re-sign the Spanish left-back this summer, leaving the player in limbo at Real Madrid despite the fact that manager Zinedine Zidane has given the go ahead for the player to be sold this summer.

It was suggested that the Spanish club would sell the player for £27 million this summer, inserting a buyback clause in the deal for the same amount which is something that United would not agree to and that prompted the Madrid side to offer to sell the player without a buyback clause, as reported in the past few days. However, with these reports from Spain, it would seem that the player is no longer interested in a move to United, despite the opposite being suggested previously.

United are now linked with other targets such as Alex Telles, 27, who might be more of an attacking left-back considering his 13 goals and 11 assists for FC Porto last season. The player could be available for as little as £18.5 million too, with his £27.7 fee being slashed by his club as he will become a free agent at the end of the 2020/21 season, meaning that the club can receive a fee for the player instead of watching him leave for nothing at the end of June 2021.

It would seem that United’s positive summer has turned into a negative with the club just signing Donny van de Beek from Ajax so far with the club heavily linked to Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, which is starting to look unlikely at this present time. The transfer window will close in just over three week’s time, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a lot of work to do and needing to put pressure on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the club’s owners, the Glazers.

United are said to be looking to get back into the swing of things this season, putting pressure on Premier League champions Liverpool and seeking to break themselves into the title race by battling them and Manchester City, who both finished above United last season. Liverpool finished 33 points ahead of United with City’s lead just 15 points. United broke into the top four of the Premier League in the last few matches, securing their third placed finish with a 2-0 victory over Leicester City on the final day, earning a UEFA Champions League place.

Written by John Walker

Sergio Reguilon would love to sign for Manchester United; Real Madrid in change of heart?

Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon would love to sign for Manchester United this summer, according to Fabrizio Romano. In a transfer update, the journalist confirmed that Sevilla were close to signing Sporting Clube de Portugal left-back Marcos Acuña, negating to need to try and sign Reguilon again on a season long loan spell. It was previously reported that Reguilon had been offered to United this summer for £27 million with the Madrid club wanting a buyback clause in the deal for the same amount.

This is not something that United should be looking to accept as it does not seem to be a good deal for United, who could lose the player with them seeing a return on their initial investment only, something that would be beneficial for Real Madrid if Reguilon found his feet at the Old Trafford club, resulting in the buyback clause being activated. In a report in The Mirror, it is suggested that Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has had a change of hear on the buyback clause, which probably comes from above.

The report in The Mirror seems to come from El Desmarque which suggests that Zidane and Real Madrid are now happy to sanction the deal to sell the 23-year-old this summer. However, nothing ever seems easy for United as Romano suggests that United do not want to spend £27 million (€30 million) on the player this summer, seemingly seeking a lower fee. It was once suggested that Reguilon would be worth £22 million, which might be a price that United would agree to pay for the player.

One of the reasons given in relation to the Madrid club dropping their buyback clause for Reguilon is because the club is still interested in signing Paul Pogba and they believe that building good relations with United could help them in their cause. Pogba’s contract is due to expire at United next summer, although there is an additional year that can be added to his contract, if the player does not sign a new contract this year – it will likely to added to stop the player from leaving as a free agent.

If might be a tactic that builds relations between United and Real Madrid but whether it results in the club signing Pogba remains to be seen. It will not happen this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, many seem to think that United have signed a replacement for Pogba in Donny van de Beek, who is the only player to have been signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer, despite United still seeking to sign at least three more players.

If a deal can be done between United and Real Madrid for Reguilon, it will be good for United to have a left-back that is experienced and able to challenge Luke Shaw for the starting position in the team, also help Brandon Williams develop into a player that could rival both Reguilon and Shaw for the role in the years to come, or even challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the right-back role, which is the role Williams has played in more often in the clubs academy, before coming through into the first team last season to cover for an injured Shaw.

Written by John Walker

Real Madrid want to insert £27 million buyback clause to sell Sergio Reguilon

Manchester United have reportedly been dealt a blow in their chase to sign Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon this summer. Spanish source El Partidazo de COPE has stated that United are interested in signing the Spanish fullback for £27 million this summer but that the Madrid club want to insert a buyback clause in the contract which would allow the club to bring the player back to the club for the same fee, should they want to. This is not a good deal at all in my opinion.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may well be interested in signing a new left-back this summer, to rival both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams in the position, but if it is a bad deal for United, it should be something that is left. There would be no benefit for United other than having a new left-back at the club as if the player does well, Madrid will buy him back in the next transfer window and United will be left with nothing – not even a return on their initial investment.

It might sound like a great deal for some clubs, as they would see their initial investment on the player returned, minus wages, bonuses agent fees etc but for a club as big as United, the deal would be an embarrassment as Real Madrid would literally be pulling their pants down. If Reguilon had a season in the Premier League and did well, or if Marcello retired or suffered a major injury, the club would just let United know of their intent to re-sign the player, him leaving United whether he wanted to or not.

If you think about it, this would in effect be similar to a loan spell but with no guarantee that the player would return to his former club. United would not have the luxury of building a team around the Spanish left-back, a team for the future, which would always leave the club wondering if their rebuild would soon be picked apart with the Madrid club buying the player back at the same fee that United spent. For United to get a benefit in such a deal, the buyback clause would need to be inflated fo say £40 million.

This would give United something out of the deal which would probably repay the club for the training, development and time put into the player in his time at the club, heading back to Madrid for £13 million more than he signed for, which would be a bargain for both United and Madrid. However, when Madrid sell players, they seem to do it on their terms. This could also be a payback for the failed pursuit of David De Gea in the summer of 2015 in which a fax machine played a major part in the goalkeeper staying put.

United should stick to their guns if they want to sign Reguilon this summer, and should do all they can to let the Madrid club know that a buyback clause will not work for them, maybe even offering the club more money for that option to be negated from a possible deal. If United can then get a deal done, great. If not, move onto another target – which might even be a better option right now. With fewer than four weeks remaining in the summer transfer window, United do not have much time to waste.

Written by John Walker

Sergio Reguilon tempted by Manchester United this summer; €30 million bid placed – reports

Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon is tempted by a transfer to Manchester United this summer according to reports from AS in Spain. The 23-year-old is said to be valued at £27 million, approximately €30 million this summer and spent the last season on loan at Sevilla, where the player helped the club win their sixth UEFA Europa League title, knocking United out at the semi-final stage before beating Inter Milan in the final. The Spanish fullback will be allowed to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane does not feel the 23-year-old is ready to start for the club with both Ferland Mendy and Marcelo ahead of him in the pecking order at the club. His performances for Sevilla might say something very different, hence the interest from United with the left-back position being a problem area at the club with Luke Shaw’s injury record and the fact that Brandon Williams, fresh from his first season in the first team, largely inexperienced despite doing well last season.

It has been reported that the Madrid club might allow the left-back to leave if a bid of £22 million is received for his services but AS have valued him at around £27 million. Chelsea held interest in the Spaniard this summer but decided to swoop for former Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, a player that United had been linked with too, costing the London club around £50 million. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switched his attention to Reguilon, presumably after seeing him in the flesh last month.

There is no doubt about the fact that Reguilon would challenge for a place in the United first team, putting pressure on both Shaw and Williams, which in turn could raise their game and make it all worthwhile for United. It will be a long hard season for United and having three players to pick for the fullback positions would show strength in the club with Williams able to play on both flanks and Tim Fosu-Mensah also vying for the right-back position with Aaron Wan-Bissaka being the regular starter in that position.

United might not have a free reign on the left-back this summer with both Inter Milan and Juventus said to be interested in him. Spanish journalist Lucas Navarrete has suggested that Real Madrid could try to include a buyback clause on the player, which is probably something that United would not be interested in adding as they could develop the player only for Real Madrid to buy him back at the drop of a hat, which is something that United would not be happy with.

This might be a ploy to get more money for the player this summer. United should aim to do business without buyback clauses being inserted into contracts as for a big club, it would be something that would make them look like a small club. If Real Madrid ever wanted Reguilon back, if he did leave for United, they should be made to agree a fee with United like they would any other player. Would the club have inserted a buyback clause for Cristiano Ronaldo when he signed for them in 2009?

Written by John Walker

Manchester United eyeing move for Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilon – reports

Manchester United are reportedly plotting a swoop for Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, 23, who spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Sevilla, the winners of the UEFA Europa League this season. United will have watched Reguilon during the semi-final clash in the Europa League in which the Spanish side beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 2-1 to reach the final, in which they beat Inter Milan to lift the trophy for the sixth time, which is an achievement, keeping their 100% record in the competition since first lifting the title in the 2005/06 season.

Spanish news source, also considered the mouthpiece of Real Madrid, Marca, have reported that the club could be seeking €20-€25 million for Reguilon this summer, which is a pretty decent fee for the player, especially to bolster United’s squad in the left-back position despite having both Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams. Chelsea were said to be interested in the Spanish defender but opted to sign Ben Chilwell from Leicester City for a fee in the region of £50 million instead.

Solskjaer should be seeking to add competition for places in many positions in the squad. Williams, 19, can play in the right-back position, so could challenge both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Shaw for places and if Reguilon was signed by the club this summer, he could put some pressure on Shaw. The former England left-back’s injury record is not the best and at the end of the 2019/20 season, he was injured again, suffering an ankle injury against his former club, missing United’s final few matches and their participation in the Europa League.

During the 2019/20 season, Reguilon, 23, made a total of 38 appearances for Sevilla, scoring three goals and five assists, which from a left-back would be welcome at United. Reguilon’s contract at Real Madrid will expire in the summer of 2023, so the fee Marca suggest would be a good amount to spend on the talented left-back this summer. Williams is not a player to be written off and is seen as a player that will grow in the future and possible make this position his own. Learning from Reguilon would be great for him to hone his skills for the future, playing regularly on rotation.

If Shaw did not respond well to Reguilon arriving at the club, presuming that this rumour has substance, as many do not, it could mean that the former England’s left-back’s future at the club could be bleak, especially if the Spanish left-back and Williams do well to up the competition for places. Shaw has had a largely positive 2019/20 season, despite ending with an injury, seemingly moving forward in a career at the club that has been blighted with injury in nearly all of the seasons he has played for the club.

United could well face competition with Juventus and Inter Milan seemingly interested in Reguilon, which could see this report as bait for the Italian clubs to make offers to Real Madrid on the basis that United are supposedly interested. This is the way transfers seem to work in modern football. Clubs interested in players, however, not making an offer. Leak a report that United are interested and like the click of your fingers, a bid has been received and you end up selling the player. This seems to happen a lot of the time with United and seemingly happened with Gabrial Magalhaes’ move to Arsenal.

Written by John Walker

James Rodriguez available for £22 million this summer; Manchester United balk at wage demands

Real Madrid are seeking to sell James Rodriguez this summer and he could be available for as little as £22 million with Manchester United and Arsenal said to be interested in the player. However, his exit from the Spanish club could well be scuppered by the player’s wage demand with report suggesting that the 29-year-old will demand £140,000 per week. Back in the summer fo 2014, after a largely positive FIFA World Cup for Colombia in Brazil, Rodriguez was linked with United, but signed for Real Madrid.

That move seems to have been a negative for him as the player spent three seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu before being loaned to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for two seasons; 2017/18 and 2018/19. The Colombian international spent the 2019/20 season with the Los Blancos and did not feature much in a season thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic. The player is set to be a free agent next summer so Real Madrid will be seeking to make some money on the player this summer.

During the 2019/20 season, Rodriguez, 29, made a total of 14 appearances for his club, playing in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Supercoppa, and the UEFA Champions League. The Colombian international scored one goal and two assists which is poor form for the player and a major warning sign that United should avoid this transfer. In January 2018, United signed Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal from Arsenal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the other direction and that was a dreadful move for United.

The Sun has reported that Real Madrid could be seeking just £22 million for the Colombian this summer, which would be a good deal for a club seeking to sign an aging player who seems to be past his best. United should stick by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plan to rebuild United, signing young and hungry players with the Norwegian seeking to assemble a squad that could last for years, rather than one to last for a season or two. Long-term success seems to be the plan, rather that quick success, which has not worked in the past.

During his career, Rodriguez has been likened to some of the best names in the sport and at the World Cup in 2014, he did look like the next best thing. Since signing for Real Madrid, the 29-year-old has made a total of 125 appearances for the club, scoring 37 goals and 42 assists. At AS Monaco, which is where he was before signing for the Madrid club, the player made 38 appearances, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists, which was considered good at the time. On loan for two seasons at Bayern Munich, Rodriguez made 67 appearances, scoring 15 goals and 20 assists.

United have now been linked with Rodriguez and Douglas Costa in the past few days – despite both player being experienced at both club and country level, it does not mean that they are still good enough to be playing for a club like United. Solskjaer should be allowed to seek young and hungry players that will work hard to be considered in this United squad, not players who seems to be on the decline, as both Rodriguez and Costa seem to be. Both players could be signed for £40 million, which seems great on paper, but in terms of leading from the front and being the difference in United challenging for titles, I am not all that convinced.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United enquire about Vinicius Junior as Jadon Sancho alternative – reports

Manchester United have reportedly enquired about Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior as the club look for other options with interest in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho seemingly resigned after the club have planned to keep the player for the 2020/21 season after the players travelled to Switzerland with his teammates on Monday after the clubs deadline to sell the player expired. However, United are not giving up on signing the 20-year-old.

The Bundesliga club continue to play hardball as they demand €120 million for the English winger this summer. Now Defensa Central report that United have turned to Real Madrid to see if they would sell 20-year-old Vinicius Junior this summer. This has been strengthened with rumours suggesting that the player is unhappy having been left on the bench for the UEFA Champions League defeat to Manchester City last Friday, which may or may not be true – the unhappiness as he was left on the bench in the defeat.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have all shown interested in the young Brazilian, who is more of a left-winger than a player that would occupy the right-wing position. The player signed for the Madrid club in the summer of 2018 for £38.7 million and is contracted to the club until the summer of 2025. The player can play on the right-wing but seems more effective on the left, playing 36 of his 38 appearances this season in that position, twice on the right. He has scored five goals and four assists, which is not really a great achievement.

The main problem in luring the player away from Madrid is the fact the club would rather keep him and get rid of the older players that are taking up most of the wage structure. United could discuss signing Vinicius Junior and walk away with James Rodriguez with Ed Woodward told that the player will be the best player he will ever sign with the United executive vice-chairman probably believing that and thinking that he had done some great transfer business.

The 20-year-old has an €700 million (£630 million) release clause written into his contract, so if United are trying to pay less for Sancho, it is not the best deal to pursue, therefore seems to be more of a rumour rather than something solid. However, nothing will ever surprise anyone when it comes to Woodward. He is the man who spent an entire summer chasing players that had no intention of signing for United, then on deadline day, paying £4 million more to sign Marouane Fellaini. It would seem that this guy never seems to learn when it comes to transfers.

United will probably end up leaving transfers for a few more weeks yet then if the club lifts the UEFA Europa League, providing they beat Sevilla on Sunday in the semi-final then go on to win the final, obviously, it will be marketed as some great achievement which could then turn into suggestions that the squad is not as bad as many supporters can see it is, having 11 quality first team players but the depth of the squad is where the problems lie with many of the players not good enough to carry the club when rotations are needed to keep players fresh. United should be a lot more professional when it comes to signing players, having all the legwork done months ahead of time, getting deals done quickly. I guess that will never happen though?

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW