Man Utd transfer news: £165m Neymar deal on the table
Spare a thought for Neymar's agent, Pini Zahavi, who according to The Sun flew to Manchester on Saturday to see United labour to a goalless draw against Newcastle. The paper says that United "have been in secret talks to try to buy the Brazilian striker" and that was the reason Zahavi subjected himself to 90 minutes of tedium on Saturday.
It's claimed that United manager Louis van Gaal has set his sights on Neymar after missing out on his Barcelona teammate Pedro last week. The Sun says that Neymar's buyout clause is £130m although this "could be up to £165m with add-ons". When the paper asked Zahavi about the likelihood of Neymar swapping the Camp Nou for Old Trafford, the man who calls himself a super-agent replied: "I have nothing to say about this but it is normal such a giant club as Manchester United would wish to win the services of Neymar, the best player in the world."
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But pressed on the possibility, Zahavi admitted: "It would be astonishing if United pulled off such a coup, but they are making a play for him." As for Van Gaal, he had little to say on the speculation, telling reporters after the somnolent stalemate: "You can mention every player but I cannot answer those questions. I would like to make the squad stronger but not for any price and only for the right player."
The latest development on Sunday evening, when the Manchester Evening News, reported that Wagner Ribeiro - who, rather confusingly, is also described as Neymar's agent - told a Brazilian newspaper: "This is summer window speculation... he has three more years on his contract. The English newspapers are very speculative. Barcelona never think about selling Neymar and he is very happy there."
If the idea of Neymar signing up for United wasn't far-fetched enough, what about the Sunday People's claim that the Red Devils are still pursuing Gareth Bale? That particularly story seemed to have died a death weeks ago after the Welshman made it clear he was staying put at Real Madrid, but the paper reckons van Gaal is "banking on a dramatic 72-hour window of opportunity" to snatch Bale from the Spanish giants. Not that Bale will come cheap, mind, with the paper saying he will cost United £95m.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror alleges that David de Gea's relationship with Van Gaal has "broken down completely" after the Dutchman claimed last week that the Spanish shotstopper didn't want to play for the club. De Gea is known to be pining for a move to Real Madrid but with the two clubs unable to agree terms, he's been frozen out of Old Trafford and a source close to De Gea told the paper: "David just doesn’t get on with Van Gaal - and his relationship with goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek is even more strained."
As to the chances of reaching an agreement on the unsettled gloveman, the Mirror says that United remain adamant that they will keep hold of De Gea for the remaining ten months of his contract "if Real Madrid fail to meet their £35m valuation". However, there may be a glimmer of light for De Gea with reports from Manchester suggesting Van Gaal wants to do a deal in the next week so he can make his move on Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen.
Man Utd transfer news: Muller and De Gea deals could be close
Manchester United target Thomas Muller has spoken about the possibility of a move to Old Trafford, but his cyptic comments about money have only added fuel to the rumours.
Earlier in the week stories appeared in the German press suggesting that the Premier League club were ready to table a £60m offer for the Bayern Munich marksman. The 25-year-old Muller, who has worked with Louis van Gaal in the past, was asked about the rumours by German broadcaster Sport 1.
"It's basically crazy the numbers which are currently kicking around in football - that's just business," he replied. Significantly, however, Muller neither denied nor confirmed the gossip prompting more speculation in the Manchester Evening News that a deal could be imminent.
Meanwhile Metro reports that Aleksandr Kokorin is expected to finalise a transfer to Manchester United in the coming fortnight, although Spurs are also trying to muscle in on the action. The 24-year-old Russian, who has also been linked with several Italian clubs in recent weeks, is poised to leave Dynamo Moscow before the transfer window shuts and the Russian frontman has caught the eye of United.
Asked about the Old Trafford rumours by Russian outlet Sport Express, agent Christophe Yutto replied: "There is every reason to believe he will end up at either Manchester United or Tottenham." According to Metro the Red Devils have their noses in front in the race to the Russian with the paper commenting that Kokorin "was believed to be in talks with United yesterday".
Finally, 24 hours after it was revealed that United have identified Sadio Mane as a late summer target, the Daily Mirror reports that Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has warned United that the Senegalese winger is not for sale. Speaking ahead of Southampton's Europa League qualifier against FC Midtjylland (a match that the Saints drew 1-1) Koeman told reporters when asked about Mane: "Nobody is for sale. No, it's not about money. We would like to continue with these players. We know what happens. There's still ten or 11 days to go before the window closes, so we will have rumours."
Oh, and if you're wondering what the latest is on David De Gea, The Sun claims that the agent of the unsettled Spanish shotstopper is planning to hold "crunch talks" with United in the coming days. Jorge Mendes is said to be in town to "force a move to Real Madrid" for De Gea, and the Sun quotes a source saying: "Things will gather pace now. Real Madrid are confident a deal will 100 per cent go through before the end of the month."
Man Utd transfer news: Mane and Muller on menu, Pedro off
Hours after the shock news emerged revealing United had been gazumped by Chelsea in their attempt to sign Pedro, the Daily Telegraph claims that the Red Devils have made a "surprise inquiry" for Southampton frontman Sadio Mane.
Apparently United's interest in the 23-year-old began last week with what the Telegraph describes as "an initial bid". That could explain why they didn't follow through on their negotiations with Barcelona over Pedro's £21m transfer fee, allowing Chelsea room to manoeuvre themselves into position to make their move on Wednesday.
The Telegraph doesn't elaborate on the size of United's bid to the Saints but it will have to be meaty given that Maine has thrived in England since joining Southampton from Red Bull Salzburg for £10m last year.
Southampton are "expected to fight to keep the player" who scored ten goals in his first season at St Mary's, but it's believed United manager Louis van Gaal has earmarked the Senegalese sharpshooter - most effective playing out wide - as the last of his big summer signings.
However, Sky Sports reports that when it contacted the Saints for their reaction to United's intentions, a Southampton official told them: "He is a key part of our team and our planning for the future. He wouldn't be sold."
Meanwhile, according to the London Evening Standard United have tabled a £60m bid for Thomas Muller, the Bayern Munich star who allegedly doesn't see eye to eye with coach Pep Guardiola. Taking its cue from German rag Bild, the Standard says that Van Gaal "won't take Bayern Munich's no for an answer". Last week the German champions rubbished suggestions they would sell Muller but that was before they realised the size of United's largesse. As a result, claims Bild, they are now "seriously" considering the offer.
Man Utd transfer news: Pedro deal close, but no defenders
Manchester United are inching towards a deal to sign Barcelona forward Pedro, and vice chairman Ed Woodward is believed to have flown to Spain to put the finishing touches to the transfer.
According to the Daily Telegraph, United are "increasingly confident that they have finally structured a deal" that will see Pedro move to Old Trafford for an initial fee of £18.5m. The fee will rise over time in order to satisfy Barcelona's release clause, but the Spanish international should soon be wearing United red.
"The move to United is now expected to go through this week," adds the paper.
One move that has yet to go through is David de Gea's departure to Real Madrid, and that could cost his agent Jorge Mendes his ten per cent. Metro picks up on reports in Spain that claim the keeper has issued Mendes with an "ultimatum" and says that "the keeper is ready to sack Mendes if a move to the Bernabeu falls through before the window closes".
De Gea has yet to play for United this term amid reports that he asked to be left out of the team.
United's dwindling hopes of signing defender Sergio Ramos have finally been extinguished after the Real Madrid defender signed a new deal at the Bernabeu and promptly announced that he never had any intention of leaving his beloved Madrid, despite his flirtation with Manchester.
And that means that United are unlikely to sign another defender before the window shuts, according to the Manchester Evening News.
"It is understood United won’t look elsewhere for a central defender in the final fortnight of the 2015 summer transfer window," it says, adding that Louis van Gaal has also "ruled out a move for Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi, who seems to be on the verge of a move to Manchester City, despite being constantly linked with the Argentine defender all summer".
Man Utd transfer news: £12m for De Gea if he quits next year
David de Gea will pocket an eye-watering £12m signing-on fee by Real Madrid if he sits out the final year of his contract. That's the extraordinary claim from the Daily Mirror, which says the Spanish club are desperate to land the United gloveman before the transfer window closes in a fortnight but also see the financial benefit of waiting until the end of the season.
If Real can bide their time De Gea will be able to leave United on a free next summer, and as the Mirror points out that would leave "United as big losers because they would miss out on a huge fee for De Gea". Of course, if United do sell De Gea in the next couple of weeks they'll avoid that situation.
According to the Mirror, Madrid want to pay around £25m but United are holding out for a fee in excess of that, with United boss Louis van Gaal apparently "fuming" that Real weren't prepared to make Sergio Ramos part of the De Gea deal.
It's alleged by the Mirror that De Gea wants to sign for Real and his desire has been sharpened by suggestions last week by the United coaching staff that he didn't want to play, hence the reason he was omitted from the squad that travelled to Villa Park on Friday.
Meanwhile the Daily Express believes that United are closing in on Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller. The paper claims that the Red Devils have had "two bids – the last one around £60m – rejected by the German champions".
Muller scored twice for Bayern in their 5-0 thrashing of Hamburg on Friday night and understandably the Germans are keen to hold on to the sharpshooter. The Express says Muller and manager Pep Guardiola haven't always seen eye to eye but the club chief executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, rubbished suggestions that they would allow Muller to follow Bastian Schweinsteiger to Old Trafford. "We would be out of our minds to sell Muller," he said.
Man Utd transfer news: Kane, Gotze blow, no Otamendi deal
Manchester United's chances of landing Harry Kane have been dealt what the Daily Express describes as a "blow". Why? Because Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has made it absolutely clear that the club has no intention of selling the England frontman after his standout season in 2014-15.
Recently rumours have been gathering pace that Kane was being courted by United but when asked on Thursday, Pochettino replied: "I think we are confident and his commitment is fantastic with the club". He dismissed the speculation as "only rumours", and added that Kane "is a big part of my plan".
Another player whose club have no intention to see him leave for Old Trafford is Mario Gotze, reports website Caughtoffside. The German international has been intermittently linked with United for the best part of a year but Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has rubbished the idea the 23-year-old playmaker was poised to leave the club. "He's told the club that he wants to stay here," declared Rummenigge. "That puts a lid on it."
Meanwhile Sky Sports reports that United will not be making a bid for Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi. The defender has been mooted as an Old Trafford target for months and apparently a Spanish TV station had "seen legal documents confirming that the transfer is about to take place". But when the British broadcaster contacted the Red Devils about the alleged move they were told categorically that "United are not interested – and never have been interested – in signing the Argentina international".
And Sky Sports also claims that United will not be offloading Javier Hernandez anytime soon. West Ham United were said to be interested in the Mexico marksman, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, but Sky Sports say the departures of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie have persuaded Louis van Gaal to hold on to Hernandez.
Man Utd transfer news: 'all clear' to sign keeper Muslera
With Manchester City apparently eyeing up an 11th hour bid for Pedro, according to website Caughtoffside, Man United might want to act quickly to ensure they don't miss out on another of their transfer targets - Fernando Muslera.
According to Metro, the Red Devils "have been given the all clear to sign" the goalkeeper from Galatasaray, although manager Hamza Hamzaoglu said the Turkish outfit would expect certain conditions to be met before any deal could be signed. "We will only consider selling one of our players if a good offer comes in and if we can find a replacement," explained Hamzaoglu.
"If we are able to find a replacement for Muslera we may consider letting him go." Metro reports that United boss Louis van Gaal has Muslera in mind as the gloveman to replace David de Gea when, as expected, he moves to Real Madrid before the window slams shut at the end of the month.
Man Utd transfer news: Pedro talks up Old Trafford 'challenge'
On a night when goal from Pedro secured Barcelona their first piece of silverware for the season, the player's move to Manchester United appeared to come a step closer. Barca manager Luis Enrique confirmed the forward's future would soon be sorted, other club sources admitted that he "wants to go" and Pedro himself spoke of "nice challenges" beyond the Camp Nou.
Talking before the thrilling Super Cup clash against Sevilla, Enrique addressed claims that the 28-year-old had been identified by Louis van Gaal as the man to replace Angel di Maria following the Argentine's move last week to Paris Saint-Germain.
"I would like to keep all my players through the whole season," the Barcelona gaffer told reporters in the Georgian capital Tbilisi "But we have talked enough about Pedro. The solution will arrive soon."
According to Sky Sports Barcelona "are believed to have made it clear" to United that any bid for Pedro would have to meet the £22m release clause in the player's contract.
But speaking after the Super Cup triumph, Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez conceded that Pedro was no longer committed to the club. “Pedro has told me he wants to go,” he said, in comments carried by BBC Sport. “The buyout clause in his contract is not negotiable but this could be his final game," said Fernandez.
The player himself admitted he felt "lot of anger" at not starting the Super Cup, adding: "It is a difficult, complicated situation." Asked about the likelihood of moving to Old Trafford, Pedro replied: "Manchester? Yes, there are nice challenges on all sides. Today I'm here, and I'm happy. And if I go, I will go with my head held high having always given everything."
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