Man Utd transfer window verdict: the end for Louis van Gaal?

Manchester United were in need of new blood in January and it is telling that the manager did not pick up the chequebook

Manchester United's under-pressure manager Louis van Gaal
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

With his job on the line and his team struggling badly, Louis van Gaal could have been forgiven for embarking on another foray into the transfer market, particularly with weaknesses apparent in key areas.

But United failed to bring anyone in apart from Adnan Januzaj, who was recalled from a disappointing loan spell in Germany. The most notable exit was that of Nick Powell, who left on loan to Hull, "a slight surprise seeing as he was brought on for Juan Mata at a crucial point in a Champions League group decider against Wolfsburg," according to ESPN.

Despite the absence of signings, it is possible to read a lot into United's lack of activity. Has Van Gaal run out credit after spending big and delivering little over the past two summers? Is there any point in allowing a manager to recruit players if he is about to get the sack?

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United were linked with superstars including Gareth Bale, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, notes the Daily Star, but could not even land the likes of Sadio Mane and Renato Sanches. It was, says the paper, a "woeful" month for the club.

"So the manager's challenge now is to try and shepherd the players he has to secure a top-three finish and/or claim the FA Cup. If he does this it would constitute progress but whether it would save his job is a whole other debate," says The Guardian.

Players in: Adnan Januzaj (Borussia Dortmund, recalled from loan)

Players out: Nick Powell (Hull, loan), Victor Valdes (Standard Liege, loan)

Man Utd transfer news: Arsenal in Sanches race and jets fly in

01 February

Having sprung a big surprise on the last day of the summer transfer windows by signing Anthony Martial last year and Radamel Falcao in 2014, could Manchester United's Louis van Gaal be preparing another unexpected unveiling?

Two private jets are due in Manchester today, one from Porto and the other from Milan, reveals Manchester Evening News reporter Alice McKeegan.

See more

That prompts the Metro to speculate they could be carrying new recruits for United. "The Red Devils have been linked with Porto's Bruno Martins Indi, while Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi is free to leave the San Siro for around £19m," says the paper

Meanwhile, The Sun believes Arsenal could be on the verge of a sensational move for United target Renato Sanches.

"LVG and Co had their eye on the Benfica midfielder, 18 - dubbed the new Ronaldinho - with a view to tabling a £30m-plus offer," says the paper. "However, Arsene Wenger sent former Gunners forward Luis Boa Morte to watch Benfica's win over Moreirense on Sunday with a view to outbidding the Old Trafford outfit."

The Sun also notes that the club has an optimistic £65m buyout clause in the player's contract.

Man Utd transfer news: Deadline Day move for Renato Sanches

01 February

Manchester United have made a bid for Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches and will spend Deadline Day waiting to see if their £23m offer has been accepted.

United are quietly confident they will "pull off yet another promising signing on deadline day", says International Business Times, which has picked up the story in Portuguese outlet O Jogo. The paper points out that they did something similar last summer with Anthony Martial and Louis van Gaal now has his heart set on bringing 18-year-old Sanches to Old Trafford.

Despite his tender years, the teenage playmaker has shone for Benfica this season and IBT says that "negotiations between the two clubs are reportedly at an advanced stage". An announcement is expected later today but it's likely any deal will involve Sanches being sent back on loan to the Portuguese club until the end of the season.

It looks like Michael Carrick's days at Old Trafford are numbered with The Sun reporting that the 34-year-old midfielder is set to "quit Manchester United this summer". The England veteran's contract expires at the end of the season and the Sun claims that a number of clubs home and abroad are "keen to tempt him away from United".

Carrick is free to discuss terms with clubs at the moment although the Sun says he's yet to pen a pre-contract with another team. The news may prompt United to table a contract extension to Carrick, who is in his tenth season at Old Trafford and a respected member of Van Gaal's squad.

Meanwhile the Sunday People reports that United scouts have been spending a lot of time watching Tottenham in recent weeks. The man who's the focus of their attention is left-back Danny Rose with reports that Van Gaal could make an approach today as he looks to shore up his injury-ravaged defence.

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Man Utd transfer news: race to land £19m striker Ahmed Musa

29 January

The Daily Express reports that the Red Devils "have entered the race" to sign CSKA Moscow striker Ahmed Musa.

The 23-year-old forward is also wanted by league leaders Leicester City, but it remains to be seen which club will stump up the cash for the player, who captains his country, Nigeria.

The rapacious Russians have apparently slapped a £19m price tag on Musa's head, and they weren't impressed with United's initial bid that came in £4m shy of that sum.

The club is expected to table a second bid in the coming days in the hope of bringing their man to Old Trafford before Monday.

"Astonishing" is the word used by The Sun to describe United's upcoming raid on Chelsea. The paper says Louis van Gaal intends to make a move for Domingos Quina, the 16-year-old Portuguese central midfielder they call "one of Europe's hottest young properties".

The teenage sensation joined the Blues from Benfica a couple of years ago, but the United manager has identified Quina as a star of the future and the youngster is open to the move because he "believes his prospects of a quick introduction to first-team football will be better at Old Trafford.

Man Utd transfer news: Bale bid lined up, Vazquez linked

28 January

Manchester United are still interested in signing Gareth Bale, despite the Real Madrid star's concerns about the future of the club and Madrid's unwillingness to sell.

United were knocked back in the summer by Bale and this month his concerns appear to have been justified amid confusion over the prospects of manager Louis van Gaal.

But hope springs eternal at the Theatre of Dreams and another "big-money" move is on the cards, according to the Manchester Evening News. Chief executive Ed Woodward is "desperate to land a superstar name and reassert United as major players in the transfer market," says the paper. "It's unlikely to happen in January, but United are expected to renew their interest in the summer."

United are also being linked to another winger, according to Metro, which says Palermo wide-man Franco Vazquez could be poised for a move to Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old has already been linked to Chelsea and now his former manager, Davide Ballardini, has hinted that he would like a move to United. "He has great qualities and deserves a team like Liverpool or Manchester United," he told Italian media.

United full-back Guillermo Varela is close to a loan move to Genoa but according to the Daily Star the deal may be scuppered by Louis Van Gaal's "reluctance to sanction the 22-year-old's departure" in the midst of an injury crisis.

Italian media outlet Tuttomercatoweb claims that an agreement has been reached for Varela to join Genoa on a six-month deal with the Serie A side ready to hand over £460,000 to seal the deal. Everything was on track before Van Gaal realised that if Varela went it could leave him desperately short of options in defence with Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all on the treatment table.

Rojo's latest setback in his recovery from a dislocated shoulder could even force Van Gaal into "signing a full-back in the January transfer window", says the Daily Express. Rojo has not played since November and has flown back to Argentina for treatment.

And there's another story of loan disappointment for midfielder Andreas Pereira with the Star claiming that the 20-year-old, who's found opportunities limited under Louis van Gaal, will remain at United for the foreseeable future. The Brazil Under-20 international was being considered as a loan candidate (with Leicester linked with a swoop) but the Star says Van Gaal has had a change of heart after Adnan Januzaj and James Wilson both failed to make the most of their recent loan experiences.

Man Utd transfer news: Martins Indi and Neves on the radar

26 January

The future of Louis van Gaal may be the main concern for the nation's football press but it's business as usual for the Old Trafford scouts, with the Daily Mail reporting that one of their number was "at Porto's game with Maritimo on Sunday".

The spy was there to cast an eye over Holland international Bruno Martins Indi and young midfielder Ruben Neves, who came on for the last 20 minutes.

Indi has the sort of defensive solidity that United have lacked this season and would bring much needed experience to the back four at Old Trafford, while the 18-year-old Neves is regarded as one of Portugal's most promising talents. He won his first senior caps with Portugal earlier this season, and the Mail says he comes with a "£29m release clause in his contract".

Meanwhile the latest gloveman to be linked with United is Claudio Bravo, the Chilean international who has been in sharp form for Barcelona this season. According to the Daily Express United are "keeping tabs" on Bravo as they continue to fret about the futire of David de Gea, despite Real Madrid's transfer ban and his new five-year contract.

Meanwhile, The Independent has claimed that all the uncertainty at Old Trafford recently has been taking its toll. Apparently United made an offer for Gareth Bale in the summer, but the Welshman decided that he was better off in Madrid.

They may move again this summer, says the paper. "But the 26-year-old and his representatives will also need persuading that United – who have now twice offered world record sums for Bale – have a cogent strategy in place and can offer him success, if they are to make a successful third move for their prime target this summer."

Man Utd transfer news: Mattia Perin lined up as De Gea replacement

25 January

There was the odd Mancunian accent in Italy yesterday as United scouts watched Genoa gloveman Mattia Perin in action against Hellas Verona.

The Daily Star claims that the Red Devils are "tracking the 23-year-old" as a possible replacement for David de Gea should he decide to leave the club this summer, or even sooner.

Perin is rated as one of the most promising shotstoppers in the Serie A and the Star, passing on news reported in the Italian press, says that United see him as a long-term replacement for De Gea. The Spaniard's future remains uncertain but if he does move on in June - or even this week if Real Madrid make a sudden move before their transfer ban comes into force next month - then United want to have a replacement installed at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile The Sun claims that Louis van Gaal "wants Wolfsburg full-back Ricardo Rodriguez to solve his defensive crisis".

Apparently the beleaguered Dutch boss, booed by the United faithful after the 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday, has had the 23-year-old scouted twice in recent weeks, Rodriguez, who comes with a £20m price tag, first caught Van Gaal's eye when he helped his German side dump United out of the Champions League.

Though he was rumoured to be on Real Madrid's shopping list, their transfer ban has opened the door for United and a bid is thought to be imminent for the pony-tailed blocker.

Man Utd transfer news: teenage keeper to replace Valdes

22 January

Victor Valdes has sent a farewell message to Manchester United fans as he prepares to leave Old Trafford.

It's fair to say the 34-year-old Spanish goalkeeper won't be missed as he has hardly featured between the sticks since his move to England 12 months ago.

A falling out with Louis van Gaal meant he's been a bystander this campaign and according to Talksport, among others, the Spanish shotstopper is on his way to Belgian side Standard Liege.

Taking to Twitter to announce his departure, Valdes said: "Thank you all for your support during these months of hard work for me. I will never forget! See you soon!"

And as the ageing gloveman departs, have United already identified the future star between the Old Trafford sticks? The Daily Express says that they have "taken young goalkeeper Bartosz Mrozek on trial" with a view to signing the 15-year-old if he shapes up during his examination.

Currently with Lech Poznan, Mrozek has been watched by United scouts for the past year and will spend the next days being given the once-over by the club's coaches. He returns to Poland on Sunday "when a decision will then be made about a potential transfer".

Man Utd transfer news: Morata chase after Lewandowski snub

21 January

Robert Lewandowski has become the latest player to distance himself from Old Trafford with the Poland international striker dismissing speculation that he is about to move to Manchester United.

The Bayern Munich marksman - who's scored 29 goals in 30 appearances this season - is said to be top of Louis van Gaal's shopping list but according to ESPN, Lewandowski has no intention of moving to England from Germany.

"Of course, the English clubs have plenty of money to spend but they always had a lot of money and Bayern have always been able to compete," he explained. "There is not a single club in England that will catch Bayern just because they have more money all of a sudden."

ESPN adds that if there is one club who might be able to lure the prolific Pole from Bayern, it's Real Madrid, although perhaps that wouldn't be until the summer of 2017 at the earliest following last week's transfer ban.

Meanwhile, Metro claims the Red Devils have joined the hunt for Juventus forward Alvaro Morata. Arsenal and Liverpool were the early pace-setters in the chase but according to Italian outlet Tuttosport, United "are also keen" on the 23-year-old.

Morata was a regular for Juve last season but he's scored just one goal in 18 Serie A appearances this campaign, and the fact he's now playing second fiddle to Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic could hasten his departure from Turin.

Man Utd transfer news: De Gea to stay, Schmeichel on standby

20 January

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is not interested in rekindling his collapsed move to Real Madrid, even if the Spanish club have their transfer ban lifted, and has told United that he wants to stay at Old Trafford for the long term, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The Spanish goalkeeper was set to return to his homeland on the final day of the summer transfer window, only for the deal to fall through because the correct paperwork had not been submitted in time. He signed a new United contract ten days later, but many believed he would still move to Spain at the end of the season.

However, the transfer ban imposed on Real Madrid by Fifa means the club will not be able to land De Gea until the summer of 2017, unless they succeed in overturning the decision. But even if they do, he has said "a move back to his homeland is not something he is considering".

"De Gea... grew up admiring great United goalkeepers Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, and has made clear he wishes to emulate them," says the newspaper.

But footballers are fickle and contracts easily broken and if De Gea is somehow lured away, it could be a Schmeichel that replaces him. The Manchester Evening News says that Kasper Schmeichel, son of Peter, "is the man the club may turn to" as they look for a replacement keeper.

Man Utd transfer news: £65m war with Everton over Lukaku

20 January

If Manchester United want Romelu Lukaku then they'll "have to stump up £65m". The eye-watering claims comes in The Sun, which says that Everton are "desperate" to keep their Belgian net-buster and are confident that the massive price tag will scare off the Red Devils.

Louis van Gaal was first linked to Lukaku at the start of the month, and it's since emerged that Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also had the 22-year-old scouted this season.

The Belgian frontman, who cost the Toffees a record £28m in 2014 when they signed him from Chelsea, has been in scintillating form this season and has netted 19 times in all competitions.

But despite his goals, Everton sit 11th in the table, ten points off Champions League qualification, which could prove critical as Lukaku has expressed a desire to play in Europe's premier club competition. That ambition could play into the hands of United, says the Sun, although Everton will not give in without a fight.

Last summer the Toffees successfully fought off an approach from Chelsea for John Stones and are reportedly confident that they can persuade Lukaku to say no to United, particularly as he is only two years into a five-year contract.

If United really do have £60m buring a hole in their pocket, then the Manchester Evening News suggests that unsettled Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard or Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez could be tempted by a move to Old Trafford.

Hazard is "unhappy" at Chelsea and could be available for £65m, while Colombian Rodriguez has been left out of the team new Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and could be lured to the Premier League for a similar fee.

Man Utd transfer news: Fellaini in talks over AC Milan deal

19 January

The future of Marouane Fellaini could be decided this week with the Daily Express reporting that the Belgian midfielder's agent will sit down with officials from AC Milan "to see if a deal can be done to take the player to Italy".

Fellaini joined Manchester United from Everton for £27.5m in 2013 but he's never won over the fans, and the Express describes the 28-year-old "as a popular Old Trafford scapegoat".

Noting that Fellaini has only started 11 games in all competitions this season, the paper says that his agent, Luciano D'Onofrio, will "meet Milan's joint-CEO Adriano Galliani to explore whether a move to the San Siro has legs". Taking its information from Italian media source Calciomercato, the Express says that Milan would like a loan move but that United would prefer to "sell the player outright or not allow him to leave at all". The stumbling block could be the Red Devils' asking price, with Milan allegedly baulking at the £20m fee.

Meanwhile website reports that United will continue to streamline their squad with midfielder Liam Grimshaw joining Preston North End. The 20-year-old has failed to impress Louis van Gaal and becomes the third player to leave Old Trafford for nearby Deepdale this month after 21-year-old midfielder Ben Pearson and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who is on loan at Preston.

Man Utd transfer news: LVG plans Mario Gotze and Adrien Rabiot raids

18 January

The thermometer may have plunged but Manchester United's chances of landing Mario Gotze are warming up after Bayern Munich "revealed that they are not planning on extending" his contract.

According to Metro, the German World Cup winner, also wanted by Liverpool, is struggling to establish himself as a Bayern regular and that's led to speculation that Gotze could be offloaded this summer, despite the fact his contract runs until 2017.

The German champions sporting director Matthias Sammer has admitted that "we will look at Gotze's contract situation in peace" and issued what is widely seen to be a threat to the midfielder and his representatives. "Bayern Munich are the party calling the shots," said Sammer. "We all know how the situation is and how long his contract is running. And we know when there are certain key moments. But we are the ones who are in charge."

The Metro says that United are now on "red alert", waiting for the first opportunity to move in and lure Gotze to Old Trafford.

United are also rumoured to be on the brink of hijacking Arsenal's pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot. The Gunners have been linked with the 20-year-old for years, but have yet to make him an offer he cannot refuse.

Now, though, United could be set to step in and give the Frenchman what he wants. According to the Daily Express, Louis van Gaal is ready to open the bidding at £21m, PSG's asking price, to lure the playmaker to Old Trafford.

Man Utd transfer news: doubts over Ronaldo, Bale and De Gea

15 January

Could Real Madrid's transfer ban have repercussions at Old Trafford? It seems so, with Manchester United having been linked to several Madrid stars, and with the Spanish club also expected to move for goalkeeper David de Gea in the summer.

Real Madrid have been told they cannot bring in any new talent between the end of this transfer window and the summer of 2017, and that could force them to embark on an impromptu spending spree this month. That prospect prompts Metro to report that there are fears of a big money move for goalkeeper De Gea, who almost moved to the Bernabeu last year and remains on the Real wishlist.

And with no chance of bringing in replacements for 18 months, Real will think twice about selling any of their stars, notes ESPN. That "could dent United's chances of signing targets from the Bernabeu such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos", says the website.

That also applies to wantaway midfielder Toni Kroos who was linked with a £40m move to United or Chelsea this month, reports Talksport.

A further indication that all is not well at Old Trafford comes with the news that Andreas Pereira is "facing up to the idea" that he may have to leave Manchester United.

The Manchester Evening News reports that the 20-year-old, who has made only two starts this season under Louis van Gaal, can't hide his "frustration with his situation". Voted United's reserve team player of the season in 2014-15, the Brazilian playmaker was expected to be an integral part of the first team this season but his opportunities have been few and far between.

Asked if he might leave in search of regular football, Pereira replied: "Normally yes so we will see what happens. I want to stay here, of course, but you never know. We will see."

Man Utd transfer news: Slimani and Dragovic set to sign

14 January

Man United boss Louis van Gaal is the latest manager to join the chase for Islam Slimani, a player described by the The Sun as an "Algerian hotshot".

The paper says that the United manager has had striker Slimani watched several times by his scouts this season and a bid is likely to be made for the Sporting Lisbon star.

The 27-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in 16 league games this season, comes with a £12m price tag and that's considered a bargain, not just by United but also West Ham and Leicester. But the interest of the Old Trafford club is thought to have flattered the North African sharpshooter and he is said to be "keen" on a move to United.

"Crazy" is the word used by the Daily Star to describe United's interest in signing Neymar from Barcelona. The red-top says of the Red Devils they are cautiously optimistic they may be able to lure the Brazilian Ballon d'Or nominee from the Camp Nou with a bid in the region "of £100m". Spanish rag Mundo Deportivo says the 23-year-old is "currently in contract negotiations with Barcelona" but the fact he may have to face questions about a fraud court case could spur him to move to England.

A rather more believable claim in the Star is that United are close to signing Dynamo Kiev defender Aleksandar Dragovic. It says a £16m deal for the Austria defender has been agreed and that he will be heading to Old Trafford this month, a year after United's previous attempts to sign him failed.

Man Utd transfer news: race for Felipe Anderson hots up

12 January

A day after Lazio revealed that Man United had failed in a £37m bid for midfielder Felipe Anderson in the summer it has been claimed that the midfielder is now being courted by Bayern Munich.

The German giants are "monitoring" the 23-year-old Brazilian frontman, says Talksport, even though he is known to be a target for United boss Louis van Gaal.

A big money offer from United was expected this week, but Talksport says that the German champions have now entered the race to sign Anderson and are ready to meet Lazio's £35m asking price. In addition, Bayern are sure to be able to offer the South American the chance to play Champions League football next season, while the presence in Munich of international team-mates Douglas Costa and Rafinha could also tip the transfer tussle the way of Bayern.

If Anderson is out of reach, United could instead turn to Atletico Madrid youngster Saul Niguez, although that would put them on a collision course with Arsenal, who are also keen on the midfielder.

The Daily Mirror claims that United have opened talks with the Spanish club with hopes of a deal this month, even though Atletico manager Diego Simeone does not want to sell. However, he might not have much choice as the paper claims that the Spanish 21-year-old has an £18m release clause in his contract.

Man Utd transfer news: £40m Chelsea war over John Stones

11 January

The race to sign Everton's John Stones is becoming as intriguing as a weekend with Anthony Martial (if you believe The Sun) as United prepare to go head to head with Chelsea for the services of the Toffees' defender.

According to Metro, the Red Devils are set to "test Everton's resolve with a January transfer window bid" for the central defender.

It's news that will not go down well at Stamford Bridge. Stones was the subject of three bid from Chelsea last summer, none of which were successful, and reports last week suggested the Blues were prepared to make a fourth and final bid in the region of £40m.

But Metro says Louis van Gaal sees Stones as the ideal partner for Chris Smalling and consequently he's ready to table an an offer "north of £35m".

Then again, Metro says Stones is likely to head to Barcelona as the Spanish giants are planning a 'double swoop' for the defender and Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey

Meanwhile the Daily Express says that Lazio have confirmed United's long-standing interest in midfielder Felipe Anderson, but dismissed speculation that the 22-year-old is poised to head to Old Trafford. "We turned down a €50m (£37.5m) offer from Manchester United on 27 August and nothing has changed since then," sporting director Igli Tare explained to Mediaset Premium. "If he finds consistency, then he's worth much more. So far [this month] we haven't received anything from Manchester United."

Elsewhere, the Daily Star claims - on the hearsay of the Spanish media - that Saul Niguez is ready to pledge this troth to United. The paper says that that United "are readying a £15m deal" to sign the Atletico Madrid midfielder this month.

Finally, United's chances of landing Gareth Bale appear to be receding after the Welsh wizard scored this second hat-trick in four days for Real Madrid. There had been speculation that Bale could decide to move on following the appointment of Zinedine Zidane to replace Rafa Benitez but The Independent reports that Bale is thriving under the new gaffer.

This time he netted three times in a 5-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday night, and when asked if he was still contemplating a move to Old Trafford at the end of the season, Bale replied: “I am happy at the moment. You can never predict what will happen in the future, but right now I am enjoying my football.”

Man Utd transfer news: Kane deal off, £40m move for Lukaku

08 January

With a week of the transfer window gone, there have been few eye-catching deals thus far but that could be about to change, according to the Daily Mirror. It claims that Manchester United are "ready to test Everton's resolve" to hang on to their £40m-rated sharpshooter Romelu Lukaku.

The free-scoring Belgian has notched 12 goals in his last 12 games and with form like that it's no surprise that Louis van Gaal is desperate to sign the goal machine.

The Mirror says that Everton are "unwilling to let the 22-year-old go" but United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward could make the Merseyside club an offer they would find hard to turn down.

United had at one stage been linked with Tottenham's Harry Kane, but the feeling is they won't be able to prise him from White Hart Lane so attention has turned instead to Lukaku.

Talking of Belgians, Adnan Januzaj is back with Manchester United after Borussia Dortmund cancelled his loan deal. The young frontman moved from Old Trafford to Germany in August on what he expected to be a season-long loan. But after just three matches for Dortmund it's been agreed that it would be in everyone's best interest if he returned to United forthwith. Sky Sports says that "the relevant paperwork was exchanged on Thursday" and as a result Januzaj will see out the season with United.

Caughtoffside reports that United have farmed out young striker Ashley Fletcher to Barnsley on a month’s loan. The 20-year-old, who's impressed for the Red Devils Under-21s, has yet to make a senior start but Louis van Gaal hopes that a month playing regularly for Barnsley will help bring on Fletcher's game.

Someone at the Daily Star clearly has a crystal ball, a hotline to Carrington or a vivid imagination. The paper claims United are on alert for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lucas Moura, who is "looking to leave" the French capital. PSG paid £33.5m for the Brazilian in 2012 and would expect to recoup that fee three years later.

And if that isn't enough, the Star also believes that United are lining up an "incredible £65m swoop" for Eden Hazard. Apparently they've given up on Gareth Bale and instead are targeting the unsettled Belgian, even though it is almost unthinkable that Chelsea would sell one of their prized assets to a fierce rival.

Man Utd transfer news: Herrera hunted, Ronaldo saga resumes

07 January

Keep a lookout for furtive Italians loitering around Old Trafford. Why? Because according to Talksport, Juventus "have been keeping a close watch" on Ander Herrera in recent weeks.

It seems the Italian champions are lining up a January bid for the creative midfielder after their efforts to woo Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan came to naught. Talksport, taking its cue from Tuttosport, claims Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri has now identified Herrera as a good fit in Turin.

If United do decide to sell Herrera they might put the money towards a bid for Jamie Vardy. Metro says that the Red Devils are "lining up" an offer for the goal machine with Louis van Gaal aware that City have "yet to offer the forward a new deal".

The 28-year-old Vardy, who has scored 15 goals in 20 games this term, is on a pitiful £40,000-a-week deal at the King Power Stadium, a sum that United could double.

Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News is wearily looking forward to "eight months of posturing and teasing" after fresh reports from Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo will quit the Spanish capital in the summer.

United tried to sign their former player in 2013 and 2015 only to discover he was using them to obtain a better contract offer from Madrid. But love is blind and once again United are said to be making eyes at the Portuguese in the hope that he will pick his old flame over Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season.

Man Utd transfer news: Fellaini farewell, but no Bale deal

06 January

It looks like Marouane Fellaini days at Old Trafford are numbered with Metro reporting that the Belgian "has agreed a deal to join AC Milan".

Reports surfaced at the weekend linking the former Everton star with the Italian giants, only for United to dismiss them. But Metro, along with several other papers, reports that after negotiations Fellaini has agreed personal terms and "United are now happy to let him go for about £15m".

Fellaini was brought to Old Trafford in 2013 by David Moyes and became a symbol of his failed stewardship of the club. The midfielder has failed to win over the United fans and under manager Louis van Gaal his game time has been limited and he was widely tipped to move on this month.

If Fellaini's departure will be greeted as good news by many, there is bad news for United on the Gareth Bale front with the Daily Star reporting that Real Madrid have no intention of selling the Welshman, who is "integral to the club's long-term ambitions".

It was believed that United were edging closer towards a deal for Bale following the sacking of Rafa Benitez on Monday, but according to the Star new gaffer Zinedine Zidane considers the midfielder "a big part of his plans" and will not let him leave the Bernabeu.

Things could change, however, if the Evening Standard's assertion that Zidane has earmarked Chelsea star Eden Hazard as his marquee signing this summer, proves correct. In that case Bale could be offloaded to raise funds for Hazard.

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