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Manchester United will have to fight for the right to sign their summer targets, according to the latest reports.
The Daily Mirror says that Liverpool have joined the Red Devils in the chase for Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic with Jurgen Klopp ready to rival any bid from Jose Mourinho for the 30-year-old.
United boss Mourinho, whose side defeated Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday, has long had his eye on the Croatian midfielder but the Mirror, quoting sources in Spain, says that Klopp has identified Rakitic as the man to replace Emre Can, who’s expected to leave Liverpool for Juventus when his contract expires in the summer.
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Having already lost Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January, Klopp needs to strengthen his midfield ahead of next season. The experienced Rakitic, who comes with a £25m price tag, could fit the bill.
Meanwhile the Daily Express says that Real Madrid are “plotting to hijack” United’s £53m transfer of Samuel Umtiti in the summer. The centre-back is apparently on Mourinho’s wishlist as he looks to overhaul his back four but the Express says that Real Madrid are now honing in on the 24-year-old.
Umtiti, who has allegedly demanded a pay hike at Barcelona after learning his annual wage of £2.6m is one of the lowest in the club, is unsettled at the Camp Nou and could quit if his demands aren’t met.
But with the defender said to pushing for £7m a year it’s unlikely Barcelona will accede to his demands. Instead they could move him on at the end of the season. The Express claims that United are “willing to pay the substantial amount” as they look to challenge Manchester City’s dominance.
The Daily Mirror claims that United will also face competition from Chelsea for the signature of the Barcelona defender.
Finally, Goal.com reports that RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner has pledged his loyalty to the German outfit despite recent rumours linking him to Old Trafford.
Discussing his future with the media in the wake of yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Stuttgart, Werner was asked if he intended to stay at Leipzig until the end of his contract in 2020. “Definitely,” he replied.
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