Rio Ferdinand revealed he rang Cristiano Ronaldo "straight away" in an attempt to persuade the Juventus star not to sign for Manchester City.

Reports this week suggested former Manchester United great Ronaldo had been offered to rivals City by his agent Jorge Mendes.

City were in the hunt for a forward after missing out on Harry Kane, who is staying at Tottenham.

As late as Friday morning – when Ronaldo left Juve training – it appeared the Portugal captain was all set to sign for the Premier League champions.

Speculation only mounted when Juve coach Massimilano Allegri confirmed Ronaldo was leaving Turin, yet in a remarkable turnaround, it is United who are instead set to re-sign the 36-year-old, who they sold to Real Madrid in 2009.

The Red Devils on Friday confirmed they have reached an agreement to bring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford, subject to agreeing personal terms, a visa application and the completion of a medical.

A fee of €15millon plus €8m in add-ons has been reported.

 

And, in an appearance in an interview for his fashion label, FIVE, Ferdinand revealed he spoke to his former team-mate.

Ferdinand, who was wearing sunglasses in the video, said prior to United confirming a deal has been agreed: "It's a beautiful day man, and when it's a beautiful day you've got wear shades!

"Sir Alex Ferguson would've been exactly the same, he would've hated to see Cristiano Ronaldo in a Man City shirt, just like anyone who’s been connected for a long period of time at this football club.

"I rang him [Ronaldo] straight away: 'What's going on? Tell me you're lying.' Every type of 'no, no, no, no' in the conversation.

"I'm like the fans, we're all the same like that. 'Please tell me you're not going there.' 

"I hope that there's an announcement and it's one that I would be happy with. It's the best. We've seen some great signings this summer."

Cristiano Ronaldo is set for a sensational return to Manchester United after the Old Trafford giants confirmed a deal had been agreed with Juventus, beating Manchester City to his signature.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Rio Ferdinand was "out of order" with his comments on why Phil Jones is still a Manchester United player.

Defender Jones, 29, has not played a Premier League game since the 2-0 win over Burnley on January 22 last year.

Former United star Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five video that Jones should have been released "ages ago" and suggested he was unfairly keeping youngsters out of the first-team picture by being at the club yet unavailable.

The centre-back has been struggling with long-term injury issues, the most serious of which is a knee problem, but he played his first United game for 18 months in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week – also against Burnley.

Solskjaer, who himself battled a long-term knee problem as a player, explained on Friday why he has not been prepared to rush Jones back into action.

"Phil has had a horrible 18, 19, 20 months and probably a year before that as well with injuries," he said. "I think Rio was a bit, not out of order, he should have called me and asked why Phil hasn't played or why Phil hasn't been here.

"Phil is a no-fuss, get-on-with-it type of guy, and I think that was out of order completely [from Ferdinand]. I know more than anyone how it feels to be injured.

"Phil is still not 30 years of age. Since I came back here, he's battled against his knee injury and he put his body on the line every single training session, every single game. There are a few times we've had to manage him, and he's never done anything but give everything for the club.

"Rio of all should know more than go out and say this. I wanted to say a lot, I've not said a lot about Phil's injury because I protect him, he never does social media, never has to do interviews, just gets his head down, proper professional, no fuss, a family man, and just wants to get back fit.

"I was out for two years in a three-year period with a knee injury and Phil has battled valiantly and I know how Phil has felt. Because you're embarrassed at times coming in, but he has to look after his career and he's now getting back to fitness.

"Now is not the time for me to throw him in. Maybe give him a little more, a month, six weeks and he'll be there. For me as a manager to see he can see light at end of the tunnel, it's great because I've been through the same."

While Jones appears unlikely to leave the club before the transfer window closes, there remains speculation over the future of Jesse Lingard, but Solskjaer seems keen to keep a player who has just earned an England recall.

"I know there's loads of speculation about him, but he's had a very good pre-season; just been picked for England in the squad," he said.

"It's just been unfortunate that he got COVID just before the league started. He would have 100 per cent started the first game [against Leeds United] because of the pre-season he had, so I can see him doing well this season."

Solskjaer also insisted Donny van de Beek will be given his chance to impress this season, even though he did not get off the bench in United's opening two fixtures.

"We started against Leeds with a 5-1 win, [which was] justification for the team selection," he said. "Then we moved to the next one, Scott [McTominay] couldn't play and Nemanja [Matic] has been our best player in pre-season.

"Donny has worked hard, he's done really well, I can't say anything else. He'll get his chances when the season gets going."

Manchester City were firm favourites to complete a sensational move for Cristiano Ronaldo until a fiery Pep Guardiola hinted the deal was off on Friday.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed hours earlier that Ronaldo had informed him of his intention to leave the Serie A club.

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes had reportedly approached City, who missed out on signing Harry Kane after the England captain elected to stay at Tottenham.

Reports on Thursday claimed personal terms between City and Ronaldo had been agreed and the transfer seemed to be edging closer when the 36-year-old was pictured leaving Juve's training ground, seemingly for the final time.

However, in a remarkable twist, Ronaldo's former club and City's rivals Manchester United have now reportedly entered the running and, in his pre-match news conference ahead of this weekend's clash with Wolves, Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested a deal could happen.

While Solskjaer's comments became public, Guardiola faced the media prior to City's clash with Arsenal on Saturday, and he claimed Ronaldo would ultimately make the final call on his future.

Shortly after Guardiola's news conference had concluded, the BBC said City had pulled out of the deal altogether. 

"I cannot say much. Harry Kane announced that he's continuing with his club, an exceptional club like Tottenham," Guardiola told reporters.

"Cristiano, I think he's a Juventus player, I cannot add anything else. All I can say in these three or four days is that everything can happen.

"But in my personal view, there are a few players, and I think Cristiano is included and [Lionel] Messi of course, that they decide where they want to play. In that position [attack], right now, this is my feeling, I am more than delighted with the squad that I have and I think it will stay the same."

Asked if he would be able to coach Ronaldo after spending so much time hailing his former player Messi as the world's best, Guardiola added: "I say the same, Cristiano will decide where he wants to play, not Manchester City, not myself, there are many things but right now it looks far, far away.

"This is a difficult press conference, tomorrow we have an incredibly important game ahead of us, but now it is about other terms, other issues.

"We are incredibly grateful to have enjoyed the best two players we have seen probably in the past 20, 30 years, like these two guys have done, in world football, we can only say thank you.

"The Argentine and the Portuguese guy were amazing in every single season, in different clubs, especially Messi just at Barcelona but now in France. What they have done, we will not watch something similar in the future.

"I'm incredibly happy with the squad I have. More than satisfied. We are the same guys except one player has left, Sergio [Aguero], and Jack [Grealish] arrived. I am focused on the players I have. These type of players decide.

"Messi, he decided himself where he wanted to play. He decided Paris, he went to Paris. These players decide. They know the law, their goal. After that there are situations I cannot control, it's not my business. I am focused on what we have to do and the players we have right now."

The Kane saga has dragged on throughout the transfer window. Multiple reports have claimed Tottenham turned down a City offer for their talisman back in June, a bid which was said to be in the region of £100million.

Guardiola, however, said otherwise.

"The club did absolutely everything. We didn't talk with Tottenham – not even one offer – because they did not want to negotiate," Guardiola said.

"When one team doesn't want to negotiate, there is nothing to say. It is understandable so Tottenham they didn't want to talk, we didn't talk, that's all.

"Maybe they opened the door and they say we want for Harry Kane £200m. We are not going to pay £200m, for one reason, we do not have it, that's why we do not do it.

"We tried to open the door to negotiate and the big master of negotiations Mr Daniel Levy, he knows everything, so we could not do it. He [Kane] is a Tottenham Hotspur player and I wish him all the best in the last years of his career doing well in London."

Guardiola also confirmed City – who responded to an opening-day defeat to Spurs by thrashing Norwich City last time out – would be once again without Kevin De Bruyne for the meeting with Arsenal.

A Manchester United great, could Cristiano Ronaldo end up in the blue of the Red Devils' neighbours?

Ronaldo is reportedly set to leave Serie A powerhouse Juventus and a move to Manchester City is on the cards.

United fans will not be happy…

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO JOIN CITY AFTER JUVE FAREWELL

Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Juventus for Manchester City, according to Portuguese journalist Goncalo Lopes.

Ronaldo – who is in the final year of his Juve contract – has been eyeing a Turin exit amid links with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Lopes claims a sensational move that will see United great Ronaldo play for neighbours City is a "done deal", while Gianluca Di Marzio says the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will farewell his team-mates on Friday.

 

ROUND-UP

Kylian Mbappe is on the verge of moving to Madrid in a blockbuster transfer from PSG. The France international dominates the front page of Friday's L'Equipe, with the headline "Mbappe is at Real Madrid's door". The same outlet claims Madrid are desperate to claim a deal now before he becomes a free agent as they fear competition from the Premier League, where United and Liverpool are believed to be interested.

- If Mbappe does leave, L'Equipe states that PSG will target Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, United midfielder Paul Pogba and Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga.

- ESPN Brazil says PSG are trying to sign Brazil international Richarlison from Everton.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Raheem Sterling could leave City if the right bid arrives as Bernardo Silva also continues to be linked with a move away amid interest from Atletico Madrid and Milan.

Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Milan are interested in United full-back Diogo Dalot, according to Sky.

- Per The Athletic, there is caution a deal that would see Saul Niguez leave Atletico for United could happen. Chelsea are also reportedly in talks.

A Manchester United great, could Cristiano Ronaldo end up in the blue of the Red Devils' neighbours?

Ronaldo is reportedly set to leave Serie A powerhouse Juventus and a move to Manchester City is on the cards.

United fans will not be happy…

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO JOIN CITY AFTER JUVE FAREWELL

Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Juventus for Manchester City, according to Portuguese journalist Goncalo Lopes.

Ronaldo – who is in the final year of his Juve contract – has been eyeing a Turin exit amid links with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Lopes claims a sensational move that will see United great Ronaldo play for neighbours City is a "done deal", while Gianluca Di Marzio says the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will farewell his team-mates on Friday.

 

ROUND-UP

Kylian Mbappe is on the verge of moving to Madrid in a blockbuster transfer from PSG. The France international dominates the front page of Friday's L'Equipe, with the headline "Mbappe is at Real Madrid's door". The same outlet claims Madrid are desperate to claim a deal now before he becomes a free agent as they fear competition from the Premier League, where United and Liverpool are believed to be interested.

- If Mbappe does leave, L'Equipe states that PSG will target Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, United midfielder Paul Pogba and Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga.

- ESPN Brazil says PSG are trying to sign Brazil international Richarlison from Everton.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Raheem Sterling could leave City if the right bid arrives as Bernardo Silva also continues to be linked with a move away amid interest from Atletico Madrid and Milan.

Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Milan are interested in United full-back Diogo Dalot, according to Sky.

- Per The Athletic, there is caution a deal that would see Saul Niguez leave Atletico for United could happen. Chelsea are also reportedly in talks.

Wayne Rooney does not believe Cristiano Ronaldo will risk damaging his Manchester United legendary status by joining Manchester City.

Juventus forward Ronaldo is reportedly close to joining Premier League champions City on a two-year deal before the transfer window closes next Tuesday,

The Portugal captain established himself as one of the best players in the world during a six-year spell with United before joining Real Madrid in a deal worth £80million (€94m) in July 2009.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games under Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, with three Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph among the list of honours he claimed.

The 36-year-old's former team-mate Rooney believes a move to Paris Saint-Germain is more likely for Ronaldo, with Madrid said to be close to signing Kylian Mbappe from the Ligue 1 side.

Asked about the prospect of Ronaldo joining Pep Guardiola's City, Derby County boss Rooney said: "It's an interesting one but I can't see it.

"I think Cristiano has got a very good legacy at Manchester United and I know how proud he is as a player and a person. I can’t see it, but it’s football so you never know."

He added: "There have been a few that have done it [joined City after playing for United] but no one at Cristiano's level. Obviously, Peter Schmeichel and Andy Cole, but I just can't see that as an option for him really.

"Financially of course he doesn't need to do it. I think it’s more likely that it’s PSG he goes to."

Rooney was strongly linked with a move to City during his time with the Red Devils before signing a new contract but the former England captain says that could never have happened.

He said: "I think you need to do what's right for you as a person, for your family. Everyone knows I could never play for Liverpool or Manchester City. That's obvious but everyone's different.

"I think people move to clubs where they don't really want to but from a financial point of view that might be the only option they have, so I might get it from some people's point of view. But in terms of myself that just wouldn't be an option."

Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi will go up against each other in the Champions League after Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were drawn into the same group.

Messi and Guardiola enjoyed a close relationship during their time together at Barcelona, but for the first time they will meet with neither of them representing the Catalans.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi left Barca at the end of June when his contract expired, and while he was expected to sign on with them again, the Blaugrana's hands were tied due to financial restrictions.

As such, Messi was swiftly snapped up by PSG despite previous links with City and a potential Guardiola reunion.

Another narrative could yet enter the conversation with respect to City versus PSG, as Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo – Messi's long-time rival – has been strongly with a move to the Etihad Stadium.

If Ronaldo does not leave Juve, he will go up against the holders Chelsea – who beat City in last season's final – in Group H.

There will be a repeat of the 2020-21 Europa League final in Group F as Manchester United have been offered the opportunity for revenge against Villarreal, who defeated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men in a remarkable penalty shoot-out in Belfast at the end of May.

Three of Spain's other representatives have tough groups to contend with: Barcelona were drawn with Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kiev; Real Madrid will again face Inter and Shakhtar Donetsk as they did in 2020-21; and Atletico Madrid must go up against Liverpool, Porto and Milan.

Sevilla, on the other hand, are in the seemingly even Group G with Ligue 1 winners Lille, Salzburg and Wolfsburg, the latter of whom are back in the competition for only the third time.

First-time qualifiers Sheriff of Moldova joined Madrid, Inter and Shakhtar in Group D.

 

Group A: Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge

Group B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, Milan

Group C: Sporting CP, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas

Group D: Inter, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff

Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev

Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys

Group G: Lille, Sevilla, Salzburg, Wolfsburg

Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit, Malmo

Scott McTominay faces a spell on the Manchester United sidelines after undergoing groin surgery just two games into the Premier League season.

The Scotland international will also be unavailable for his country while he recovers, with United not putting a timeline on that prospect.

He was omitted this week from Steve Clarke's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria.

United said in a statement on Thursday: "Scott has undergone surgery for an ongoing groin injury that was causing significant pain when playing.

"Having tried all other treatment options in pre-season, surgery was deemed necessary to resolve the issue. We hope to have him back soon."

Midfielder McTominay will miss Sunday's clash at Wolves, as United attempt to stretch their Premier League away unbeaten run to a record-breaking 28 games.

It then remains to be seen how well he recovers from surgery, with league games against Newcastle United, West Ham and Aston Villa approaching in September, along with the start of the Champions League group stage.

But McTominay is optimistic his absence will be a short one.

He wrote on Instagram: "Just to let you all know I've had minor surgery on an issue which has needed managing for the last couple of months, I hate missing games so to be missing Wolves on the weekend and the international break is so disappointing but that's part and parcel of the game.

"Wishing all the boys the best of luck and I will be back sooner than you think."

McTominay came through the United academy and emerged firstly as a favourite of Jose Mourinho before continuing his progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's leadership.

He has proven a useful member of the first-team squad; curiously, though, United have had a higher win percentage from the games when he has not featured since the beginning of last season.

When McTominay has started, United have won 52.6 per cent of their games (20 of 38), but when he has not been selected in the starting XI that win rate has been 64 per cent (16 of 25).

The points-per-game difference is less marked, however, with United picking up an average 1.9 points with McTominay and 2.0 when he has not started.

McTominay has proven his combative qualities again since the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign, with his duel success rate of 58.17 per cent rivalled only by Nemanja Matic (56.05) among United midfielders.

When it comes to tackles by United midfielders, only Fred (121) and Bruno Fernandes (89) have made more than McTominay (81) in the same period.

Will Kylian Mbappe join Real Madrid before the transfer window shuts?

It has been confirmed that Mbappe wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, despite Lionel Messi's arrival.

Madrid must now strike an agreement with PSG or wait to sign the France international on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – PSG NAME MBAPPE PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €220million for wantaway Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Madrid reportedly offered €160m for Mbappe, who is out of contract at the end of 2021-22, as PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed the Frenchman's desire to leave Paris on Wednesday.

PSG are said to named their price, with RMC claiming Madrid will make an improved offer for Mbappe.

Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio says Manchester City are offering Cristiano Ronaldo a two-year deal, though the Premier League holders are unwilling to pay Juventus a transfer fee. There has been talk of Gabriel Jesus or Bernardo Silva being included in a possible deal to sign Ronaldo. It comes after City failed to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, while Ronaldo has been linked with former club United as well as PSG and Madrid.

Chelsea have readied their final bid for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, per Fabrizio Romano. The Champions League holders are also trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez – a target for rivals United.

Antonio Conte is one of the top choices to replace Mikel Arteta if Arsenal sack their manager, according to the Independent. Conte is without a club after guiding Inter to the Scudetto in 2020-21.

- Di Marzio claims Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are interested in Brest midfielder Romain Faivre, who is in talks with Milan.

Lazio are pushing to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Filip Kostic as Joaquin Correa nears a switch to Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Manchester United midfield outcast Donny Van de Beek has been described as "one of the most disappointing transfers ever" by former Red Devils star Dimitar Berbatov.

Van de Beek arrived from Ajax amid plenty of fanfare ahead of the 2020-21 season but the Netherlands international has continued to be overlooked by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 24-year-old has been an unused substitute in United's opening two Premier League games of the 2021-22 campaign, having made just four starts in the league last term.

Van de Beek's agent Guido Albers said the Dutchman has been given "clarity" over his United future by Solskjaer, who insisted the former Ajax star is an "important" part of his plans.

Berbatov – who won two Premier League titles among other honours during his time at United – believes Van de Beek should leave Old Trafford if he is unhappy.

"The transfer window closes on Tuesday and, while United have done well to bring in some good players, I still think there may be some action to come with outgoings," Berbatov wrote in his Betfair column. "I don't think we're going to see any more playing time from Donny van de Beek.

"It's a really strange, disappointing and surprising situation. They spent around £35million on him and, to pay that for a player who isn't starting many games, doesn't make sense. I'm not blaming the player at all, but for me it's one of the most disappointing transfers ever."

United won three and lost one of the four games Van de Beek started in the league last season for a 75 per cent win rate.

That drops to 52.9 per cent in the other 34 matches the Red Devils started without the Dutchman, while their average goals scored fell from 2.3 with Van de Beek to 1.9 without.

Van de Beek led the way for United in the Premier League in 2020-21 in terms of tackles won per 90 minutes (1.75), meanwhile, and Paul Pogba (2.09) was the only midfielder to play more than once to complete more dribbles per 90 minutes than Van de Beek's 1.4.

"He has got a lot of quality," Berbatov added. "I don't like it when clubs buy for the sake of buying and this is one of those situations. I'm sure he's banging on the manager's door and asking questions.

"I think if he's not happy, Van de Beek should push to leave. His place in the national team is at risk, especially now with Louis van Gaal in charge. Van Gaal is a disciplinarian who like his players to play football.

"Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes are untouchable in the United midfield at the moment. Scott McTominay, Fred and even 33-year-old Nemanja Matic are ahead of van de Beek.

"I know how Van de Beek feels. In the late stage of my career I was playing in Greece, the president wanted me and signed me, but the coach didn't want me and we had some issues. It is frustrating for a player. He needs to have a long hard think about his situation and what he wants."

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham will all face fellow Premier League sides in the third round of the EFL Cup.

Those top sides in European action will enter the competition in the next stage, including holders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's men will face Wycombe Wanderers at home, but several of their top-flight title rivals have more testing tasks on paper.

Neighbours United will host West Ham, while Chelsea welcome Aston Villa following their 6-0 win at Barrow.

Liverpool are on the road at Norwich City, where they have already won 3-0 this season.

Tottenham head to Wolves – a fixture they have played in the league, too – as Nuno Espirito Santo again goes back to his former club.

Having missed out on Europe, Arsenal entered in the second round but thrashed West Brom 6-0 and were rewarded with a home tie against AFC Wimbledon.

EFL Cup third round draw in full:

QPR v Everton
Preston North End v Cheltenham Town
Manchester United v West Ham
Fulham v Leeds United
Brentford v Oldham Athletic
Watford v Stoke City
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Wigan Athletic v Sunderland
Norwich City v Liverpool
Burnley v Rochdale
Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon
Sheffield United v Southampton
Manchester City v Wycombe Wanderers
Millwall v Leicester City
Wolves v Tottenham
Brighton and Hove Albion v Swansea City

Marcus Rashford has returned to training with Manchester United following successful shoulder surgery.

The England international missed the start of this season after recently undergoing an operation on the long-standing issue.

Despite his shoulder problem, Rashford was part of the Three Lions side that reached the Euro 2020 final, although he missed a penalty in the defeat by Italy at Wembley.

Just over six weeks later, the 22-year-old was back on the pitch at Carrington as he stepped up his recovery.

Although he is not expected to return to first-team action until October, Rashford took part in running exercises while also conducting ball work with the staff.

The academy graduate scored 21 goals in all competitions last season as United finished second in the Premier League and reached the Europa League final.

Upon his return, he will be eager to better that tally with the Red Devils desperate to dethrone rivals Manchester City in the title race.

United began the season with a 5-1 win over Leeds United at Old Trafford before drawing 1-1 away to Southampton.

Donny van de Beek has been given "clarity" over his Manchester United future by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the midfielder's agent Guido Albers.

The 24-year-old started just four times in the Premier League in a disappointing first campaign at Old Trafford following a reported £35million switch from Ajax last September.

He was then forced to miss the Netherlands' Euro 2020 campaign through injury and has been an unused substitute in United's opening two games of the 2021-22 campaign.

However, speaking after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Southampton, Solskjaer offered Van de Beek assurances when stating the Dutchman is an "important" part of his plans this term.

Van de Beek's agent Albers is confident Solskjaer will stick to his word and use the Ajax academy product more often over the next nine months.

"Everyone within the club knows that Donny cannot have another season like last year," Albers told De Telegraaf. "In preparation, clarity has been provided about his role. 

"The fans had already embraced him before, but the most important thing is that the trainer has now provided clarity in the English press.

"We are happy with that. And I assume that Donny will play a lot in one of the positions in midfield in the coming period."

United won three and lost one of the four games Van de Beek started in the league last season for a 75 per cent win rate.

That drops to 52.9 per cent in the other 34 matches the Red Devils started without the Dutchman, while their average goals scored fell from 2.3 with Van de Beek to 1.9 without.

He led the way for United in the Premier League in 2020-21 in terms of tackles won per 90 minutes (1.75), meanwhile, and Paul Pogba (2.09) was the only midfielder to play more than once to complete more dribbles per 90 minutes than Van de Beek's 1.4.

Could the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga be nearing a conclusion?

Long linked with Real Madrid, Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain's attempts to re-sign Mbappe have been fruitless up until this point and the Ligue 1 giants are reportedly willing to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE NEARING MADRID?

Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to accept an offer for Kylian Mbappe should one arrive from Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window, according to RMC.

PSG have been fighting to re-sign Mbappe, who is in the final year of his current deal in the French capital.

However, PSG have reportedly accepted defeat in their efforts to retain Mbappe beyond the 2021-22 season as Madrid look to lure the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Premier League pair Manchester United and Liverpool have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror writes United are prepared to offer cash plus a player-swap – believed to be Jesse Lingard – to sign West Ham's Declan Rice.

- Atletico Madrid are closing in on a deal to sign Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, says Fabrizio Romano. LaLiga champions Atletico had been linked with Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic – also wanted by the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham, Inter and Arsenal – but have so far failed to reach an agreement.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Tottenham are preparing a £40million bid to reunite Nuno Espirito Santo with Wolves star Adama Traore.

Napoli are eyeing unwanted Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic, per Correire dello Sport. Pjanic had looked set to return to Juventus.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira will move to Fiorentina after turning down Eintracht Frankfurt, according to Romano.

Chelsea are continuing to eye Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, claims Romano. The Frenchman is ready to swap Seville for London after agreeing personal terms on a deal until June 2026.

- Inter are monitoring Torino star Andrea Belotti as they seek to replace Romelu Lukaku, says Calciomercato. The Serie A champions have also been linked to Lazio forward Joaquin Correa.

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