Manchester United have finally offloaded Marcos Rojo, with the Argentinian defender returning to his homeland and joining up with Boca Juniors.

Rojo, 30, joined United in 2014 when he was signed by Louis van Gaal, but he has long been out of the first-team reckoning.

The last season he managed to reach double figures for Premier League appearances in a single campaign was 2016-17, when he played 21 times in Jose Mourinho's first year in charge.

But injuries and poor form saw that figure drop to nine in 2017-18 – he then featured just five times in the 2018-19 Premier League and thrice last term before he was sent to his former club Estudiantes on loan.

His brief stint back in Argentina did not go to plan either as he made a solitary appearance due to injury – he did not make a single competitive appearance for United after returning and was left out of their Champions League squad in October.

A social media post from a person stating he was Rojo's personal trainer last week appeared to lift the lid on the player's next move, claiming he was set to start training with Boca.

United have now confirmed Rojo has joined Boca for an undisclosed fee – he won four trophies during his time at the club.

"Everyone at the club would like to wish him all the best for the future," United said in a statement confirming Rojo's exit.

His final appearance for United came in November 2019, as a late substitute in the 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Sergio Ramos is reportedly set to quit Real Madrid and is eyeing Manchester United, while David Alaba is apparently not a target for Manchester City.

Ramos, 34, seems set to leave Madrid at the end of the season with his contract expiring.

With the defender appearing no closer to agreeing to a new deal, he could make the move to the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS TO QUIT MADRID, EYES MAN UTD

Ramos is ready to quit Real Madrid and his camp are set to target Manchester United as his next destination, according to the Mirror.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton have also been linked with the defender.

Ramos has been at Real Madrid since 2005, winning five LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other honours.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another defender set to move at season's end is David Alaba, with the Bayern Munich star linked with numerous European giants as his contract comes to an end. But 90min reports Manchester City will not be making an approach for the Austria international.

- Amid an injury crisis at centre-back, Liverpool could sign a defender before Monday's transfer deadline. The Evening Standard reports they are interested in Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Arsenal may not be done in this transfer window, either. The Mirror says Arsenal are considering a move for Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

- Marcos Rojo is set to get a Manchester United exit. Sky Sports reports the defender will terminate his contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, before joining Boca Juniors on a free transfer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Marcos Rojo is set to leave Manchester United, but Jesse Lingard could still have a future at the club despite nearing a loan move to West Ham. 

Argentina international Rojo has played for United since 2014, when he was brought in by Louis van Gaal, but has long been out of the first-team reckoning. 

The last time he managed to reach double figures for Premier League appearances in a single season was 2016-17, when he played 21 times in Jose Mourinho's first campaign in charge. 

But injuries and poor form saw that figure drop to nine in 2017-18 – he then featured just five times in 2018-19 and thrice last term before he was sent to former club Estudiantes on loan. 

His brief stint back in Argentina did not go to plan either as he made a solitary appearance due to injury, while he has not played for United in any competition since returning. 

A social media post from someone purporting to be his personal trainer earlier this week appeared to lift the lid on Rojo's next move, claiming he was set to start training with Boca Juniors. 

And Solskjaer confirmed the defender's exit is almost complete, with Lingard also on the way out. 

"It's likely that Jesse's loan deal with West Ham is going through," Solskjaer said on Friday.

"Likely that Marcos goes back to Argentina, a little bit of paperwork left to be done, I think. Sergio [Romero], I've not heard anything there apart from that he'll be with us for the rest of his contract." 

But while Rojo and Romero are due to leave permanently, there still appears to be a hint of hope for Lingard at Old Trafford. 

The attacking midfielder is a product of United's academy and featured prominently under Van Gaal, Mourinho and – initially – Solskjaer, but he is yet to make a single Premier League appearance for United in 2020-21. 

The England international has seemingly been the player impacted the most by Bruno Fernandes' arrival a year ago, but Solskjaer says there will be a place for him in the squad if he can get himself back on track with high-flying West Ham. 

"We want Jesse to come back here revitalised and having shown at West Ham how good a player he is," Solskjaer said. 

"Of course, he's just been unfortunate with a couple of issues, some periods he had to stay away from us with COVID and isolation and close contact. 

"The rest of the team has done well, we've had little to no injuries and he's not forced his way into the team, unfortunately. 

"I just want him to go there and enjoy himself, show how good a player he is, and come back and show he's a Man United player through and thorough."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no doubt his Manchester United side are ready to bounce back to their EFL Cup disappointment against Manchester City when they host Watford this weekend.

The Red Devils were defeated 2-0 by Pep Guardiola's side at Old Trafford and have now lost each of the four semi-finals they have contested under Solskjaer.

Saturday brings another opportunity when United face the Hornets to start their FA Cup venture this season and Solskjaer expects his team to respond to this latest setback.

"The reaction has been as expected, of course you're disappointed when you go out, we wanted to go one step further but we've shown many times this season we can bounce back after a disappointment," he told a news conference ahead of the third-round tie.

"We did it after defeat against Arsenal, did it after we lost to Tottenham, after we went out of the Champions League - the boys have reacted well.

"I don't envisage anyone with any other mindset than we have to win. We enter the competition wanting to win.

"We have a few players with a few knocks, so there'll be a few changes, but I'll still field a team I feel confident in."

Odion Ighalo was drafted in as emergency cover a year ago following an injury to Marcus Rashford but his loan stint from Shanghai Shenhua comes to an end this month.

Solskjaer expects to give the striker game time against his former club, while he also offered an update on Argentine duo Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo – both of whom are being tipped with January exits with their contracts to expire at the end of the season.

"It's special for him [Ighalo] against Watford, he will be involved," Solskjaer added.

"He's training really well, I don't know how many goals he scored today but by miles he was our top scorer in the round robin in training. 

"He's not lost sharpness or quality, it's difficult to be out of the squad of course. He did well until the summer. This season he's not had as many opportunities but he's never let himself down as a professional or a human being. 

"In training he always works hard. He's in the squad, hopefully I don't need to put him on to need goals but hopefully he can join in."

On Romero and Rojo, he added: "Both of them have contracts until the summer, they're not gonna be extended so we're looking for them to find clubs. 

"Marcos has been given time to go home, so he's still in Argentina. Sergio he has been back home as well to see family but he's back in England now. They're professionals, working hard and ready if they're called in for us. Marcos would have to travel in and do quarantine before."

Solskjaer, who confirmed Facundo Pellistri has tested positive for coronavirus but has not been involved with the first team, was asked about the worrying rise in COVID-19 cases across the Premier League.

The Norwegian acknowledged the growing concern for society but is keen for the competition not to be halted.

"First of all, you're worried what's happening in society and in and around the country," he said. 

"I personally feel safe within our bubble, I think we've taken all the steps that we've had to follow protocols, guidelines. The club have been good and the players are following the rules as well as they can. 

"Of course what's happening at different clubs and society is frightening, we have a duty to try and stay clear, stay within bubbles.

"I hope we can continue playing, I think it's [football] had a positive impact – I feel it as well at home when you don't have a game you're looking forward to watching football on the tele. The mental wellbeing of football has been a big positive, I think."

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