Manuel Locatelli is hot property after helping Italy win Euro 2020.

The Sassuolo midfielder is understood to have an ambition to play Champions League football in 2021-22.

Sassuolo are ready to cash in on their prized asset with interest coming in.

 

TOP STORY - JUVENTUS RAMP UP LOCATELLI INTEREST

Juventus are ready to usurp Arsenal in the hunt for Sassuolo's Italy international Locatelli, according to The Guardian.

Sassuolo want €40 million (£34.3 million) for the midfielder but Juventus offered €30m as a loan for the 2021-22 season with an option to buy, which Sassuolo declined, insisting they want an outright transfer.

Arsenal were previously understood to be in the box seat to sign Locatelli, given they are prepared to pay their asking price, but Juve's interest may have changed that situation.

ROUND-UP

- New Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti wants to sign Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dalot spent last season on loan with Milan.

- Jose Mourinho's Roma have joined the race to sign Villarreal's 25-year-old winger Alfonso Pedraza, according to Calciomercato. ChelseaMilan and Barcelona are also keen on the Europa League winner, who can play at left-back.

- L'Equipe reports Chelsea have offered Bayern Munich a player swap deal with Callum Hudson-Odoi in exchange for Kingsley Coman.

- The Daily Express claims Brighton and Hove Albion will prepare a move for Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard once the reported £50m sale of Ben White to Arsenal goes through.

Arsenal are also reportedly keen on Norwich City full-back Max Aarons as they prepare for Hector Bellerin's exit, according to the Express.

Are Manchester United set for a busy transfer window?

After finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and losing in the Europa League final, United are keen to strengthen.

A trio of stars are reportedly on the club's shortlist.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT THREE MORE PLAYERS

Manchester United are targeting three more signings this off-season, according to The Guardian.

United have agreed a deal to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants more.

The Red Devils are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, though Villarreal's Pau Torres has also been linked, with Tottenham star Harry Kane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice also on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- Italy and Roma full-back Leonardo Spinazzola is attracting interest from Madrid following his exploits at Euro 2020, reports Calciomercato. LaLiga rivals Barcelona have also been linked.

- After agreeing to sell Sancho, Dortmund are eyeing PSV's Donyell Malen and RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg, reports Sport Bild.

Paris Saint-Germain are planning to announce the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Inter star Achraf Hakimi and former Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma within 15 days, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ramos has agreed to sign a two-year deal in Paris.

- Antena 2 claims James Rodriguez is in talks with Serie A runners-up Milan over a move from Everton.

United are prioritising a contract extension for star Bruno Fernandes, says Romano. Fernandes has flourished since arriving from Sporting CP.

Madrid have joined Milan in the race to sign United and Portugal full-back Diogo Dalot, claims Calciomercato.

PSG have emerged as the only likely suitor for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after United signed Sancho, reports Calciomercato. However, a move depends on whether Kylian Mbappe leaves PSG for Madrid or Liverpool.

With France out of Euro 2020, Kylian Mbappe has time to mull over his club future.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been linked with Real Madrid.

Liverpool have reportedly entered the frame too, while PSG are eager to re-sign him.

 

TOP STORY - MBAPPE REACHES PSG DECISION

Kylian Mbappe has informed PSG he is not planning to sign a new contract, according to L'Equipe.

The 22-year-old France international does not currently want to extend his current deal which expires in mid-2022, the sports daily reported.

Mbappe will respect the final year of his contract with PSG as suitors circle for his signature.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have agreed terms with Jadon Sancho and now have set their sights on West Ham's Declan Rice, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Tottenham's Harry Kane. The Guardian claims they are all on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish list.

- Bild claims United are also interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, who has one year remaining on the his current contract.

- Son Heung-min is expected to sign an extension with Tottenham regardless of Kane's decision on his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal, Milan and Roma are all interested in RB Leipzig's Austria international Marcel Sabitzer who is set to be allowed to leave on a cut-price deal according to Bild.

- The Daily Mail reports Manchester City will open talks with Raheem Sterling on a new deal following Euro 2020 where he has starred with three goals for England. Sterling, who has two years left on his current deal, fell out of favour at City late last season.

The Premier League's big-money clubs are circling for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish.

The England midfielder is drawing interest from multiple suitors keen to lure him away from Villa Park.

Could a move be on the cards after the Euros? 

 

TOP STORY – BLUES WANT GREALISH

Chelsea are strong contenders to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, Football Insider reports. 

The England international has also drawn interest from Manchester City, but the Blues' involvement could change the dynamic. 

Football Insider claims owner Roman Abramovich has approved the type of expenditures that would be necessary to land players like Grealish, and winning the Champions League will only loosen the reins on Chelsea's spending. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Kylian Mbappe wants to move on from Paris Saint-Germain, according to RMC Sport, which says the France international will depart on a free transfer when his contract expires next year if he does not move during this window. 

- Lionel Messi's long-anticipated new contract with Barcelona could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to Le 10 Sport. 

- If Man City are to complete a deal to land Harry Kane from Tottenham, they will need to do it without using Raheem Sterling in a swap deal. Sterling has no interested in joining Spurs as part of the reported £100million move for Kane, ESPN said. 

- Sergio Ramos plans to join PSG, AS reports, spurning interest from City and Manchester United

- Chelsea see Villarreal's Gerard Moreno as a fall-back option if they cannot sign Erling Haaland, according to Fichajes. 

- Milan are looking at Rafinha of PSG as a potential addition as Hakan Calhanoglu moves on, Calciomercato reports. 

- England defender James Tarkowski is drawing interest from Wolves and West Ham, the Telegraph reports, while the Mail says Leicester City also are eyeing the Burnley man. 

- Scott Parker is set to depart Fulham and become Bournemouth's new manager, The Athletic reports. 

Is Harry Kane headed for Manchester?

The England international, busy on Euro 2020 duty, is reportedly unhappy at Tottenham.

A move from London to Manchester could be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – CITY MAKE KANE OFFER

Manchester City have made an official £100million bid to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Kane reportedly wants to leave Tottenham amid links with Premier League champions City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Spurs are reluctant to sell the star Tottenham and England forward.

City are offering up Gabriel Jesus as they look to sign either Kane or Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, claims The Times.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sport reports Inter are expecting PSG to make a new bid for star full-back Achraf Hakimi in the next few days. Chelsea and Bayern Munich have also been linked.

United want Villarreal defender Paul Torres in a swap deal, claims the Manchester Evening News. United are keen to bolster their defence and have also been linked with moves for free agent Sergio Ramos, Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and Cristian Romero of Atalanta.

- Mundo Deportivo says LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid are interested in Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne. The Italy international is heading into the final year of his contract at Napoli. Barcelona, Milan and Liverpool have been linked previously.

Juventus will open talks with Sassuolo for star midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Sky Sport. Locatelli has also been linked with Inter, Madrid and City.

- Marca reports Milan could make a move for Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola, who is a target should the Rossoneri fail to retain the services of United's Diogo Dalot.

Spain have added Raul Albiol to the group of players on standby to plug holes in Luis Enrique's Euro 2020 squad if COVID-19 strikes any further blows.

Captain Sergio Busquets tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and was taken away from the national team training camp, although it is hoped he will be able to return.

Subsequent tests on remaining players and staff have all showed up negative results, but Spain are erring on the side of caution by ensuring they have suitable reinforcements if needed.

That is why versatile Villarreal defender Albiol, a 56-cap international who won the Europa League with his club side last month, comes into the picture at the age of 35.

With the senior squad in isolation and training individually, it will be a Spain Under-21 team who line up in a friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday, but senior caps will be awarded.

It was also announced on Monday that Leeds United forward Rodrigo Moreno and three midfielders in West Ham's Pablo Fornals, Valencia's Carlos Soler and Celta Vigo's Brais Mendez would be called in to train in a 'parallel bubble', being ready to step in should Luis Enrique's squad be depleted.

Spain's opening game against Sweden at Euro 2020 takes place on June 14 in Seville.

While the senior squad suck up the blow of missing out on a final international before the tournament begins, Spain Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente will give his youngsters a "dream" outing.

De la Fuente said in a news conference: "This does not change the way I work, nor my responsibility and my professionalism. The players, like me, will be very excited to represent Spain.

"For us it is a great dream. I guarantee that the players and the coaching staff are only think about winning."

He said the match day would be "a beautiful day because the boys are going to show their potential".

Paul Pogba believes Manchester United will come back stronger following the disappointment of losing the Europa League final.

United were beaten 11-10 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out by Villarreal in Gdansk on Wednesday, goalkeeper David de Gea missing the crucial kick after the game had finished 1-1 after extra time.

The defeat means manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still waiting to claim his first trophy in the job.

Indeed, the Red Devils have not won silverware since triumphing in the same competition under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

For Pogba – who was substituted in the 116th minute, denying him the chance to take a penalty – the defeat was a disappointing way to finish the campaign, though the midfielder quickly switched his focus to the future.

"I needed some days to reflect after the match," Pogba wrote in a Twitter post to accompany a picture of the United squad gathered together.

"Of course, very upset not to win the final but we're a team that will look forward with our heads held high.

"Thank you to all of the fans for the support. We will come back stronger."

Pogba played in 42 games in the campaign for United, scoring six goals and providing the same number of assists as Solskjaer’s side finished second in the Premier League.

However, before he is back in action at club level, Pogba will be involved for France at Euro 2020.

Didier Deschamps' reigning world champions are in Group F for the round-robin stage, along with Germany, Hungary and Portugal, who denied Les Bleus in the Euro 2016 final in Paris courtesy of an extra-time winner.

Marcus Rashford and Manchester United have condemned social media users who allegedly racially abused the England star after Wednesday's Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

United lost 11-10 to Villarreal on penalties following a marathon shoot-out after the sides could not be split at the conclusion of extra time, with the score 1-1 in Gdansk.

Rashford received online racial abuse in January after United's 0-0 Premier League draw against Arsenal and said he was subject to similar comments again, prompting the forward to call them out.

The England international said he had seen "at least 70 racial slurs" on his social media account following the defeat.

"At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far," Rashford wrote on Twitter. "For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying."

United swiftly backed Rashford, condemning the racial abuse on social media.

"Following the #UEL final, our players were subjected to disgraceful racist abuse," the official United account tweeted. "If you see any form of abuse or discrimination, act and report it."

After the racial abuse in January, Rashford described the slurs as society at its worst.

"Humanity and social media at its worst. Yes I'm a black man and I live every day proud that I am," Rashford wrote on Twitter at the time.

"No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you're just simply not going to get it here.

"I'm not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there's nothing original in them.

"I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don't need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identified his side's need to bolster their starting XI with two or three signings following their Europa League final defeat.

United lost 11-10 to Villarreal on penalties in Wednesday's decider in Gdansk after a 1-1 draw across 120 minutes – the Red Devils ending their 2020-21 season without a trophy.

Solskjaer's United have lost six of their last seven penalty shoot-outs in all competitions, only winning against Rochdale in the EFL Cup in September 2019 during that time.

Edinson Cavani – who cancelled out Gerard Moreno's first-half opener in the 55th minute – became just the third player aged 34 or above to score in a major European final for an English club, after Gary McAllister (36) for Liverpool in the UEFA Cup final against Deportivo Alaves in 2000-01 and Didier Drogba (34) for Chelsea in the Champions League final versus Bayern Munich in 2011-12.

Premier League giants United – who finished second behind neighbours Manchester City this term – have not won any silverware since 2017 and have been linked with a host of players to bolster their squad this off-season, including Tottenham star Harry Kane, Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

"We've done as well as anyone could imagine," Solskjaer said during his post-game news conference. "We need to do better, we need to work better, harder, cleverer.

"Two or three players to strengthen the starting XI is important for us to go even further. I'm sure our contenders, challengers will also want to improve as well."

David de Gea's selection in the United XI was hotly debated, with competition from Dean Henderson – who played several of their late season Premier League matches.

Spain international De Gea was unable to make any saves during the shoot-out before seeing his own decisive penalty blocked by Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli as the Yellow Submarine won their first major European title.

"You go through every scenario and it has crossed my mind in the build up to the game, but we were confident in David," Solskjaer said, when asked if he considered bringing on Henderson to replace de Gea for the shoot-out. "I stuck with the keeper that played all the games."

Solskjaer conceded United's 2020-21 season, which is now over, was not a success given they failed to win a trophy and implored his side to find the will to improve.

The Red Devils lost in the EFL Cup semi-finals and FA Cup quarter-finals, while they were eliminated in the Champions League group stage.

Solskjaer pinpointed United's start to the Premier League, collecting only seven points from their first six games, as an area for improvement next term.

"That disappointment is the worst feeling," he said. "These are the moments you remember most.

"There are two ways, you can feel sorry for yourself or you can do something about it and come back stronger.

"We know that we didn't start this season great. We fell behind, too far behind. We need to start really well."

Unai Emery has set his sights on the Champions League after guiding Villarreal to their first major European title thanks to an upset of Manchester United in the Europa League.

Villarreal surprisingly conquered United in the Europa League final following a marathon 11-10 penalty shoot-out in Gdansk, where the match finished 1-1 after extra time on Wednesday.

Gerard Moreno's first-half opener was cancelled out by United star Edinson Cavani in the 55th minute and the showdown was decided on penalties.

United goalkeeper David de Gea missed the only penalty of a lengthy shoot-out as Emery became the first head coach to win either the UEFA Cup or Europa League four times, surpassing Giovanni Trapattoni.

LaLiga outfit Villarreal are the first side to win in their first appearance of a major European final since Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.

Villarreal will now feature in the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2011-12 and Emery revelled in the achievement post-match while seeking continuity at the club.

"I feel proud [of the credibility of the project] and responsible as I have participated here," Emery said during his post-match news conference. "What they want me to come here for? They didn't want me to come to win the Europa League, because this is very difficult.

"They wanted me to make a job, and the job to give results. In fact, my goal, as I transmitted to the players and the club is to give continuity, hopefully, to be in Europe year after year, with certain continuity.

"Logically, to win a title is something that always is in our mind, and above all, Villarreal build and create the circumstances to be able to have this chance… in the Copa del Rey… to win LaLiga title is more complicated because of the force the top four have right now.

"But we can make our way in the Europa League and now will have the chance to compete in the Champions League. This season in the Europe League our way has been impeccable since the day one."

Moreno opened the scoring in the 29th minute in Poland midweek to move level with Giuseppe Rossi as Villarreal's leading all-time goalscorer with 82, 30 of which have come this season.

Villarreal's Moreno became the first player to score 30-plus goals for the Yellow Submarine in a single season in all competitions since Rossi in 2010-11 (32).

"It's a dream come true," Moreno said. "We remember everything we've done to work toward this. Everyone deserves it; the president, the vice-president.

"We wanted to make history in a big way and we've done it. This has been my best year. Individually and collectively, it's a dream to end up with this title, to be able to score. It's incredible, we're on a cloud."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United "didn't turn up" and their season cannot be deemed a success after they were beaten by Villarreal in the Europa League final.

David de Gea missed the only penalty of a marathon shoot-out at Gdansk Stadium, where Villarreal won their first major European trophy on Wednesday.

United goalkeeper De Gea's tame effort gave Villarreal an 11-10 victory on spot-kicks after the two sides were locked at 1-1 at the end of extra time in Poland midweek.

Gerard Moreno put the LaLiga side in front in the first half with his 30th goal of the season and his 82nd for the club, matching a record tally of 82nd that was also achieved by Giuseppe Rossi.

Edinson Cavani equalised 10 minutes into the second half, but United were unable to claim their first trophy under Solskjaer.

Unai Emery, on the other hand, became the first manager to win either the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League four times, surpassing Giovanni Trapattoni's haul, having won this competition three times with Sevilla.

Solskjaer knows the Red Devils were not good enough and must raise the bar next season after falling short yet again.

The United boss told BT Sport: "It's a quiet, disappointed dressing room. That's football for you. Sometimes it's decided on one kick - and that’s the difference between winning and losing.

"We have to learn from that one, not savour this feeling but taste this feeling and make sure we don't get it again.

"We didn't turn up. We didn't play as well as we know we can. We started alright and they got the goal, their only shot on target. We were disappointed to concede a goal on a set play.

"We pushed, we pressed, we got a goal. After we scored we didn't control the game or dominate as we wanted. They made it hard for us, they closed spaces. We had the majority of possession. They defended well. We didn't create enough big chances."

Solskjaer, who named Harry Maguire and Fred among the substitutes with neither player fully fit, did not make changes until extra time.

Yet the former Norway striker, who guided United to a second-placed Premier League finish this season, said: "Now is not the time to point the finger at what I'd have done differently. But when you come out without the trophy you haven't done everything right.

"We're getting closer and closer and better. We were one kick away from a trophy and a good night.

"We have to have the desire to come back next year and improve. The only way to get the margins your side is to work harder and better."

Asked if this season has been a success, Solskjaer frankly replied: "No."

He added: "We need to get better, simple as. We've done really well this season coming through. The start was difficult. We had no pre-season and lost three of the first six.

"We pushed in the league, maybe got closer to the top than we thought and we got to a final. But you need to win the finals to make it a good season."

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford vented his frustration after the shock Europa League final loss to Villarreal, insisting finishing second counts for nothing, though he is confident the Red Devils are on the right path under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United were looking to win their first trophy with Solskjaer at the helm, however, the Premier League giants were upstaged by Unai Emery's Villarreal following a marathon 11-10 penalty shoot-out on Wednesday.

Penalties were needed after the match ended 1-1 at the conclusion of extra time in Gdansk, where Edinson Cavani's 55th-minute goal cancelled out Gerard Moreno's first-half opener for Villarreal.

United goalkeeper David de Gea missed the only spot-kick as Solskjaer's men – who have not won silverware since 2016-17 – fell short following their second-placed finish in the Premier League this season.

"It's disappointing. The feeling is difficult to explain," Rashford told BT Sport. "We came here to win. We've been working so hard all season and this was the opportunity to win a trophy.

"Maybe not now, but we need to look back at the game and see where we can improve.

"The team will not give up, the manager will not give up. We'll come next season with a bigger desire. People say a lot about Manchester United, but for me the hunger, desire, talent and ability – we have everything to compete at the highest level.

"We just have to show it to the world and to ourselves, why we belong in places like this."

United have lost six of their last seven penalty shoot-outs in all competitions, only winning against Rochdale in the EFL Cup in September 2019 during that time.

When facing an English side in a European competition final (including Super Cups), Spanish sides have taken home the trophy in the last 10 such finals, with United accounting for four of those defeats (2009 and 2011 Champions League, 2017 Super Cup and 2021 Europa League).

"Second doesn't count for nothing. I don't want to hear, 'oh they were so close'. It doesn't mean anything. We have to make sure we don't lose," added Rashford.

"To win big trophies you have to show sacrifice. I can show you six, seven players who've been carrying injuries since September. We have to go away now and clear our heads.

"When Ole came in there was a process. We believe in the process and this isn't the end of the process. Just because we've lost today, I promise the fans that we won't give up.

"We have to do our best on the pitch. We're close, I promise we're close, but close isn't good enough."

Unai Emery claimed a record-breaking fourth UEFA Cup/Europa League title after Villarreal upstaged Manchester United for their first major European crown.

Villarreal conquered United in the Europa League final following a marathon 11-10 penalty shoot-out in Gdansk, where the match finished 1-1 after extra time.

Gerard Moreno's first-half opener was cancelled out by United star Edinson Cavani in the 55th minute and the showdown was decided on penalties.

United goalkeeper David de Gea missed the only penalty of a lengthy shoot-out as Emery became the first head coach to win either the UEFA Cup or Europa League four times, surpassing Giovanni Trapattoni.

Emery won the Europa League with Sevilla in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

LaLiga outfit Villarreal are the first side to win in their first appearance of a major European final since Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.

Alex Ferguson accompanied Manchester United to Gdansk for their Europa League final against Villarreal and there was an echo from his glorious era during the first half at Stadion Energa.

Flowing attacking football? Swashbuckling wing play?

Nope. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was on the touchline shouting and swearing at his players. Swearing a lot.

The spark for that particular outburst after the half hour was Aaron Wan-Bissaka sending a routine pass out of play, but the United manager was already smouldering after Gerard Moreno gave Villareal the lead in soft fashion.

As Victor Lindelof forlornly grappled with the Spain striker – who is now the joint-top scorer in Villarreal history alongside former United youngster Giuseppe Rossi – it was easy to bemoan the absence of Harry Maguire, easy to imagine the England centre-back authoritatively dealing with the situation.

It should be pointed out that Gerard's 30 goals and 10 assists in all competitions this season show plenty of opponents haven't dealt with him too effectively and, in any case, it was those performances from United's big names that need not be imagined that were the problem.

Everywhere Solskjaer looked and raged, there were big names not turning up.

Bruno Fernandes, their superstar midfielder and captain in Maguire's absence, endured an abject first 45 minutes where he was entirely unable to impose his will on the contest.

The Portugal international's 23 passes and 31 touches were the eighth-lowest returns in the United team, with only forwards Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani and goalkeeper David de Gea less involved in possession. How De Gea would have loved to keep his part in this long, slow death of a penalty shootout defeat so minimal.

Fernandes also won none of five duels contested, while Paul Pogba – purposefully probing with 31 passes in the Villareal half, including one delicious effort with the outside of his foot to release Greenwood down the right wing – was the only saving grace in a team almost entirely devoid of creativity.

Nevertheless, as bad as they were, there was not reason to worry unduly, understandable as Solskjaer's agitation was. This is just what his United do.

In 10 away games in the Premier League this season they conceded first, only to win nine and draw one of those contests Even on neutral territory, Villarreal must have known what was coming.

The pressure on Unai Emery's defence was more about volume than quality, but Fernandes was there to force the issue in the 55th minute as Luke Shaw's corner was partially cleared and his drive cannoned off a few legs and fell to the lurking Cavani.

When Shaw mishit a right-footed swipe at his forehead and Greenwood later got in the way of the veteran striker, it almost felt as if United were trying to test Cavani's masterful penalty box prowess.

What they wouldn't have given to have the Uruguay international on the of Fernandes' cross with 20 minutes remaining. Instead, Marcus Rashford produced a truly howling miss, one worryingly in keeping with the final months of a season where Solskjaer repeatedly sending him back to the well appears to have taken a toll.

Rashford wasn't the only player who did not need extra time. By the conclusion of a forgettable half hour, notable only for weary limbs and a flurry of late United substitutions after Emery reasserted some control with his more judicious deployment of fresh legs, everyone seemed happy enough to let penalties seal their fate.

For all the parallels this season with those old Fergie qualities – the comebacks, the late winners, the fast attacks – United were rudderless for far too much of this final, particularly as the shootout loomed.

They remain a team dependent on moments, moments they frequently produce, but lacking a foundation for when games end up in the mire.

Of course, poor old De Gea had moments. Eleven of them whistled past a prostrate body or outstretched gloves before a fateful 12th. The Spain goalkeeper's ordeal versus this admirable club from his homeland will linger long in the memory, but a team of United's resources should never have allowed events to spiral to that moment of torment.

For all the notable approximations of their glory years under a fan favourite, there remains much to be done for Solskjaer's United if they are to escape nights such as this where they look like little more than a straining Ferguson-era tribute act.

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