Manchester United are currently in the United States on their pre-season tour. They played Club America in the first game of the pre-season at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Mourinho, fielded a youthful side as the game ended 1-1.
Since then Alexis Sanchez initially left behind due to visa troubles, has been rushed into the US and looks set to start against San Jose Earthquakes. Andreas Pereira has also impressed in the last game and should be in the team as well. Jose has come out and stated that the back line against Club America would be the one facing Leicester City in the opening game of the new premier league season, so changes in defence is not expected.
United are also without the 11 players who were involved in the World Cup. But even with all their stars back, it is clear that the United team could be improved with an injection of freshness from the transfer market.
Manchester United started their transfer business early, bringing in Diego Dalot, Fred and Lee Grant, but have been strangely quiet since. But as is normal for a club of the stature of United, they are being linked with a host of names every day. We look at 5 names that have popped up more than once in the transfer window:
#5 Gareth Bale
Every transfer window, the name that does the rounds the most after Ronaldo is Gareth Bale. Bale has been linked with a move to United for years now, like Ronaldo, but nothing concrete has materialized yet, similar to Ronaldo. As such, Gareth Bale is another area of frustration for United fans.
After the Champions League final, both Ronaldo and Bale hinted that they could be on the move. Ronaldo has shifted his base to Turin since and Gareth Bale looks to be on the move as well, with Manchester United still interested, according to the Sunday Express. Reports from Spain are claiming that United are leading the line for Bale’s capture and there are also sensational, abet slim, chances of Bale making a return to Spurs.
But Daily Star has claimed that Manchester United are already in talks with Bale, with the negotiations in advance stage. They claim that Bale has been assured that he will be the leading star in the United squad and Mourinho has decided to build his team around the Welsh superstar.
However, Real have been under pressure since the exit of the Portuguese Superstar and would loathe losing two stars in one window. As such, getting his signature would be trickier than it looks. Also, Nick Elliot from Dream Team FC has claimed that Bale could step up in Ronaldo’s absence to fill up his boots and become the main man at the Santiago Bernabeu. The chances of this transfer happening are very rare, but at this age, you can never say never.
Jose Mourinho has been an admirer of the Chelsea winger and the Brazilian would be ideal for the right wing where United are already short of options. But Barcelona have other ideas, as the Chelsea winger is high up in Valverde's recruitment list. Sky Sports claims that the Catalan side have submitted a third bid of around £55m for the Brazilian.
However, The Sun also reports that there was a complication with Willian’s move to the current La Liga champions, as Barcelona had to free up a spot for another player without an EU passport, as La Liga rules state that only 3 non-holders are permitted in the squad. Currently, Coutinho, Arthur and Mina were occupying that spot but now Coutinho’s Portuguese passport seems to have been approved.
Barcelona could have only completed the move for Willian once Coutinho qualifies for the Portuguese passport. This is where United were expected to come in and use Barcelona’s hiccup to their advantage. Express is now reporting that according to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are using Manchester United’s interest and Barcelona’s predicament to start a bidding war between the two.
Chelsea want to increase Willian’s price, even though new boss Maurizio Sarri desires to have the Brazilian in his plans. He has been an important player for Chelsea since his arrival and with Hazard also linked away from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would not want to lose him. More importantly, it is hard to imagine that the Blues would allow another player to join a direct rival for the second successive season after Matic move to Old Trafford and immediately made United a better team.
The Sunday Express had reported a while back that transfer outlet Diario Gol has claimed that Rakitic wants to finish his career in the Premier League sometime soon. However, even though Ivan Rakitic would be a stellar addition to Manchester United, the cost of his arrival will be unacceptable for almost all United fans.
According to the Daily Star Barcelona are keen on adding Paul Pogba to their team and Jose Mourinho is interested in a swap involving Ivan Rakitic in a player plus money deal. Interestingly, the World Cup winner is willing to take a pay cut in order to join Barcelona. With Iniesta and Paulinho both leaving the club, the Catalan side is supposedly looking at Pogba to replace club legend Andres Iniesta.
As such, Barcelona are now offering United Rakitic in the deal, which could bring the transfer price down, depending on United’s evaluation of the Croatian.
Mourinho and Pogba have had their recent differences and the Manchester United Manager is said to be an admirer of the Croatian. However, Rakitic’s age will be a cause for concern in this deal, as at 30 years, the Croatian is 5 years older than Pogba.
#2 Alex Sandro
Alex Sandro had 3 strong seasons at Juventus and has reportedly been a subject of a bidding war between Manchester United and PSG. However, it would seem that the Premier League side are at a disadvantage here. One, they already have Luke Shaw in their ranks, who has refused to move away and reiterated his stance to stay and fight for his position.
But it has been almost 4 years since his arrival and Shaw has not kicked off or lived up to his potential. He still has age on his side, but his wages mean that he is not a cheap player to be on the bench. Second, the transfer deadline in England is August 9, so United have to complete any deal within that time, while PSG can sit back and work any shortcomings to their advantage.
However, Sunday Express have reported that transfer expert Duncan Castles, who is also close to United Boss Mourinho, claims that United have already agreed a deal with the Juventus Left Back and it is only a matter of time before a fee is agreed between the sides. United have used Sandro’s low wages at Turin to their advantage, apparently, according to Castles and won him over by offering to double his salary. He also claims that Juventus were reluctant to sell, but with s high price on offer, have decided to cash in.
Gazzetta dello Sport claim that Juventus have identified Marcelo and Matteo Darmian as two possible replacements and Lucas Digne is the third alternative. While United fans would love Luke Shaw to prove everyone wrong and make this a breakthrough season, the management seems to have already identified Sandro as a better alternative.
#1 Ivan Perisic
Manchester Evening News have recently claimed that Ivan Perisic was already preparing for life at Old Trafford last season before transfer negotiations broke down. MEN claim that Perisic was also excited to link up with Mourinho. 12 months on, the Perisic saga is still doing the rounds in the United transfer news, because the void that United were looking to fill up with the Croatian’s signature, is still empty.
As such, a transfer still looks to be on, but Manchester United have been dealt a massive blow when Inter Milan Manager, according to Daily Star, stated that Perisic has not hinted at any desires to leave the Italian Giants. On the other hand, Paris United claims that Manchester United are in advanced talks with Perisic and also states that any transfer would mean Martial will be moving on.
It will interesting to see if Mourinho finally gets his man this time. While Perisic would be a perfect addition to the squad, after showing his capabilities in the World Cup as well, United fans would hate to see Antony Martial go. Hopefully, Mourinho will find a way to keep them both in his squad, but Martial had expressed his desire to leave United and would have his fears rekindled with the rumours.
According to ESPN FC Pundit Stewart Robson, Mourinho will finally land the Croatian star this time, so this transfer saga could stretch until Deadline Day.