MANCHESTER UNITED are gearing up for a big summer in the transfer market, but they could have to sell some big names to afford Jadon Sancho following Ed Woodward's comments.
However, one man who won't be quite as expensive as Sancho is Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who the Gunners are reportedly willing to sell for just £30m.
Follow all the latest Old Trafford news and transfer gossip below…
BLUES ON DEC
Chelsea could make a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice after being alerted to his availability, according to the Telegraph.
The Hammers are preparing for a major overhaul of their current squad and could sell Rice in order to raise funds.
It is unclear whether Chelsea would be willing or able to meet West Ham's asking price for the young star, who has also been linked with a move to Manchester United.
Rice played in the Blues' academy alongside Mount between 2006 and 2014, at which point the former was released and joined West Ham.
Cristiano Ronaldo's CR7 underwear range has seen a huge boost in sales since his move from Real Madrid to Juventus, according to reports.
The Portuguese megastar left the Bernabeu in the summer of 2018 and the switch has done wonders for his clothing brand.
According to Danish outlet Finans: “The sale of CR7 lingerie has blown up since Ronaldo switched in 2018.”
Michael Astrup, CEO of the underwear's manufacturer JBS, said: “They could use Cristiano as a front figure and get CR7 products, which of course escalated wildly in Italy.”
GOV CROWD CONCERN
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says the Premier League is giving consideration to how it can best make matches available to view without supporters being able to attend, according to PA.
Concerns have been raised by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee chair Julian Knight that if matches are only available via subscription it may encourage people to go to a friend's house to watch.
Roberts said: “One of the biggest considerations has got to be where we are with the lockdown, because of course it does evolve.
“But a concern might be that if things are screened and it's behind closed doors is it going to encourage people to come together either in small or larger venues?
“That's primarily a health concern but you wouldn't want to see the police being called to manage people going somewhere to watch a match.”
MORE ON SAFE STANDING
United managing director Richard Arnold said: “It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.
“We have listened to [fans'] feedback, in particular, the representations made by MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust), and worked with Trafford Council to develop and approve this proposal.
“Our belief is that the introduction of barrier seats will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing.
“It also allows us to future-proof the stadium in the event of any changes to the current all-seater stadium policy. If the trial is successful, we may consider further implementation of barrier seating in other parts of the stadium.”
United have given approval for a trial of safe standing at Old Trafford, reports NEIL CUSTIS.
The barrier section will be for 1,500 fans in the North East corner of the ground.
Permission was given by Trafford Council with a view to having it in place for the 2020-21 season.
If the trial is successful the club will look to install it into other areas of the ground.
United have made the move after consultation with fans groups and safety officials.
PREM STARS' UNREST
The Premier League is facing a growing revolt – from its own players, according to reports.
England’s top flight is vying to resume playing after six weeks out of action.
ESPN quote a source, saying: “A lot of players are very uncomfortable with coming back.
“The only way the league takes this seriously is when someone at a club dies.
“We will look back on this time with sadness in the future.”
United are reportedly set to miss out on the signing of Miralem Pjanic from Juventus.
The Bosnian midfielder, 30, looks likely to join Barcelona in a swap deal for Arthur, 23, this summer.
Tuttosport claim advanced talks are underway between the Serie A champions and the Spanish giants.
Pjanic has given his go ahead for the move despite ongoing interest from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.
He has been a huge hit for Juventus since he joined from Roma in a £25.4million move in 2016.
JAD'S OUR LAD
An ‘agreement is in place’ for Jadon Sancho to leave Dortmund, according to Bild.
The English wing sensation, who has scored 17 goals and assisted 19 this season in all competitions, has attracted interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.
Sancho, 20, is pals with Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, having played with them for England.
But Chelsea remain keen on his services too.
According to Bild, Dortmund have also lowered their asking price, opening the door for United to make their move.
FERGIE'S ITCHY FEET
Sir Alex Ferguson’s feet are being nailed to the ground by wife Cathy during lockdown.
The great Scot has been steering clear of meeting people during the pandemic, much against his own inclination.
Former Old Trafford kitman Albert Morgan said: “I speak to him almost every day and he is on a total lockdown at the moment.
“He has not been out of the house. I think his Mrs has had to nail his feet down!
“He is in good form, he is doing his exercises every morning.
“He has got his dumbbells out, he is on his rowing machine, his walking machine, so yeah he is doing well.”
Axel Tuanzebe has revealed what the players are up to during lockdown.
Fitness coach Michael Clegg has told the squad to stay sharp at home.
Tuanzebe said: “The manager sent me a message that just said: 'Stay training and keep working, we don't know when we'll be back, so we don't want any surprises because there are rumours of how many games, so just be healthy, stay fit and maintain good hygiene.
“The club has been very supportive and provided plans for training, nutrition and what not to oversee this period.
“And we do have group chats, FaceTimes, videos of us training and we have our own Instagram page that we follow to sustain and keep up to date with what's going on with the new training.”
Gary Neville has stressed football would not return for months were it not for the huge economic impact of coronavirus.
Neville told Sky Sports News: “We're hearing different things every day, but I think if this was a non-economic decision, there would be no football for months.
“What we're seeing now is that people are assessing risk. What is the risk we're willing to take to bring football back?
“If people are really serious about putting health first, we wouldn't be discussing football returning at this moment in time, but players themselves will want to go and play.
“Players at the lower levels will want to go and play because they'll recognise that the alternative is bad – 1,400 players are out of contract in three months so they'll need football to resume so their livelihoods can continue.”
United may well have the next Kylian Mbappe on their hands.
That is because Hannibal Mejbri is continuing to excel in the Red Devils academy – even “taking the p***” out of older players in training.
United snapped up the talented teenager last summer in a £9.3million move after he fell out with Monaco.
ld The Athletic earlier this season: “He is composed, can go past a player and break a line.
“He actually takes the p*** sometimes against players a couple of years older than him. He'll feint to strike then drag it and shoot the other way.
“He has trained with the first team when certain groups have been away. Mainly technical stuff, not what you’d class as full training. In his frame, he is still a kid.”
United could give their Champions League hopes a major boost by denying Sheffield United Dean Henderson for the final part of the season, according to reports.
The Blades stopper, 23, is on loan at Bramall Lane from Old Trafford for a second season this term and has been a standout player for Chris Wilder's side.
His performances between the sticks have put the newly-promoted side into contention of a European spot as they sit just two points behind United with a game in hand.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are fifth which – due to Manchester City's Uefa ban – would be good enough to secure a Champions League spot.
But with Sheffield United still to visit Old Trafford, United will be desperate to hold off the Yorkshire side's charge to pip them.
Rio Ferdinand says the football world must respect any government decision regarding the restart of the professional game amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK is on lockdown until at least May 7 but the Premier League is working on its 'Project Restart' to get the 2019-20 season finished, while the English Football League board and its clubs are also holding meetings on a regular basis.
Former England defender Ferdinand, who works as a pundit from BT Sport, told Good Morning Britain: “We have to go by what the Government says.
Whatever way they see it, and if they make a decision, we have to respect that.
“Like the isolation and lockdown period, we've been very respectful of that, listened to the guidelines and stayed with that and I think the football world has to be the same.
“(We need to be) governed by the powers that be, that make a decision based on the health of the nation and the players as well.”
HAPPY KEVIN KEEGAN RANT DAY
It's 24 years to the day since Kevin Keegan went on Sky Sports and ranted about Alex Ferguson, in the classic Fergie mind-games outburst.
Keegan said in 1996: “When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds – and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce…
“I've kept really quiet but I'll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that.
“You can tell him now, we're still fighting for this title and he's got to go to Middlesbrough and get something – and I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.
“It really has got to me. I've voiced it live, not in front of the press or anywhere.
“I’m not even going to the press conference but the battle is still on and Man United have not won this yet.”
Reader… United won it.
Arsenal are struggling to reach an agreement with Bukayo Saka over a new long-term deal, according to reports.
United and Liverpool are among the clubs ready to swoop for the 18-year-old if he does not extend his stay.
According to 90Min, the Gunners have so far failed to tempt him into signing a contract extension.
The England Under-19 international's current £3,000-per-week deal is set to expire in the summer of 2021.
Arsenal are prepared to offer him a five-year deal and increase his wages significantly following his breakthrough season at the Emirates.
Saka has made 10 assists and scored three goals in 29 appearances across all competitions this term.
United are likely to get nowhere near the £180million they wanted for Paul Pogba, according to reports.
Global football finances have been hit by the coronavirus crisis and transfer fees are set to tumble.
That includes for midfielder Pogba, 27, who has spent most of the season out injured.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are front-runners to land the World Cup winner, but have also been hit by the coronavirus crisis.
Nobody yet knows when football around Europe’s top leagues will resume and the end of the season – as well as the start of a new one – can’t come soon enough for some.
United signed Pogba for a then world record £89m in 2016.
MATCH OF THE SPRAY
Coronavirus-busting technology is already being discussed for crowds AND players, reports NEIL CUSTIS.
The ‘CLeanTech’ pods are a three-in-one disinfection machine.
Fans would first stand in front of a screen, much like at passport control, and get their temperature checked.
If it is too high, suggesting a viral infection, you cannot go any further.
But if the person is OK, the pod opens and you then enter what is called the ‘Sanitising Tunnel’.
This is where a combination of UV light and an air-sanitising and purification spray are used to kill off any other germs lingering on clothes or belongings.
RON WAS A FIGHTER
Ronaldo's self-obsession helped him become the player he is today, according to a former United teammate.
Timm writes in his book Red Devil: “He was quite extraordinary as a footballer and as a person.”
“Like me, he was bullied when he came to the club. With his hair – which he soon got clipped – and with his almost acrobatic attempt to impress the coaches.
“He could stand and do 10-15 step overs before he tried to dribble past the opponent.
“Pass now, just pass, dammit,' shouted Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer constantly to him when we had reserve team matches together.
“The special thing about Cristiano Ronaldo was that he immediately took the fight against the hierarchy. And he won it.”
JUVE GOT TO WAIT
Cristiano Ronaldo is set for another two weeks of quarantine when he returns to Italy.
Juventus have recalled their foreign stars who headed back to their homelands during the lockdown.
Although Gonzalo Higuain has gone AWOL, the rest including Ronaldo, Douglas Costa and Alex Sandro are expected to make their journeys in the coming days.
But as reported by Corriere dello Sport, Ronaldo and his team-mates will need to stay in isolation for a further 14 days upon their arrivals in Italy.
Serie A sides are allowed to return to individual training on May 4 and team training on May 18.
That is after Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced the primary stages of lifting the country’s lockdown.
DON THEIR RADAR
United could miss out on signing Donny van de Beek as Newcastle look set to enter the race for his signature, according to reports.
The Ajax star, 23, has been on the Red Devils’ radar for the last year after making a name for himself during the Dutch side’s run to the Champions League semi-finals.
But according to Le10 Sport in France, the Magpies are showing interest in the midfielder and could make a bid this summer.
The Dutch star is thought to be valued at around £44million.
With the Toon edging towards a Saudi-backed takeover, they could soon become the club with the richest owners in the Premier League.
And they will surely not be afraid to splash the cash to help get the club back to the top of English football once again.
Classic bit of low-key punditry from the midfield maestro.
Liverpool have joined Manchester United in the race for Lille star Boubakary Soumare, according to reports.
Le10Sport claims Jurgen Klopp has thrown his hat in the ring for the 21-year-old as he looks to add another powerful midfielder to Liverpool’s star-studded squad.
Soumare has already clocked up 51 appearances for Lille since breaking into the first team in 2017.
He is one of the top-rated French youngsters and has already been attracting admiring glances from Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.
Man Utd have also been strongly linked with a £50million bid as they prepare to lose Paul Pogba.
But Liverpool are now ready to challenge, with Soumare said to be keen on an Anfield switch.
OUT OF TOON
Premier League clubs have raised concerns about whether Newcastle’s prospective Saudi owners should be blocked for breaching rules.
The proposed £300million buyout of Mike Ashley, fronted by financier Amanda Staveley for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been welcomed by Toon fans.
But a number of top-flight clubs have been alerted to regulations that could mean the Saudis fail the league’s ‘owners and directors test’.
The issue is the ‘pirate’ TV station beoutQ which was accused by the league and other sports governing bodies including Fifa and Uefa of “stealing” broadcasts across the Middle East.
Prem games were sold to Qatar-based beIN Sports as part of a three-year deal currently worth £328m.
But fans in the Gulf region were able to watch games through decoder boxes which were linked to the Saudi-owned Arabsat satellite.
Willy Sagnol believes Paul Pogba will swap Manchester for Real Madrid.
“All of the conditions are there for Pogba to move to Real Madrid,” ex-France international Sagnol told RMC Sport.
“Florentino (Perez), Zidane and Pogba all want it.
“I think Manchester United would be happy as it would allow them to remove his high salary and reinvest the money in new players.”
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