Here is a roundup of today’s Manchester United transfer news and gossip.
Andrea Pirlo doesn’t think Paul Pogba will return to Old Trafford. Pirlo was discussing the future of his Juventus team-mate with Telefoot: “For whatever reasons they chose not to give him a chance – and that is a mistake they will have to live with now. “I can’t see that he (Pogba) will ever return to Manchester United.”
Pirlo’s comments come amid continued speculation that Pogba could make a sensational return to United for an astronomical transfer fee. Pogba’s agent has indicated that his client will eventually leave Juventus but Italian star Pirlo does not feel that move will be back to Manchester. This comes after Juventus manager Max Allegri said he felt that an offer of over £75 million for Pogba would be hard to turn down.
Reports from Italy suggest David de Gea has signed a new contract with Man United that will keep him at the club until 2020. At this stage, Sportmediaset are the only media outlet running with this story.
Getting De Gea to sign a new contract is the most important piece of business Man United will complete in the next 12 months and Ed Woodward has to do everything in his power to keep De Gea at the club.
United will wait until the summer to move for Aleksandar Dragovic, It had been speculated that United had already agreed a deal to sign Dragovic this month but the latest reports indicate a summer move is more likely. The 23-year-old Austrian would be a welcome addition to United’s defensive resources in which so many fans, and seemingly Van Gaal, have little faith.
Gareth Bale has once again played down rumours linking him with a move to Man United and insists he is happy at Real Madrid. The Welshman has enjoyed a fantastic career already at Madrid and doesn’t look to be wanting a move away any time soon.
United face competition from Real Madrid in their pursuit of Aymeric Laporte. Laporte has a buy-out clause of £31 million and Athletic Bilbao have no intention of selling their 20-year-old French star for any less. Guillem Balague has indicated that whilst Bilbao have no intention of moving on their acceptable price for Laporte, the player would be happy to move to United if the opportunity arose.
Laporte would be a pricey, inexperienced but talented option for Van Gaal. A slightly older, more experienced centre-back such as Mats Hummels would appear the more pressing of requirements for United.
Any chances of United signing Kevin Strootman this month have most likely gone after the midfielder picked up another knee injury. Strootman is a long-term target for United and the speculation has intensified since Van Gaal took over at Old Trafford, with some suggestions that United wanted Strootman as soon as this month.
Now, any chance of a January move will have faded with a fresh injury to the Dutch midfielder’s knee. The 24-year-old has recently returned to action after a serious knee injury and will undoubtedly be worried by this latest blow. If Strootman can prove his fitness and that there are no long term issues with his knee, Van Gaal could well look to bring the Roma man to United in the summer.
West Ham are expected to complete the signing of Darren Fletcher in the next few days. The Telegraph report Fletcher will be allowed to leave United on a free transfer, six months before his contract is due to expire.
The Scottish international has spent his whole professional career at United and is the club’s longest serving current player but would be leaving in search of regular first-team football with limited chances under Van Gaal. If the deal goes through as expected, West Ham will have fought off reported competition from the likes of West Brom and Valencia.