MANCHESTER UNITED are set for a busy summer in the transfer market.
As Premier League clubs hope to restart the campaign when safe to do so, the Red Devils are reportedly eyeing up a move for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Paul Scholes has revealed he NEVER wanted to leave United, but if he had it’d have been for Barcelona or AC Milan.
The midfielder said: “I never had any intention or any ambition to play for anyone else.
“The clubs I like abroad; Barcelona in Spain and I always liked AC Milan as well in Italy.
“I think it was more the kit than anything, the red and black stripes and the white shorts!
“And the players. We used to watch Italian football growing up, and you think of Baresi, Maldini, Donadoni and Ancelotti, van Basten… Ruud Gullit as well, an unbelievable team.
“So if I had to, never wanted to, Barcelona or AC Milan.”
More proof Harry Maguire has been having a very good season indeed
DOG DAYS ARE OVER
Phil Jones was spotted training alone at a field in Cheshire – 24 hours after his team-mates linked up for a similar session.
The Manchester United defender, 28, only had a dog to contend with as he tried to get back up to speed after the lengthy lay-off.
The defender was snapped by the pup-arazzi as he did some sprinting drills on Wednesday morning.
Jones appeared to timing himself on his Smart watch as he worked up a sweat ahead of his return to Carrington.
CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF JONES WORKING OUT
Mason Greenwood’s finishing is insane.
I’ll just leave this here.
Scholes added: ”There’s one more that people won’t think of. We used to play against Portsmouth.
“Do you remember Papa Bouba Diop? Big, massive. They used to call him The Wardrobe!
“You get involved physically with him and you’re wasting your time.
“I always found him awkward to play against.
“He wasn’t a Vieira, of course he wasn’t, but he still had talent.”
Paul Scholes surprisingly named Papa Bouba Diop, Robbie Savage and Patrick Vieira as one of the toughest opponents he came up against.
The ex-United and England star, 45, told Savage Social: “When I played central midfield I like to go into games thinking ‘I just want to have all the time in the world here, just nobody around me, just find a little bit of space and pass the ball around’.
“Then you play against people like you (Robbie Savage).
“An absolute nuisance, trying to close you down dead quick.
“I don’t want that, I just want it nice and relaxed.
“The way I played I didn’t really have to beat people or be stronger, quicker than the other person.”
OLE IS A RED
If you want more proof of how much Solskjaer has given as a player for the club.
United are showing strong interest in £53million-rated Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius – but the club want to start the bidding at £35m.
The Brazilian striker heads the Portuguese scoring charts with 15 goals in 19 Primeira Liga appearances – and 20 from 33 games in all competitions.
Vinicius, 25, has already attracted interest from Liverpool.
A £15million buy from Napoli last summer, he is under contract until 2024.
Lisbon media now claim Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign the striker during the close season, with an £88m release clause in his contract.
However the inflated figure is seen as highly unrealistic with the transfer market hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- United target Miralem Pjanic has admitted it was his “childhood dream” to play for Real Madrid because of Zinedine Zidane.The Juventus midfielder, 25, has been one of United’s targets for the off-season, but appears to be further down Solskjaer’s wishlist, below Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham.
He said: “As a child I decided to be a footballer thanks to him.
“He was the best I had ever seen.
“Who does not dream of playing with them?”
YOU’RE THE FUTURE
Marc Jurado and Jude Bellingham will be offered first-team roles under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a bid to lure them to United.
According to the Standard, the pair will be guaranteed minutes on the Old Trafford turf.
But Birmingham starlet Bellingham is currently weighing up offers from Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund, while right-back Jurado, 16, is expected to sign from Barcelona.
United also want to land Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish in the off-season.
E ‘N EASY
Manchester United legend Edwin van der Sar has warned his old club that they need to make three transfers this summer to challenge rivals City and Liverpool.
The Red Devils are currently fifth in the table and will be targeting a top-four finish as well as Europa League and FA Cup success should the season resume in June.
He told CNN: “The honeymoon period (under Solskjaer) was great, then they hit a rocky patch and I think the last seven, eight, nine weeks, they’ve been playing better football.
“The points were coming in. They had some good results against good teams also. Of course, for them, I hope that the league is going to resume because they probably will need those Champions League places.
“I think the main thing for them is to focus on the next season and hopefully with two or three additions, they’ll be competitive again to Liverpool and Manchester City.”
ZLAT’S NOT ON
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be hit with a fine after taking his £1.6million custom Ferrari on an ILLEGAL drive.
The Swedish star bought himself a rare Ferrari Monza SP2 for his 38th birthday in October.
But after cruising the streets of Stockholm in the completely roofless black number, Zlatan faces a fine after the Swedish Transport Agency revealed it had not been registered since March.
On Ibrahimovic’s drive, Mikael Andersson of the STA said: “It is cancelled and has been since March 30.
“A car may not be driven if it is cancelled.”
Under the rules of the road in Sweden, Zlatan was only allowed to drive it “the shortest possible route to or from the nearest inspection.”
Juventus star Adrien Rabiot has refused to return to Italy because he is still furious over an enforced pay cut,reports CHARLIE WYETT.
Maurizio Sarri’s squad have taken a four-month wage deferral to save the Serie A giants £80million.
Rabiot — who is represented by his mum Veronique has been on ‘strike’ as he is unhappy at being forced to give up £1.5m of his £6m-a-year salary, although he could get that back in autumn.
Some Juventus stars are training individually at the club but the overseas players are expected back at their homes in northern Italy to quarantine.
But Rabiot has thrown a strop and the midfielder, 25, remains in France.
Manchester United have shown interest in Rabiot but he looks to be pushing for a move back to France.
United are reportedly confident of luring Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham to Old Trafford in a £220million triple swoop.
The Red Devils are set to invest heavily at the end of the season as the club looks to mount a charge to win their first Premier League title since 2013.
Despite teams suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Manchester Evening News state that United believe they have the resources to be able to spend big in the summer.
And the club could have extra funds available should they offload Real Madrid and Juventus target Paul Pogba.
The MEN claim that Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho, Aston Villa’s Grealish and Birmingham starlet Bellingham are all key targets for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United are said to have started negotiations with the Villans in February, with the £70million-rated playmaker set to move on should Dean Smith’s side be relegated.
HEALTH VS WEALTH
Premier League stars reluctant to restart the season have been told to consider their own financial futures.
A number of big-name players have voiced their concerns over safety following plans to recommence the campaign next month.
At least one representative from each club — either the captain or PFA delegate, or in a number of cases both — will dial in to today’s call ahead of a proposed June 12 restart.
Union chiefs will also be involved and a PFA source said: “We all want to play again if it is safe but have a duty to express our concerns and the players will express theirs.”
Player concerns are also shared by some team medics and executives, even at clubs that are strong backers of Project Restart and despite the Government green light for behind-closed-doors sport from the start of June.
ROLL OF THE DYCHE
Sean Dyche reckons going to the supermarket is more dangerous for footballers than doing their job.
The Burnley boss exclusively told Danny Higginbotham: “The protocols will be really stringent to make sure it’s as safe as it can be.
“Ironically, the players can then go down to the supermarket and mix with 400 people they have never met in a confined area. “People say, why aren’t footballers treated like everyone else?
“Then we go, OK let’s treat them like everyone else.
“Why have we got to train say 12ft apart when you can then go to Tesco and stand 6ft apart from people who may not have been tested. That’s weird, surely?”
Jesse Lingard has paid tribute to FC United of Manchester pal Larnell Cole, who he has had the chance to touch base with during lockdown.
The midfielder shared a picture of the pair in a gym, and they played together in the United team featuring Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison that won the FA Youth Cup in 2012.
Lingard said: “This quarantine has been a time for me to reflect and to never lose sight of what and who is important to me.
“We’ve had 18yrs of friendship which started at @manchesterunited.
“Throughout our journey we lost a little bit of communication due to the different paths we led during football.
“I know its a sad thing to say but this lockdown period has gave us time to reconnect and re-establish who we once were.”
GROUNDS FOR CONCERN
Premier League bosses face an uphill battle to persuade police chiefs to lift the demand to use neutral stadiums.
League chief executive Richard Masters held a virtual meeting with Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the country’s top football cop, and officials from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport after the 20 PL clubs urged him to seek a change in policy.
It was Dep Chf Con Roberts who told Premier League leaders there were 12-15 “high risk” matches that simply could not be played at home venues over fears of fans congregating outside grounds.
He told SunSport in a statement that the meeting had been “positive”, adding: “We will be jointly exploring a range of options to identify a way forward.
“That needs to be one that minimises any risks to public safety and unnecessary pressure on public services but facilitates a sensible restart to the season, to support the economic and morale benefits associated with the sport.”
Harry Maguire rates Marcus Rashford the greatest talent he has ever played with – and a future leader destined for an “exceptional career”.
The £85million ex-Leicester centre-back, 27, told United’s official podcast: “On the pitch, he’s amazed me. He’s the most talented player I’ve ever played with.
“I think as a club, you should have a captain and rely on him, but you need to spread the onus of the leadership in the group.
“He’s always wanting to make himself available.
“I think you can see around the place, on and off the field as well, he’s excellent with his charity work, which is great to see.
“I’ve always spoken so highly of Marcus when I have been with him in the England squad. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
GOOD MORNING UNITED FANS
Football took a step closer on Tuesday as Manchester United stars grouped together for a training session in the north-west.
Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba were joined by Victor Lindelof and Andreas Pereira – who maintained social distancing while working out.
Carrington is expected to open soon as part of the Premier League’s plans to restart matches by June 12.
Due to join them is Sergio Romero but the goalkeeper has the small matter of a run-in with his noisy neighbours to deal with.
The Argentine has been ordered to tear down a £20,000 adventure playground on his front garden — after it was likened to a “theme park”.
He and wife Eliana installed the gigantic playhouse for their two young daughters without planning permission.
In transfer news, United may soon be waving goodbye to Angel Gomes if the winger cannot agree to a new contract.
Old Trafford chiefs are desperate to keep the academy graduate and have tried to tempt the youngster with hefty new terms – although Goal report of a stalemate between the parties.
The fresh offer is thought to be around £30,000-a-week PLUS additional bonuses for appearances, goals and trophies won.
Daily Mail say a deadline of May 21 has been set by the club for any agreement.
Incomings are looking hard to come by after Miralem Pjanic “snubbed” United for Barcelona.
According to Sport, Pjanic has rejected a move to Old Trafford and PSG after receiving an offer for a dream move to the Camp Nou.
Also set for elsewhere is James Rodriguez, the Real Madrid man purportedly heading to Atletico rather than Manchester or Arsenal.
GIFT OF THE GAB
Gabriel Martinelli has stated that he could have joined Manchester United, if they had made an offer.
Martinelli’s former club Ituano have a partnership with the Red Devils, which saw him visit the club on multiple occasions.
And he said: “There was a partnership between Ituano and Manchester United which allowed me to go there every year, for four years, to train with boys my age or older.
“That was nice, because I got a first taste of what English football was like.
“I met Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba, and made sure I got a photo with all of them.
But when asked why he didn’t sign, Martinelli commented: “They didn’t make an offer, so I returned to Ituano and kept doing my job there.”
Manchester United have identified three signings as attainable this summer, according to reports.
The Manchester Evening News states that they believe Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham will all be wearing Red Devils shirts by the time the new season arrives.
Bellingham visited United’s training ground in summer while the club started negotiations to sign Grealish in February.
And the Red Devils are also confident of outbidding any competition for Dortmund’s Sancho.
FEAR WE GO
Premier League chiefs will today host a crunch meeting to attempt to convince fearful players it is safe to return.
Clubs are aware of growing worry from some stars that they feel forced back into action.
The PFA union will express these d