Manchester United close in on €50m Fred but balk at Milinkovic-Savic fee

• United hope to finalise deal with Shakhtar Donetsk
• Lazio asking price for Milinkovic-Savic is €100mManchester United are closing in on the signing of Brazil midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for €50m (£43.7m) but an attempt to add Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to José Mourinho’s squad have been put on hold for now after Lazio set the 23-year-old’s asking price at €100m (£87.4m). United are in advanced talks with the Ukrainian club and representatives of Fred, who had also interested Manchester City as a potential long-term replacement for Fernandinho, and hope to finalise a deal in the coming days. Predominantly a defensive midfielder who can also play at left-back, the 25-year-old signed a five-year contract in January and was included in Brazil’s squad for next month’s World Cup. Continue reading...

José Mourinho targets summer move for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld

• Manchester United manager wants to revamp his defence
• Belgian open to move having failed to agree new Spurs dealJosé Mourinho is targeting Toby Alderweireld as part of the Manchester United manager’s intended revamp of his defence this summer, with the Tottenham Hotspur centre-back open to a move to Old Trafford. Alderweireld is out of contract in 2020 and discussions over fresh terms have reached a virtual impasse. The Belgian is conscious he can leave Tottenham next summer for €25m (£22m) due to a clause in his deal, though only if an option to extend until 2020 is activated. Continue reading...

Nemanja Matic calls for Manchester United to recruit more experience

• Midfielder says United have improved but can be better
• ‘When you don’t win the next year is always more pressure’Nemanja Matic believes Manchester United must make major signings this summer if they are to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League next season. United’s 1-0 defeat by Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup final meant they ended the campaign without a trophy. United also finished as runners-up in the Premier League, a record 19 points behind Manchester City. While second is their highest placing since claiming the title five years ago, there was further disappointment in the Champions League, with United knocked out in the last-16 stage by Sevilla. Continue reading...

Thibaut Courtois stands tall to grant Antonio Conte a glorious swansong | David Hytner

Gutsy backs-to-the-wall show delivers a triumphant end to Italian’s stormy season – and perhaps his Chelsea tenureAntonio Conte remained in a state of agitation. The Chelsea manager had seen Eden Hazard put his team in charge of the FA Cup final with a first-half penalty but he did not celebrate. Instead, he continued to chew the ear of the fourth official, Lee Mason. Conte wanted a red card to be shown to the Manchester United defender Phil Jones, for what he felt had been a last-man foul on Hazard. It seemed to sum up what has been a slog of a season for Conte – even at the good moments, he could have gripes. It has had the feel of one long argument between him and the club and there was the unmistakable end-of-era impression for him at Wembley. Continue reading...

Marcus Rashford’s toils show up José Mourinho as a man without a plan | Barney Ronay

A isolated outing for the forward added was dismaying proof that skilful attackers are being left to regress at Old TraffordOn a sweaty, heavy, oddly gruelling Wembley day Manchester United’s sweaty, heavy, oddly gruelling season was finally euthanised to a close. It has been a good season in some ways, with obvious progress made in the Premier League. But it passed here without the garnish of a trophy as Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty settled a largely forgettable FA Cup final in Chelsea’s favour. Continue reading...

Antonio Conte: ‘I showed in a difficult season that I’m a serial winner’

• Chelsea manager issues effective ‘back me or sack me’ message
• ‘If they want to continue to work with me, they know me‘Antonio Conte warned Chelsea they would be losing a “serial winner” if they chose to sack him and said that, whatever the future might hold, he would always love the club. Conte watched his team dig out a 1-0 win against Manchester United in the FA Cup final to finish a trying season on a high. The trophy followed his Premier League title success from last season – his first at Stamford Bridge. Continue reading...

Chelsea 1-0 Man United: The Talking Points

4C70AB1A00000578-0-image-m-2_1526751901735Manchester United lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday thanks to a first half penalty from Eden Hazard. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, notes the main stories from the encounter. The curse of the poor start appeared again This column has spoken many times of the team’s shaky start to matches across the season and in the cup final, the gremlins were back at work. The Red Devils struggled to get into a rhythm in the first half and failed to create anything worthy of note. The passing was sloppy and there was not enough movement to make things happen especially on the offensive. The partnership of Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard did not seem to understand what they were supposed to in attack and very often, were seen cluttered in the same space when spreading out and being available passing options was the better Continue reading "Chelsea 1-0 Man United: The Talking Points"

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard spot-on to sink Manchester United and win FA Cup

If this turns out to be Antonio Conte’s final game as Chelsea manager, as all the evidence suggests, at least he has gone out on a high. For all the politics at Stamford Bridge, all the discontent and the impression of a manager who knows his time is up, another trophy has been added to the collection. Last year, the Premier League, this season, the FA Cup; only at Chelsea, perhaps, could a manager with that haul now be cut free. Continue reading...