The middleman has brokered some of football’s biggest transfers but his tactics have made him one of the game’s most controversial figuresOne morning in late 1992, at Ajax’s old training ground, Bryan Roy arrived to clear out his locker and say his goodbyes. After four years with his hometown club, he was on his way from Amsterdam to join Foggia in the first of Mino Raiola’s many significant transnational deals between football clubs. The previous evening, when Ajax had played Feyenoord, a fan held up a hand-lettered placard. “Bryan bedankt,” it said. Thanks, Bryan.
• Monday meeting follows improved offer at the weekend • Palace will push for removal of Zaha sell-on clause in dealManchester United and Crystal Palace officials will meet on Monday afternoon with a view to thrashing out the finer details of a deal to take Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Old Trafford after an improved bid was tabled over the weekend.
Talks between the clubs appeared to have broken down late last week with United’s offers having fallen well short of Palace’s valuation of the England Under-21 defender. The Palace chairman Steve Parish, who is under no real pressure to sell, has consistently sought to raise a guaranteed £50m for an academy graduate who excelled while making 39 appearances over his first full season in the senior set-up last term, and that stance has not shifted.
Manchester United have been looking at a director of football for some time now but nothing has happened. No wonder players are thinking twice about joiningSpare a thought for Ed Woodward. As if Paul Pogba issuing a come-and-get-me plea so unsubtle he might as well have jumped out of a cake in the shape of the Bernabéu was not distracting enough, now there are claims that Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman is having trouble with an unruly board member pushing for Steve Walsh to fill the director of football role at Old Trafford.
Another summer of rebuilding appears under way at Old Trafford but attempts to recreate the philosophies and glories of previous eras look doomed to fail
There was an interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 this week about the notorious Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish. The man o’ war is of course the alpha of the jellyfish world, the big swinging tentacle of the deep ocean trench, not to mention the only jellyfish most people have heard of besides the ones that appear on English beaches in spring looking sad and dead and reproachful, surrounded by bottle tops and cigarette butts.
• Inter hope to raise £60m from Icardi sale • Antonio Conte wanted to sign Lukaku while at ChelseaInternazionale would like to sign the Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku this summer but would have to offload Mauro Icardi first to have any chance of financing the deal.
• Palace want at least £50m for England Under-21 right-back • Aidy Boothroyd says player’s head turned by United interest
Aidy Boothroyd believes Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s head has been turned by Manchester United, who are close to agreeing a deal for the Crystal Palace defender.
United and Palace officials have been in talks since the weekend over a fee for the England Under-21 right-back, with Palace wanting at least £50m guaranteed for the 21-year-old. Palace rejected United’s first offer last month but progress has been made in recent days. Palace also want United to remove the sell-on clause that was included as part of the deal that took Wilfried Zaha back to Palace in January 2015.
Talk of increasing the French midfielder’s wages to ensure he stays at Old Trafford is silly and misses the pointManchester United should not bother waiting for an astronomical offer for Paul Pogba, whatever Ed Woodward seems to be saying. If any reasonable bid comes in they should accept it, because the time has come to sell if a long-running story is not to end up running into next season.
• Spaniard’s contract was set to expire on 30 June • Salary similar but length a step up from one-year offerJuan Mata has reached an agreement on a new contract tieing him to Manchester United for the next three years. The deal will run until the Spaniard is 34, with the intention of him remaining at the club after he retires as a player.
Mata’s current contract, which is worth £140,000 a week, expires in just over two weeks’ time, on 30 June. The Spain midfielder had attracted interest from Barcelona and, although talks with United have been going on for months, he had initially failed to reach an agreement on his salary and the duration of the deal and appeared set to walk away without renewing. Herrera and Antonio Valencia had already departed in similar circumstances as their existing deals concluded.
Manchester United need to start planning for life without Paul Pogba. When asked about his future this week, Pogba said it could be “a good time for a new challenge somewhere else”.
When it comes to transfers, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has made it clear he wants the club to move away from the model that has failed in recent years. The manager wants to bring in young, hungry players whose wage demands will not break the bank. So, who could fill the void if Pogba leaves?
• 27 supporters at Old Trafford fulfilled category from 2014-18 • Club says percentage of fanbase is ‘minuscule’Manchester United supporters have been involved in more football-related arrests where racism was an aggravating factor or feature than any other club in England in the four seasons to 2017-18, data from the Home Office shows.
Data released under a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association shows that 27 individuals recorded as United fans by police were arrested during the seasons 2014-15 to 2017-18.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has hinted that he could leave Old Trafford this summer, amid reports that Real Madrid are interested. The French international has been a flop at United since his then world record €105 million move from… Continue Reading →
Manchester United midfielder and former world record signing Paul Pogba says the time may have come for a move away from the Premier League club. The Frenchman told reporters in Tokyo that now ‘could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else’.
The 26-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3m in 2016, has been linked with a possible move to Real Madrid to work with Zinedine Zidane, or with a return to his former club Juventus.
• 22-year-old striker has £45m release clause in contract • West Ham tell Manchester United Issa Diop is not for saleWest Ham face an uphill battle to convince Maxi Gómez to choose them over Valencia after lodging a £25m bid for the Celta Vigo striker.
Manuel Pellegrini is determined to continue improving his squad after signing Pablo Fornals from Villarreal on Friday and has long been an admirer of Gómez. However, West Ham fear they will miss out on the Uruguayan to Valencia, who can offer the 22-year-old Champions League football.
• Palace may try to get Zaha sell-on clause removed in deal • Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne a possible replacementManchester United are holding further talks with Crystal Palace this weekend aimed at agreeing a fee for Aaron Wan-Bissaka after the player indicated his preference would be a summer move to Old Trafford.
An opening bid for the England Under-21 international that would have been worth in excess of £40m was rejected by the south London club earlier this month, but United remain intent upon securing Wan-Bissaka as a key component in a revamp of their back-line. The 21-year-old is under contract until 2022 and Palace had no great desire to sell, but the youth-team graduate has made clear to his current employers that he would be keen to seize what he considers might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
• Manchester City start the defence of their title at West Ham • Liverpool play opening match of season at home to Norwich
Manchester City will start the defence of their Premier League title at West Ham. The 2019-20 fixtures, announced on Thursday morning, handed Pep Guardiola’s team an opening match at a venue which has proved to be productive for them since 2017.
City, who have won successive Premier League titles, have picked up three points in east London in the last three seasons – scoring four goals on each occasion.
Flying forward was devastated when a move to Leeds collapsed but a remarkable FA Cup goal for Swansea changed everythingGraham Potter is not the sort to get carried away but as the questions about Daniel James kept coming, and the realisation that everyone had witnessed something special started to sink in, even Swansea’s manager was sounding like an excited supporter. “There were a few instances, not just the goal,” said Potter, smiling, almost laughing, “and it’s just off-your-seat stuff, like ‘wow’.”
• Wales international set to join Manchester United in £18m deal • ‘I know United fans will get behind him and enjoy watching him’The Wales manager, Ryan Giggs, has told Daniel James to “enjoy the challenge” and just be himself when he joins up with Manchester United later this summer. The 21-year-old winger is set to join United next week after the two clubs agreed a fee that could rise to £18m.
Giggs, talking before Wales’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifer in Croatia on Saturday, praised James for the way he has coped with the death of his father, Kevan, last month as well as the upheaval of moving clubs.