Hey reader, welcome to The Weekly Round-Up. Here you can catch a glimpse of all the news throughout the last week. Our aim is to keep you up to date with all of the reliable news regarding Manchester United, so you don’t miss a thing.
Even though Manchester United’s 2020/21 season came to a conclusion around two weeks ago, there has been no dearth of off-the field activity – which has only increased manifold instead, due to the summer transfer window approaching.
During the course of the week, we had substantial updates on Jadon Sancho’s situation, and further details emerged on the Kieran Trippier front. Updates on the pursuit of a centre-back also followed, among other things. Let’s get right into them all.
JOEL GLAZER ATTENDS FANS’ FORUM
Joel Glazer, Manchester United’s co-chairman, finally attended a Manchester United fans forum after 16 long years on 4th June, 2021. The meeting was held over Zoom and lasted Two hours and ten minutes – 20 minutes more than originally scheduled, as stated by Andy Mitten while writing for The Athletic. A myriad of issues were raised and discussed in the meeting, ranging from Investment in Old Trafford to discussions about a new fan share scheme to be put in place before the start of the new season.
The meeting started off with Joel Glazer being apologetic about his lack of open communication with the fans of the club for the past 16 years, accepting his mistake for the same and ‘wanting to work on change for the future’. He reiterated that the goals of the club were to win every competition they compete in, and promised to continue Investment in the Academy and in the transfer market to support the manager. He also mentioned how Manchester United’s net spend over the past 5 years is among the highest in world football.
In addition to this, Glazer talked about the creation of a Fan Advisory Board, made up of representatives from the fan forum and other key fan groups – to ensure that perspective of the fans is embedded within the club’s decision making process. The club also initiated direct dialogue with Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) about a mutually beneficial fan share scheme, to have a foundation for supporters to have a more meaningful stake in the club. It is said to involve a new class of shares, and the holders will enjoy voting rights similar to the Glazer family – although finer details which will show how meaningful this exercise will be, are yet to emerge.
On being asked about the club debt and the dividends taken out by the Glazer family, Joel Glazer mentioned how he thinks the dividends being taken out of the club are “minimal” and “less than 3% of our revenue“, reiterating that the money in question has never stood in the way of transfers. On the question of debt, Glazer mentioned how he thinks they’re in a comfortable position, given the low interest rate charged. He also mentioned that they had been reducing the debt of the club till the pandemic hit.
On a related note, earlier this week, we had Mike Keegan of the Daily Mail report that the club were set to install new floodlights at Old Trafford and Carrington, with the Glazer family committing to works worth £11M over the summer.
FINES FOR THE ATTEMPTED BREAKAWAY TO FORM THE ESL
Mike Keegan of the Daily Mail reported that the top 6 clubs, who attempted to form a breakaway European Super League, will be fined a total of £22M (collectively) by the Premier League, with the money going to the football community and grassroots football – not the other 14 clubs. Mark Kleinman of Sky News also mentioned how any future breakaway attempt will cost clubs over £20M each in the form of fines, and a 30-point deduction.
DONNY VAN DE BEEK RULED OUT OF THE EUROS
ESPN Netherlands reported about Donny Van De Beek being ruled out of the Euros this year due to an injury. Reputed journalist Mike Verweij then further elaborated on the issue, stating how the nature of the injury was one of the groin. He also mentioned how Donny had been training and playing using painkillers for weeks – with the Netherlands team doctor ruling him out of the competition given there was a chance of the injury worsening. The player will now begin his rehabilitation to be ready for his next season with Manchester United.
MARCUS RASHFORD TO UNDERGO SURGERY AFTER THE EUROS
In what was a dream week of sorts for Marcus Rashford, with him captaining the English national team – and there were further updates about his plans after the Euros. It has been said for some time now that Rashford would evaluate the option of a surgery after the Euros. The Mirror had more on this lately, mentioning how Rashford is planning to undergo surgery on at least one of his injuries, most likely his foot, after the European Championship ends.
SOLSKJÆR IDENTIFIES AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
According to Simon Stone of the BBC, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has identified 4 main areas to strengthen the team in this summer – in attack, central midfield, central defence and a right-sided attacking player. Nevertheless, there is an acceptance on his part that addressing all these issues will be difficult given the impact Covid-19 has had on the club’s finances. On these lines, it’s interesting to note what Jamie Jackson from the Guardian (who name-dropped the same 4 positions) had to say on the issue a few days ago – “Solskjær is intent at least on pursuing one player in each of his identified areas to bolster a squad that requires an upgrade in quality and depth.”
NEGOTIATIONS HAVE BEGUN IN EARNEST FOR SANCHO
Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic mentioned that Manchester United were pressing ahead with talks to sign Sancho and negotiations had begun in earnest for the same. He further mentioned how the club were ready to commit a fee of around £80M, whereas Dortmund want an additional £20M in achievable add-ons. These figures were also put forward by Tom Roddy from The Times, with both journalists implying that although there was work to be done in terms of a final fee, both parties were open to a compromise and optimistic about a deal happening.
The figures mentioned regarding a deal were somewhat different from other sections of the media, though – with all of Ruhr Nachrichten BVB, SPORT1, Fabrizio Romano and Jacob Steinberg from Guardian Sport mentioning Dortmund’s asking price in the €90-95M (around £77-£81.5M) range. Patrick Berger from SPORT1 also mentioned that official negotiations had begun between the two clubs, which was denied by the likes of Ruhr Nachrichten, BILD and even Fabrizio Romano – who stated that the club are only in contact with Sancho’s agents right now, deciding on personal terms, before moving on to discussions with Dortmund. BILD also went on to state how Sancho would move if Dortmund were to receive a suitable offer for him by the end of July.
Furthermore, The Athletic had another update on Sancho – one which was a little different with respect to the price point mentioned earlier by Laurie Whitwell – with it mentioning a €90M price tag, although with no mention about any prospective add-ons. The report also mentioned that the expectation was that Sancho would be a Manchester United player this summer, and all parties are determined to do a deal.
CENTRE-BACK ON THE AGENDA
This is hardly surprising anymore, it’s been well established for some time that Manchester United are after a centre-back to partner club captain Harry Maguire. We’ve also known for some time that Raphael Varane, Pau Torres and Jules Kounde are among the top 3 targets for the same. There were various updates about either over the course of the week.
Laurie Whitwell mentioned how Solskjær is targetting players who would go straight into his first eleven for the next season – Sources close to Manchester United expected Varane to sign a new deal at Real Madrid, but the dynamic has shifted over the past few days, making a move a realistic option, although it would need Real Madrid to ask for a reasonable price given United’s budget would be considerably stretched if they are to do a deal for Varane in addition to one for Jadon Sancho. Defensa Central also provided some context regarding Varane, stating how he has a €9M/year net renewal offer from Madrid, which he feels isn’t enough and that he deserves one in the range of David Alaba (€10/11M/year net). They go on to mention how Manchester United are one of the teams most interested in Varane, and how they would be ready to offer him a salary of €12M/year net, for that – Overall, a situation to keep an eye on as it develops.
Laurie also mentioned Pau Torres as one of the leading candidates under consideration, although adding to it with the fact that Villarreal would be in a position of strength to negotiate for him, given they made the Champions League for next season. He is believed to have a release clause “above £50M”.
Jules Kounde is another player who has a suitor in Manchester United, his release clause is worth €80M, but any price for him can also be negotiated with Sevilla, with The Athletic mentioning a prospective price in the range of €55M.
PURSUIT OF KIERAN TRIPPIER
Again, we had Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic mention how Matt Judge is in dialogue over Kieran Trippier and that talks with Atletico Madrid over the signing had commenced. It was also reiterated by multiple sources over the week that Trippier was searching for houses in the Manchester area, considering a move did go ahead. He further mentioned how Solskjær views the player as an elite readymade option to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Trippier has 2 years left on his current deal at Atletico, with the option of an extra year till 2023 having being triggered when he reached 20 appearances for them last season, as reported by Diario AS. Furthermore, Matteo Moretto mentioned how there was nothing as such advanced between the two clubs for a transfer, and that Trippier was very comfortable at Atletico. Fabrizio Romano, on the other hand, speaking on the Muppetiers Podcast, went on to mention how it would take a bid not less than €40M to secure the services of the player from Atletico Madrid.
MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE AN INTEREST IN MIDFIELD DUO
You did read that right, yes. At a time when Manchester United and links to a Midfielder hardly go hand in hand, this was quite something. Declan Rice has always been mentioned as one of the priority targets to strengthen at Defensive Midfield, if it comes to it – although he also has interest from Chelsea and Manchester City. The player also has put off signing a new deal to focus on the Euros.
Another name in the mix is the Aston Villa midfielder United are not often linked with – John Mcginn. The Athletic mentioned how he’s not a name very high on the list of the club, but is definitely a name under consideration. The piece also mentioned how the player is admired and held in high regard by Darren Fletcher – Manchester United’s Technical Director.
POGBA TO HOLD TALKS WITH SOLSKJÆR AFTER EUROS
Rob Dawson of ESPN mentioned that Manchester United would hold talks with Paul Pogba after the Euros amid fears that he might leave the club on a free transfer next summer if a renewal isn’t agreed any time soon. The talks are poised to be held with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, focusing on his plans to bridge the gap with Manchester City and other top clubs of Europe. He also mentioned how there has been no firm contact from any of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus to sign the player – and there are doubts whether those clubs could afford his signing unless players are involved in a deal. All those clubs including PSG would be in line to sign him as a free agent a year later, though. Manchester United have still not given up hopes of Pogba extending his stay, but there are fears that he may delay talks to invite other bidders to the table.
IMMEDIATE PLANS FOR FACUNDO PELLISTRI
Jonathan Shrager mentioned how the preference of Pellistri and those around him is to stay at Alavés for another year if he isn’t in Manchester United’s first team plans for next season – and that further conversations were set to take place to discuss his opinions.
Diario de Noticias de Álava had more on his situation – Along with reiterating the part about Pellistri having discussions with United, they mention how everything points to a loan move abroad, although nothing has already finalised. They mention that Alavés already have an agreement with Pellistri, and would strongly bid for him in the auction to secure a loan move. They also mention that several British sides and Club Brugge who tried to get Pellistri on loan in January, are ready to pay the full amount for a loan move for him, something which Alavés didn’t do this year.
LAUREN JAMES AND TOBIN HEATH AMONG NAMES TO DEPART
Emma Sanders from BBC Sport had updates regarding Manchester United’s Women team. She mentioned how the club is expected to lose Lauren James to Chelsea, and that Tobin Heath and Christen Press are also expected to depart.
Casey Stoney is said to have done most of the recruitment before leaving – with the club in the market for attacking quality. Asisat Oshoala from Barcelona was among the names mentioned as to being linked for a move. The club could also bring in goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley from Bristol City, with Emily Ramsey potentially leaving. Manchester City defender Aoife Mannion is another name who could join Manchester United.
HARRY WINKS ADMIRED BY MANCHESTER UNITED RECRUITMENT STAFF
Dale O’Donnell from Stretty News mentioned how Harry Winks was one of the names under consideration at Manchester United and how the recruitment team are big admirers of his. He mentions how United are hopeful they can reinforce the central midfield position given the uncertainty surrounding the future of Paul Pogba, and Winks is one of the names under consideration. Only initial contact has been made as of now, and United know Daniel Levy would sanction a move for around £25M.
MEN had more on this later, mentioning how a source said that although Winks’ name might have come up in some conversation, Manchester United’s priorities this window remain at full-back, centre-back and attacking positions.
LAZIO STILL INTERESTED IN ANDREAS PEREIRA
Fabrizio Romano, speaking on the Muppetiers Podcast, mentioned how Lazio appreciate Pereira and are happy with his progress in training. There has been no official bid on their part yet, though, and his future will depend on their new manager.
Corriere della Sera also mentioned how Lazio’s director of football Igli Tare has opened a channel of communication with United to extend Periera’s loan, as they believe in him and would like to give him another opportunity.
MULTIPLE PLAYERS RELEASED, TALKS ON WITH SOME OTHERS
Manchester United released multiple players with their contracts expiring this summer, namely Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira, Jacob Carney, Mark Helm, Iestyn Hughes, Arnau Puigmal, Max Taylor and Aliou Traore. On the other hand, there are some others with whom negotiations for a new deal are still going on – Juan Mata, Lee Grant and Paul Woolston.