Varane talks, Haaland contract boost, Milenkovic EXCLUSIVE, 'Cristiano Ronaldo-Pogba swap', Rice 'wants United transfer'

MANCHESTER UNITED are in talks with Raphael Varane over a summer transfer, according to reports.

Meanwhile the Red Devils have reportedly been handed a boost in their pursuit of Erling Haaland

Stay up to date with our blog, below, for all the latest from Old Trafford…

  • Jake Lambourne


    Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane is reportedly Man Utd's No 1 centre-back target for the summer.

    The Frenchman could be set to depart Los Blancos at the end of the season with his contract to expire in 2022.

    And Times journalist Constantin Eckner has declared that the 27-year-old is on the Red Devils' radar.

    Asked by a fan on Twitter about whether United are in talks with Varane, Eckner said: "Yes, they are.

    "Once #MUFC realised that a move could be possible, he became their No. 1 centre-back target."

  • Jake Lambourne


    Roma defender Chris Smalling is in a race to be fit to face his former club Manchester United in the Europa League semi-finals.

    The 31-year-old missed his side's quarter-final tie against Ajax due to knee problems.

    But according to Gazetta dello Sport there is a belief one of Smalling or fellow centre-back Leonardo Spinazzola will be fit for the first leg against Man Utd on April 29.

    Roma will already be without defenders Marash Kumbulla and Gianluca Mancini through injury and suspension.

    Earlier this week, Smalling was robbed at gunpoint in front of his wife and toddler son when three hooded men broke into his home.

    The ex-England defender was sleeping when the armed thugs broke into his home and forced him to open his safe.

  • Jake Lambourne


    What an iconic header this was from Paul Scholes in the Manchester Derby in April 2010.

  • Jake Lambourne


    Chelsea have joined Manchester United in the race for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to reports.

    The 27-year-old French centre-back has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford at the end of the season as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract with the Spanish giants.

    And Real will be keen to cash in on the World Cup winner rather than watch him leave for a free next summer.

    BILD journalist Christian Falk understands Chelsea are keen to acquire Varane's signature as they look to bolster their defensive options.

    The Red Devils looked into signing theFrench centre-back three years ago but were told it would cost more than £100million.

    Madrid value him in the £60m bracket, but that figure is still likely to be viewed as high, particularly with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transfer market.

    Varane could be set for a move to the Premier League this summer
  • Jake Lambourne


    David Beckham's Inter Miami violated MLS budget rules to sign World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi, an investigation has confirmed.

    The 34-year-old Frenchman signed for the American outfit back in August but was not confirmed to be one of the three allocated high-priced players that the league permits each club and was instead classified as a 'target allocation money' player (TAM).

    Matias Pellegrini, Rodolfo Pizarro and Gonzalo Higuain were the three 'designated' high-priced players in the 2020 Inter Miami squad, meaning Beckham's side needed to think creatively in order to get Matuidi on board.

    They did so by buying Pellegrini out of his contract in order to get back in compliance with the rules.

    And the league said Pellegrini is being loaned to Fort Lauderdale – the affiliate of Miami in the third tier United Soccer League's League One.

    "Matuidi's compensation was above the compensation limit for a TAM player and he should have been classified as a designated player," the MLS said in a statement.

    "As a result, Inter Miami violated the designated player limit as the team had three designated players in addition to Matuidi during 2020."

  • Jake Lambourne


    Chris Smalling's wife has slammed the "rats" who held her at gunpoint during a terrifying £100,000 raid as she spoke out for the first time.

    The former Manchester United defender, 31, and ex-Page Three girl Sam Cooke, 35, were woken in the early hours by three hooded men who burst into their bedroom.

    The former model said on Instagram: "I'd just like to suggest that those living their lives like these thieves who came into our bedroom at 4am pointing guns at our heads, rethink their choices in life and live in a more respectable and conscious way like real men, not rats (disrespectful to rats I know).

    "I suspect your life hasn't been easy but there's always another way. A way that will lead to blessings and not karma biting you on the ass, which I've no doubt it will!

    "And for the record, anyone thinking of coming near me and my family again, we have no jewellery or watches left and don't intend to buy any more!

    "If you see us wearing anything it's likely fake. So don't bother".

    Three hooded men broke in while the couple and their two-year-old son slept
  • Jake Lambourne


    Jose Mourinho insists he “couldn’t care less” about Paul Pogba’s criticism of his management style.

    The French midfielder hit out at his former manager and suggested he ‘goes against his players’ unlike current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    He also revealed details of the ‘strange relationship’ he had with the Portuguese during his time in charge of the Red Devils between 2016 and 2018.

    Pogba and Mourinho had a famous training ground clash in 2018 after the United boss thought Pogba had been laughing at the club’s defeat to Derby.

    And Pogba has revealed it is tough to explain his relationship with the Tottenham boss even now.

    However, when asked after Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Everton about the ex-Juventus star’s remarks, the Spurs chief said: “I would like to say that I couldn’t care less what he said.

    “I couldn’t care less – not interested at all.”f

  • Jake Lambourne


    Bruno Fernandes has lavished praise on ‘proper striker’ Edinson Cavani.

    The midfielder said after Man Utd’s win over Granada: “Everyone knows Cavani, everything he does, he is a proper striker, we know the qualities of our players.

    “It was a good game, Europa League is always difficult, they can create danger but we controlled the game, had the ball a lot.

    “I don’t think it was bad tempered, we keep moving, do the right things, 2-0 again is really good for us.

    “Now is the time to take the next step and win a semi final but we must focus on the next game which is the league.”

  • Jake Lambourne


    Man Utd have received a boost in their boost of signing Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland in the summer.

    According to Goal, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of the Norway international.

    They claim that the LaLiga clubs are unable to meet his £30million-a-year salary demands.

    The player – who is available for £65m in 2022 – will be allowed to leave BVB of the German side receive a £130m fee at the end of the season.

  • Jake Lambourne


    Paul Scholes wants Manchester United to bring in a new striker this summer and boost their forward options.

    He told BT Sport: “I think they’ve got really good forwards but are any a real-centre forward? They look better in wide areas.

    “[Edinson] Cavani has only started 15 games, can they keep him another year? It will cost a lot of money but they have to sign someone eventually.

    “If Cavani was to stay, he wouldn’t want to sit on the bench, I think he’s waiting to see if United sign a centre-forward. He hasn’t played a lot due to injuries and that is a concern given his age.”

    The ex-Red Devils midfielder added: “I don’t see Mason Greenwood as a centre-forward, I just see him in wide areas, not a great link up man, not making clever runs or tap ins, I see him in a wide right area that none of the other players like.

    “He is devastating when facing a player up on the right side, that’s what makes him such a dangerous player.

    “As a kid he wasn’t like a traditional centre-forward but always scored spectacular goals. He’s a wide player and that’s why United need to sign a top class centre-forward.”

  • Jake Lambourne


    Marcus Rashford remains a doubt for Manchester United’s clash with Burnley on Sunday.

    But Eric Bailly could be in store for a recall after completing his self-isolation for coronavirus.

    Rashford, 23, is recovering from a foot injury and was an unused substitute on Thursday night.

    His potential absence could see Solskjaer stick with the front four that started the 2-0 win over Granada.

    Edinson Cavani led the line – grabbing his second goal in five days – with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in support.

    Here is how United could line-up.

    Here is how Man Utd could start against Burnley on Sunday
  • Jack Figg


    Wesley Fofana is the latest centre-back linked to Old Trafford – while United have reportedly met Erling Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola.

    That's the latest transfer speculation as boss Ole Gunnar Solskajer prepares for Sunday's Premier League clash at home to Burnley.

    French star Fofana, 20, has shone alongside ex-United defender Jonny Evans since his £36.5million arrival at Leicester from Saint Etienne last September.

    But it's claimed the Foxes rate Fofana in the £80million bracket United paid them for Harry Maguire two years ago.

    Meanwhile, the saga over £150m-rated goal machine Haaland's future has been ramped up by suggestions United have held tentative discussions with Raiola.

    It's previously been suggested that Haaland’s father Alf-Inge and Raiola went to Spain to speak to both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

    United are also tipped to decide Edinson Cavani’s future over the next few weeks – with Boca Juniors said to be offering the 34-year-old a two-year deal.

    Reports in Germany say Old Trafford scouts have monitored Eintracht Frankfurt striker Andre Silva, valued at £35m, as a possible replacement for Cavani.

    Finally, Marcus Rashford remains a fitness doubt for Sunday after he was an unused sub in Thursday's Europa League triumph over Granada.

  • Ian Tuckey


    There was a time Dwight McNeil and Mason Greenwood would fight it out in the cages at Manchester United’s training ground.

    Now the old friends have both been unleashed on the Premier League and their teams go head-to-head at Old Trafford on Sunday.

    Burnley winger McNeil, 21, had dreams of making the grade with his boyhood club — but his time with the Red Devils ended in disappointment, aged 14.

    The Rochdale-born star is not surprised by the progress of pal Greenwood, 18, at United as he pushes for a spot in England’s Euros squad.

    McNeil, a doubt for the clash after picking up a knock, said: “The main thing was training in the cage at night.

    “It was all a bit of fun, really, just playing games in this small area. But it improved me as a player in tight areas.

    “Mason was younger than me but he played up with us. He was always good with both feet — you could tell with Mason at a young age.

    “It’s great that we’ve both achieved our  dream to play in the Premier League and,  obviously, Mason is doing so well at United and I’m really happy for him.

    “He’s had some criticism but I know what kind of guy he is. Mason’s a good guy and he’s come back scoring goals so I’m happy for him.”

  • Ian Tuckey


    Roma's ex-Manchester United defender Chris Smalling was forced to hand over £100,000 of watches and jewelry while his wife was held at gunpoint.

    Former England star Smalling, 31, and ex-Page Three girl Sam Cooke, 35, were woken in the early hours by three hooded men who burst into their bedroom.

    Chris Smalling and his wife Sam Cooke were held at gunpoint during a raid on their home
    Police searched the home in Appia Antica, Rome

    Police say the gang entered by ripping off a window grille and may have drugged the couple’s two dogs.

    Smalling’s mum, sister and two-year-old son were also at the villa in Rome, where the star now plays for Roma.

    Smalling was ordered to open a safe. The gang then raced off in a waiting car with three Rolexes, gold jewellery and 300 euros.

    Sam raised the alarm and cops arrived quickly to the home in the exclusive suburb of Appia Antica. A police car remained outside while a forensic team searched for clues.

    Smalling currently has a knee injury and had just returned from watching Roma draw with Ajax — setting up a Europa League semi-final with United.

    A police source said they could not rule out him being followed home after the match.

  • Ian Tuckey


    Paul Pogba has explained why he wore a long black sleeve on only his left arm against Granada.

    The Manchester United midfielder's armwear beneath his short-sleeve top sparked mystery as Thursday's 2-0 away win completed a 4-0 aggregate route to the Europa League semi-finals 

    French World Cup winner Paul Pogba created a mystery over his armwearCredit: Getty

    But the 28-year-old says he's been doing it most of the season following injury.

    Pogba told United's website: "It started with the pain, I had the pain [left elbow].

    "It actually started with my right elbow, so I put it on my right, and I had the same problem with my left.

    :So I started playing with this to get it warm instead of the strapping. It's tight on my elbow. I've been playing with this and it's just natural now, just for security."

  • Ian Tuckey


    Manchester United have reportedly made contact with Leicester City about signing Wesley Fofana.

    The French defender, 20, has been a revelation for the Foxes this season after signing from Saint Etienne for £36.5million last September.

    French centre-back Wesley Fofana is reportedly a target for Man UtdCredit: Reuters

    And his partnership with Jonny Evans has helped Brendan Rodgers side remain in contention for a Champions League spot.

    According to Foot Mercato, his form hasn't gone unnoticed by Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who would like to partner record-signing Harry Maguire with the France U21 international.

    The report says that Solskjaer isn't convinced that Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have the qualities to compliment Maguire at the back.

    United are said to have made initial contact with the Leicester ace, but the next step could be complicated.

    Leicester are believed to want a similar fee to the £80million United paid for Maguire in 2019.

  • Ian Tuckey


    Manchester United have reportedly met Erling Haaland's agent Mino Raiola over the Borussia Dortmund striker

    Gazzetta dello Sport have previously suggested Haaland's father Alf-Inge and Raiola went to Spain to speak to both Barcelona and Real Madrid.  

    And Manchester City have also been linked with the Norway superstar, 20.

    But any formal move for the £150million-rated goal machine still seems some distance away.

    Erling Haaland have been linked with a whole host of European giantsCredit: EPA
  • Ian Tuckey


    Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a huge summer transfer raid for Dortmund’s England starlet Jude Bellingham.

    The midfielder, 17, further strengthened his burgeoning reputation with another fine performance against Manchester City in the Champions League.

    Former Birmingham City ace Bellingham was chased by City’s neighbours Man United last summer but the Red Devils lost out to the Bundesliga side.

    But Dortmund are bracing themselves for another tricky summer as they aim to hold on to their young talent, including previous Manchester United target Jadon Sancho.

    Now Eurosport claims Chelsea are the Premier League club currently displaying the most interest in their latest starlet – with links to Declan Rice having seemingly cooled since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival as boss

    Now it is claimed they feel Bellingham would be more suited to the style that the German is trying to implement at Stamford Bridge.

    Dortmund are said to believe they will recoup a fee of around £100m when they do eventually decide to sell.

  • Ian Tuckey


    Former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown chipped in with the club's Easter holiday camps.

    The ex-Sunderland star, 41, holds the Uefa 'A' Licence for coaching – so his qualifications as much as his pedigree should stand the young participants in particularly good stead.

  • Ian Tuckey


    Manchester United are tipped to decide Edinson Cavani’s future at a meeting over the next few weeks

    Journalist Fabrizio Romano says the Uruguay legend, 34, will also make up his own mind in the same timescale – with Argentine giants Boca Juniors keen to lure him away with atwo-year contract.

    Ex-PSG striker Edinson Cavani's Man Utd future could be sorted out within weeksCredit: Getty
  • Ian Tuckey


    Former Man Utd midfielder Owen Hargreaves has urged the club to sign Leeds winger Raphinha instead of Jadon Sancho.

    The BT Sport pundit said: “I don’t think it’s realistic for Manchester United to win the Premier League next season.

    Brazilian Raphinha would be a fine asset to Man Utd, says Owen HargreavesCredit: Getty

    “They have to find a way to bridge that gap. You bridge that gap by getting another centre-back, getting a central midfielder, and getting a right winger.

    “A lot of people have played out on that right hand side and haven’t really found it. Jadon Sancho would be amazing.

    “You think about Raphinha at Leeds and what he could do in this United team – there’s obviously levels, and you can’t always spend £100million on a player.”

  • Ian Tuckey


    Man Utd will have to fork out £35million if they want to sign Eintracht Frankfurt striker Andre Silva in the summer.

    According to Bild, the Red Devils are interested in the Portugal international who has banged in 23 Bundesliga goals this term.

    It has been claimed that United are battling Atletico Madrid and Barcelona for his signature.

    Silva is seen as a cheaper alternative to Borussia Dortmund marksman Erling Haaland.

  • Jake Lambourne


    Former Manchester United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic is facing a three-year ban for investing in a Malta-based betting company, it has been claimed.

    A bombshell report in Sweden says that the 39-year-old’s career could be brought to a premature end as a result of the ban.

    Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet state that he owns ten per cent of Bethard, a gambling company with offices in Malta, through his business Unknown AB.

    Both Fifa and Uefa do not let players have financial interests in gambling companies. Fifa’s ethical rules say that anyone who violates them faces a fine and a ban from all football activities for a maximum of three years.

    The report continues that the Swedish FA were aware of the problem and it’s the reason he didn’t feature in the 2018 World Cup. AC Milan striker Zlatan had already retired from international football in 2016 but made his return ahead of this summer’s Euros.

    The report adds that Zlatan’s company is the fourth largest shareholder in Bethard and it made a profit after tax of £25.79m in 2019. He was announced as a co-owner and ambassador for the brand three years ago.

  • Jake Lambourne


    Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool is the ideal setting for Erling Haaland.

    The Norwegian is wanted by a host of clubs, including Manchester United, this summer but the ex-defender hopes to see him at Anfield.

    He told CBS Sports: “I think Haaland should come to Liverpool, because it’s his type of football.

    “Basically heavy metal football, he relies on his pace and his power. That’s the type of football that Liverpool play.

    “Who would not want to play in front of the Kop? Liverpool, energy, Champions League football nights.”

  • Jake Lambourne


    Chelsea and Manchester City are cashing in the most from their European exploits so far this season after making the Champions League semi-finals.

    Chelsea have banked £79.8m for their exploits in Europe so far this season while Pep Guardiola's Citizens have netted £76.8m, according to figures from

    The riches on offer in Europe's premier competition dwarf the financial benefits of playing in the Europa League – where the rest of the Prem sides find themselves.

    Manchester United have the considerable advantage of having dropped down into the tournament courtesy of finishing third in their Champions League group.

    The Red Devils have earned £50.7m worth of prize money as it stands after beating Granada to make the Europa League semi-finals where they will play Roma.

    Arsenal started the season in the competition and have only chalked up £14.4m in winnings.

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