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Reports: Manchester United agree to world record Harry Maguire deal

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According to a number of tabloid reports across England, including The Mirror, The Daily Star, The Express, and The Sun, Manchester United has come to an agreement with Leicester City for a world record fee to complete a long-rumored deal to send Harry Maguire to Old Trafford.

The reports all claim the deal is worth $100 million, making Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world. The rumored fee would surpass the $96 million Liverpool paid for Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk. The up-front value is $88 million, with the rest to come later in add-ons.

The reports claim a medical is scheduled for Monday and the deal will be announced shortly after assuming all goes well.

Maguire has been linked heavily with Manchester United this summer, and Manchester City was connected two, with both clubs reportedly seeing bids of $88 million rejected by the Foxes this summer. Reports emerged recently that Maguire was unsettled by the rejected bids, with the club holding out for $113 million, but it appears Manchester United was ready to meet in the middle. Maguire was apparently annoyed that Leicester City was unfairly keeping him from a move up despite bids already in that topped the supposed value of highly touted Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, with Maguire also reportedly claiming the club had told him upon penning a new five-year contract last summer that they would not turn down a fair offer.

The 26-year-old England international fills a position of need for the Red Devils, who conceded 54 goals last campaign, the second-most of any team in the top half of the Premier League table. However, Manchester United will likely have to offload a number of central defenders this summer to balance the squad, with Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, and Axel Tuanzebe all already on the books.

Maguire would become the third signing of the summer for Manchester United behind Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Pogba sets up Rashford in Man United’s win in Australia

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PERTH, Australia (AP) Unsettled Paul Pogba provided the backheel flick for England striker Marcus Rashford to score in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over the A-League’s Perth Glory on Saturday at Perth Stadium.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

With his back to the goal in the 60th minute, Rashford took Pogba’s pass, swiveled and lashed a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the Perth net.

Midfielder James Garner, who had been on the pitch for only a minute, scored United’s second goal in the 85th on a long-range volley after a mix-up in the Perth defense.

After a scoreless first half, Rashford and Pogba were two of 11 changes for United at the start of the second. Pogba’s future with the club has been the subject of much speculation after saying that he wants to play elsewhere in Europe next season despite having two years left on his contract.

[ MORE: Matthijs de Ligt left off Ajax roster for start of preseason ]

Daniel James started for the visitors but fellow summer signing and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was on the bench until halftime.

Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof were not included in the lineup.

United is in Perth for 10 days and two matches. Its second match is next Wednesday against Leeds at the same Perth Stadium.

Man United expect more arrivals; Pereira, Tuanzebe sign new deals

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Maybe Manchester United won’t splash a lot of cash this summer after all…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer locked down two academy products to long-term contracts on Friday, as Andreas Pereira and Axel Tuanzebe committed their futures to the Old Trafford club, but he has also been talking about signing new players.

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And it seems like he isn’t that confident off adding more than one new player this summer…

Speaking to Man United’s website as the squad prepare to head to Australia and the Far East for preseason, Solskjaer said he is delighted to have signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this summer and is hoping to make just a couple of new additions between now and the 2019-20 campaign kicking off.

“Well, it’s a long-term and it’s a short-term project. You cannot just think three years down the line, so we’ve got short-term goals as well, of course,” Solskjaer explained. “I think we’ve been quite calm and good in the market as we’ve got the right people, and we’re still working on a case or two. Of course, we’re always looking to improve the squad and, all over the summer, I’ve been in touch with Joel [Glazer] and Ed [Woodward] and all the recruitment people, and analysis people. I’ve got to say it’s been very good so far. I’ve got the backing and we’ve got the people we wanted, for now, and there will probably be some more business being done.”

With United linked with moves for Harry Maguire (United had a $87 million bid turned down by Leicester earlier this week) and Bruno Fernandes among others, those two deals could cost over $200 million to complete. Maguire in particular would be a huge coup with Manchester City also said to be interested in him, as United’s main aim in the transfer this summer is to get younger across the board and better defensively.

It seems like Solskjaer is keeping his cards close to his chest, and the amount of signings he makes will likely depend on which players he can shift on with no UEFA Champions League action to rely on.

As for the players signing new contracts, Pereira, 23, signed a new three-year deal, while Tuanzebe has agreed a three-year contract. There is an option year for both players to extend the deal, as both look like being a part of United’s squad this season.

Pereira featured 29 times for United last season and the Brazilian scored a screamer in a 3-2 win against Southampton, and with Ander Herrera leaving for PSG and Pogba potentially being sold, Pereira adds extra cover in central midfield and a little extra attacking flair.

Tuanzebe, 21, excelled on loan at Aston Villa last season at center back and it was thought he could return to PL new boys Villa for the upcoming campaign. That may still happen, but he will spend preseason with United and try to beat Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof to one of the starting center back spots.

Pereira and Tuanzebe join Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata in signing new deals at United over the past week and with AWB their new first-choice right back and James set to compete for minutes right away, the squad is starting to look settled and needs to be large to deal with the Thursday-Sunday grind of the UEFA Europa League.

But there is still plenty to sort out.

Both Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku sound like they want to leave this summer and Solskjaer is likely to want that issue resolved as soon as possible so he can bring in replacements.

Solskjaer doesn’t sound certain about other big additions this summer, and that may be worrying for United’s fans who want a huge overhaul between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts.

Report: Man United’s $90 million Maguire bid rejected

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Manchester United is determined to get their man.

But Harry Maguire‘s current club Leicester City is sticking to their guns, as the man affectionately known as ‘slabhead’ will likely be more expensive than Virgil Van Dijk, the most expensive defender in history.

Multiple outlets report that United have had a $90 million bid for Maguire, 26, rejected by Leicester as the England international is chased by both Manchester clubs this summer.

Maguire’s meteoric rise has seen him become one of the most coveted center backs in Europe, as his marauding runs and calmness on the ball combined with his aerial presence, pace and strength are perfect for a modern day center half.

Leicester bought Maguire from Hull City in the summer of 2017 for $22 million and after his move up the leagues from Sheffield United to Hull to Leicester, it now seems like Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will do battle to sign him this summer.

If Maguire joined either United or City he would be a guaranteed starter, but it is United who need him most. City have Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones right now, while United’s stable of center backs includes Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly. Out of United’s options in the heart of their defense, only Lindelof has done himself any favors in recent months.

It is expected that Leicester value Maguire closer to $120 million, to United are still some way off their asking price. That said, a transfer fee of this size would allow Brendan Rodgers to bring in multiple players, as the Foxes look to seal a permanent move for Youri Tielemans in midfield, plus Jamie Vardy isn’t going to go on forever, so an extra attacking option would be handy as they push for European qualification this season.

Maguire is a man in demand and after signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, United aren’t messing around in this transfer window as they aim to add young, hungry players to their squad. Maguire has the respect of his fellow pros and his leadership ability is clear for all to see.

He would set the tone for a new-look United defense and would be a game-changer. At City he would slot in seamlessly with how Guardiola wants his center backs to bring the ball out of the back, but maybe City’s priorities in the transfer market this summer are elsewhere with a right back and holding midfield their main targets.

If Solskjaer can get a deal for Maguire over the line, he would arguably be their most important signing since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The cavernous voids in United’s defense have been the main reason they’ve struggled so much over the past six seasons.

Just how different will Manchester United look next year?

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It’s Sunday morning, Paul Pogba wants to leave Manchester United, and the USWNT doesn’t play its World Cup match until Noon: Let’s deal in theoreticals by starting with a fact.

This season is going to be a major challenge for one Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Manchester United boss will seemingly be pulling together a significant amount of new parts into a team which is coming off a sixth place finish in the Premier League, with four of the five teams ahead of him having maintained their managers and most if not all key pieces.

Oh, and he’ll have to fashion this team based out of parts willing to buy into the club’s mystique and ignore the lack of UEFA Champions League play (which is seemingly why Paul Pogba is ready to skip town).

Big paychecks will help, but there’s no way to quickly meld these pieces into one unit. That’s especially true if the biggest piece of their 2018-19 puzzle, Pogba, isn’t in the middle of the park (or pushed a bit forward).

Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, and Antonio Valencia are out of contract, and Romelu Lukaku has been as mentioned as any striker on the market (He has three goals in four days for Belgium, albeit against Kazakhstan and Scotland).

Pogba’s potential departure puts a lot of weight on Ed Woodward to spend money well (One could make an argument for United needing 60-80 percent of those names).

Subtracting them and adding no one, United’s best XI is something like David De Gea, Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial, Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford.

As an aside, the expectations and pressure heaped on Rashford by the “he’s better than Lukaku, play him now centrally” media crowd is going to be a burden if the 21-year-old has to bear the center forward burden alone. My goodness are there Old Trafford subplots in excess or what?

Now, of course, there are seven weeks to go in the transfer window and there’s no guarantee Pogba and Lukaku will leave town. In fact, you may want to place your confidence on Pogba opening the season unhappy but at Old Trafford. Either way, the center of the park is going to get a remarkable makeover, and both center back and goalkeeper will get upgrades, too.

To the fixes:

— United is expected to spend big on Crystal Palace right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was sensational last season with the Eagles. They reportedly have sent a $51 million offer to Roy Hodgson‘s squad.

— They’ve been linked with desire for Issa Diop, though West Ham has hopes of $75 million for the center back who made JPW’s Top Ten of the season.

Wilfred Ndidi is “flattered” by links to United, but is focused on Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations line. Should the Red Devils want to buy the 22-year-old, he’s likely in the same price range as the above names.

— Don’t forget Monaco’s Youri Tielemans, who feels like a PL player from his outstanding time at Leicester City last season. He’d merit another $50 million or so.

It’s worth noting that all would get more European football than at their current home with a bump in wages plus an new iconic shirt. Don’t sleep on that.

You’re probably talking a $240-250 million outlay there, should United land them.

Without going further, nor mentioning Swansea’s young Daniel James and Sheffield United loanee Dean Henderson, you can see a thread here: United could be showing us how a Premier League Best XI without any Top Six players would fare in the top flight.

Of course, United has also been linked with big buys from outside of the Premier League and many of these are older than Ndidi, Diop, Tielemans, and AWB.

But taking those four young players and assuming a focal point/back bone strengthening holding mid would likely join part-time players and full-time leaders Nemanja Matic and Chris Smalling (and maybe Juan Mata).

Now of course there are rumors of experienced leaders Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona and there could be a return from Real, PSG, or Juve. And this whole post looks even worse when United swaps Pogba for Neymar straight-up.

Here’s another question in the myriad facing Solskjaer and Woodward: Is the Europa League a better route to the Champions League than the idea of beating out two of Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, and Liverpool (And noting that Spurs, City, and Liverpool will be heavily expected to finish 1-2-3 in some permutation and Chelsea has a leg up on the field assuming Eden Hazard is their lone significant departure).

Manchester United w/ above transfers (Age when season starts)

De Gea (28)

Wan-Bissaka (21) — Lindelof (25) — Diop (22) — Shaw (24)

Ndidi (22) — Matic (30)

Tielemans (22)

Lingard (26) — Rashford (21) — Martial (23)

What a time to be alive. Rashford better deliver!