Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Virgil van Dijk is set to remain with Liverpool until the end of 2025.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, 28, headed to Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, signing a deal until 2023.

But the superstar centre-back is rumoured to be ready to recommit to the reigning European champions.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DIJK AGREES SIX-YEAR LIVERPOOL DEAL

Van Dijk has agreed a new contract with Liverpool, according to the Mirror.

The defender will earn close to £200,000 per week with his new deal, up from his current £125,000 per week wages, the report says.

It comes just a month after Van Dijk lost his title as the world's most expensive defender when Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a reported £80m.

ROUND-UP

- David de Gea could be set to leave Manchester United. Coming out of contract at the end of the season, the goalkeeper has told friends he is willing to turn down a deal from the Premier League club, according to The Sun. The Express reports Serie A giants Juventus want to sign De Gea on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- Paulo Dybala almost left Juventus in the close season and the playmaker is set to be at the centre of talk again in January. Paris Saint-Germain want to beat Tottenham to the signing of Dybala when the transfer window reopens, according to the Express.

- Edwin van der Sar could be set for a return to Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the former Netherlands goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive is on Manchester United's list as they search for a director of football.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stars are happy Alexis Sanchez has left on loan to Inter, according to The Sun.

- After the emergence of 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, Barcelona have set up a plan to look after the teenager. Sport reports the LaLiga champions consider Fati a first-team player and want to protect him as he gains plenty of attention.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is not Spain's undisputed first-choice goalkeeper, according to head coach Robert Moreno.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa has started each of the national team's four matches since Moreno took over from Luis Enrique in March.

Manchester United star David de Gea previously owned the position, but a poor World Cup and disappointing club campaign last season weakened his claims for a place in the starting XI.

Kepa made a superb stoppage-time save in Thursday's 2-1 defeat of Romania in Euro 2020 qualifying to ensure Spain's perfect record in Group F was extended to five wins from five games.

Despite this, Moreno refused to confirm that Kepa will be between the sticks for Sunday's visit of the Faroe Islands and insists he does not have a preferred number one.

"I don't have a starting goalkeeper," he told a media conference. "It may or may not change.

"I keep the same message. All three [Roma's Pau Lopez makes up the trio] are of the top level and I really want them to make my decision difficult.

"The three have trained at a very high level. I will not say if one is my preferred goalkeeper or not."

While Spain have a 100 per cent record from their five Group F games, their opponents on Sunday have lost all five of their qualifiers so far.

Moreno was quick to dismiss suggestions that a thumping win in Gijon awaits, however, insisting Lars Olsen's side will be given "maximum respect".

"We must be honest and say that every team deserves respect," he added.

"Thinking of scoring six goals is not football. We are going to try and score a goal and then, if we can, a second, but always with maximum respect."

Robert Moreno says he would be happy to step aside if Luis Enrique wants to return to the role of Spain head coach.

Moreno took charge when Luis Enrique left the position in June, a decision attributed at the time to "family reasons" by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

It was confirmed last week that the former Barcelona coach's daughter Xana had passed away after a five-month battle with bone cancer.

RFEF chief Luis Rubiales said the door would always be open to Luis Enrique if he decided he wanted to go back, and Moreno would have no hesitation in moving aside.

"It's a very recent situation and we're not going to talk about that," Moreno told reporters when asked about the news from last week.

"I consider Luis a friend and friendship comes ahead of everything else. If one day he wants to return, I will be happy to step aside and work with him."

All LaLiga matches held a minute's silence in memory of Xana last weekend and the Spain squad staged their own tribute at training on Monday.

Moreno worked alongside Luis Enrique at Barcelona, Roma and Celta Vigo before joining his backroom staff when he took charge of Spain in 2018.

He hopes positive results against Romania and Faroe Islands in Euro 2020 qualifying this week can bring at least some positivity to what has been a tough few days.

"It has been a difficult week," he said. "We'll try to give some tiny joy away from a very bad moment. It's the only thing we can do."

There is uncertainty over who will start in goal against Romania on Thursday, with Kepa Arrizabalaga having usurped David de Gea as the number-one choice in Spain's past three matches.

De Gea committed another error in Manchester United's shock home defeat to Crystal Palace last month, casting further doubt over his chances of winning back his spot in the national team.

Moreno, though, says there is no problem in rotating goalkeepers and is happy to see competition within the team.

"I think the competition is good," he said. "I don't think there is a fixed goalkeeper here. The important thing is that they are first-team choices in their teams. We then analyse our opponent and see who plays.

"At Barca, we won a treble [in 2015] with [Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen and [Claudio] Bravo both playing."

Will he, or won't he?

Neymar has dominated headlines throughout the transfer window, with the Paris Saint-Germain star eyeing a Barcelona return.

However, it seems he will not get what he wanted before Monday's deadline…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR GIVES UP ON BARCA MOVE

Neymar will remain at Paris Saint-Germain after failing to secure a move to Barcelona, according to reports.

The PSG superstar wanted to return to LaLiga champions Barca, just two years after his world-record move to Paris.

Barca had tried to negotiate a deal with PSG, however, L'Equipe says Neymar has already notified the club and family that he will stay at the Ligue 1 holders.

 

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are gearing up for a late move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen, according to The Express. Juve have reportedly joined PSG in trying to sign Eriksen prior to Monday's deadline.

- The Mirror says Real Madrid have also turned their attention to Eriksen after they were unable to prise Neymar from PSG. Madrid have also been linked to Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

- Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Dinamo Zagreb's Dominik Livakovic are potential targets for Manchester United, who are worried David de Gea will leave for free at the end of the season. That is according to The Sun.

- According to the Daily Mirror, Borussia Dortmund are monitoring the situation regarding Liverpool teenager Bobby Duncan. The 18-year-old reportedly had a move to Fiorentina blocked by Liverpool, prompting his agent to accuse the Reds of "bullying", accusations the club called "inaccurate" and "inflammatory".

- Fiorentina are desperate to lure Matteo Politano from Inter, reports Calciomercato. La Viola have offered €30million but Inter want €35m as they reportedly line up Eintracht Frankfurt star Ante Rebic as a possible replacement.

Keylor Navas is poised to swap Madrid for PSG and he might not be only the goalkeeper to move to Paris. Cadena Ser claims Sevilla's Sergio Rico will swap LaLiga for Ligue 1 on loan with the option to buy.

Neymar's future with Paris Saint-Germain remains up in the air.

The Brazil star has been linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid as he eyes an exit from the French capital.

If he does leave, PSG have drawn up contingency plans, with one particular Premier League player attracting interest.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PLOTTING BIG ZAHA MOVE

Paris Saint-Germain are lining up a £100million (€109m) move for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha as a replacement for Neymar, according to The Mirror.

Neymar wants to return to LaLiga, with former club Barcelona and Real Madrid reportedly vying for his signature before the transfer window shuts on September 2.

If Neymar does get his wish, former Manchester United forward Zaha has emerged as a potential signing, with PSG reportedly sending a team to London to try to strike a deal.

The Ivory Coast international was linked to Arsenal and Everton before the Premier League's transfer window closed.

 

ROUND-UP

Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, 24, has been lined up as a potential replacement for Manchester United's David de Gea, according to The Sun. De Gea, whose last-gasp howler led to United's shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, is out of contract in 2020 and is yet to sign an extension.

- Also at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are targeting Leicester City playmaker James Maddison. Having already prised Harry Maguire from the Foxes in a world-record deal for a defender, the Red Devils are reportedly ready to return for another Englishman.

- An agreement between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea over a new contract has been reached, reports Football London. Hudson-Odoi had previously been linked to Bayern Munich.

- According to The Express, Inter and Alexis Sanchez will discover whether a season-long loan deal will go through on Monday. Manchester United are willing to sanction Sanchez's exit.

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic remains a coveted player for Inter, according to FCInternews, who say a transfer is complex but not impossible. The Serbia star is valued at €100m by Lazio, who could receive the likes of Matteo Politano and Joao Mario in return.

- Sport says Espanyol are keen on signing Real Madrid newcomer Rodrygo Goes on loan as a replacement for Borja Iglesias following his move to Real Betis. The 18-year-old Rodrygo only arrived from Santos in a €45m deal during the off-season.

After Manchester United put four past Chelsea in their opening Premier League game of the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not fixating on the three points.

"We have to look behind the results. I would have said the same if we'd had a different result," he insisted. "We know it's just the start and there are relationships to be worked on. The more we understand each other and get to play with each other and show that we're a team, it's going to improve."

The United manager will doubtless look beyond the result on Saturday, when Crystal Palace produced a true smash-and-grab at Old Trafford to win there for the first time in the Premier League era. Solskjaer could argue the Red Devils were dominant, committed to attacking football, unlucky at crucial moments. They were.

But that 4-0 win over Chelsea is United's only league victory at home since April 13. In that sense, Palace's victory is no aberration; it's a pattern to home games that Solskjaer seems unable to address.

The statistics tell you this was a match United should never have lost. They had 22 shots to Palace's five, 71 per cent of the possession, and a second missed penalty in as many games. The visitors scored with two of their three efforts on target, the first a simple finish for Andrew Ayew, the injury-time winner yet another moment to forget for David de Gea in 2019 as Patrick van Aanholt's strike found its way through the Spain goalkeeper.

United can also point to some bad luck, and two questionable decisions from referee Paul Tierney. Debutant Gary Cahill was fortunate not to be sent off for stopping Anthony Martial's clear route to goal, and Martin Kelly's manhandling of the forward as he drove into the penalty area in the second half went strangely unpunished.

They will also likely highlight how Palace contrived to score with their first shot at the end of their first foray into the United box, all from goalkeeper Vicente Guaita's clearance. But that was a goal of United's own making.

Victor Lindelof will probably bear most of the criticism for failing to win the header against Jeffrey Schlupp that sent Ayew through, but there should be a serious inquest into how the goalscorer was able to wander past Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay in midfield and not be tracked by £80million man Harry Maguire.

Then there was the penalty, Luka Milivojevic rightly punished for tripping McTominay only for the frustrating Marcus Rashford's effort to clatter the inside of the left-hand post, cross the six-yard box and go out for a goal kick. At least there had been no argument about the taker this time.

Even after Daniel James scored a fine equaliser, United still found a way to ruin their day in the Salford sun. With too many tired players committed forward, Wilfried Zaha broke through, the ball fell to Van Aanholt, and De Gea was beaten at the near post after an hour of having nothing to do.

Solskjaer will feel aggrieved about losing a match where his side had such dominance and where fortune simply wasn't in their favour, but no amount of bad luck should excuse a first home defeat to Palace in 30 years, especially a Palace team that have already lost to Sheffield United and failed to score against Everton.

Instead, the manager should consider whether his vaunted backing of a young and - against Palace, too often naive - attack might hold him back in his first full season in charge. Would it really be so terrible to give Alexis Sanchez, a player apparently being encouraged to leave on loan to Inter, another chance in the squad? Would restoring Fred and Nemanja Matic to the first-team picture at least give Solskjaer more options to change difficult situations for the better?

This is not quite the time for panic at United. Four points from Chelsea at home and Wolves away was a solid start, even if this was an appalling way to come back down to earth, and not even the most optimistic of fans have ever really considered them title challengers to Manchester City and Liverpool anyway.

But Solskjaer would do well to look very closely at this 2-1 scoreline, at how his team contrived to hand victory to their opponents as they chased a winner themselves, and give very serious thought to how he can stop it happening again.

Manchester United slumped to their first Premier League defeat of the season as David De Gea's mistake handed Crystal Palace a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.

Daniel James' superb 89th-minute strike looked to have salvaged a point for United, who fell behind to Jordan Ayew's first-half effort.

Luka Milivojevic's 69th-minute foul on Scott McTominay had handed United a lifeline, but Marcus Rashford - who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed is one of two designated penalty takers following Paul Pogba's miss against Wolves - struck his spot-kick against the upright.

James' sensational finish seemed to have sounded a victory charge, but De Gea failed to make what should have been a simple near-post save from Patrick van Aanholt's 93rd-minute attempt, as Palace claimed their first league win over United since 1991.

Prising Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain is proving difficult.

After Barcelona had an offer turned down by PSG, LaLiga giants Real Madrid are the latest club to be rejected.

With the transfer window set to close on September 2, time is running out to meet PSG's demands.

 

TOP STORY – MONEY PLUS BALE, NAVAS AND JAMES NOT ENOUGH FOR PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have rejected €100million plus Real Madrid trio Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez for Neymar, L'Equipe claims.

After Barcelona's initial loan bid was turned down by PSG, Madrid tried to jump the queue, but it was not enough to satisfy the Ligue 1 champions.

PSG spent a world-record €222m on Neymar two years ago and it will take a lot more to sign the wantaway star as Barca and Juventus circle.

 

ROUND-UP

- Talk of Navas being included in a deal comes as Marca reports the Costa Rica goalkeeper has asked to leave Madrid after being told he will be back-up to Thibaut Courtois.

- Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is open to joining Inter Miami in MLS. Miami – owned by David Beckham – are set to enter the league in 2020 and they are keen to make a big-name signing. Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani has been linked, while Mundo Deportivo has now talked up Uruguay team-mate Suarez.

- According to Calciomercato.com and Corriere della Sera, PSG are interested in Paulo Dybala and Juventus team-mate Miralem Pjanic. Dybala has been tipped to leave the Serie A champions, while Pjanic could depart Turin as Juve look to raise funds following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Merih Demiral.

Atletico Madrid have no doubts that they will sign Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia, says Marca. Rodrigo will arrive once Angel Correa completes his protracted move to AC Milan.

Roma are in talks with Juve over a move for defender Daniele Rugani, claims Goal. Initially linked to Liverpool's Dejan Lovren after Kostas Manolas' switch to Napoli, Roma are now keen to bring in Rugani, who is valued at between €20-25m.

- The Sun reports Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea could wait until January before signing a new contract. The Spanish star has reportedly agreed in principal to extend his deal, which expires next year.

- Inter have accepted an offer from Napoli for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. However, Sky Sport Italia and Sportialia insist Icardi is not interested in moving to Napoli as he eyes Juve. With that in mind, Napoli are reportedly pushing to sign free agent Fernando Llorente.

Barcelona and Chelsea are leading the race to sign 16-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Pedri. That is according to Marca, which says Pedri could be available for €10m (£9m).

David de Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga could be made to share Spain's number one shirt with neither player guaranteed a starting spot under Robert Moreno.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa has started each of the national team's three matches since former head coach Luis Enrique handed the reins to long-time assistant Moreno in March.

Manchester United star De Gea previously owned the position, but a poor World Cup and disappointing club campaign last season weakened his claims for a place in the XI.

Spain return to Euro 2020 qualifying action in September and will do so without a defined first-choice option behind the back four.

"My goalkeepers are De Gea, Kepa and [Roma's] Pau Lopez," Moreno told radio station Cadena SER.

"I like that there is competition. Kepa is not ahead of De Gea, and neither is ahead of Pau.

"I want to get to the Euros with three goalkeepers who are ready to compete. They are all playing at a high level and there are nuances and differences between them. All three have good footwork.

"At Barca, we won the treble alternating goalkeepers."

Despite his limited experience as a head coach, Moreno was appointed to Spain's top job on a permanent basis in June after recording three victories as caretaker.

Luis Enrique was forced to leave the role for family reasons and while little is publicly known about the exact circumstances, Moreno confirmed he has recently been in contact with the former Roma and Barca boss.

"He wants total privacy. There is little else I can tell you. He's fighting," Moreno said.

"Our friendship goes beyond the professional field. If at any time I have questions, I have the freedom, as long as the circumstances allow, to ask them.

"I learned from him how to deal with players. Learn how they think, what they want, what they need.

"Books do not explain it to you. He put me by his side and taught me all that."

Barcelona are trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou – without paying a cent.

With Real Madrid reportedly emerging as frontrunners to sign the star forward, Paris Saint-Germain confirmed on Saturday they were in "advanced" talks regarding a deal for the Brazilian.

It remains to be seen as to which of the LaLiga giants Neymar ends up at, but Barcelona are struggling to find a deal, looking to complete one in which they pay with players only.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA DON'T WANT TO PAY EVEN €1 FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona are looking to secure a deal for Neymar that would see them give up only players, according to Marca and Le Parisien.

The French daily reports that kind of deal is "unimaginable" for PSG, who are looking for at least €200million for Neymar – which would see them make a €22m loss.

Meanwhile, AS say PSG and Real Madrid have opened talks regarding a move for Neymar, including the option of a one-year loan deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Mauro Icardi no longer wanted at Inter, a possible switch to Napoli has been mooted. Corriere dello Sport say Icardi is willing to make the move to Napoli, who are looking to sign a forward. Icardi has also been linked to Juventus.

- That comes as Napoli seemingly stop their pursuit of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Serie A club have given up on signing James and will instead focus on PSV forward Hirving Lozano, according to AS.

- David de Gea looked certain to extend his contract at Manchester United just last month. However, the Mirror reports the Premier League club are yet to reach an agreement with the goalkeeper, casting fresh doubt over the Spain international's future at Old Trafford.

- With previous target Leroy Sane suffering a serious knee injury, Bayern Munich are turning their attentions elsewhere as they still look to sign replacements for departed stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The Bundesliga champions have reached an agreement with Inter to sign Ivan Perisic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Radamel Falcao is nearing a Monaco exit. The forward is set to sign a three-year deal worth €6m per season with Galatasaray, according to AS. However, the Ligue 1 club want to sign a replacement before letting Falcao leave, and are expecting to land Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla.

- Dani Olmo is expected to make a move from Dinamo Zagreb to one of Europe's biggest clubs during this transfer window. Sportske Novosti report Bayern Munich and Everton offered €28m for the Spain youth international and Manchester United put in a bid of €25m to land Olmo. However, Dinamo Zagreb are hoping Olmo can help them reach the Champions League group stage before selling the 21-year-old.

Jurgen Klopp's complaint over the Premier League start date is sure to infiltrate the season opener when Liverpool entertain Norwich City on Friday.

A combination of Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations commitments robbed Klopp of several stars for much of pre-season, leading the Reds boss to call for the English football calendar to be pushed back.

As the minutes tick down to that first whistle at Anfield, managers will be monitoring the condition of their players and making calls on fitness.

Do those in charge of globe-trotting squads have reason to fear sluggish starts, or can players push past heavy legs to set the league alight in the early weeks?

To consider the question, we have mined the Opta data to assess how three high-profile stars fared at the outset of the two seasons either side of last year's World Cup.

 

No concern over Kane

Harry Kane recently told reporters he feels as sharp as he has "for a long while" after a rare, relaxing off-season, which some view as the gateway to a fast start for the Tottenham striker.

Yet even in the aftermath of last year's long and emotionally exhausting run to the semi-finals in Russia, the England captain seemed to have no trouble getting right back up to speed for Spurs.

Kane scored five times over the course of the opening seven games last season, second only to a player he faced in the third-place play-off at the World Cup: Eden Hazard.

The haul was one fewer than he managed in the same period in 2017-18, which followed a tournament-free off-season.

Fitness did become an issue for Kane as a long 2018-19 campaign wore on and his workload for club and country warrants close inspection, but a longer holiday did little to boost his numbers at the beginning of the season.

Of course, not every player returned from the World Cup in the same psychological state as the tournament's Golden Boot winner.

De Gea better for the break?

David de Gea was simply not himself last season.

Confidence sapped by a poor World Cup, the Spain star dipped well below his usually impeccable standards back at Old Trafford and might have lost the number one shirt had Sergio Romero not suffered ill-timed injuries.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ultimately kept faith with Manchester United's first-choice keeper and can reasonably expect a rejuvenated De Gea to make the kind of solid start to the season he enjoyed in 2017-18.

Then, the former Atletico Madrid man posted a league-high save percentage of 88.2 through to the end of September.

Fast forward 12 months and, with international matters perhaps still on his mind, De Gea did not rank in the top 10 for that statistic across the same period.

Poorer save percentages plagued other Premier League goalkeepers in the immediate aftermath of attending the World Cup.

Manchester City's Ederson, Mat Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City mainstay Kasper Schmeichel all failed to meet their respective averages after travelling to Russia.

The latter, like De Gea, failed to claw his way into the Premier League's top 10 over the first seven games last term.

Silva sets elite standard

As other players endure peaks and troughs, David Silva simply gets on with sustaining a level of excellence even in his advancing years.

The experienced midfielder started in Manchester City's triumph over Liverpool in the Community Shield last weekend and deserves a good deal of attention when the champions travel to London Stadium on Saturday.

Silva started the 2017-18 season in sublime style, registering a league-high six assists in the space of seven games and creating 23 chances in total – only team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (24) managed more.

He went on to win the title, attended the World Cup, and eased back into the Premier League by creating 20 chances before the end of September last season, more than any other player. All without real time to pause.

Could the 33-year-old help City set the pace yet again? West Ham would be safe to assume so: Silva has scored in four of his past five matches against them in all competitions.

David de Gea would be keen to become Manchester United captain in future as he reportedly closes in on a new contract.

The 28-year-old is said to be on the verge of signing a new six-year deal that will see him become the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world.

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to name a permanent captain following the departure of former skipper Antonio Valencia at the end of last season.

De Gea, who has spent eight years at Old Trafford, has put himself forward as a candidate for the role.

"I've been captain for some games," he said. "Of course, it is amazing to be captain of a club like Manchester United and defend this badge. It's amazing, so of course I'll be really, really happy to [be] captain."

De Gea has been one of United's standout performers during the difficult years following Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, the last time they won the Premier League.

He has been named the club's player of the season on four occasions and has been in the PFA Team of the Year five times.

However, some high-profile mistakes undermined his personal contribution to a difficult season in 2018-19, in which United finished sixth in the league and failed to win a trophy, and De Gea admits there is much work to be done to take the team back to where they believe they belong.

"We have to improve a lot. We are Manchester United; we need to fight for trophies," he said.

Paul Pogba is a positive influence on his Manchester United team-mates and should remain at the club, says Juan Mata.

World Cup winner Pogba announced his desire for a "new challenge somewhere else" in June and has been heavily linked with a transfer to former club Juventus and Real Madrid.

The Frenchman has struggled to live up to expectations since arriving at Old Trafford from Juve in August 2016 for £89million, then a world-record fee.

Pogba was still included in United's squad for their pre-season tour to Australia and Asia, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopeful of retaining his services.

Mata also wants Pogba to stay put and help unify the team.

"We all know Paul and he is a fantastic midfielder, and a very good guy, very positive, and a good influence for everyone," said Mata.

"I think he is happy and brings everyone together, but I cannot speak for other people - I speak for myself.

"As a team-mate and a friend I would like him to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us."

David de Gea looks set to continue his career at United, as he is reportedly ready to sign a six-year contract extension.

"David is the best goalkeeper in the world and one of my best friends so I want him to stay," said Mata.

"On a professional level, it would be great if he stays because he will give us many points over the next season, so I'm very happy if he stays."

Real Madrid potentially have an avenue to sell Gareth Bale and it would see the attacker return to familiar surroundings.

Bale is reportedly set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu this close season, although the Wales international's agent has repeatedly said the 30-year-old wants to stay.

Now, it seems a return to Tottenham is a possibility.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM INTERESTED IN BALE

Tottenham have told Real Madrid they are ready to pay between £45million (€50m) and £55m (€60m) for Bale, according to Marca.

Bale spent six seasons at Spurs before his move to Madrid, twice named the PFA Players' Player of the Year.

However, the report also says Tottenham are unable to afford Bale's £15.3m (€17m) net wages per season.

ROUND-UP

- David de Gea is ready to sign a new deal with Manchester United. Reports in United Kingdom say the Premier League giants are confident the goalkeeper, who is out of contract next year, will re-sign, The Mirror saying De Gea will become the world's highest paid shot-stopper with a £375,000-per-week deal.

- Unsurprisingly, Neymar still wants out of Paris Saint-Germain. According to Le Parisien, the Brazil star – linked with a return to Barcelona – met with Leonardo and told the sporting director he wanted to leave the Ligue 1 champions.

- Just as it looked like Manchester United had done a deal for Harry Maguire, it seems they still have work to do. Citing unnamed sources, ESPN FC say United are "miles away" from meeting Leicester City's £80m valuation for the defender. According to the Mirror, United are reluctant to pay more than the £75m Liverpool needed to land Virgil van Dijk last year.

- Staying at Old Trafford, it seems Manchester United are preparing a bid for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes. The Independent say United will put in a concrete bid for Fernandes in the next three weeks.

- A move that appears close to getting done is Matthijs de Ligt's switch from Ajax to Juventus. The Serie A champions have agreed a €75m deal, including bonuses, with the Eredivisie side, according to Sky Sport.

- Romelu Lukaku is still a reported target for Inter, but any progress between the Serie A outfit and Manchester United seems to be slow. Sky Sport say Inter are not confident about reaching an agreement, with United wanting €87.8m (£79m) for the striker.

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