Manchester United prepared for Paul Pogba departure for Real Madrid

The summer transfer window was unlike any other; see all the major deals and check out how we graded the biggest signings. And just because the window is shut until January, that doesn’t mean the rumours won’t keep coming. Here’s the latest gossip and speculation.

TOP STORY: Man United to let Pogba go

Paul Pogba‘s time at Old Trafford could be over with reports that Manchester United are ready to move on from the France star.

Sources told ESPN in October that United are prepared to lose Pogba for free next summer. Now Marca’s front page reveals that the Premier League club won’t be offering him a new deal ahead of the January transfer window, allowing his contract to run down and expire at the end of the season.

Despite a positive start to the campaign, it is reported that confidence has been lost between the two parties for a number of months, pushing the 28-year-old midfielder towards the exit.

And Real Madrid are the club looking to capitalise on the unrest as they begin their approach to bring Pogba to the Santiago Bernabeu, with reports that the LaLiga club are now confident of getting a deal over the line ahead of Juventus or PSG.

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10.26 GMT: Barcelona couldn’t get Lionel Messi back, could they?

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Union Berlin forward Taiwo Awoniyi explains why he chose to move to the Bundesliga over the Premier League.

10.03 GMT: RB Bragantino star Artur Victor Guimaraes has denied reports he has been contacted by Barcelona.

Reports in Spain claimed Barca are monitoring the Brazilian winger as a possible reinforcement for next year as the club looks to strengthen its attack.

Artur, 23, is a regular starter at Bragantino, the club he joined in January 2020 from Palmeiras. He has represented Brazil at youth level and was named in Brazil’s squad for the September qualifiers, while he is under contract with his club until December 2024.

“Regarding the Barcelona rumours I know nothing yet and my focus is on Saturday’s [Sudamericana] final against Paranaense,” Artur said.

Saturday’s final will be Bragantino’s first international final in 93 years of club history.

“As a boy, everyone dreams of playing in Europe one day,” he said. “My idols have done it and who knows if I will be able to experience that one day. My focus right now is on the final. This is the game of my career and of my life. We have high expectations. I’ve dreamed of scoring a goal in the final.”

09.47 GMT: Real Madrid are monitoring teenage Flamengo striker Matheus Franca, according to ESPN Brasil.

Franca, 17, helped Flamengo’s U17 side win the Brazil Championship, the Brazil Cup and the Supercup. The player has Flamengo’s highest release clause, set at €100m, and is under contract until 2027. He has attracted the attention of several clubs after scoring 13 goals and setting up 12 more in 14 games this season.

Real Madrid have monitored Franca for some time and could make a move for the striker next summer.

Flamengo’s U17 coach Mario Jorg said: “I think França is an extremely adaptable player. A versatile one as he can play in five different positions from midfield onwards. He can do the No. 7, the 8, the 9, the 10 and the 11. This versatility can help him a lot to fit in.”

09.13 GMT: Real Madrid would welcome Antonio Rudiger “with open arms” when his Chelsea contract expires next summer, Marca reports, but face competition from Bayern Munich.

Madrid are looking to replicate the successful free transfer of David Alaba this year, the newspaper says, with the club’s recent scouting reports recommending the signing of the 38-year-old Rudiger.

According to Marca, Bayern are the team who are frontrunners to land the centre-back alongside Madrid, with the German giants willing to meet his €12m-a-season wage demands.

08.48 GMT: Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has denied that he is interested in the Manchester United job amid mounting pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Last month, ESPN reported that Rodgers is a potential replacement for the Norwegian after impressing senior figures at Old Trafford during his short tenure at Leicester.

Rodgers, 48, signed a long-term contract in 2019 at the King Power Stadium and reiterated his desire to stay at the club at a news conference on Thursday.

When asked about the speculation, Rodgers replied: “Firstly, it’s really disrespectful for you to ask the question when there is a manager in place at the club.

“Secondly, I can’t really comment on it because it’s not real. I’m proud to be here at Leicester City. It is frustrating for supporters and my players, but from a personal perspective, it is something that’s in the modern game, but something I have no focus on whatsoever.

“I’ve got a huge respect for Khun Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha] and the protection of his father’s legacy. I feel I’m in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.”

08.00 GMT: Former Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes is in the running to become Newcastle United’s new director of football, sources have told ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

Planes, 54, left Barca earlier this week after agreeing to rescind his contract, which was due to expire next summer, with the Catalan club.

Sources have told ESPN he has been approached by Newcastle as the Premier League side narrow their search for the role down to a handful of names. Former Chelsea and Monaco sporting director Michael Emenalo is another candidate, with sources also adding there is at least one other option on the table.

Planes has worked in England previously. He was the technical secretary at Tottenham between 2014 and 2015 when Mauricio Pochettino was the coach at White Hart Lane. Prior to Spurs, he held a similar role at Espanyol and later worked for Elche, Rayo Vallecano and Getafe before joining Barca in 2018. He worked alongside Eric Abidal at Camp Nou at first and, more recently, under general manager Mateu Alemany.

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PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

– The Karim Adeyemi saga is continuing with reports that his representatives met with Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday, according to Sport 1. A tug of war for the signature of the FC Salzburg star has been going on for a number of months with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig also keen to land him, but it is unclear where the 19-year-old forward will end up as his agents continue to talk to Europe’s elite clubs.

– PSG are looking to take the lead in the race for AC Milan’s Franck Kessie, writes Foot Mercato. The report says that the Ligue 1 club are best positioned to get a deal over the line for the 24-year-old midfielder, who could leave the San Siro as early as January, with the French outlet revealing that he has been looking to sell his house in Milan for a few weeks as his contract expires in the summer.

Calciomercato reveals that AC Milan have offered a new deal to Alessio Romagnoli worth €3.5m per season after the latest meeting between the two parties. The 26-year-old defender has been a priority for the Serie A side to renew since the beginning of the season with his current terms expiring next summer. He has maintained his place as a regular this season, featuring in 12 games across Serie A and in the Champions League.

– Genoa are looking to reinforce the midfield with the signing of Stanislav Lobotka, according to Nicolo Schira. Head coach Andriy Shevchenko is keen on the 26-year-old star who has made just two appearances in Serie A for Napoli this season, with negotiations likely to start in January.

– Another from Calciomercato here, as journalist Rudy Galetti reveals that Xavi Simons has been linked to AC Milan. The 18-year-old PSG midfielder’s future has been up in the air of late with concerns of whether he can get regular first-team appearances, and it looks as though agent Mino Raiola took advantage of his meeting with his club to see whether Italy is a potential landing spot for the Netherlands youth international.

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