5pm Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Sergio Ramos shock target, Varane switch eyed, Roberto Mancini LATEST – The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED welcome West Brom this weekend as they return to Premier League action.

On the transfer front, the Red Devils are reportedly weighing up a shock move for Sergio Ramos while we've the very latest on the link with Raphael Varane.

Follow ALL the latest Man Utd transfer news below…

  • Josh Graham

    LUK OF THE DRAW

    Romelu Lukaku was 'unfairly blamed' during his time at Old Trafford, according to his Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

    The forward spent two years with Manchester United after Jose Mourinho signed him for £75million, before moving to Inter Milan last summer – where he notched 34 goals last season.

    Martinez told talkSPORT: “My relationship with Romelu was from a young player when he came to Everton on loan. Then we made a massive effort to get him on a permanent basis and he was the transfer record at that time.

    “You can see the player going through phases, good moments, bad moments, but what we’ve seen with Romelu is he’s never lost his outstanding quality which is scoring goals.

    “Now we’ve seen a real maturity in his play. The time he had at Manchester United, he was so desperate to win trophies and he took a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and probably took a lot of blame, in my eyes, very unfairly.

    “But going to Italy, he’s in the middle of a new project, he’s taken that responsibility and those difficulties he had in England in a good way.

    “The player we have now is a player in the best maturity moment of his career.”

  • Joe Brophy

    CITY LICKER

    Manchester United have reportedly put ex-Man City boss Roberto Mancini on a managerial shortlist should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leave.

    Tuttosport claims United and Paris Saint-Germain are both keeping close tabs on Mancini as he looks to guide Italy to the Nations League finals.

    United are not understood to be considering axing Solskjaer despite a mixed start to the new campaign.

    But should that decision ever be made in the future, Mancini is said to be one potential option for the Red Devils.

  • Joe Brophy

    RETURN-STILE

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden believes there is a “definite chance” of fans starting to return to Prem and EFL grounds by Christmas.

    PM Boris Johnson has already signalled his desire to see the turnstiles open for the first time since March.

    It is likely that any numbers will be limited, with fans proving they are Covid-free on an “electronic passport” app on their phones.

    But speaking to talkSPORT, Dowden gave the most upbeat assessment when asked if fans could be back by the end of the year.

    He said: “There is definitely a chance of it. We have to be guided by the scientific evidence.

    “If we can just open the door ajar a little bit and start to prove in the lowest risk areas we can make this work I would love for us to be able to do that.”

  • Joe Brophy

    TESTING TIMES

    Premier League bosses face Covid-19 D-Day today as they discover how many of their returning international stars are available for this weekend.

    It threatens to disrupt preparations for the start of the most intensive period of action of the entire season, with 10 Prem rounds scheduled between this weekend and January 2.

    Even before the round of tests, Liverpool are definitely without Mo Salah for their game with Leicester, Arsenal lost both Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac, with doubts over Willian, while Spurs cannot field Matt Doherty against Manchester City.

    But League chiefs are privately more concerned about how many players could be ruled out for the next two weekends – as any infected cases that go undetected initially emerge in the coming days.

    Every player coming back to their clubs from their national team duties must test negative for the virus before being allowed to meet or train with their club-mates.

    Prem clubs agreed in the summer that, as long as 13 senior players were Covid-free, games would have to go ahead – unless all the senior goalkeepers were infected.

  • Joe Brophy

    BRU REVELATIONS

    Bruno Fernandes revealed some of the in-depth secrets behind his unusual-but-effective penalty style – including why he does his famous jump.

  • Joe Brophy

    BAIL OUT

    The Government has announced the full details of its £300m sports bail out.

    Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston outlined the 'winter survival package' in a Commons statement that provides much-needed security for sports peering into the financial abyss as a result of the Covid crisis.

    Football’s lowest reaches will receive £28m, including the pre-announced £10m Lottery funding for the National League.

    Steps 3-6 of the pyramid, from the tier below National Leagues North and South to regional leagues, will be able to claim part of the £14m on offer, with £3m available to the upper two levels of the women’s game.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Sports clubs are the beating hearts of their communities, and this £300 million boost will help them survive this difficult winter period.”

  • Joe Brophy

    TOP BHOY

    Alex McLeish believes Celtic can make a ‘very strong statement’ by signing Dean Henderson on-loan.

    He told Football Insider: “Yeah, he’s quite special. From the footage I saw of him from the whole of last season he was at a fabulous level.

    “His team actually had a great season built on the back of some fantastic work by him.

    “That’s what they say about a goalkeeper, they can save you, a good club goalie, 10 points a season, an international goalie 15 points a season, a world-class goalie, 20-odd points a season.

    “These are the numbers that these goalkeepers, along with the coaches, strive to make and that, for me, would be a very strong statement.”

  • Joe Brophy

    BECK IN THE BIG TIME

    David Beckham will feature on a special edition FIFA 21 cover with the Manchester United legend is also added as an Ultimate Team icon.

  • Joe Brophy

    REAL COUP

    Manchester United are tracking Sergio Ramos over a stunning free transfer, according to reports.

    The Real Madrid defender is out of contract at the end of the season so would be available for nothing.

    And the Red Devils are exploring the possibility of making a swoop, report Marca via the Manchester Evening News.

    The Los Blancos captain will be able to enter pre-contract negotiations from January to wrap up a summer deal in advance.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would no doubt jump at the chance to bring into his side an experienced, top-quality centre-back and leader.

    And Ramos – who has 660 Real Madrid appearances, 178 Spain caps and 18 major trophies for club and country – certainly fits the bill.

  • Joe Brophy

    NEW REAL-ITY

    Manchester United target David Alaba wants a free transfer to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich in January – and talks are set to begin soon, according to reports.

    The left-back's contract runs out at the end of this season and it is believed he already has his sights set on his next destination.

    But the situation is far from wrapped up with other European giants like Juventus, Manchester City and Barcelona prepared to offer big money to lure the 28-year-old to their clubs.

    Marca report that Real Madrid are very much the favourites and the Spanish club are getting ready to pounce.

    The article says Los Blancos are 'counting the days' to begin negotiations of Alaba's pre-contract.

  • Joe Brophy

    BACK WITH A BANG

    Former United striker Michael Owen has predicted the club to beat West Brom 2-0.

    He told BetVictor: “West Brom come into this after a string of poor results. Aside from putting three past Chelsea, they haven’t looked great at the back and have been equally poor going forward.

    “United have still to find their rhythm and they must find a way to get their best players all on the pitch at the same time, which is obviously easier said than done.

    “You can’t keep Pogba on the bench, and if he can’t secure a regular place in the side soon, he may have to consider his options.

    “For all United are inconsistent, they are up against a side that are really struggling, and I expect them to win this comfortably.”

  • Joe Brophy

    MAUR TO COME

    Manchester United managerial target Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly still open to becoming Barcelona coach, even if he has rejected the LaLiga giants TWICE.

    As a former Espanyol player and manager, the Argentine's past is thought to have ruled him out of the running for the Camp Nou job.

    However, according to Evening Standard, he was asked to take over on two separate occasions in the past year.

    Barcelona controversially sacked Ernesto Valverde in January and, although Xavi was the favourite, Pochettino is said to have turned down the job before Quique Setien was hired.

    Ronald Koeman then came in to replace Setien after the disastrous 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the summer.

    Once again, Pochettino reportedly rejected the opportunity and is now a year out of a job.

  • Joe Brophy

    EYE ON LAI

    Manchester United plan to scout Konrad Laimer when they play RB Leipzig in December, according to reports.

    And the Austrian midfielder could even be seen as a potential Paul Pogba replacement.

    According to the Manchester Evening News, United are preparing for the Frenchman to leave the club next summer.

    The report adds that the Red Devils will make the most of the upcoming Champions League clash to cast their eye over Leipzig ace Laimer.

  • Joe Brophy

    JACK POT

    Manchester United target Jack Grealish had a terrific international break, starting and starring in all three internationals against Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.

    He looks a shoo-in now for England’s Euros squad barring injury – and is confident he can handle high-pressure matches.

    The 25-year-old added: “I’ve got to stay level-headed and know now there’s going to be a bit of pressure on myself. A lot of eyes are going to be on what I’m doing on and off the pitch.

    “I’m old enough and wise enough now to control myself. But with the pressure on the pitch, that’s what I love.

    “All these big games, there are certain people it can affect, but I just thrive off it.

    “I absolutely love the big games and I love the pressure that comes with it.”

  • Joe Brophy

    NUMBERS GAME

    Premier League managers have urged league bosses to do a u-turn over five substitutes.

    In a stunning reversal of their stance, 15 of the 20 top-flight bosses agreed at a virtual meeting that the Prem should revert to having extra substitutes AND a bigger bench.

    Six managers confirmed they had switched their stance on the issue, now agreeing the risks to player safety given the congested schedule justified the change of heart.

    West Ham’s David Moyes has already gone public in conceding he had altered his stance.

    SunSport understands that among the other managers who believed the rules need to be changed were Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson, Brendan Rodgers of Leicester and Wolves chief Nuno Espirito Santo.

    And it will put extra pressure on club chiefs to vote for the rule change they have already vetoed TWICE this season when the matter goes back on the virtual boardroom table, potentially as soon as next week.

  • Joe Brophy

    GAZ TO PROVE IT

    Manchester United target Jack Grealish says he thrives off comparisons to Paul Gascoigne – but maintains they are premature as he has not even featured at a major tournament yet.

    The Aston Villa star, who shone again against Iceland, said: “I thrive off those kinds of comparisons.

    “I love Gazza, I’ve watched his documentary off Netflix about a million times.

    “I love his character on the pitch and off it. I love the way he played football with such a freedom and such a joy.

    “You hear people talk about him and say he was a joy to watch. I think that’s the biggest compliment you can have.

    “When people say it’s a joy to watch you, it makes me happy, because I just want to entertain people.

    “But I also want to be effective on the pitch, just like Gazza was.

    “Those comparisons are obviously far, far away because I haven’t even played a tournament like he did. He thrived on the biggest stage.

    “Until I do that, I can’t really be compared to him at the moment.”

  • Joshua Jones

    MORNING MAN UTD FANS

    Manchester United reportedly have the opportunity to sign Raphael Varane for well below £100million.

    The Real Madrid centre-back, 27, is considered one of the top centre-backs in world football.

    But the Manchester Evening News claim Los Blancos would be open to selling the Frenchman.

    In other news, the Red Devils could be without Victor Lindelof and Anthony Martial for Saturday's showdown with West Brom.

    The club's official website has revealed that both players will be assessed ahead of the game at Old Trafford.

    Lindelof was forced off the pitch during Sweden's 4-2 defeat to France in the Nations League on Tuesday.

    Martial remained on the bench for France after he was hauled off against Portugal with a back injury.

    Meanwhile, United target Dayot Upamecano could decide his future as early as January.

    Bild claims the RB Leipzig star – who has attracted the interest of Arsenal in the past – has a £40m release clause in his contract.

    And the defender, 22, is anticipating offers after impressing for the German side.

    Finally, Roberto Mancini has reportedly emerged as a shock contender to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

    Tuttosport claim Mancini is an alternative option – even though he lifted the Premier League with rivals City.

    But it is understood Mauricio Pochettino is still the firm favourite to replace Solskjaer should he be sacked.

  • sstreet

    WALE OF A TIME

    Here's what Daniel James did for Wales tonight…

  • Jake Lambourne

    TON OF WOE

    Premier League clubs are missing more than 100 stars just nine weeks into the season  – with Liverpool and Manchester United worst hit.

    Players like Reds' striker Mo Salah and Tottenham right-back Matt Doherty will miss the Prem return following the international break after failing coronavirus tests – but clubs are also reeling from a heavy crock list.

    Liverpool have ten players on their absentee list, compared to United's eight.

    And the Prem had a new record of SIXTEEN PLAYERS testing positive in its last round of Covid-19 tests.

  • Jake Lambourne

    NUN BUT YOU

    Leicester City are set to battle it out with Manchester United and Arsenal for Sporting Lisbon's Nuno Mendes, according to reports.

    The 18-year-old left-back has earned plenty of plaudits since breaking into the Sporting first team after lockdown.

    He is now the first-choice left-back for Ruben Amorim – starting all nine matches this season and helping unbeaten Sporting to the top of the league.

    And according to the Daily Mail, Premier League table-toppers Leicester are considering making an approach to sign Mendes.

  • Jake Lambourne

    TAKING THE MICH

    Former Man Utd striker Michael Owen has backed the Red Devils to beat West Brom 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

    He told BetVictor: “West Brom come into this after a string of poor results. Aside from putting three past Chelsea, they haven’t looked great at the back and have been equally poor going forward.

    “United have still to find their rhythm and they must find a way to get their best players all on the pitch at the same time, which is obviously easier said than done.

    “You can’t keep Pogba on the bench, and if he can’t secure a regular place in the side soon, he may have to consider his options.

    “For all United are inconsistent, they are up against a side that are really struggling, and I expect them to win this comfortably.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    LOF YOU GO

    Victor Lindelof is struggling with a recurring back injury as the Manchester United defender asked to go off in Sweden's 4-2 loss in France on Tuesday night.

    The centre-back lasted 66 minutes of the Nations League tie, having also been substituted in United's 2-1 Champions League defeat at Istanbul Basaksehir on November 4.

    And it means the chances of Alex Telles making his United debut in the Premier League at home to West Brom this Saturday are soaring.

    Aftonbladet quote Sweden assistant manager Peter Wettergren as confirming: “Lindelof was in a bit of pain after the match against Croatia, but said that he will give everything for the team.

    “He gave me a signal at half time that he would not go the whole [of second] half. Then I told him to shout when it is not possible. He was able to train okay and said ‘I’ll push as long as possible’.

    “He gave me a signal at half time that he would not go the whole [of the second] half. Then I told him to shout when it is not possible.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    UNITED FRONT

  • Jake Lambourne

    ALEX-AVI

    Xavi can become Barcelona's Alex Ferguson with a glorious long reign, according to Nou Camp presidential frontrunner Victor Font.

    Barca legend Xavi, now coach of Qatari side Al Sadd, is tipped to return next year, although initially he could work WITH current under-fire boss Ronald Koeman.

    And Font wants Xavi to emulate Fergie's Manchester United dynasty rather than Pep Guardiola's much shorter Nou Camp stint.

    Telecommunications entrepreneur Font, the favourite to succeed interim president Carles Tusquets in Barca's January elections, also hopes to keep star player Lionel Messi beyond the end of his contract next summer.

    The 48-year-old told Reuters: “We decided some years ago the best person to help us build our organisation is Xavi.

    “Ideally we can have Xavi as a general manager for many years like Alex Ferguson was at Manchester United. But if he needs to play a different role, he can be flexible. Few people have the leadership qualities he has.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    UPA AWAY

    Man Utd target Dayot Upamecano could decide his future as early as January.

    Bild claims the RB Leipzig star – who has attracted the interest of Arsenal in the past – has a £40million release clause in his contract.

    And the defender, 22, is anticipating offers after impressing for the German side.

    Upamecano has already clocked up 118 games for Leipzig and helped them to last season’s Champions League semis.

    He is regarded as one of Europe’s most promising centre-backs and has also earned three caps for World Cup holders France, even scoring against Croatia in September.

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