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Diego Simeone has told Man United what they need to change

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Three weeks after ending Man United’s hopes of a Champions League triumph this season, Atletico Madrid return to the city tonight looking to inflict the same punishment on the noisy neighbours as the one they handed Ralf Rangnick’s side prior to the international break.

This time, Manchester Airport won’t be the toughest obstacle for the La Liga side to overcome, with City posing a far bigger test of strength than a United side bereft of ideas and self-belief.

For manager Diego Simeone, it represents another opportunity to showcase his project to a wider European audience, it could also act as another chance to prove why he is deserving of a Premier League job sometime in the future.

Simeone has previously been backed for the United role, with club great Gary Neville even suggesting him for the role following the Champions League tie last month.

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“Diego Simeone should be a candidate, but it’s never been achievable to get him out of Atletico Madrid,” Neville stated on a Sky Sports Q&A. “Fantastic coach, brutal in how he approaches the game, I think in every single way. He’s tough, and Manchester United need a tough manager.

“Man United need a manager who can compete with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola – they’re the best, so they need someone who can stand on that touchline and feel equal to them and I think Simeone could.

“I wouldn’t rule Simeone out at all, but I think Ten Hag and Pochettino would be the way forward because they’ll want a progressive coach that plays a certain way, that probably is a little bit cheaper and available.”

Figures released by L’Equipe last month suggested Simeone is the highest-paid coach in European football with a monthly salary of €3.33m. City coach Pep Guardiola is reportedly second at €1.89m, Jurgen Klopp third at €1.49m, Antonio Conte fourth at €1.49m and Massimiliano Allegri fifth at €1.17m.

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Those numbers always need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but if United’s aim is to become the best side in English football once again and eradicate the culture of player power rife at Old Trafford, then a manager’s wage shouldn’t be a stumbling block.

During his decade at the club, Simeone has won two La Liga titles, reached two Champions League finals, won two Europa Leagues, two European Super Cups and three domestic cup competitions.

It is clear to see why former players would admire a no-nonsense, authoritative figure like Simeone, though the fact that he is so demanding perhaps explains why the board is pursuing Ten Hag and Pochettino instead.

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Simeone will have to wait if he is ever to take the United hot seat, but in his pre-match press conference this week, he already identified what needs to change at Old Trafford.

“United had different characteristics than City,” the Argentine told reporters. “They are more direct, quicker. City are more positional, and in all areas, they manage things well. We’ll have to increase and be better at the good things we did two weeks ago.

“What I like most from teams like City is the effort they have to win the ball back and continue to play attacking. They’re lovely to watch. They continue evolving because they have great players, but what wakes me up, the important things are Sterling, De Bruyne. They’re always active, never leave a ball lost. All managers want that.”

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

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Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

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With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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