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Man United’s phone call over rival coach appointment as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fights on

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Manchester United are, once again, going through a rocky period under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian is the fourth manager they’ve appointed since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. And things could have worked out extremely differently had they been successful in appointing Pep Guardiola.

In 2013, Ferguson steered United to the Premier League title.

But it was to be a parting gift, with the Scot then retiring after deciding to spend more time with his family.

In the years since, United have fallen. And, these days, it’s Solskjaer who has the job of steering them back to the top.

Things under the Norwegian have been rocky of late, however. With the club failing to win four of their last six matches across all competitions, questions are being asked again.

And life at United would have been extremely different had they been able to acquire Guardiola’s services back in 2013.

These days, the Spaniard is working wonders at Manchester City.

He’s won three Premier League titles at the Etihad Stadium, as well as four Carabao Cup trophies and the FA Cup in 2019.

But, had a phone call with Ferguson gone differently, he’d have taken over at Old Trafford in 2013 instead.

The Scot, writing in his autobiography Leading, said: “I had dinner with Pep Guardiola in New York in 2012, but couldn’t make him any direct proposal because retirement was not on my agenda at that point.

“He had already won an enviable number of trophies with Barcelona…and I admired him greatly.

“I asked Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club, but he didn’t and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013.”

Ferguson also revealed why Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Louis van Gaal weren’t pursued, either.

“When we started the process of looking for my replacement, we established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable,” he said.

“It became apparent that Jose Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea, and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid.

“We also knew that Jurgen Klopp was happy at Borussia Dortmund and would be signing a new contract.

“Meantime, Louis van Gaal had undertaken to lead the Dutch attempt to win the 2014 World Cup.”

In the end, United went for Moyes.

Ferguson told supporters to back the current West Ham boss, acknowledging it would be a tricky adjustment period.

But he lasted just 10 months before Van Gaal came in, with Jose Mourinho then appointed as the Dutchman’s successor in 2016.

Solskjaer, as mentioned above, is coming under fire.

But the United boss insisted recently that he was confident he’d be able to turn the situation at Old Trafford around.

“It’s the same question that was asked after Wednesday night,” he said.

“I’m very confident that we will get the best out of this squad.

“A lot has happened this month and we’ve had Raphael [Varane] and Jadon [Sancho] with us since August, and Cristiano [Ronaldo] since September.

“We’ve got loads to work on and we need to improve, we know that and I know that, but I do believe in this group of players and the coaching staff that I’ve got. So, the short answer is yes.

“I believe in these players, I believe in the coaching staff and I believe we have something going.

“The proof is in the pudding, we need results and you have to turn up.

“You can’t say ‘we did well against City and Tottenham last year’, we have to do it during the 90 minutes, whoever plays.

“That’s the challenge, because every game in the Champions League and Premier League is a big game against a good team and every game as Manchester United is a potential banana skin, as we’re expected to win every one.”

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Report: Chelsea agree personal terms with Inter Milan superstar

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Chelsea look to be closing in on the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Cesare Casadei.

The Blues are reportedly agreeing personal terms with the Inter Milan youngster ahead of what is expected to be a €15m (plus add-ons) transfer. Inter had been looking for around €20m all told.

As per Fabrizio Romano, and others, the highly promising Italy youth international, though who has yet to make his senior professional debut, has agreed a six-year deal with the Blues, choosing Chelsea over the likes of OGC Nice in France and US Sassuolo in Italy.

Presumably, Casadei will not be joining the Chelsea first-team right away, though post-Brexit work permit rules are fairly esoteric and confusing.

Perhaps he will end up joining one of the aforementioned teams on loan to build up the necessary professional experience? Just speculating…

While the two teams have yet to agree a transfer, this looks to be drawing to a successful conclusion for us, adding yet another teenager talent to the team as we look to build for not only this season but for many seasons in the future.

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Mikel Arteta drops Youri Tielemans hint as Arsenal can sign ‘more complete’ N’Golo Kante

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Today’s Arsenal transfer round-up on Tuesday, August 16.

Tielemans hint

Mikel Arteta’s increased use of Granit Xhaka could mean that Arsenal are close to giving up on transfer target Youri Tielemans.

The Gunners are still chasing a deal for the Leicester City midfielder but have seen their chances dwindle of doing a deal this summer and now, despite Xhaka previously saying he had come close to leaving, the club could have to do without a new addition.

Xhaka is now part of a new leadership group at the Emirates Stadium, a possible indication that he may remain at the club and throw a move for Tielemans into doubt.

Kante replacement

With Tielemans becoming less and less attainable this season, Arsenal have reportedly turned their attention elsewhere.

According to the Express, Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo is attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs including the Gunners and Manchester United. Having been previously compared with Kante, Arsenal’s desire to sign Caicedo is understandable.

South American football expert Tim Vickery said, “A year ago he was saying that Kante of Chelsea is his role model but he is already more than that. He already offers more in the final third.”

Yeremi Pino flight explained

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has cleared the air regarding Yeremi Pino and denies that a bid has been made for him.

Romano told CaughtOffside, “Many clubs have been following Yeremi Pino for months, he is a top player of the future that at least three Premier League clubs have been monitoring for some time.

“No proposals have been made yet to Villarreal, who would like more than €50m for their young star; it will not be an easy negotiation.

“As for the rumours about Arsenal – Edu was not travelling to Spain to meet Villarreal, also because Pino’s agents are based in the UK (Stellar Group).”

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Erik Ten Hag believes £64,000 a week player will agree to join Man United – Report

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Despite signing two defenders this summer, Manchester United’s backline has been terrible this season and yet another defender is linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Yesterday, we covered a story (via Sport) claiming that the Red Devils have submitted an offer to sign Sergino Dest, who has received a clear message to leave Barcelona.

Today, the Spanish news source have covered another report and stated that the American international has not been able to impress in the last two years, moreover, he failed to convince Xavi in pre-season. Therefore, his exit is considered essential.

Erik ten Hag wants to get rid of Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer so that he can complete the signing of Dest, who is valued at 20 million euros.

The Catalan media outlet claim the Dutch manager believes that the 21-year-old Barca defender will agree (say Yes) to join Man United.

Ten Hag really needs to understand that players from the Netherlands or connections with Ajax are not guaranteed to solve the conundrum at Old Trafford.

Under Van Gaal, Depay and Blind failed to shine for Man United. For Ten Hag, thus far, the likes of Eriksen, Martinez and Malacia have not settled.

Now, he is pushing to sign another ex Ajax player in the form of Dest. The American was a hit in the Eredivisie but has proved to be average in the La Liga.

The youngster’s current contract at the Nou Camp will expire in 2025 and he earns around £64,000 a week (The Sun).

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