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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick could sign his own Bruno Fernandes before Monday



Manchester United have endured a rough season under both Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so far.

And the Red Devils’ midfield has been partially responsible, with the likes of Fred, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay all blowing hot and cold.

However, if they sign Ruben Neves from Wolves, he could be Rangnick’s very own Bruno Fernandes.

Sky Sports revealed at the start of the month that United were interested in signing Neves.

The Portugal international has been a consistent performer for Wolves ever since joining from Porto, starring in both the Championship and Premier League.

He produced a midfield masterclass as Bruno Lage’s side rocked United 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the month, even if compatriot Joao Moutinho scored the winning goal.

And with United poised to pocket money for the loan exits of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, the club are open to adding to their squad.

Therefore, a deal for Neves isn’t out of the question.

And, if United are able to land the Portugal international, he has the potential to be as transformative a signing as Fernandes.

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In the summer transfer window of 2019, Solskjaer contemplated signing the 27-year-old from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes’ prowess in goal made him an attractive target but, in the end, a move was discarded due to the fact he could be sloppy in position.

Then, months later, the Red Devils performed a U-turn.

United had designs on signing Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020, believing he’d be a key arrival at Old Trafford.

However, when they missed out, United proceeded to sign Fernandes from Sporting instead.

On his debut, both Fernandes and his team-mates drew a blank as they slipped to a goalless draw at home to Wolves.

Yet Fernandes then wasted no time endearing himself to his new supporters, providing an assist for Harry Maguire in a 2-0 win over Chelsea.

From that moment on, he was unplayable.

And Fernandes’ goals and assists saw United climb up the Premier League table, eventually finishing third behind only Liverpool and Manchester City.

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Without him, the club would have been destined for Europa League football. Or no European football altogether.

Now, United can repeat the trick with Neves.

At £50million, he’s the priciest player on their midfield shortlist. Certainly, he’d cost more than Amadou Haidara or Boubacar Kamara.

Yet he’s worth it. Neves is a controller, a conductor, a player with the ability to make United tick.

He has the potential to be just as transformative a signing as Fernandes given the issues of Fred, Matic, McTominay, Pogba and Van de Beek this term.

And a deal could feasibly be accelerated if Van De Beek leaves on loan before the deadline, with Crystal Palace showing interest.

Wolves boss Bruno Lage, however, did recently insist that Neves was vital to the cause over at Molineux as they look to build for a brighter future.

“He’s very important, he’s a top player,” he said.

“We spoke about him six weeks ago, and I challenged him to be better every day and to grow up in the defensive way and understand he is a defensive midfielder.

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“These are the goals. He knows when he is defending he cannot forget to work for the team, and when he has the ball he needs to understand the moment, because it’s the game with the ball that gives the dimension he deserves.

“He’s doing that and coming every day with the mentality to be better and have that dimension.

“I challenged him and some other players, ‘why are you not playing for your national team?’.

“We cannot forget that when we are defending we need to work for the team, but it’s the game with the ball that gives the other dimension.

“The challenge now is to continue in that way. He did very well against Chelsea and Man United. Different games with different spaces to play, and he did very well.

“I am happy because he is doing the things I want and is a good player to help the team go to the next level.”


Tuchel hands 22-year-old his first Chelsea start – predicted starting XI against Leeds this weekend



Chelsea will look to get back to winning ways in Sunday’s game against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Blues dominated proceedings in the London derby against Spurs last week, however only came out of things with a point following Harry Kane’s late equaliser.

Thomas Tuchel operated a fluid and unique system at Stamford Bridge, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount especially thriving in the new look system.

However, the Blues could turn back to the recognised back three this weekend, with our predicted lineup for the game against Leeds.

GK and Defence

Edouard Mendy made a brilliant save just before Spurs’ late equaliser at the end, and his position in the squad is more than secure for this one.

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With there still being no breakthrough on the Wesley Fofana front, Cesar Azpilicueta will return to the starting lineup as captain at Elland Road.

Fixtures are yet to pick up in the early stages of the season, so Thiago Silva should still be fresh and okay to participate again.

The centre-backs will be completed by Kalidou Koulibaly, who showed his quality again in an emphatic display against Spurs.


Reece James scored almost instantly after being moved back to wing-back on Sunday, and the Blues will look to get the attacking best out of him on Sunday.

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Jorginho may have been at fault for the first conceded goal last week, although his great performance will still see him start again against Leeds.

Injuries have ruled N’golo Kante and likely Mateo Kovacic out of the game, there is a big choice to be made to partner the Italy internatonal. While Ruben Loftus-Cheek starred against Spurs, Conor Gallagher will be chosen to partner in midfield, being handed his first start for the club.

Marc Cucurella will look to build on his impressive performance last week with another start against Leeds, with Ben Chilwell still not quite at match fitness.

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The Chelsea attack will have a familiar look to the last two weeks, with Mason Mount occupying the free-roaming role in the attack against an opponent he has had a lot of success against before.

Raheem Sterling will try again in his quest to open his Chelsea league account, with him missing a glorious chance last week.

Kai Havertz is another man who missed a great opportunity to win the game for the Blues at the weekend, although his work in the front three was enough to see him start again.

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Atletico Madrid do not want to pay €40 million for Barcelona attacker



Atletico Madrid are in a precarious situation in regards to their ownership of Antoine Griezmann.

The Spanish giants had signed the Barcelona forward on a two-year loan deal last summer. The contract included a mandatory purchase option worth €40 million if the player features in 50% of the matches with a minimum of 45 minutes between the games across two seasons.

Last season, Griezmann featured in 82.5% of the matches, meaning Atletico Madrid may have to virtually leave him out on the bench throughout the 2022/23 campaign if they are to avoid paying the fee for the Frenchman in 2023.

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However, with Luis Suarez leaving the club, Atletico Madrid consider Griezmann a viable part of the club’s attacking unit and Los Colchoneros must get the best out of him, if they are to regain their lost status in the title race in this new season.

At the same time, the club are not too keen on meeting the mandatory €40 million purchase clause set on Griezmann’s contract. This has been reported by Mundo Deportivo which suggests the club are looking to reduce the overall valuation of the clause.

While Barcelona are yet to respond to Atletico’s overtures, there is a clear indication that the capital club have no intention to pay anywhere near the €40 million for the services of Griezmann, who was barely even a starter for Diego Simeone’s men last season

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The Frenchman was even left out on the bench in Atletico’s opening game against Getafe. However, coming on as a substitute in the final half an hour, the attacker was able to break his scoring duck by netting the third goal in a 3-0 victory.

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It will be interesting to see whether the little cameo compels Simeone to start him in future matches, although his performances should not deter Atletico Madrid from their attempts to lower the price tag of the star striker.

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Barcelona star’s move to Chelsea is now ‘heating up’ – report



Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be close to securing a move to Chelsea from FC Barcelona, with the move now heating up, reports Victor Navarro on COPE.

Aubameyang joined Barça only eight months ago, arriving as a free agent from Arsenal in January. He helped the Catalans finish second in La Liga last season and finished the campaign as the club’s joint top scorer in all competitions along with Memphis Depay

And, Barcelona could now lose both their top scorers this summer. Depay is closing in on a move to Juventus, having reportedly agreed a two-year contract with the Italian giants.

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And now Aubameyang could be on his way to Chelsea imminently, with the move ‘heating up’ recently. The Blues have made the 33-year-old Gabonese striker their top target after losing both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel enjoyed a successful relationship with Aubameyang during their time at Borussia Dortmund and is now pushing for a reunion.

Reports earlier on Thursday indicated that Chelsea were planning to submit a formal offer for the former Arsenal captain imminently.

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Now, Victor Navarro is claiming that the two clubs are negotiating over the transfer of the 33-year-old, with all parties intent on getting the move over the line.

Barcelona need to get rid of players so that they can register Jules Kounde and make more additions, with a new right-back and left-back on the club’s agenda.

The departure of Depay alone will not be enough to register Kounde. And with Frenkie de Jong unwilling to leave and no offers arriving for Sergino Dest yet, Aubameyang’s exit seems the best option for Barça.

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The ex-Arsenal superstar has fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou this season following the arrival of Robert Lewandowski. A move to Stamford Bridge could see him become the first-choice striker and enjoy regular game-time.

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