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Manchester United flop Harry Maguire will want to ‘get away’ from Old Trafford

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Harry Maguire feels happier when playing for England and will be dreading returning to the Old Trafford ‘cauldron’ at Man United, according to Jonathan Woodgate.

The centre-back has been subjected to strong criticism this season and doubts continue to circulate over his long-term future with the Red Devils.

Maguire has come under-fire for some below-par performances over the past 12 months, with calls from some sections of the club’s fans for him to be dropped by Ralf Rangnick. After a brief spell out of the team, the 29-year-old has been a regular fixture in the German’s starting XI.

It is also understood that the defender, who cost a world-record £80million fee to sign from Leicester City in 2019, could be sold this summer as part of United’s summer clearout. United are set to hire a new manager to succeed Rangnick and Maguire may be sacrificed to make room for new arrivals.

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But at international level, the defender is still regarded as an important player by England boss Gareth Southgate. He appears to be a more relaxed figure on the pitch and looked assured at the back in England’s 3-0 win over Ivory Coast on Tuesday evening, despite being booed at the start of the match.

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And former England international Jonathan Woodgate thinks he will be counting down the days before he is back with the Three Lions.

“When they come away to this environment Gareth Southgate has created, it is just so different, you can see it in the players’ performances,” Woodgate told BBC Sport.

 

“I can bet any amount of money Harry Maguire is looking for the next international break [thinking] ‘when is it? when is it? ‘I just want to get away from Manchester, get away from that cauldron of expectation and put the England shirt on’. Southgate is definitely trusting in Harry Maguire. He has that love from his manager.”

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Maguire’s stock rose after helping England reach the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, while performing consistently for the Foxes before his move to Manchester.

He also featured in five of the Three Lions’ seven matches as they made it into the Euro 2020 final before their defeat to Italy.

His performances have dipped somewhat over the past 12 months, with questions asked about United’s defensive issues. England fans took things one step further on Tuesday night and booed him when his name was announced.

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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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