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Murtough in contact with agent as Man United target reveals eye-watering wage demands

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Man Utd director John Murtough has been informed of a transfer target’s enormous wage demands, according to a report.

The Red Devils are thought to be plotting a number of stellar transfers ahead of next summer. One position they certainly need to improve is central midfield. The pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred has regularly come in for criticism over the past few seasons.

AC Milan star Franck Kessie is viewed as one solution. The 24-year-old is a dynamic, powerful player who managed 13 Serie A goals last season. He could be on the move as his contract with the Rossoneri expires in June.

An alternative is Leicester City ace Youri Tielemans. The Belgium international is invaluable at the King Power, having scored the winner in last season’s FA Cup final.

Like Kessie, he is in the midst of a contract wrangle with his current side. Tielemans rejected the offer of a new deal earlier this week.

Murtough is also looking for Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-term successor up front. The Portuguese demonstrated his importance to Man Utd once again on Wednesday as he headed the winner against Atalanta. But he is now 36 years old and could retire in the next few years.

An ideal replacement would be Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. The starlet has proven himself to be one of the best goalscorers in the world, despite being just 21.

He is expected to leave Dortmund next summer when his £64million release clause activates. ESPN now provide a report on what his future looks like.

They claim that the Norwegian will demand wages of more than £30m-a-year at his next club. That amounts to more than £500,000 per week.

Haaland’s representative, Mino Raiola, has reportedly sent this information to the list of interested clubs. That means he has spoken with Murtough at Old Trafford, as well as Man City and Chelsea officials.

However, it is not just English clubs involved in the transfer hunt. Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are all monitoring the situation.

Haaland’s future already looks set to be the main transfer story of the summer window.

Meanwhile, Football Insider write that Everton are hoping to land Jesse Lingard this winter.

The England international returned from his loan spell at West Ham with the promise of more game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

That hasn’t really happened and Lingard is now weighing up his options. It’s claimed that Everton want to sign the attacking midfielder on loan.

The Toffees aim to include an option to buy next summer, should he impress at Goodison Park.

United’s intentions are not revealed in the report, although they could be up for a sale. Solskjaer can already rely on Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes at CAM.

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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