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Man United transfer news: Double defender deal close, Aouar race heats up & Ruben Neves eyed

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 7: Houssem Aouar of France reacts during the international friendly match between France and Ukraine at Stade de France on October 7, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

 

A series of updates surrounding Premier League giants Manchester United’s efforts on the transfer front have surfaced online on Thursday.

Madrid stars incoming

The first centers on a potential pair of reinforcements to the Red Devils’ backline.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is known to be on the lookout for fresh faces at the heart of his defence ahead of next season, with one player in particular having been hotly tipped to fill the role.

The stopper in question? Raphael Varane.

World Cup winner Varane is reportedly keen on a new adventure, having spent the last decade plying his trade in the Spanish capital with Real Madrid.

Those in a position of power at Old Trafford, in turn, have made clear their intention to take advantage of the opportunity.

Man United transfer news: Double defender deal close, Aouar race heats up & Ruben Neves eyed

MADRID, SPAIN – AUGUST 11: Raphael Varane of Real Madrid CF in action during the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy between Real Madrid CF and AC Milan at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 11, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

And, if the latest word doing the rounds in the media on Friday is anything to go by, it appears that Solskjaer and co. are inching ever closer to an agreement for Los Blancos’ star defender.

As per a report from The Sun, since pushed by a host of other outlets, a deal to take Varane to the Theatre of Dreams this summer is now ‘all but done’.

Not only that, but it is also suggested that United are on the verge of adding to their options at right-back.

The same report suggests that the Red Devils’ La Liga shopping spree is set to continue beyond Varane’s addition, with an agreement with Atletico Madrid over the signing of Kieran Trippier just details from being found.

Both stoppers, in turn, could be announced as new Manchester United players by the end of next week.

Pogba replacement?

The next two rumours surrounding ongoings at Old Trafford focus on potential reinforcements in the middle of the park.

And both may come as something of a surprise.

First, word stemming from France has named Lyon star Houssem Aouar as a target of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

French international Aouar was of course widely expected to make the move to the Premier League last summer, when Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal set their sights firmly on the 23-year-old’s signature.

In the end, evidently, a deal was not forthcoming between the two clubs, forcing Aouar to stay put for another season.

Despite the midfielder having struggled to replicate his stellar form across the recently-completed campaign, though, Aouar’s unquestionable talents mean it has come as little surprise to see links with a move to England, once again, ramp up since the opening of the summer transfer window.

Man United transfer news: Double defender deal close, Aouar race heats up & Ruben Neves eyed

OL STADIUM, LYON, FRANCE – 2020/02/26: Houssem Aouar of Olympique Lyonnais during the Uefa Champions League match between Olympique Lyonnais and Juventus Fc. Olympique Lyonnais wins 1-0 over Juventus Fc. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Reports over recent days have pointed towards North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham as the leading contenders for the Lyon man’s services, but, according to journalist Julien Laurens of ESPN, Manchester United, and Liverpool, have now joined the hunt.

Solskjaer is said to view Aouar as a potential replacement for Paul Pogba at Old Trafford, amid the 28-year-old’s persistent links with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

If Pogba, in the end, opts to force a departure, a Reds swoop for Lyon’s creative conductor could therefore be forthcoming.

Rice alternative

Whilst Aouar may fill a need further forward, though, it appears that the board on the red half of Manchester are also eyeing the addition of a more deep-lying option in the middle of the park.

With Nemanja Matic now well past his sell by date, and the pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay simply not of the standard required of a side with aspirations of a Premier League title challenge, it should not come as too much of a shock to hear that United are indeed keen to bring in a new no.6.

The first-choice target on the part of Solskjaer and co., understandably, is believed to be West Ham United standout Declan Rice.

With Rice’s starring displays at the European Championships only likely to have added further to the Hammers’ already hefty valuation of their midfield star, though, United may be forced to look elsewhere.

Man United transfer news: Double defender deal close, Aouar race heats up & Ruben Neves eyed

TIRANA, ALBANIA – MARCH 28: Harry Kane of England celebrates with team mates (L – R) Declan Rice, John Stones and Mason Mount after scoring their side’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Albania and England at the Qemal Stafa Stadium on March 28, 2021 in Tirana, Albania. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

And, on Friday, one potential alternative has been named in the English media.

The player in question? Ruben Neves.

According to The Daily Star, should the Red Devils fall short in their pursuit of Rice, attentions could quickly be turned to Wolverhampton Wanderers enforcer Neves.

Whilst of course not a like-for-like alternative, it is understood that Solskjaer would appreciate the Portuguese’s ball-playing abilities at the base of his midfield three.

Adding further to the intrigue on United’s part, meanwhile, is the fact that Neves would likely set the club back around £40 million less than first-choice target Rice.

 

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# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 7 12 16
2 Liverpool FC 7 11 15
3 Manchester City 7 11 14
4 Manchester United 7 8 14
5 Everton FC 7 5 14
6 Brighton & Hove Albion 7 3 14
7 Brentford FC 7 4 12
8 Tottenham Hotspur 7 -4 12
9 West Ham United 7 4 11
10 Aston Villa 7 1 10
11 Arsenal FC 7 -5 10
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 7 -1 9
13 Leicester City 7 -3 8
14 Crystal Palace 7 -3 7
15 Watford FC 7 -3 7
16 Leeds United 7 -7 6
17 Southampton FC 7 -5 4
18 Burnley FC 7 -6 3
19 Newcastle United 7 -8 3
20 Norwich City 7 -14 1

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 7
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 5
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 4
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 3
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 3
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 3
Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
Raphinha Leeds United 3