12.40pm Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Darren Fletcher promotion, John Murtough new Football Director, Fernandes contract

DARREN FLETCHER has been handed a promotion amid sweeping changes behind-the-scenes at Old Trafford.

We've the very latest on United's new Football Director John Murtough, while SunSport has exclusively revealed that Bruno Fernandes is holding off signing a new contract at the club.

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Follow our LIVE blog below to get the latest from Old Trafford…

  • Richard Forrester

    FRUIT FOOL

    Paul Scholes appears to have breached lockdown AGAIN as he laughs at his pal adjusting his “plums” during an indoor workout.

    The former Manchester United star, 46, uploaded footage which shows him hysterically laughing while holding dumbbells in a home gym.

    Scholes uploaded the clip to his Instagram story and covered his friend’s private parts with a plum emoji for his 600,000 followers to see.

    He can be seen squatting 12 times with his friend Andy Hulme telling him “that’s six” halfway through his routine.

    The pair are long-term friends and are pictured together a lot on social media.

    Under current coronavirus lockdown rules, Brits are banned from socialising with other households indoors – unless they’ve formed a support bubble.

  • Richard Forrester

    GOING GETS TOUGH

    Manchester United have completed a major overhaul at the club by appointing John Murtough as their first Football Director.

    And former player Darren Fletcher has also been given the new role of Technical Director.

    Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward said: “These are hugely important appointments that reinforce the progress we have been making as a club in recent years in our relentless pursuit of success.

    “We have already made great strides forward in the way we run our football operations, and the benefits are visible in the resurgent pipeline of Academy talent reaching the first team and through our improved recruitment record.

    “John has been integral to our progress in these areas and his deep understanding of development ensures the club’s traditions of bringing young players through from Academy to first team will continue.

    “This new position is a natural evolution that harnesses his leadership qualities and his years of experience in the game.

    “Darren’s stellar achievements as a player and his own journey from Academy to Premier League and Champions League winner means he naturally commands respect and understands this vital part of the club’s DNA.

    “In this new role, the first in our history, he will deliver technical advice across all aspects of the football department as well as contributing to the communication and delivery of our football philosophy across all areas of the club.

    “I am delighted that John and Darren have accepted these roles and I look forward to the contribution they will make, together with Ole and the rest of the staff, as we build toward future success.”

    Woodward will take a step back from direct involvement in the transfer processes to give him more time to concentrate on his other responsibilities running the club.

  • Richard Forrester

    GOT THE LOWDOWN

    Chelsea are reportedly hoping to pip Manchester United to the signing of RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate.

    The Blues believe they have an edge in negotiations as Thomas Tuchel's assistant coach Zsolt Low knows the player from their time at Leipzig together.

    And Bild journalist Christian Falk reports Chelsea are still interested in signing 21-year-old Konate

    The report states Hungarian Low, 41, will try to convince the Frenchman that his future lies in West London.

    Low was No2 at Leipzig between 2015 and 2018, before linking up with Tuchel at PSG.

    Konate has also impressed Real Madrid and Arsenal with his assured displays in the heart of the defence.

    United have made no secret of their desire to sign a star centre-back this summer.

  • Richard Forrester

    RAPH-LE TICKET

    Raphael Varane is reportedly considering his Real Madrid future amid rumours of a move to Manchester United.

    The Red Devils are keen to strengthen their defence this summer by landing a big name to partner Harry Maguire.

    Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde are just two of several names linked to the club but Varane is thought to be the number one target.

    And reports out of Spain suggest the Frenchman is keen on a summer transfer.

    Madrid-based daily AS detail Varane increasingly preferring a move to try his hand in a new league.

    At 27, the centre-back has played almost a decade of his career in LaLiga and is coming to a crossroads in his career.

  • Richard Forrester

    NOT GOT THE GIGG

    Ryan Giggs will miss the start of Wales’ World Cup qualifying campaign later this month with his ‘assault’ case still under investigation.

    The Dragons manager remains on ‘special leave’ from the Welsh FA following his arrest on November 1 on suspicion of assaulting his on-off girlfriend.

    As a result, Manchester United legend Giggs will sit out the qualifying opener against Belgium in Leuven on March 24 and the home clash with Czech Republic on March 30.

    He will also miss a Cardiff friendly with Mexico sandwiched in between.

    Giggs’ assistant Robert Page will continue as caretaker boss.

  • Richard Forrester

    ERLI BIRD

    Erling Haaland bagged yet another brace in the Champions League on Tuesday night – blitzing a record in the process.

    Borussia Dortmund secured a 5-4 aggregate win over Sevilla in the last-16 with four of their goals scored by the Norwegian.

    A pair in the first leg was followed by a simple finish back in Germany and a controversial second that sealed the tie.

    A strong run and finish by the 20-year-old was cancelled out by VAR awarding a penalty for an earlier infringement on him.

    Haaland missed from the spot but Bono had stepped off his line too early, leading to a retake that was scored before the striker yelled in his rival’s face.

    Sevilla players were unhappy with the celebration, with the Borussia star shouting ‘unlucky’ at the goalkeeper and earning a booking for his troubles.

    The moment put Haaland on 20 Champions League goals in only his 14th match – a remarkably quicker pace than any of his attacking predecessors.

     

  • Richard Forrester

    SOL DESTROYER

    Harry Maguire reckons people are misguided if they think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is too much of a Mr Nice Guy.

    There is a perception among some outside the club that boss Solskjaer does not have the tough edge to drive Manchester United back to the top.

    But captain Maguire claims that is simply not the case.

    The England centre-back, 28, said: “I feel he’s done brilliantly — he’s very cool and calm.

    “But he’s also got the side of him where he can turn when he needs to and when the players need a little telling-off.”

  • Richard Forrester

    BYE FOR BRU?

    EXCLUSIVE: Bruno Fernandes has demanded assurances about Manchester United’s plans before he commits to a new long-term deal.

    And Edinson Cavani wants to quit Old Trafford, with his dad insisting he “does not feel comfortable” in England after being banned following the “negrito” Twitter storm.

    United have approached Fernandes about a double-your-money £200,000-a-week five-year contract.

    But the 26-year-old Portuguese playmaker has asked about the club’s intentions in the transfer market.

    Last week United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned fans to forget about a big summer spending spree due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    However, Fernandes wants to know there is a commitment in the boardroom to do what it takes to get the Red Devils back to the top at home and in Europe.

  • Richard Forrester

    PUL-LED AWAY

    Christian Pulisic will look to quit Chelsea this summer unless he gets proper game time.

    The American attacker has yet to start a single Premier League game under Thomas Tuchel, his former Borussia Dortmund boss.

    And Manchester United are among a host of clubs who are watching unsettled Pulisic’s situation closely.

    He only played a minute of Monday’s 2-0 win over Everton and has come off the bench six more times.

    His only start came in the Blues’ 1-0 FA Cup win against Barnsley a month ago — and he was subbed off in that.

    Now the £58million signing from Dortmund is growing increasingly impatient.

    And 22-year-old Pulisic is even now prepared to take a pay cut on his £150,000-a-week wages to secure regular first-team action.

  • Richard Forrester

    ED STRONG

    Edinson Cavani has insisted he is 'proud to wear the Manchester United shirt' despite his father's claim he is unhappy at the club.

    Luis Cavani opened up to Argentine media to reveal his famous son will almost certainly quit Old Trafford in the summer transfer window.

    Boca Juniors lead the transfer fight for the 34-year-old Uruguayan striker, and local media suggests he is happy to take a huge pay cut to sign.

    But Cavani has re-iterated his commitment to United, in the short term at least, with an intriguing Instagram post on Tuesday night.

    He wrote: "Orgulloso de vestir esta camiseta 🤝 @manchesterunited", which translates as: "Proud to wear this shirt 🤝 @manchesterunited".

    It appeared along with a photo of him celebrating his goal against Everton at Old Trafford in February.

  • Richard Forrester

    WHAT A KOU

    Bayern Munich have cleared the way for Manchester United to sign Kalidou Koulibaly by reportedly pulling out of the transfer race.

    The Napoli star has long been linked with the two teams, as well as Manchester City and other top clubs.

    In previous years, the Serie A outfit have demanded a fee in the region of £90million, successfully deterring a sale of the star player.

    However, earlier this month reports in Italy suggested a deal could be cut at around £39m.

    Interest could be sparked by Napoli's apparent desire to cash in and cut their wage bill, with Bayern once again linked initially.

    Yet, according to transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Bundesliga giants are not working on a deal.

  • Joshua Jones

    MORNING MAN UTD FANS

    Man Utd have been rocked by the news that Edinson Cavani wants to leave the club in the summer to sign for Boca Juniors.

    His dad Luis told TyC Sports: “My son does not feel comfortable in England and wants to be close to the family again.

    “Edinson had many conversations with Riquelme and he would like to play for Boca.

    “He was always seduced by the idea of playing in Boca. If he returns to South America he is leaning towards Boca.”

    In other news, the Red Devils are stepping up their pursuit of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

    United have taken a look at Oblak – as well as AC Milan ace Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lille’s Mike Maignan according to Sky Sports.

    However, it’s looking increasingly likely United will not be able to afford Oblak’s sensational £103million release clause.

    Meanwhile, United and neighbours Man City are set to scrap it out for Villarreal defender Pau Torres, according to reports.

    Solskjaer has made a new centre-back his top transfer priority in the summer.

    His No1 option remains long-term target Raphael Varane – with Real Madrid reportedly ready to flog the Frenchman for £44million.

    And finally, United are claimed to have registered their interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha.

    The 24-year-old has shone at Elland Road since his £17million arrival from Rennes in October.

    According to UOL Esporte, his former Chelsea star agent Deco is planning to meet with Leeds to discuss a possible move away this summer.

  • Jake Lambourne

    DIO-STAY OR DIO-GO?

    Diogo Dalot is yet to hold talks over a permanent move away from Manchester United as he prepares to go up against his old club in the Europa League, according to his agent.

    And despite being a regular fixture in Stefano Pioli's squad, Dalot is yet to hold talks regarding his future, according to his agent, Carlos Goncalves.

    His agent Goncalves told Calciomercato: "When he came to Milan, he knew he was arriving at a great club for history and tradition, one of the best in the world.

    "For this, he chose the Rossoneri. And when you play for a team like this, it's normal to compete for the Scudetto.

    "There's an excellent relationship with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic and the other team-mates, he's happy in Milan. Thursday will be a very special match for him.

    "Right now he's a Milan player, on loan from Manchester United, but he wants to do well for his current club.

    "If he was playing against another team, it wouldn't have been different."

  • Jake Lambourne

    DIDI NOW?

    Didier Deschamps has claimed Paul Pogba’s form improved after a spell with the French national team.

    The injured midfielder and Antoine Griezmann were described by the France boss as benefitting from the confidence placed in them at Les Bleus.

    He told BeIN Sports: “In November, Paul was going through an even more difficult period with Manchester United.

    “Being with us gave him a boost and he had a great game against Portugal. Antoine’s case is the same, it’s a matter of trust.

    “They know that in the France team they are in a different environment. All the players can go through a bad period at their club, but I maintain the confidence I have in them.

    “The players must bear in mind that there is competition. If at some point I think that a young man has less experience but can bring something more to the team, I will not hesitate to count on him.”

  • Jake Lambourne

    'LAK THE MONEY

    Man Utd are stepping up their pursuit of Atletico Madrid superstar Jan Oblak but look unlikely to be able to afford his staggering release clause, according to reports.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the market for a new goalkeeper in the summer transfer window.

    United have taken a look at Oblak – as well as AC Milan ace Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lille's Mike Maignan – in a bid to fix their dilemma, according to Sky Sports.

    The Red Devils have been tracking the Slovenian star, 28, for over a year, dating back to De Gea's long-running contract saga.

    However, it's looking increasingly likely United will not be able to afford Oblak's sensational £103million release clause.

    The Atletico stopper – who is keen on the 'attractive' Premier League – still has over two years to run on his current contract, with the LaLiga leaders unlikely to allow him to leave for less.

  • Jake Lambourne

    OH MAN

    Man Utd have sacked the American firm who mistakenly published financial results early during a test, reports say.

    US-based Toppan Merrill dropped the ball in November as they published the United's quarterly financial results a day early.

    It did not go down well at Old Trafford, with the error put down to a test run, but according to the Daily Mail, the Stateside firm are no longer working with the club after being axed.

    The pandemic has shut Old Trafford for 12 months, costing United around £6million in revenue every matchday.

    But qualifying for this season’s Champions League helped plug the money gap, even though United exited at the group stage to go into the Europa League.

    They banked £108.7million in broadcast cash for the first three months of the season, up £34m from the same period in 2019.

    That more than made up for gate revenue falling off a cliff, with United taking just £1.5m, compared to £33.1m 12 months earlier.

  • Jake Lambourne

    SHAW THING

    Gary Neville has hailed Luke Shaw as the 'best left-back in country' after his performance against Manchester City.

    He told Sky Sports: "He's been outstanding this season for United.

    "A Luke Shaw [that is] fit, a Luke Shaw [that is] physically good, a Luke Shaw [that is] confident is the best left-back in the country, in my opinion.

    "But all those three things being combined at once has probably only happened at certain points in his career. And that's been a problem for him. But certainly this is the best period he has had. 

    "We've seen him in the last week or two go down in a couple of games like he's just on the edge a little bit.

    "And that would worry me if I was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I just think how they handle him in the next few weeks is important."

  • Jake Lambourne

    EUROPEAN TOR

    Man Utd and neighbours Man City are set to scrap it out for defender Pau Torres, according to reports.

    The Villarreal centre-back, 24, is earning admirers following a number of classy performances in LaLiga this season.

    United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a new centre-back his top transfer priority in the summer.

    The Norwegian wants a new partner alongside captain Harry Maguire having lost faith in Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

    His No1 option remains long-term target Raphael Varane – with Real Madrid reportedly ready to flog the Frenchman for £44million.

    But they face fierce competition from Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus for his signature.

    Pau Torres is on the radar of both Manchester United and Man City
  • Jake Lambourne

    OLE TRAFFORD

  • Jake Lambourne

    ON THE PUL

    Man Utd and Liverpool are on red alert with Christian Pulisic growing increasingly frustrated at Chelsea, according to reports.

    The American star, 22, spent nine months convincing Frank Lampard he was worthy of a starting spot at Stamford Bridge.

    And after finally nailing down a spot, Pulisic has been thrown back on the Chelsea bench under new boss Thomas Tuchel.

    The winger is yet to start under Tuchel and has played just 134 of a possible 810 minutes under the German – who gave him his big break at Borussia Dortmund.

    Now, the Mail claim Pulisic could look to move on after starting on the bench during the 2-0 win over Everton.

    Man Utd and Liverpool were BOTH keen on the forward before agreeing to join Chelsea in January 2019.

  • Jake Lambourne

    MAKE THE RON MOVE

    Cristiano Ronaldo may have to plot his next move with Juventus threatening to offload him to trim their wage bill.

    The Portugal superstar could be one of the names on the chopping block with the club’s finances crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Juventus posted losses of £97.5million earlier this season.

    And with the 36-year-old pocketing a staggering £540,000-a-week until 2022, Juventus may be forced to let Ronaldo leave a year early to help balance the books.

    The five-time Ballon d’Or is unlikely to be short of options as SunSport picks five clubs he could join next.

    Click HERE for more.

  • Jake Lambourne

    EDIN OFF

    BREAKING – Edinson Cavani is unhappy at Manchester United and will return to South America this summer, according to the player's father.

    Luis told TyC Sports: "My son does not feel comfortable in England and wants to be close to the family again.

    "Edinson is going to end up playing in South America. I want Edinson to play in a team that fights for something important.

    "Edinson had many conversations with Riquelme and he would like to play for Boca.

    "He was always seduced by the idea of playing in Boca. If he returns to South America he is leaning towards Boca."

    He continued: "By the middle of the year it would be the return to South America. My son's idea is not to continue there, he wants to return."

  • Jake Lambourne

    SIMPLY MAR-VELOUS

    Man Utd star Marcus Rashford was so desperate to help struggling kids and the homeless he even handed out cash from his car.

    The England forward, 23, has quite rightly been highly-acclaimed for his work over the past 12 months in raising awareness of child food poverty in the UK.

    In a revealing interview with WSJ Magazine, his brother Dwaine Maynard has revealed just how kind the hotshot really is.

    Their report states that Rashford regularly used to roll down his car window to hand cash to kids or homeless people around Manchester.

    That was until Dwaine, now one of Rashford's agents, advised him he had to stop as there were more constructive ways to help.

    He told Rashford: “It’s actually not very safe for you to stop your car and do that.”

    The WSJ has revealed the Man Utd star used to regular hand out money to those less fortunate from his car window
  • Jake Lambourne

    TAKING THE MIK

    Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand has urged Mikel Arteta to treat his Arsenal players like a cheating girlfriend…because he can’t trust any of them.

    He fears that the players are simply not listening to their frustrated manager as they prepare for Thursday night’s crucial Europa League game away to Olympiacos.

    Ferdinand said: "Arteta must look at that squad like a promiscuous girlfriend. He must lack so much faith in them.

    “He can’t trust them at all because he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

    “He could give the best team talk of his life but they’re still going to go out there and do their own thing and it just doesn’t seem to be coming together at the moment.”

  • Marc Mayo

    LIGT EM UP

    Manchester United are reportedly set to make a summer move for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt.

    The Red Devils were keen on signing the centre-back before his £67.5million move from Ajax in July 2019.

    And according to reports, they're set to renew their interest in the 21-year-old in the summer.

    Spanish outlet Todofichajes claim the Old Trafford club have made signing the centre-half their 'top priority'.

    It's said the United brass have opted to pursue De Ligt's signature after deciding against moves for Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

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