Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the model for a new brand of Manchester United signing after splashing a reported £50million on the right-back.

United confirmed the capture of 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka on Saturday following protracted negotiations with Crystal Palace that reportedly began earlier this month.

He becomes the club's second arrival of the close-season after Wales winger Daniel James, also 21, as manager Solskjaer recalibrates a transfer policy that in recent years has favoured experienced heads like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez.

Early opportunities are expected to be forthcoming with Wan-Bissaka tipped to dislodge Ashley Young at right-back and prove Antonio Valencia's long-term successor.

"Aaron is one of the best upcoming defenders in the Premier League," Solskjaer said.

"He has the right work ethic, talent and mentality to play for Manchester United and he fits exactly the type of player that we are looking to bring into the squad to help us improve and push on further.

"Aaron is a young, hungry player and eager to learn and that's important at his age.

"I am delighted he has signed with us and we look forward to continuing his tremendous development so far."

Wan-Bissaka made 42 Premier League appearances in total for Palace, including 35 starts last term.

The Londoner will hope his move to Old Trafford leads to a full international debut on the right side of England's defence, where Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier are in competition.

"It's an unbelievable feeling and an honour to call myself a Manchester United player and something I know that only a small number of players have the privilege to say," Wan-Bissaka said.

"I can't wait to get going and integrated into the squad.

"I will have a short break now after the [Under-21] European Championships but I'm looking forward to starting training with the manager and my new team-mates on the pre-season tour."

United's pre-season schedule begins with two friendlies in Australia in July, against A-League club Perth Glory and traditional rivals Leeds United.

Juventus are set to sign "a phenomenon" if they complete a deal to bring Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt to Turin, according to former Bianconeri boss Marcello Lippi.

The Netherlands international has been strongly linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain but reports suggest the Italian champions are close to finalising a deal that will earn the 19-year-old €12million per year for the next five years.

Lippi, who guided Juventus to five Scudetti and the Champions League during two trophy-laden spells as head coach, said De Ligt's performances for Ajax over the last three years have put him on course to emulate legendary Italian defenders like Alessandro Nesta, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini if he opts to play in Serie A.

"From Nesta to Baresi, from Maldini to [Ciro] Ferrara, from [Fabio] Cannavaro to [Marco] Materazzi, I have seen so many exceptional defenders, but never one like this in relation to age," Lippi told Tuttosport.

"Yes, he can make the difference."

Lippi said he was close to a return to Serie A himself after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked by Roma in March, but revealed he opted to remain in charge of the China national team.

The 71-year-old is in his second spell as China coach following his reappointment in May, and intends to end his coaching career with Team Dragon.

"I was close to Roma several times in my career, including recently," said Lippi.

"I was about to go there when Eusebio Di Francesco was fired.

"They called me and asked if I was available to be the coach of Roma, but I said no. I thanked them, saying that my time in club football is over.

"After China, I am going to retire."

Manchester United have completed the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for a reported £50million.

The 21-year-old has become United's second signing of the close-season, following former Swansea City winger Daniel James to Old Trafford, with the Red Devils confirming he has signed a five-year deal with the option of an additional 12 months.

England Under-21 international Wan-Bissaka, who is yet to appear for the Three Lions' senior team, came through Palace's youth academy and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Selhurst Park last term.

He made 129 tackles in the Premier League in 2018-19, the most of any defender across Europe's top five divisions.

A new right-back was a priority for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Ashley Young advancing in years and captain Antonio Valencia departing after the club opted against triggering a contract extension.

Tottenham's Kieran Trippier, Norwich City youngster Max Aarons and the more experienced Thomas Meunier of Paris Saint-Germain were all mentioned as possible solutions.

However, United identified the talented Wan-Bissaka as their primary target and are believed to have eventually doubled their opening offer in order to force Palace's hand.

Wan-Bissaka is expected to slot straight in as first choice on the right side of defence as Solskjaer rebuilds a squad that limped to sixth last term.

The windfall could strengthen Palace's stance against the sale of former Red Devils winger Wilfried Zaha, who is reportedly keen to join London rivals Arsenal.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move from Crystal Palace to Manchester United is complete following the announcement of the reported £50million switch and the Red Devils are getting a fine defender for their money.

The 21-year-old broke into the Palace first-team squad when United-owned defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah was on loan at Selhurst Park in 2017-18, with the two battling it out for a starting spot in the second half of the campaign.

With Fosu-Mensah returning to United and then heading out to Fulham, Wan-Bissaka had a free run at the right-back position the following campaign and swiftly made it his own, establishing himself as one of the most promising defenders in England.

Right-back was highlighted as a problem area throughout last season for United; converted winger Ashley Young looked short of the required ability, Antonio Valencia struggled for fitness and Diogo Dalot appeared far more effective further forward.

Wan-Bissaka looks set to solve a major issue for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Opta data shows he is getting a hot prospect who is already a formidable defender.

 

One of European football's best tacklers

Wan-Bissaka's tackling record in the Premier League last season was excellent, having completed 129.

No other defender in Europe's top five leagues managed more, with Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City (118) and Real Valladolid's Nacho (110) the closest to Wan-Bissaka.

Only midfielders Idrissa Gueye and Wilfred Ndidi (both 142) made a greater amount of tackles than the Palace right-back across the continent's best divisions.

The England Under-21 international averaged 3.7 tackles per Premier League match – the United full-back with the best such record was Matteo Darmian (2.8 from just six games).

 

Strong anticipation

Wan-Bissaka was also the most effective defender in the Premier League in terms of interceptions, making 84, three more than Cardiff City duo Sol Bamba and Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Dijon's Wesley Lautoa and Armando Izzo of Torino (both 87) led the way among all players across Europe, with Wan-Bissaka producing the fifth-best haul.

Nevertheless, the presence of relegated Cardiff defenders Bamba and Ecuele Manga highlights that such data can favour players of smaller clubs, given the time they spend on the back foot.

 

Creativity lacking

Despite Wan-Bissaka's obvious defensive strengths and potential, he is by no means the finished article.

An area he will be expected to improve quickly at Old Trafford is his impact in the final third, as he created just 14 chances from 35 Premier League outings last term.

By contrast, Young (39) and Luke Shaw (33) crafted far more openings from fewer matches, while Dalot laid on 17 opportunities despite making just 16 top-flight appearances.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka represents the latest big-money recruit for Manchester United.

The England Under-21 international has completed a switch to Old Trafford - for a reported fee of £50million - having starred in a breakthrough campaign for Crystal Palace in 2018-19.

However, United's recent high-profile acquisitions have failed to live up to the hype, with the club having a poor record in the transfer market since long-term manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Right-back Wan-Bissaka will be the sixth most expensive signing of the post-Ferguson era and here we look at how the five men who cost more have fared.

 

PAUL POGBA - £89.3m

That United had to pay a world-record fee to bring back Pogba is perhaps a sign of the club's muddled thinking in the transfer market in recent years, the Frenchman having left to join Juventus four years previously after failing to break through under Ferguson.

The jury is still out when it comes to Pogba's second stint at the club, though he was their top scorer in the Premier League last season and also earned selection in the PFA Team of the Year.

A World Cup winner in 2018, there have been flashes of the brilliance he has shown for France, but those have been fleeting and United fans have become frustrated with his inconsistency. His recent declaration that "it could be a good time for a new challenge" suggests he may soon depart.

ROMELU LUKAKU - £75m

Jose Mourinho's desire for a new attacking fulcrum led United to sign Everton striker Lukaku in 2017, despite interest from the Belgium forward's former club Chelsea.

Lukaku had reached double figures in each of his previous five Premier League campaigns and he hit the ground running at United, scoring seven goals in his first seven league appearances.

However, he was unable to maintain that momentum and his failure to frequently fire in the biggest games has led to many questioning whether he is good enough for United, who could be swayed to sell him if reported interest from Inter is firmed up.

 

ANGEL DI MARIA - £59.7m

After Louis van Gaal replaced David Moyes in 2014, United's board opened the cheque book, bringing Real Madrid's Di Maria to the Premier League for a then-British record £59.7m fee.

Despite a promising start, Di Maria was an unquestionable failure in England. The Argentinian lasted a single season before heading to Paris Saint-Germain having struggled to adapt to life in England.

The Ligue 1 giants paid £44.3m to sign Di Maria, meaning United made a significant loss.

ANTHONY MARTIAL - £54m

One British tabloid labelled Martial a "waste of money" before the French forward had even kicked a ball at United after it was revealed the fee paid to Monaco could rise to almost £60m depending on various add-ons.

A debut goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford 21 minutes after coming on endeared him to United fans and he scored four in his first four games in all competitions.

The magic moments have not been frequent, though, and after signing a new contract on January 31, he scored just twice more last term.

FRED - £53m

United's failure to sign a centre-back before the 2018-19 season disappointed Mourinho, and the club must have been unimpressed with how Fred, their major acquisition in that transfer window, fared in his debut campaign.

A midfielder reportedly courted by Manchester City, Brazil international Fred made just 13 Premier League starts for United and even failed to make the bench on occasions.

Like Alexis Sanchez, a free signing from Arsenal who has struggled mightily at Old Trafford, Fred has to be considered another flop at this stage of his Red Devils career.

Barcelona have started talks to sign Antoine Griezmann and landing the Atletico Madrid star looks set to be easier than bringing in Neymar.

Griezmann announced last month he would be leaving Atletico, with LaLiga champions Barcelona long expected to be his next destination.

Barca have reportedly taken steps to make it happen, while their bid to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain is shaping as more difficult.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, ATLETICO BEGIN GRIEZMANN TALKS

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have started negotiations regarding Griezmann, according to Sport and L'Equipe.

Sport report Barca will agree to pay €126million for Griezmann, slightly above the forward's release clause of €120m, which will come into effect next month, and the same amount Atletico are set to sign Joao Felix for from Benfica.

Like Atletico want to do with Joao Felix, Barcelona would pay the fee in instalments, opening up their potential move for Neymar.

While PSG initially set a €300m asking price for Neymar, Le Parisien report the Ligue 1 champions would accept €222m – the same amount they paid Barca to sign the Brazil star two years ago.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are no longer as interested in signing Neymar, according to Goal, who report the LaLiga giants are considering several factors, including a possible move for another PSG star, Kylian Mbappe, in the future.

- Zinedine Zidane is well and truly rebuilding Madrid and they are reportedly next eyeing a midfielder. While they want Paul Pogba, Christian Eriksen is also a target, with Danish newspaper Fyens reporting the Tottenham midfielder's family has been in Madrid looking for a house. Sport says Ajax's Donny van de Beek is plan D for Madrid, behind Pogba, Eriksen and Lyon's Tanguy Ndombele.

- Inter are still looking to strengthen and are eyeing Gareth Bale. Sport Mediaset report the Serie A giants met with the Real Madrid forward's agency to discuss a possible loan deal. Staying at San Siro, The Sun says Inter are set to sell Joao Mario and Dalbert to raise funds for a move for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who is apparently valued at £75m.

- AC Milan have set their price for goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. According to CalcioMercato, Milan want €50m up front for the shot-stopper, who is linked with PSG and Manchester United. PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola would not be involved in a move, according to L'Equipe and Eurosport.

- Manchester United want Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Sport says. The report claims the Premier League giants contacted Barca about the Croatia midfielder once more, having also initially been interested in defender Samuel Umtiti. United have finally completed the signing of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, according to Sky Sports and the BBC.

- Juventus apparently want to extend Gonzalo Higuain's contract. Yes, you read that right. But, CalcioMercato report the Serie A champions are aiming to extend his deal – which runs until 2021 – by a year for Financial Fair Play reasons. However, Repubblica report Juve could sell the forward to Roma.

Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has returned to Ecuador, joining LDU Quito.

The capital club announced the arrival of Valencia on Friday with the Ecuador international signing a two-year deal that includes the option for a third season.

Valencia won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Europa League crown during his 10 years at Old Trafford after joining from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

But his contract was not renewed at the end of the 2018-19 season and Valencia has opted to return to his homeland for the latter years of his career.

Valencia, who started his career at Quito club El Nacional, made three appearances at the Copa America, including starting in a 4-0 loss to Uruguay, as Ecuador failed to qualify from the group stage.

His long-term replacement at United is likely to be Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the Crystal Palace defender reportedly on the brink of a deal worth £50million.

Mats Hummels has completed a move from Bayern Munich to Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and will join the list of players to have returned to their former club after a spell away.

The 30-year-old joined Dortmund from Bayern in 2008 and made 309 appearances for the club, before returning to the Bavarian giants for a three-year stint at the Allianz Arena.

But Hummels will wear the famous yellow strip of Dortmund once again next season and he will be hoping for a positive reaction from BVB supporters.

That is not always the case, of course, with many failing to match their previous highs when returning to a former side.

Here we look at six examples of players going back home in recent seasons, with varying degrees of success.

Mario Gotze - Borussia Dortmund

Hummels is not the first player to swap Bayern for Dortmund in the last few years, with Gotze doing likewise in 2016. The player best remembered for his extra-time winner in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina struggled to assert himself in Bavaria and has not had quite the same impact in his second spell with BVB. But he has slowly forced his way back into the side after battling back from a rare metabolic illness, ending last season with seven goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga.

Diego Costa - Atletico Madrid

Costa's dream return to Atletico, where he spent four years before joining Chelsea in 2014 and moving back again three-and-a-half years later, has turned into a bit of a nightmare. The Brazilian-born Spain international, well known for being an explosive character, scored a respectable seven goals in his first half-season back, including the winning goal in Atleti's Europa League semi-final win against Arsenal. But he went on a long scoreless run in 2018-19 and did not feature in the final month of the season after being given an eight-match ban for insulting referee Gil Manzano.

Wayne Rooney - Everton

Rooney's talents were on the wane long before he re-signed for boyhood club Everton in July 2017. He ended his first campaign back at Goodison Park as the Toffees' top scorer, but he opted to join Major League Soccer side DC United just a year after returning to Goodison Park and has somewhat revived his career Stateside with 21 goals in 38 league outings to date.

Paul Pogba - Manchester United

United splashed out a world-record sum at the time to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford from Juventus, where he spent four years between spells with the Red Devils. Pogba won eight honours in Turin, including four Serie A titles, but he has had far less success since making the return move in 2016. Despite a positive goal return in a trophyless 2018-19, Pogba often came in for criticism and he admitted earlier this month he is considering a move away from United.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors

This one falls into the 'romantic' category as Tevez was lured back to the Argentinian giants from Juventus in 2015, 11 years after leaving his boyhood club. The much-travelled striker enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in Europe with Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, scoring 20 Serie A goals in his final season with the latter. Despite links with the likes of Liverpool, Atletico and Paris Saint-Germain, he stated his desire to sign for the club where he started his career and got his wish. It was not quite the dream return initially, with Tevez soon persuaded to head to the Far East for a 12-month spell with Shanghai Shenhua, but he is now back at Boca for a third stint.

Thierry Henry - Arsenal

Henry could not say no to a second crack in the Premier League with Arsenal in 2012, signing on a two-month loan deal some five years after bidding an emotional farewell to join Barcelona and then MLS side New York Red Bulls. The highlight of his second coming arguably came in his first game back when scoring the only goal of the game in an FA Cup third-round tie against Leeds United as a substitute, which he added to with a late decider against Sunderland - his final Premier League game for Arsenal and an appropriate way to bring down the curtain on an incredible career.

Real Madrid seem to have settled on their goalkeeping situation for next season, and it is good news for Manchester United.

For all the talk about Keylor Navas leaving the Santiago Bernabeu and David de Gea potentially joining, it appears the LaLiga giants are content with what they have.

That will be music to the ears of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with De Gea set to remain at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA SET TO STAY PUT AS MADRID MAKE DECISION

Navas, continually linked with a move away from Real Madrid, will stay at the club, according to AS.

The Spanish outlet report that Paris Saint-Germain and United are no longer looking for a goalkeeper, although the former have been linked with a move for AC Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Recent reports have said De Gea is set to re-sign with Manchester United and, with Madrid seemingly happy with Thibaut Courtois and Navas, that appears an increasing possibility.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between PSG and Barcelona appeared to start slowly, but Neymar seems pretty confident about a return to Camp Nou. Sport report the Brazil international's mother and sister are in Barcelona working out logistics, and a place to live, for the star forward.

- Inter seemingly want Romelu Lukaku, but they will have to work out a different deal for the Manchester United striker. The Telegraph report United are "likely" to reject the Serie A outfit's proposal to first loan and then buy the Belgium international.

- Mesut Ozil is going nowhere fast. The Mirror claim Arsenal want to see the playmaker depart, but no bids have come in for Ozil, whose reported salary of £350,000 per week is putting off potential suitors.

- Joao Felix's move to Atletico Madrid from Benfica is close to completion and the teenage attacker is set for a blockbuster contract. Goal report he will sign a five-year deal worth €3.5m per season.

- Tottenham appeared to be closing in on Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, but a potential move may yet take some time. The Sun report the Ligue 1 side have demanded £72m for the France international, almost double Spurs' opening bid of £40m.

- Hakim Ziyech could be the next to move on after helping Ajax reach the Champions League semi-finals. De Telegraaf report Ziyech has an agreement with the Eredivisie champions to leave for €30m, and they say Sevilla are best placed to sign the playmaker.

Liverpool enjoyed a superb season in 2018-19, pushing Manchester City all the way in the Premier League before triumphing in the Champions League.

As a result, the values of their squad members soared, and four of the Reds' team are included in this most valuable XI, put together by Football Benchmark.

Lionel Messi was in top form for Barcelona throughout the campaign, while Paris Saint-Germain duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar complete a fearsome front three, though that means there is no place for Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

But, who else features in the team? Read on to find out.

GOALKEEPER

Alisson – Liverpool (€96m)

Eyebrows may have been raised when Liverpool paid Roma a reported £56million – at the time a record fee for a goalkeeper – to secure Alisson's services, but the Brazil shot-stopper cast any doubts over the move aside with a marvellous first season on Merseyside.

Alisson appeared in every Premier League game, conceding a league-low 22 goals as the Reds finished a close second behind Manchester City, while also playing a starring role in their Champions League triumph.

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool (€81m)

The second Liverpool player to feature is right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who enjoyed another stellar campaign.

While solid defensively, Alexander-Arnold really came into his own going forward, amassing 16 assists across 40 appearances in all competitions, taking his value up to €81m.

Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool (€98m)

Undoubtedly one of the performers of the season, PFA Players' Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk was in extraordinary form for Liverpool last campaign, with the Reds paying a reported £75million for his signing in January 2018.

Van Dijk was a towering presence in Liverpool's defence, and also scored six goals as his value soared by an additional €30m. The former Celtic and Southampton star also led Netherlands to the Nations League final, where they lost out to Portugal.

Raphael Varane – Real Madrid (€86m)

Fresh from helping France to a World Cup triumph, Raphael Varane did not manage to replicate his international form for Real Madrid, who endured a hugely difficult season by their standards.

Varane still put in some accomplished displays at the heart of their defence, and despite Madrid's struggles, he is still the second-highest valued centre-back in world football.

Andy Robertson – Liverpool (€66m)

A fourth and final Liverpool player in this side is Andy Robertson, who like his opposite full-back Alexander-Arnold was in magnificent form for Jurgen Klopp's side all season.

Attacking has always been a strength of Robertson's, and though he is dogged defensively, it was no surprise to see him have such an impact higher up the field, with the Scotland left-back providing 13 assists from his 48 appearances across all competitions.

MIDFIELDERS

Paul Pogba – Manchester United (€127m)

Paul Pogba may well have come under criticism for his performances at Manchester United, while doubt remains over his future at Old Trafford, but that has not stopped his value staying way up above €100m.

The France star scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists in all competitions for his club last season, with Juventus and Real Madrid reportedly battling it out to sign the 26-year-old.

N'Golo Kante – Chelsea (€90m)

Maurizio Sarri decided to use N'Golo Kante in a more advanced role during his time at Chelsea last season, and it is safe to say that switch was not always a success – it is easy to feel that one of the best, if not the best, defensive midfielders in the world had been wasted playing further forward.

Nevertheless, Kante is valued as the third most expensive midfielder, and kept up his run of winning a title in every campaign during his time in England as he helped Chelsea to a Europa League triumph.

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City (€120m)

Manchester City's midfield maestro had a season derailed by injuries in 2018-19, yet still featured enough to play a key role in each of Pep Guardiola's side's domestic triumphs.

De Bruyne scored six goals and added 10 assists from 32 appearances in all competitions, and turned in a scintillating performance in City's thrashing of Watford in the FA Cup final.

FORWARDS

Lionel Messi – Barcelona (€190m)

Messi seems to just keep getting better. Barca's mercurial forward – who turned 32 on Monday – scored a remarkable 51 times for Barcelona last term, surpassing the landmark of 600 club goals, a milestone he reached with a sensational free-kick against Liverpool at Camp Nou.

However, Messi cannot carry an entire team all of the time, and though Barca did retain their LaLiga title, they crashed out of the Champions League at Anfield, before then losing to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final – a match in which Messi scored.

Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain (€225m)

The most valuable player in this side, Mbappe's rise continues at pace. After playing a pivotal role in France's World Cup glory, Mbappe scored 39 goals in total for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018-19, and recently netted his 100th career goal in France's win over Andorra in Euro 2020 qualifying.

At 20, Mbappe's value is way above €200m, and is surely only going to keep rising if the forward continues his sensational form.

Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain (€195m)

Rumours persist over Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the Brazil star – who has suffered a batch of injuries at crucial points in both of his seasons in France – having failed to live up to expectations since his £200m switch in 2017.

But while PSG have not been led to Champions League glory by Neymar, his value is the second highest in this side, behind his club team-mate Mbappe.

Adrien Rabiot has not been offered a new contract by Paris Saint-Germain, according to the France international's mother and agent.

Rabiot's contract with PSG ends on June 30, with the midfielder to become a free agent after spending seven seasons in the Ligue 1 club's first team.

The 24-year-old has not played since December amid a dispute with PSG following his refusal to sign a new deal.

Serie A club Juventus are rumoured to be leading the chase to sign Rabiot, but reports on Wednesday suggested PSG's new sporting director Leonardo had been in touch with a renewed offer which was subsequently refused.

But Rabiot's mother Veronique - who also acts as his agent - has refuted the claims, insisting her son will be leaving Paris.

"I want to issue a formal denial," she told broadcaster RTL.

"I've read that Adrien didn't show up for a meeting with Leonardo or that he refused an extension.

"It's absolutely false, there was no conversation between Leonardo and I. I've spoken to him on the phone once since he came back and we said goodbye politely.

"There was no offer before, there isn't one now and there won't be one. There hasn't been even a slight change."

Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed the club's interest in Rabiot during a news conference to present Maurizio Sarri on June 20.

Rabiot's mother, however, did not offer up any further detail on a potential move to Italy, with her son having also been linked to Manchester United.

"You know, in football we're very superstitious," she added. "It's better to say as little as possible while nothing is done."

Matthijs de Ligt seems close to deciding his future and it appears to be good news for Juventus.

The Ajax captain has been linked with Europe's biggest clubs after a standout campaign, including leading the Dutch giants to the Eredivisie title and Champions League semi-finals.

Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly favourites to sign the centre-back, but it seems De Ligt is close to joining Juventus.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT AGREES TERMS WITH JUVE

De Ligt has accepted a five-year contract worth €12million a year from Juventus, according to Sky Sport.

It is a big step for the Serie A champions, who must still strike a deal with Ajax for the defender.

However, Sky Sport also report PSG are still in the race for De Ligt.

The arrival of De Ligt in Turin would be a boost for Juve, whose formidable defence has the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, 34, and Leonardo Bonucci, 32, nearing retirement.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar is expected to leave PSG for Barcelona, but talks have – somewhat predictably – started slowly. Le Parisien claim the parties met and PSG are unwilling to sell the attacker, with the Brazilian perhaps needing to state his position publicly. AS report Ivan Rakitic could be key to a possible deal, with PSG having wanted the Croatia midfielder last season.

- Real Madrid's rebuild is well and truly on track, but it may not be over yet. Sport believe Zinedine Zidane is still pushing Florentino Perez to bring in Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, with the club president more interested in the cheaper Christian Eriksen, Tanguy Ndombele or Donny van de Beek.

- Manchester City could be eyeing a move for Real Madrid playmaker Isco. Marca report Pep Guardiola wants the Spain international, who he considers an ideal replacement for David Silva. Silva has announced the 2019-20 season is set to be his last at the Etihad Stadium. Isco was first touted as a possible City signing back at the start of Manuel Pellegrini's tenure in 2013.

- Inter continue to be linked with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and it seems they may be close to a deal. Sky Sports report the Serie A side are preparing a £9m offer to sign Lukaku on a two-year loan deal, with an obligation to buy the Belgium striker for another £54m. Inter are also set to sign Hertha Berlin midfielder Valentino Lazaro in a deal worth €22m, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

- Manchester United seem set to finally complete the signing of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The BBC report the clubs have agreed a £50m fee for the full-back. United, however, have given up on signing Harry Maguire after being told Leicester City wanted £100m for the defender, according to the Daily Mirror.

- Tottenham are close to strengthening their squad, with Sky Sports reporting they have agreed a £55.5m fee with Lyon for Ndombele.

Defence appears to be an area of interest for LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Despite already boasting centre-backs Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, Barca continue to be linked to Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt.

However, the Blaugrana have contingency plans should they miss out on the 19-year-old sensation.

 

TOP STORY – LINDELOF BARCA'S PLAN B

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof is Barcelona's alternative to Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The race is hotting up for De Ligt, who is a target for the LaLiga champions, United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

With uncertainty over De Ligt's destination, Barca reportedly contacted United over Lindelof but the Red Devils rejected the approach. The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Benfica for €35million in 2017 and the Spanish giants remain confident a deal can be struck.

 

ROUND-UP

Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek has emerged as alternative target should Real Madrid miss out on Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Marca. Pogba has also been linked to Juventus and Corriere dello Sport claims the Frenchman and the Serie A champions will ask Adidas to intervene in a bid to bring him back to Turin.

- According to Tuttosport, an agreement on salary has been reached between Juventus and De Ligt. Juve are increasingly optimistic a deal will be reached with Ajax.

Tottenham have not signed a player since 2018 but the Champions League finalists a poised to complete a club-record transfer for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, says the Telegraph. A £55m transfer is set to be finalised, with Spurs also closing in on Leeds winger Jack Clarke, according to the Daily Mail.

- Marca says Barcelona are preparing for lengthy negotiations as they try to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain following his €222milllion move in 2017.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and rivals Manchester United will battle it out for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire, who is rated at £65m, Sky Sports reports.

AC Milan are confident of signing Lucas Torreira from Arsenal, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Milan want to reunite Torreira with former Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo on an initial two-year deal with the option of a permanent €30m transfer. France Football also says the Rossoneri are also a possible destination for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir.

Manchester United are considering a move for Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder should Romelu Lukaku join Inter, according to France Football.

Romelu Lukaku's proposed move to Inter is "difficult" but the Manchester United striker's agent insisted "nothing is impossible".

Lukaku looks set to leave United after acknowledging a desire to play in Serie A and hinting his future could be away from Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old Belgium striker – who fell out of favour during the second half of the 2018-19 Premier League season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer preferred Marcus Rashford – has been tipped to join Antonio Conte's Inter.

Asked about Lukaku as Inter reportedly try to strike a deal with United amid the club's £75illion valuation, Federico Pastorello told FC Inter News: "Lukaku is a dream, a difficult one to make happen as such, but I believe nothing is impossible.

"He's publicly expressed his plans and desires. We'll see what happens."

Pastorello who has been in Milan to also discuss his other clients, added: "We talked about [Inter youth player Edoardo] Vergani because his is a more urgent situation. In the next few days, we’ll talk about the rest."

Lukaku – contracted to the Red Devils until 2022 with the option of a further year after arriving from Everton in 2017 – scored 12 Premier League goals as United finish sixth in 2018-19, missing out on Champions League qualification.

He scored 15 goals across all competitions for United, who lost to Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Manchester United must bring in fresh faces before sanctioning sales for players including Paul Pogba, former defender Gary Neville has urged.

Pogba, who returned to United from Juventus three years ago, has sparked transfer speculation by saying he feels it is a "good time to have a new challenge somewhere else".

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juve have all been linked with the France midfielder, with United reportedly rejecting a swap deal involving Neymar proposed by Paris Saint-Germain.

Neville, though, feels Pogba should be allowed to leave if the World Cup winner has decided he wants to move on, but only if replacements are secured first.

"They don't have to keep any player," Neville wrote in a Sky Sports column.

"Manchester United are a better team when Paul Pogba plays but if players don't want to be at the club – that doesn't mean Pogba, he may want to be at the club – you have to get everybody onside and aligned with where you're going.

"Ultimately, that's the first thing Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] had to do – to work out who was going to be ready for the club moving forward. I'm still unsure on many players.

"I see the speculation... and it looks like it could be moving all the time. You've got to get players in before you let them go because being armed with the money makes you vulnerable.

"For United, it's all about timing and manipulating and manoeuvring to a point where they know they're going to get players in before letting some go. Otherwise they'll become very easy to target in terms of people bumping the money up, which I'm sure they are already."

Daniel James is the only signing made by United since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho, leading to criticism of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who handles transfer business.

United were reportedly keen to bring in the club's first sporting director but, although no appointment has been made, Neville defended the lack of new arrivals at Old Trafford.

"It's difficult to do business, it's not easy," added Neville, who won eight Premier League titles with the Red Devils. "Everyone knows Manchester United want players and price tags will go up. You've got to try and encourage players to come to the club.

"Players don't just jump to sign for any club – they do their homework and get their agents to get to work. They probably have 50 meetings before they sign for a club nowadays. Manchester United will be in the pit with the rest of the sharks looking for the big signings.

"It's difficult for all clubs they all want the same players. They all want Harry Maguire, every single club wants him. Everybody wants Christian Eriksen.

"Players that are being bandied about, there are four or five clubs in for them. They aren't just going to sign for the first club, they'll choose wisely and look at the different aspects.

"Manchester United have got a big job to do in order to get a squad right for a championship challenge. Hopefully that'll start this summer but it's not just bringing players in, it's about getting some out."

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