Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded the transfer window has not gone according to plan, but the Premier League giants are still hopeful of adding to their squad.

Despite the signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, there is growing frustration among United supporters as they struggle to sign new players before the transfer window closes next month.

United continue to be linked with Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but both clubs remain apart on the €120million (£108m) asking price amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While United try to bolster their team after finishing third to qualify for the Champions League last season, Premier League holders Liverpool, rivals Chelsea and neighbours Manchester City have been active in the market.

United had been linked to Real Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon but he is set for Jose Mourinho's Tottenham, while Thiago Alcantara joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich following talks among his agent and the Red Devils.

Explaining United's transfer efforts ahead of Saturday's opener at home to Crystal Palace, Solskjaer told reporters: "We're looking at a small pool of players who can add to the quality of our team and let's see what we can do. The club's working hard and I understand that they're working hard.

"When we sit down and we discuss, sometimes it doesn't happen as planned. Life isn't a straight line here, sometimes things happen and I've always said it - I'm very happy to work with these players.

"There's still a few weeks left of the transfer window, it might happen that we get someone in. I've worked with the club and they know what I feel the team and the squad needs and let's see if we can add to what we have."

Solskjaer added: "I want players in the building that we want to work with and who wants to be a part of it and who wants to be here.

"You need the quality on the pitch, you also need the personal qualities but you must also really want to be here and you need to show that you want to be here - that's really important for us as a group that we move forward.

It's not as big a pool as for other clubs because being part of Manchester United and being good enough for Manchester United is one thing, but then you've got another club who probably they want to keep that type of player who has that quality.

"Of course, you see other clubs and what they do, they put a challenge up for us and our response has to be results, that's the response. We can be best at the things that don't cost anything - the culture here, the training, the coaching, getting fitter."

"You can't ignore the impact of coronavirus," Solskjaer continued. "I think that's really changed the market and it happened more or less in that period when maybe negotiations would happen. Of course, the financial uncertainty of that has added on the difficulty of predicting where we're at.

"You want always to have as long as possible with players. I think last season though shows that good players can adapt and grow into a group very quickly. Harry (Maguire) came in very late in the transfer window and he had a great impact on the performances in the team."

Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool new boy Thiago Alcantara as an "exceptional" player who can bolster an already formidable side.

The Premier League champions confirmed on Friday they have brought in the 29-year-old from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago has arrived at Anfield on a four-year contract, with the Reds paying an initial £20million (€22m), plus an additional £5million (€5.5m) in potential bonuses.

The Spain international played an instrumental role in Bayern Munich's Bundesliga and Champions League triumphs last season and Klopp is delighted to have secured the services of such a talented player for a relatively small fee.

"It's pretty simple: he is – and nobody would see this in a different way – an absolutely exceptional player," Klopp told a news conference.

"It is difficult to improve the team in a normal way. Again, nothing to do with other teams, but if you take out £300million or £400million then maybe we could find a player, but even then it's not easy.

"In this specific case, he really brings a different dimension to our game and has some skills that are in general pretty rare and that suits us well. He's different and that's what I was very interested in.

"As well as that, he was pretty excited about the opportunity and did not need a lot of convincing. It always helps when a player really wants to be part of a specific project so all the things came together, and that's a win-win situation. I'm really happy we could do it."

Thiago is not available for Liverpool's Premier League clash with Chelsea on Sunday but could make his debut against Lincoln City in the EFL Cup on Thursday.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed he only recently considered the prospect of signing Thiago Alcantara after previously believing he would be "out of reach".

The Premier League champions confirmed on Friday that they had captured the 29-year-old from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago has arrived at Anfield on a four-year contract, with the Reds paying an initial £20m (€22m), plus an additional £5m (€5.5m) in potential bonuses.

Klopp said has been a long-time admirer of the midfielder, but did not think the Spain international would be prepared to leave Champions League holders Bayern anytime soon. 

"Thiago – settled that much at Bayern – is usually out of reach for pretty much everybody," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "If the player doesn't want [to move] massively then you have no chance. 

"You see that Bayern have long, long, long-term contracts with their main players and Thiago was a main player for Bayern over the years. 

"I know all the people at Bayern wanted to keep him desperately; that's normal and understandable because he played an important role last season as well. 

"He just was ready for a new challenge and he decided it was with us. But did I think about him earlier? I thought a lot about him but never as a potential transfer, to be honest."

Thiago arrives at Anfield as a Champions League and Bundesliga winner but Klopp says his squad will not be in awe of him given their own European and Premier League success over the past two seasons. 

"The players are happy," he added. "Since they knew about it they are really excited about it as well. And when they meet him, they will know he is a guy who doesn't need any special treatment. 

"He won the Champions League this year but all the other guys won it last year. Yes, he became German champion this year; our guys became English champions. 

"It's not that somebody is coming in and now we have to roll red carpets out or whatever; not at all. He wants to be part of the team, work hard and be as successful as possible."

Klopp confirmed that Thiago will not be part of the squad for their top-flight clash with Chelsea on Sunday, meaning he could make his debut in the EFL Cup meeting with Lincoln City on Thursday.

Liverpool have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago was rumoured to be a target of Jurgen Klopp's before the transfer window opened, with the Reds boss aiming to add more creativity to his midfield unit.

The Premier League champions have now got their man, with the 29-year-old – whose deal at Bayern was due to expire in June 2021 – signing a four-year contract at Anfield.

Stats Perform News understands Liverpool will pay an initial £20m (€22m), with an additional £5m (€5.5m) in bonuses.

Liverpool's pursuit of Thiago developed into something of a saga, with the midfielder acknowledging his signing has felt "a long time" in the making, but he is now relishing further success on Merseyside, where he has been impressed by a feeling of unity.

"I think it's an amazing feeling. I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I am very, very happy to be here," he told the club's website.

"When the years are passing, you are trying to win as much as you can – and when you win, you want to win more. I think this club describes what I am as well; I want to achieve all of the goals, win as many trophies as possible.

"It also [has] this kind of family [feeling] that I need because we [like to] have a very close relationship with the club and I think I will feel this, I will have this feeling, with this club as well.

"[The supporters] are not more excited than I am, for sure not! It is not about saying words, it is about doing the things. I will give my heart on the field to my teammates, the club and also to the fans."

Spain international Thiago has thrived since joining Bayern in 2013, having been brought to the Bundesliga giants by his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

After coming through at Barca as an attacking midfielder, Thiago has dropped into a deeper role in recent seasons and was integral to Bayern's treble success in 2019-20.

In total, Thiago made 235 appearances in all competitions across his seven seasons with Bayern, scoring 31 goals and providing 35 assists.

Thiago, who will wear the number six shirt for Liverpool, helped Bayern to seven successive Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokal wins and one Champions League triumph.

He becomes Liverpool's second signing of the transfer window following the arrival of left-back Kostas Tsimikas.

Liverpool have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich in a deal reportedly worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago was rumoured to be a target of Jurgen Klopp's before the transfer window opened, with the Reds boss aiming to add more creativity to his midfield unit.

The Premier League champions have now got their man, with the 29-year-old – whose deal at Bayern was due to expire in June 2021 – signing a "long-term contract" at Anfield.

It is understood Liverpool will pay an initial £20m (€22m), with an additional £5m (€5.5m) in bonuses.

Pep Guardiola had no interest in signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich because he believes Manchester City are well enough stocked in central midfield.

Thiago broke into Barcelona's first team during Guardiola's time in charge at Camp Nou and the Catalan tactician made him the flagship signing for his first season at Bayern in 2013-14.

Nevertheless, the Spain playmaker is now on the brink of joining Liverpool and bolstering Jurgen Klopp's bid for back-to-back league titles at Anfield.

Speaking ahead of City's season opener at Wolves on Monday, Guardiola told reporters that even the departure of club great David Silva at the end of last season - a man with similar qualities to Thiago when it comes to dictating the tempo of the play and operating shrewdly in tight spaces - did not make him feel the need for reinforcements.

"We have in this position enough players and normally we have to move the players when we need someone in that position," said Guardiola, whose club were linked with a sensational swoop for Lionel Messi before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner announced he would remain at Barcelona. "We have enough players in this position."

The likes of Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan will be among those vying for places alongside Kevin De Bruyne in City's creative department, although Guardiola acknowledges Thiago is likely to thrive for their title rivals.

"I'm happy to see him in England, England is going to enjoy a really good player," he said.

The hope that City youth product Foden can make another significant step forward this season was compromised by the 20-year-old's widely discussed antics on international duty with England earlier this month.

Foden and Manchester United teenager Mason Greenwood were banished from Gareth Southgate's squad, having broken coronavirus protocols by entertaining women at the team hotel in the aftermath of making their international debuts in a 1-0 win over Iceland.

"In the time I saw him, these three or four days we were together, he's well" Guardiola said. "He knows he made a mistake and that's all."

Foden excelled in the wide attacking positions for City after lockdown last season but Guardiola confirmed he will be considered as an option in a central role so familiar to the likes of Silva and Thiago.

"He can play in that midfield position, or striker, or winger," the City boss added. "He can play up front without a problem."

Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling is keen to return to Roma and could join "in the next few days", according to the Serie A club's head coach Paulo Fonseca.

Smalling impressed during his season on loan in the Italian capital last season, playing 37 times as Roma finished fifth in the league and reached the Europa League quarter-finals.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted last month the defender could still have a future at Old Trafford after reviving his career during that spell away on loan.

However, speaking ahead of Roma's first game of the 2020-21 campaign, Fonseca said he is hopeful an agreement can be reached to re-sign the 31-cap England international.

"I'm in contact to get Smalling. He wants to come back to Rome and we want him," Fonseca told reporters at a news conference previewing Saturday's clash with Hellas Verona.

"In the next few days I think he'll be here with us."

Fonseca also confirmed Edin Dzeko will be part of Roma's squad for their trip to Verona, despite speculation he is close to sealing a move to champions Juventus.

"Dzeko will be with us for the match tomorrow," Fonseca said. "It makes no sense to talk about this, for now he is with us."

Roma brought in young centre-back Marash Kumbulla on Thursday, but he will not slot straight into Roma's starting line-up against his former side this weekend.

"Kumbulla only trained yesterday and today, so he's not ready to start,” Fonseca said. "We have a different way of playing than he did at Verona.

"But he's a very smart guy and has understood what I have told him. We are working to buy young players but we can mix with the more experienced we have here."

Pep Guardiola insisted it was not right for him to talk on Lionel Messi's behalf after the transfer saga that saw the Barcelona superstar heavily linked with a move to Manchester City.

Messi asked to leave Barca in the tumultuous aftermath of their humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

City were widely viewed as the frontrunners for his signature, with a reunion between Messi and Guardiola heavily tipped to happen before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner announced he would remain at Barcelona for the final year of his contract, accusing president Josep Maria Bartomeu of going back on his word and making the financial cost of any deal for a buying club "impossible".

LaLiga backed Barca in confirming the €700million release clause in Messi's contract remained valid.

Speaking ahead of Monday's trip to Wolves, where City will begin their attempt to unseat Liverpool and win a third Premier League title in four seasons, Guardiola was keen not to cause any friction with his former employers.

"I think I don't have to explain anything," he said. "Leo explained quite well his feelings, I don't have anything to add.

"He's a football player for FC Barcelona, the club I love, and there is nothing more to say."

Asked whether City would be interested in signing Messi were he to become available, at the age of 34, when his contract expires in June, Guardiola replied: I don't know. It's a question for Leo Messi. I cannot talk about the intentions of other people."

Guardiola's forward line at Molineux will be entirely without Argentinian talent after he confirmed City's record goalscorer Sergio Aguero is yet to resume full training following meniscus surgery in June.

Riyad Mahrez is set to feature after time in isolation following a positive coronavirus test, although centre-back Aymeric Laporte only returned to training from his own COVID-19 absence on Friday, so is a doubt.

That could mean a debut for Nathan Ake at centre-back, one of two major close-season acquisitions for Guardiola, alongside winger Ferran Torres from Valencia.

"So far really good," he said of how Ake and Torres had settled.

"What we have to do with all the players and staff, the people close to them, is to help them to settle as quickly as possible.

"They are two nice people and it's good to have them with us."

City have been extensively linked with a move for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, with the deal appearing to have stalled over recent weeks.

Nevertheless, Guardiola has no qualms over how his club have backed him in the transfer market.

"Since day one, when I arrived here, I was more than satisfied with what I had in the team," he added.

"The club do absolutely everything to do their best for all of us. I'm a lucky person to have these players and be in this club."

Inter Miami have confirmed the signing of Gonzalo Higuain following the termination of his contract with Serie A champions Juventus. 

Juve announced on Thursday that the former Argentina international's contract had been cancelled in a move that will cost them €18.3million.

The 32-year-old, who arrived at Juve from Napoli in 2016 and won three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies with the club, links up with former Bianconeri team-mate Blaise Matuidi at the MLS side. 

Higuain, who becomes Miami's third designated player alongside Rodolfo Pizarro and Matias Pellegrini, has an existing relationship with Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham, having played alongside him eight times for Real Madrid during the 2006-07 season. 

Miami have struggled to generate goals this season, with the club bottom of the Eastern Conference after scoring just nine times in 11 games; something Higuain hopes to address. 

"I feel good; I feel whole as a player," he told the club's official website. "I'm motivated to try a new league and help the team grow. Individually, my goal is to demonstrate that I can contribute and continue playing great football here, and I hope I can achieve that because I have all the tools necessary to succeed. 

"Inter Miami is a team in construction but there is already a good base to reach important goals.

"I think it will be a beautiful experience in my life. It's what I was looking for; a new experience, a new league and a beautiful city. I'm really happy to be here and that it's official. My goal is to try to transmit all the experience I acquired in Europe and to help the team grow."

Higuain will be available for the club after completing a mandatory quarantine period under local government and MLS health and safety protocol.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard expects "incredible" Gareth Bale to give Tottenham a major boost if he secures a return to the Premier League club.

Bale left Spurs for Real Madrid in 2013 for a then-world record fee of €100milion (£85m) and he went on to enjoy huge success in Spain.

But the past few years have been tumultuous for the Welshman and he finally appears set to leave Madrid in favour of a return to Spurs, having already arrived in London to complete a deal alongside Sergio Reguilon, a team-mate of his at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale developed into one of the Premier League's best players during his first spell with Spurs, during which time he regularly played against Lampard.

And, presuming the deal goes through without a hitch, Lampard believes Chelsea's potential top-four rivals are getting one of the world's finest players.

"Gareth Bale is an incredible player, an incredible individual talent who we remember very well from his Premier League days and the successes he's had at Real Madrid," Lampard told reporters on Friday.

"If he does go to Tottenham, which I keep seeing is going to happen, then I think he'll be a big addition to their squad.

"Of course, they've got very good individuals at Tottenham, they're a team that's expected to challenge in the Champions League places and above.

"They have fantastic individuals and if they get Gareth Bale they'll have another for sure. He's one of the best players in the world in my opinion over the last four or five seasons."

 

Gareth Bale touched down at London Luton airport on Friday to finalise his sensational return to Tottenham, with Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Reguilon also on board.

The Wales star left Spurs for the Spanish capital seven years ago for what was then a world-record fee and has gone on to win the Champions League four times and LaLiga twice with Madrid.

However, the forward found himself increasingly on the periphery of the first team under Zinedine Zidane and is now on the brink of a return to his old club.

Bale was filmed arriving at an airport about 30 miles away from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday afternoon, with full-back Reguilon for company as he too looks primed to join Jose Mourinho's men.

Los Blancos stumped up €100milion (£85m) to sign Bale in 2013 after several outstanding seasons at White Hart Lane.

During his seven years at Madrid, Bale scored 105 goals and contributed 57 assists in 251 appearances, but he has been on borrowed time for a while under Zidane.

He will hope to recapture the stunning form he showed when he was last with Spurs. Bale scored 55 goals in 203 matches for the club during his first stint and became a particularly influential member of the team in the 2010-11 season, having made a sedate start to his career at the club.

The 31-year-old was twice named as the PFA Player of the Year during his first spell at Spurs, the second time occurring in a 2012-13 campaign that saw him score 26 goals in 44 matches in all competitions and helped earn his big-money move to Madrid.

Spurs are certainly in need of a boost from somewhere, having been lacklustre in their Premier League opener, which saw Everton claim a 1-0 win.

A narrow victory over Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Europa League qualifying will have done little to boost optimism, with a trip to Southampton, where Bale began his professional career, coming up on Sunday.

Manchester United have allowed highly rated midfield prospect James Garner to join Watford on loan for the 2020-21 season.

Garner, 19, is among United's most promising young players and heads to Vicarage Road in search of greater exposure to first-team football.

A technical midfielder who can play in deep-lying or advanced roles, Garner made his debut for the United senior side in February 2019 and featured six times – including three Europa League starts – last term.

Garner has long been earmarked as a potential first-team player for United, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaking glowingly of him on several occasions.

A regular at various youth levels for England, including captaining their Under-17s, Garner also skippered United's Under-23s in 2020-21 and was recently named their Player of the Year.

Although Watford – relegated to the Championship in July – lost Abdoulaye Doucoure during pre-season, Garner joins a club stacked with experienced midfield options, including Etienne Capoue, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra.

Jurgen Klopp hinted Thiago Alcantara is close to joining Liverpool from Bayern Munich and insisted the midfielder's arrival will not have an impact on Georginio Wijnaldum's future.

Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on Thursday that Thiago will leave the club after seven trophy-laden seasons in Bavaria to join English champions Liverpool.

The Spain international bid an emotional farewell to Bayern on Friday ahead of finalising terms on a four-year contract at Anfield.

Reds boss Klopp, while unwilling to discuss Thiago's qualities until the move is official, told Liverpool fans to monitor social media channels with a transfer believed to be imminent.

"There's nothing really to say because it's not official until it's announced," he said. "I don't really know what I can say. It looks quite promising. My hands are tied. 

"Probably for all Liverpool supporters it's useful to look at LFC channels today and we'll see when whatever happens.

"I think most of the things I will say, if it happens are obvious. It's tricky now for me, nothing is announced. That's all I can say.

"I can answer after something is announced. We cannot now talk about these things in a hypothetical way. We just have to wait a little bit."

Stats Perform News understands the deal for Thiago could eventually be worth £25million (€27.5m), with Liverpool due to pay a guaranteed £20m for the 29-year-old.

The Spaniard's arrival is sure to increase speculation Wijnaldum will end his Anfield stay, with Barcelona tipped to make a move, but Klopp stressed that is not necessarily the case.

"If [the Thiago deal] happens, there's no impact on anybody else's future in a negative way," he said.

Liverpool have been linked with a number of players since lifting the Premier League last season but have so far brought in just back-up left-back Kostas Tsimikas.

With less than three weeks of the window to go, Klopp suggested the English champions could further strengthen their squad if the right opportunity presents itself.

"It's about timing," he said. "Sometimes you buy before you sell, there are different scenarios. 

"The only thing that is always true for us is what we earn with football, we spend on football. 

"That's a short summary of the philosophy but it's one of the key points. We work constantly on improvement. That's a fact.

"The window is open until October 5. I cannot promise we will do something and I wouldn't but I cannot say it's 100-per-cent cent sure that we wouldn't."

Thiago Alcantara says leaving Bayern Munich after seven trophy-laden seasons with the club is the "most difficult decision" of his career as he closes in on a move to Liverpool.

Bayern confirmed on Thursday the 29-year-old is heading to Anfield in a move Stats Perform News understands could eventually be worth £25million (€27.5m).

Spain international Thiago joined the Bavarian giants in 2013 and has won 16 trophies during that time, including a famous treble in his final campaign at the Allianz Arena.

He is expected to sign a four-year deal with Liverpool as early as Friday, becoming the Premier League champions' second signing of the transfer window.

In a video message posted on social media, Thiago bid an emotional farewell to Bayern and admitted he is looking forward to starting a new journey with Liverpool.

"Yes, it has been the most difficult decision of my career," he said. "I decided to close this chapter in this wonderful club, the club where I grew and developed myself as a player during the last seven years.

"Victories, success, joyful moments and some hard times as well.

"But what I am most proud of is having arrived in Munich being a young man full of dreams and leaving completely fulfilled and identified with a club, a history, a philosophy, a language and a culture.

"Here I learnt how to love and respect a tradition which I say goodbye to now but I will never forget the Mia San Mia.

"Me and my family have lived amazing moments in the city, at Sabener Strasse, and of course, in our beloved Allianz Arena. With you, my Bayern family who treated me so well and loved me every second.

"My decision is purely sports related. As a football player, I want and I need new challenges in order to develop myself as I did here. Bayern will always be my heimat, Eternal Thanks to you, Bayern."

Thiago has made 235 appearances in all competitions across seven seasons with Bayern, scoring 31 goals and providing 35 assists.

Liverpool and Manchester United could be set for another transfer battle.

The Premier League rivals were both reportedly interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who is set for a move to Anfield.

Now it seems they could be targeting the same player once more.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MAN UTD TARGET SARR

Liverpool have enquired about Watford star Ismaila Sarr, according to the Daily Mail.

It reports Watford want at least £36million for the 22-year-old forward, who scored five goals and provided four assists in 28 Premier League games last season.

Meanwhile, The Independent says Manchester United are looking at Sarr as they continue to be frustrated in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- What is next for Luis Suarez? Goal reports Roma striker Edin Dzeko is set to join Juventus on a two-year deal, dashing Barcelona forward Suarez's hopes of heading to the Serie A champions. Fabrizio Romano says Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Suarez, while he also claims Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is getting closer to a Roma switch.

- Gareth Bale's return to Tottenham is almost done. Sky Sports reports the Real Madrid attacker will fly to London from Spain on Friday after completing a medical, returning to Spurs after leaving for the LaLiga giants in 2013.

- Staying at Tottenham and The Sun claims Spurs had a transfer enquiry for forward Danny Ings rejected by Southampton. Ings enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 season, scoring 22 Premier League goals.

- After a difficult first season at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic is apparently considering his options. According to Marca, the Serbian forward is studying a temporary loan move from the LaLiga champions.

- At Madrid's rivals, Barcelona, more movement is also expected. Mundo Deportivo reports Ronald Koeman wants Ajax full-back Sergino Dest if Nelson Semedo leaves the club.

- Could Chelsea's spending spree continue? The Independent reports West Ham star Declan Rice is yet to decide whether to push for a move to Stamford Bridge, where the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva are new arrivals.

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