Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes gives emphatic verdict on playing with Paul Pogba

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has opened up on playing alongside Paul Pogba and has hailed the World Cup winner as ‘fantastic’. Red Devils fans are excited to see the two line up together at Old Trafford when the Premier League restarts.

Fernandes has been sensational since joining United in the January transfer window from Sporting Lisbon.

The Portuguese has netted twice and provided three assists in just five Premier League appearances for his new side.

And on Instagram he has opened up on his excitement to get going with Pogba for the remainder of the campaign.

“I think Paul is one of the best players in Manchester and in the world,” Fernandes said during an Instagram Live with Mario Djurovski.

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“He was injured for a lot of time.

“The opportunity to play side to side with him is fantastic because you want to play with the best players you can.”

Former United star Dimitar Berbatov thinks Pogba’s return to full fitness is undoubtedly a boost for the club but warns that a fruitful partnership between the World Cup winner and Fernandes could take more time.

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“Manchester United have had a huge boost in Paul Pogba returning to fitness. It is great news for the team,” Berbatov told Betfair.

“The dangerous thing is that he hasn’t played for so long, so hopefully he has prepared well and he will be ready to play at 100 percent again.

“Is he going to start? I’m not too sure, coming back from a long injury may impact him starting, it will be interesting to see if Solskjaer puts him straight into the battle. I’m sure if the manager asks Pogba how he feels and if he is ready, then Paul will say ‘of course I am ready.’

“It will be the first time we get to see Fernandes and Pogba play together and it will be interesting to see if they can hit it off, they will have had the chance to get to know each other in training but that is totally different to a game.

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“It could be a great partnership and I am sure that Pogba’s return is a massive boost and will give huge confidence to the whole team.

“One player doesn’t define a team, but when you have good, quality, confident players putting all their effort in to help the team then you are going to succeed.”

United currently sit fifth in the Premier League and will look to leapfrog Chelsea when the season restarts in a couple of weeks.

The Red Devils will be desperate to qualify for the Champions League as they look to add the likes of Jadon Sancho to their ranks this summer.

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What Man Utd chief Ed Woodward has been told to do to win Jude Bellingham transfer race

Manchester United face a battle to beat Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal in the transfer race for Birmingham starlet Jude Bellingham. The Red Devils need to offer more guaranteed cash to sign the 16-year-old though.

Bellingham has visited United’s training ground and was personally shown around by Sir Alex Ferguson.

But it is believed German giants Borussia Dortmund are leading the race for his signature after proving their talent in bringing on youngsters such as Jadon Sancho.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to land Bellingham and he would be part of the first-team immediately.

And Birmingham privately accept they will sell the teenager this summer to raise funds to help the club survive in a post-coronavirus world.

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But ESPN claim the Championship club wand a big sum up front for Bellingham, something United have not yet offered

So far the Red Devils have offered a structured deal made up of smaller down payments but Birmingham want more initially for their prized asset.

If United are to beat Dortmund and Arsenal to the signature of Bellingham they will have to raise their original offer.

The Red Devils made their interest clear in January when they enquired about the availability of the youngster.

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And Solskjaer is keen to add Bellingham this summer as well as the likes of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.

Former United defender Wes Brown thinks Sancho would be a perfect signing for United and could be their new Cristiano Ronaldo.

He told MUTV: “Talent and excitement. We need someone exactly like that at the club.

“We’ve had them over the years and I’m sure if we were to sign him he would bring that excitement back to the club. It would be good for the team as well.

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“We’ve had players like that in the past, like with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“They’re the type of player who draw three or four defenders out and make the game a lot easier for the other players.

“If we could do it, it would be a brilliant signing.”

United are all set for the Premier League restart and will look to leapfrog Chelsea to finish in the top four.

That would ensure Champions League qualification and make them a more attractive club for prospective new players to join.

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Man Utd supremo Ed Woodward makes transfer promise to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ed Woodward has promised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Manchester United will be competitive in the upcoming transfer window. The Red Devils have ambitious plans despite the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis. A new striker is set to drop down the priority list, however, after Odion Ighalo’s loan deal was extended.

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Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho remains the dream target for Solskjaer, although Old Trafford officials are unlikely to meet the Bundesliga club’s asking price of more than £100million.

Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish and James Maddison of Leicester City are also on Solskjaer’s target list.

A new striker was on the agenda but the United boss is set to put those plans on the back burner.

The likes of Erling Haaland, Timo Werner and Moussa Dembele were being monitored but Ighalo’s loan extension means the club’s transfer kitty can be allocated on other targets.

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A £140m loan plus £90m in cash reserves means United have money to spend – and Woodward is determined to splash the cash, with the Evening Standard reporting that the executive vice-chairman has promised Solskjaer he will be competitive in the market.

The club are unlikely to blow all their budget on one player, however.

Woodward told fans in April not to expect the next window to be “business as usual” due to the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “As ever, our priority is the success of the team but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.

“On this basis, I cannot help feeling that speculation around transfers of individual players for hundreds of millions of pounds this summer seems to ignore the realities that face the sport.”

Solskjaer has also spoken in cautious tones about a possible summer splurge.

“I think today’s world is different to what it was two months ago and we’ve got to adjust and adapt,” he said last month.

“There are clubs out there struggling more than us financially.

“But still, it’s a new world and I think the transfer market will be completely different to what everyone thought it was going to be.

“We’re always looking to improve the squad. There’s uncertainty in the market now. ‘Who knows how football is going to be and how the market is going to be. I’m very happy with the squad I’ve got.”

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Borussia Dortmund rejected Man Utd bid for Jadon Sancho as Ed Woodward faces dilemma

Manchester United reportedly had a £125million (€140m) bid for Jadon Sancho rejected by Borussia Dortmund in February as they looked to get a deal wrapped up prior to the summer transfer window.

Spanish newspaper AS claim the Red Devils wanted to beat the competition to the England international and made an early move.

However, Dortmund apparently played hardball and tried to squeeze more money out of the Premier League side.

The coronavirus outbreak has since seen all Premier League football suspended for three months and the revenue streams hit hard.

It is unlikely that United will be able to put that sort of cash back on the table at the end of the season.

Chief executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward now faces a big dilemma over how to bring his top transfer target to Old Trafford.

AS add that Real Madrid are interested in capturing the 20-year-old but they cannot make a move until 2021.

Woodward will either have to take a risk in spending the majority of United’s available funds on Sancho at the end of the campaign.

That may leave him with very little change left over and would likely end the pursuit of Birmingham’s wonderkid Jude Bellingham and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish.

The other option could be to invest in various areas of the squad and return for Sancho next year.

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But with Real also in the running the price tag could be inflated further as a transfer battle ensues.

Meanwhile, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc claims he is not under any pressure to sell Sancho.

He said: “No decision has been made. But you don’t have to be a prophet to know he won’t play here for another five years.

“He has taken this positive development [at Dortmund]. I doubt that would have been possible with top English clubs.

“He’s an instinctive footballer, a street footballer, he’s always a footballer, but he’s always setting new limits. He does not sit back satisfied.

“He wants to play football successfully and beautifully. That alone is his motivation.”

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Newcastle takeover could stop Longstaff transfer exit despite rival contract offer

Newcastle United ace Matty Longstaff will be out of contract in the summer and could be on his way to join Serie A side Udinese unless the club’s prospective new owners complete their proposed £300million takeover and then make a move to agree a new deal.

Longstaff has held talks with the Magpies about a new contract and according to the Mirror, they have offered the 20-year-old around £15k-a-week.

This is a substantial increase on his current academy deal but is also nowhere near what Udinese are offering the talented prospect.

The report claims, Udinese have held talks with Longstaff and have offered the midfielder a deal worth £30,000-a-week, which is double what Newcastle have put on the table.

The club are unwilling to match this offer and Longstaff’s only hope of getting a better offer to stay at St James’ Park would be if the proposed takeover is completed.

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Regarding the takeover, the Premier League are still conducting its owners and directors test.

The consortium behind the takeover bid would see the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is worth a reported £320billion, take an 80 per cent stake in the club, with 10 per cent each being taken by Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers, who have assets worth more than £18bn.

The report claims Newcastle will only be due around £400,000 in compensation if Longstaff signed for Udinese, which isn’t much for a player who has already been capped at England Under-20 level.

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Longstaff is having a breakout season under Newcastle manager Steve Bruce and has scored three goals in 12 appearances in all competitions this campaign.

However, speaking about the youngster’s contract situation, Bruce has admitted the situation is a “concern” for him.

The Toon boss said he hoped the Longstaff was deciding his future based on what is best for his career and not just about money.

“Of course the situation is a concern,” Bruce said.

“I just hope that he looks at it as a football decision. Ultimately, when you’re 19, it is about how you look after your career rather than anything else.

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“I’m sure there are distractions and people in his ear. I hope he just looks at it as a football career.

“At the end of the day, if you have a successful career, money will find you. That’s always been my philosophy on it.

“He’s a 19-year-old who has done very well. Tell me another 19-year-old who’s played in the Premier League this year? There’s not many.

“I’ve made big decisions around him and left people out to play him. I hope he finds a conclusion with the club, I really do.

“We all want him to stay, but players have this prerogative. Of course, it’s a concern, but we can only do what we can do.”

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Arsenal hero Ian Wright singles out one Man Utd legend who ‘is why they won so much’

Arsenal hero Ian Wright claims the intensity of Roy Keane was a major reason behind Manchester United’s success in the 1990s and early 2000s. Keane won seven Premier League titles in a 12-year spell at Old Trafford and was captain for eight of those years between 1997 and 2005. The Irishman is widely regarded as one of the best captains and central midfielders in the history of the Premier League.

And Wright, who played against Keane for a large part of his career, has described him as the “most intense” player he faced.

Wright says it was that intensity which carried Keane’s teams onto success.

“Well the most intense I’ve played against would probably have to be Roy Keane,” Wright told Stadium Astro.

“Roy Keane was really intense, there was no let up in his manner on the pitch when he was on there with Man United.

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“This is why they won so much, this is why they were so revered, that’s why they were so great because he was a captain that didn’t let anybody rest on their laurels and he drove that team for many years. He was majorly intense on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Wright says former Arsenal defender Martin Keown was the most intense player he played with during his career.

Keown made almost 450 appearances in two spells at Arsenal and won seven major honours, including the Premier League title win in 2004 where the Gunners went an entire season unbeaten.

“I think when you talk about somebody I played with and intensity, Martin Keown,” Wright added.

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“We’re talking about no day off for him, in training he was exactly the same to how he played, which is something that I tried to take from his game because you can’t switch it on and off like a tap, the intensity you have to play at at the Premier League level and international level.

“So if you can maintain a certain intensity all the way through, whether it’s training or whatever you’re doing, even in friendlies Martin said to me you should continuously play, train like you play.

“He was majorly intense to the point where it was over-the-top intense.

“Martin was one of the most friendly men you could ever meet.

“I think when you hear him doing his analysis you can hear he’s very concise, a very intelligent bloke and maybe a little bit misunderstood.”

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may make boldest signing since Sir Alex Ferguson left

When Sir Alex Ferguson was Manchester United manager, he always liked to cherry-pick the best players from rival clubs. That led to much success at Old Trafford, with the Scot dominating the Premier League during his spell in charge. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be about to do the same with Raheem Sterling if recent reports are to be believed.

Ferguson never thought a player was out of reach for Manchester United.

And, more often than not, the Scot was bang on the money. When he was in charge Old Trafford was a place to be feared – and so too were the club when they’d come calling.

Ferguson controversially raided Leeds for Eric Cantona in the winter of 1992, despite the Frenchman playing for their fierce rivals.

He landed Teddy Sheringham from Tottenham five years later, with the striker going on to help them win the treble.

And he famously angered Spurs by signing Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, with the north London giants refusing to let a single player move to Old Trafford in the time since.

Now, it appears current United manager Solskjaer is hoping to do the same.

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It’s been claimed by the Independent that the Red Devils are monitoring Sterling’s situation at Manchester City, hoping to exploit a potential Champions League ban.

As things stand, the reigning Premier League champions are set to go without Europe’s top club competition for the next two years.

City were found guilty of breaching financial fair play regulations back in February, with UEFA coming down hard.

They’ve appealed the ban to the court of arbitration for sport, hoping to overturn it.

But if they don’t, United are ready to pounce. If given encouragement, they’re prepared to go after Sterling.

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Given his form at the Etihad, it’s easy to see why.

The England international has been a roaring success ever since he upset Liverpool fans by quitting Anfield back in the summer of 2014.

In his first season in Manchester he scored seven goals and registered eight assists from 35 league games as the club won the Premier League title.

But he’s gone from strength to strength ever since Pep Guardiola waltzed in the door as Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement.

Guardiola has helped Sterling scale new heights ever since his appointment, with the 25-year-old now regarded as one of the best players in the top flight.

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Statistically, that certainly appears to be the case.

Last season he was devastating as City won the title, scoring 17 and assisting 12 in the Premier League alone.

And while they’re set to go without the prize this term, 11 goals and two assists is an impressive return.

Should United sign Sterling, it would be the biggest deal of the summer.

And it could be one that sees the power shift from the blue side of the city back to the red. 

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How Man Utd would line up with Raheem Sterling and three other signings

Manchester United will look to sign Raheem Sterling if Manchester City’s Champions League ban is upheld, reports say. And the England international is also being tracked alongside the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Joe Rodon. Express Sport now takes a look at how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could look with the quartet in their ranks.

Joe Rodon

Manchester United are huge admirers of Kalidou Koulibaly and Dayot Upamecano, of Napoli and RB Leipzig respectively.

But Rodon would be a cheaper signing.

The Wales international is highly-rated at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils recommended the centre-back by Ryan Giggs.

Should United sign him he could take Victor Lindelof’s spot alongside Harry Maguire in the heart of the Red Devils’ defence.

And he’d likely be joined by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw in United’s backline.

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Jack Grealish

The report says that United signing Grealish from Aston Villa seems to hinge on the future of Paul Pogba.

So if the 24-year-old does arrive, it’s likely to mean the France international won’t be around anymore.

United may change Bruno Fernandes’ position to accommodate Grealish should he sign on the dotted line.

Fernandes could be moved into a deeper role alongside Scott McTominay.

And that would allow Grealish to operate in his favoured No 10 position.

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Raheem Sterling

United could swoop for Sterling if City are left without Champions League football for the next two years.

And while it’s unlikely the Red Devils seem to have been plotting behind the scenes.

Should United sign Sterling it would likely be to the detriment of Anthony Martial.

Marcus Rashford would potentially take the France international’s role as centre-forward, despite his fine form on the left flank.

And Sterling would then waltz into the side.

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Jadon Sancho

United’s biggest priority of the summer remains Sancho, who has been sensational for Borussia Dortmund this season.

He took his Bundesliga goal tally to 18 at the weekend with a sublime hat-trick against Paderborn.

And United think he can be the answer to the club’s problems on the right wing.

Sancho would easily be an upgrade on Daniel James – although it’s worth noting the Wales international has done well this season.

Full United XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Rodon, Shaw, Fernandes, McTominay, Sancho, Grealish, Sterling, Rashford

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NBA superstar LeBron James praises Liverpool for George Floyd tribute at Anfield

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has praised Liverpool for their tribute to George Floyd at Anfield. The Reds squad knelt in their home ground’s centre circle ahead of training in a powerful show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of Floyd.

The American died while being restrained by Minneapolis police, called about an attempted forgery, with a video showing an officer continuing to press his knee against the 46-year-old’s neck while he was on the ground pleading that he could not breathe.

The tragic incident, which was declared a homicide in an official post-mortem examination, has triggered widespread protests across the United States these past six days.

It also led to a level of rage and civil unrest over police killings of African Americans not seen in decades.

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Tributes have been pouring for Floyd as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and Liverpool decided to pay their own respects while preparing for the Premier League to restart.

Jurgen Klopp’s table-toppers took to the centre of their ground where they knelt on one knee similar to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the American national anthem in protest against police brutality four years ago.

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James, who has also voiced his outrage over the killing of Floyd, praised Liverpool’s initiative on Twitter by retweeting the clip of their tribute and captioning it with the club’s motto: “YNWA [You’ll Never Walk Alone]”.

The NBA superstar, who is also a shareholder at the Reds, expressed his frustrations following the latest major show of police brutality in the US with a series of posts on social media.

The 35-year-old shared a picture on Instagram with one side depicting the police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck and Kaepernick kneeling on the other side with the words “This… … Is Why” and the caption “Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke.”

James also tweeted an emotional post which read: “Why Doesn’t America Love US!!!!!????TOO.”

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The Lakers released a statement of their own condemning the incident that led to Floyd’s death as well as every form of racism and violence.

The official statement read: “We condemn racism, bigotry, violence, and prejudice in all its forms.

“Everyone has the right to live free from fear and to be treated with dignity and respect. We hear the pain of our Black community and we will not stay silent.”

Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and is due to appear in court next week whereas three other policemen have been fired.

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Liverpool star Andy Robertson admits squad worries over Premier League restart

The Premier League is set to return after a three-month absence on June 17 but some Liverpool players are “nervous” over making a comeback, according to Andy Robertson.

Liverpool need just two wins from their remaining nine matches to secure a first top-flight title in 30 years.

If Manchester City lose to Arsenal on the first day back then Jurgen Klopp’s side can lift the trophy with a Merseyside derby win that following weekend.

Prior to the enforced coronavirus break, Liverpool established a 25-point lead at the top of the table.

Players have returned to full contact training and the Reds held a 11vs11 practice match at Anfield yesterday.

Robertson is keen for the season resumption but he admitted there were worries in the camp.

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“We are following everything, the doctors are staying on top of everything,” Robertson said.

“Then we can hopefully get football back on the telly, as I think it can give people around this country a big lift.

“Look I can understand people being a bit nervous. People in our squad were nervous about it at the start.

“I don’t think they are now. They see how safe we are being and no stone is left unturned.

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“For me when people’s jobs start going back to normal and people are getting told to get to go back to work, for us, I don’t think there’s a safer place we can be.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Klopp expressed his excitement for Premier League football to return.

“I have missed it so much it’s unbelievable,” Klopp told BBC Sport.

“I know it’s not the most important thing in life but it is my passion. I hope the people are looking forward to it because we are.”

He added: “It’s nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that.

“We know we are close but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all.

“We are still not champions. We have to play football games and we have to win them.

“We don’t want to stop winning after two games or whatever it is. I don’t see results written in the stars; we have to work really hard.”

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