2.30pm Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Grealish 'admired', Sancho deal expected, Pau Torres targeted, Aston Villa build-up

MANCHESTER UNITED are reportedly ready to swoop once again for Borussia Dortmund and England ace Jadon Sancho.

Also on the transfer front, we've the very latest from Old Trafford on reported interest in Pau Torres and Paulo Dybala.

Meanwhile the Red Devils are getting ready to face Aston Villa in the Premier League on New Year's Day.

Follow all the latest with our blog below…

  • Giacomo Pisa

    SOLSKJAER PRAISES SMITH

    Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is full of praise for the job Dean Smith is doing at Aston Villa, with the Villans currently fifth in the table.

    Solskjaer had this to say on tomorrow's opponents: "They have been brilliant. I have to say Dean Smith has done a fantastic job.

    "We played them pre-season and they beat us then in the one game we had before the league. We know all about how tough this is going to be.

    "They’ve got individual players that are physically strong, defensively they have been one of the better teams in the league.

    "When you beat Liverpool 7-2 it’s not just defending. It’s counter attack and quality players.

    "That is maybe the game everyone will remember from this season."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    GREAL ADMIRATION

    Manchester United have often been linked with a move for Aston Villa captain and star man Jack Grealish.

    And now Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken of his admiration for the 25-year-old, and the goal he scored in the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford last season.

    Solskjaer said: "The goal he scored last season was a brilliant goal and we’ve faced him enough times to know it’s going to be a difficult game.

    "He’s a player for Aston Villa and England who has only improved.

    "I don’t want to say too much about other teams’ players but of course he’s a player we know we have to look for."

    Credit: Jamie McPhilimey – The Sun
  • Giacomo Pisa

    ON GARD

    Manchester United have triggered a one-year extension on Jesse Lingard's contract.

    Despite the midfielder being out-of-favour this season, the club have moved swiftly so as not to lose him on a free in the summer.

    Lingard would have been able to start discussions with overseas clubs in the next few days.

    But United have safeguarded themselves to get a fee from prospective interested parties.

    Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
  • Giacomo Pisa

    BRUNO'S AMBITION

    Bruno Fernandes only has one thing on his mind, winning trophies.

    It's that kind of attitude that has endeared Fernandes to Manchester United fans, as well as his brilliant performances on the pitch.

    Speaking on his time at United, he said: "The 11 months for me here, have been great. Of course, the main thing I want – which I didn’t achieve until now – is the trophies. That is clear.

    "But we really can do that in 2021 and I think at the end of everything, what we did in the last 11 months was really good.

    "I will say, every time, the same thing for me. At the beginning of the season, I said we have to fight in all the competitions we are in. Now it is still the same. We’ll look for the Carabao Cup as the main one.

    "After that, we have to achieve trophies. It’s all about trophies – the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, in the Europa League and the league.

    "We have to go for all of them. We have the team to do that and the qualities to do that.

    "You have to believe until it is not more possible, that you can fight for all of them. If we win trophies, it is the most important thing."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    ROUNDUP

    Here's a roundup of everything that's happened so far today United fans.

    Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah has reportedly rejected a new three-and-a-half year contract.

    The likes of Marseille and Hertha Berlin are believed to be in the running for the versatile Dutch international who's current deal ends this summer.

    Chelsea have reportedly joined Manchester United in the race to sign Jadon Sancho.

    United are reportedly interested in Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde, who has a release clause of £72million.

    And finally Norwich right back Max Aarons has been linked with a £20million move to Old Trafford to provide Aaron Wan-Bissaka with competition for the position.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    JULE FIT IN

    As earlier reported, Manchester United are interested in Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

    The 22-year-old Frenchman has a £72million release cause, which would make him Manchester United's fourth most expensive signing of all time.

     

  • Giacomo Pisa

    FORGOTTEN MAN

    Jesse Lingard is pictured in training for the Red Devils, as rumours continue to swirl regarding the 28-year-olds future at the club.

    Sheffield United want to sign Lingard on loan in January, according to reports, with Yorkshire Live claiming Blades boss Chris Wilder has been in contact with Manchester United.

    Wilder wants to sign Lingard on a season-long loan deal to help save his team from relegation.

    Lingard could be tempted by the move, as he has not made a single Premier league appearance all season, and a chance for regular game time at the Blades could help his case for a Euro 2021 call up.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    ICYMI

    In case you missed it, Norwich right back Max Aarons was earlier linked with a move to Old Trafford.

    United were interested in Aarons in June 2019 but he was the second option behind Aaron Wan-Bisska who moved from Crystal Palace for £50m.

    But while Wan-Bissska solid in defence, Solskjaer wants a right-back with more of an attacking threat and this is one of the Norwich player’s biggest strengths.

    However, United may have to wait until the summer to make their move as Norwich are under no need to sell, with Aarons being valued at around £20million.

    Credit: Getty Images – Getty
  • Giacomo Pisa

    KOUNDE ON THE CARDS?

    Manchester United are reportedly interested in Sevilla centre back Jules Kounde, who was a summer target for Manchester City.

    United are keen to add to their defensive ranks, with Pau Torres, Ozan Kabak, Caglar Soyuncu and Ben White all also linked to the Red Devils.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were linked with French defender Jules Kounde in the summer, but nothing materialised.

    However according to Mundo Deportivo the 22-year-old may be targeted this January, as the the Red Devils eye a title charge.

    Kounde will not come cheap, with a release clause of £72million, but with Victor Lindelof struggling with injury, and Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo linked with moves away from Old Trafford, United are eager to shore things up at the back.

    Credit: Getty Images – Getty
  • Giacomo Pisa

    POLLS APART

    The fans have spoken and told us who you believe is the standout performer of 2020.

    And we can now reveal the winner… step-forward Manchester United ace Bruno Fernandes.

    The Portuguese international trounced all his rivals, finishing above three England internationals.

    Declan Rice, who has enjoyed another excellent year at West Ham, finished in second spot, with Aston Villa playmaker Aston Villa Jack Grealish third, and Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka a deserved fourth.

    But it was Fernandes, 26, who won all the plaudits in our Sun Football poll.

    Since signing for the Red Devils for £47million, the midfielder has been nothing short of sensational.

    Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd

     

  • Giacomo Pisa

    SANCHO LATEST

    Chelsea have reportedly joined Manchester United in the race to sign Jadon Sancho.

    And according to CBS Soccer podcast Que Golazo, there are TWO possible destinations for the England international.

    Chelsea are now keeping an eye on his situation in Germany and could dash United's hopes of landing the 20-year-old.

    But both clubs will have to wait until the end of the season – Dortmund are not considering a January sale of the star winger.

    Manchester United were heavily speculated with his return to England in the summer but refused to stump up his £108million asking price.

    NINTCHDBPICT000622707294-3Credit: EPA

     

  • Giacomo Pisa

    BIRTHDAY BOY

    Manchester United are celebrating the birthday of legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Ferguson led United to THIRTEEN Premier League titles, as well as two Champions league trophies, five FA Cup triumphs, and four League Cup successes.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    TITLE TALK

    With Manchester United just three points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand, there are whispers of a potential title race going around Old Trafford.

    However, Red Devils goalkeeper David De Gea is warning fans not to get too carried away just yet.

    He told Manchester United's offical website: "We need to be calm. There are still a lot of games to play, big games.

    "We have to stay focused and not look forward too much but just look to the next game. So, Aston Villa is the most important thing now."

  • Giacomo Pisa

    NEW YEAR RESOLUTION

    Alex Telles is a doubt for Manchester United's New Year's Day clash with Aston Villa.

    That could see Luke Shaw return to the side at left-back in a straight swap.

    Brazilian Telles, 28, was taken off at half-time in the win over Wolves on Tuesday after he suffered a heavy challenge during the opening 45 minutes, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted the decision to bring Shaw on was tactical.

    Here's how we think the Red Devils will line up.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    ON FIRE

    Marcus Rashford has ended 2020 on a high, after bagging the winning goal in the last minute victory against Wolves on Tuesday.

    23-year-old Rashford is having a hugely impressive season so far, with his contributions helping United to just three points off top spot in the Premier League.

    The Red Devils also have a game in hand on current leaders Liverpool.

  • Giacomo Pisa

    TIM'S UP

    Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah has reportedly REJECTED a new three-and-a-half year contract.

    The 22-year-old's current deal ends this summer and he is believed to be considering offers from clubs abroad.

    The likes of Marseille and Hertha Berlin are believed to be in the running for the versatile Dutch international.

    Sky Sports reports that both clubs 'are prepared to pay a small transfer fee to sign him next month if it means getting ahead of the competition'.

  • Josh Graham

    GOOD MORNING RED DEVILS FANS

    SunSport can exclusively reveal Man United have renewed their interest in Norwich defender Max Aarons.

    But they may have to wait until the summer to make their move.

    The highly-rated England under-21 international is wanted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and would jump at the chance of a switch.

    United were interested in Aarons in June 2019 but he was the second option behind Aaron Wan-Bisska who moved from Crystal Palace for £50m.

    But while Wan-Bissska is a solid defence, Solskjaer wants a right-back with more of an attacking threat and this is one of the Norwich player’s biggest strengths.

    Meanwhile, Leon Bailey has put United and Arsenal on red alert by joining Will Salthouse’s Unique Sports Management Agency.

    The Bayer Leverkusen star has been linked with moves to both teams as well as Tottenham.

    Everton are also said to have sent scouts to watch the winger.

    Jamaican international Bailey is valued around £40million and will be represented by his dad Craig Butler’s Phoenix Sports Management and Salthouse’s USM, according to the Mail.

    Finally, Utd are also leading the charge for Chelsea target Moises Caicedo.

    Fabrizio Romano claims contacts have been made with the 19-year-old Ecuador midfielder.

    There are no bids on the table yet but the ball is in United’s court.

    And it’s now up to the Red Devils to make their move before Chelsea and other sides join the fray.

  • Anthony Chapman

    FANDEMONIUM

    Next month's hotly-anticipated North-West derby between the league leaders Liverpool and second-placed Manchester United will be played behind closed doors.

    Fans will once again be banned from ALL English football stadiums from Thursday morning after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

    Liverpool and Everton were the only remaining Premier League sides allowed to host supporters – until an announcement by health secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Anthony Chapman

    MORE PREM COVID Q&A

    CAN’T THEY JUST MAKE UP THE GAMES?

    It’s not that easy. The delayed start means the Prem season, normally spread over 34 weekends, is actually being played over 32, with two extra midweek dates scheduled.

    But there is far less wriggle room after European games meant midweeks were unavailable until the middle of December.

    Prem fixture planners have set aside three “catch-up” dates – March 2, April 20 and May 19 – but there is still not enough room if teams go deep in Europe and the domestic cups.

    YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT EXTENDING THE SEASON?

    No can do. Unless there is a Europe-wide shutdown, the Prem must finish on May 23, to give players time to prepare for the delayed Euro 2020 starting in June.

    The Europa League and Champions League Finals are the following week, too.

    SO WHAT IF THERE IS A SERIES OF INFECTIONS?

    Being unable to complete the full season is the Prem’s worst fear, especially as clubs would have to confirm “curtailment rules” allowing a points per game calculation.

    They were already split on how many matches need to be played for the season to be deemed legitimate – and are now LESS likely to reach agreement. 

  • Anthony Chapman

    YOUR FOOTY COVID QUESTIONS ANSWERED

    WILL THE PREM SHUT DOWN?

    Not if League chiefs can avoid it, for many reasons.

    Scheduling is the main one, but they also risk losing yet more millions in TV company “rebates”, on top of the £340m the clubs have to pay back for LAST season.

    BUT WHY ARE GAMES BEING CALLED OFF?

    Prem rules actually say that postponement requests “will not be granted” if a club has 14 or more senior players available.

    But the League Board can exercise discretion “on a case by case basis” and both City’s trip to Everton and Spurs’ game with Fulham were postponed over fear of the virus being passed on to the opposition dressing room.

    THAT’S TWO GAMES. SO WHY ARE PEOPLE CONCERNED?

    City and United started the season a week late, because of their Euro exertions in the summer.

    So City are now two games behind, as are Aston Villa, who were due to play United on the opening weekend.

    Now Newcastle, Everton, Burnley, Spurs and Fulham are also a game shy of schedule.

  • Anthony Chapman

    RASH DECISION

    He's a man in form.

    Can Marcus Rashford continue his hot streak against Aston Villa on Friday?

    And will he be key to Man United's surprise title challenge?

  • Anthony Chapman

    PAY THE PRICE

    Juventus have joined Barcelona in the race for former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay, according to reports.

    The Lyon ace was heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp at the end of last season.

    But the Catalans will face stiff competition for the Dutchman in January with the Serie A giants also keen, according to Turin newspaper La Stampa.

    Juve are also said to be considering including forward Federico Bernardeschi, 26, as part of a swap deal.

  • Anthony Chapman

    BLOCK-BUSTER YEAR

    We all know 2020 has been a year like no other – but we can still rely on sport to provide a sense of normality with explosive bust-ups galore.

    From boxing heavyweights to fighting team-mates to Jurgen Klopp over and over again, the last 12 months have certainly delivered.

    So SunSport takes a look back over some of the most bonkers, bizarre and brutal clashes of the year…

    SEE THE MOST EXPLOSIVE ROWS OF 2020 HERE

  • Anthony Chapman

    BAIL OUT PLAN

    Leon Bailey has put Manchester United and Arsenal on red alert by joining Will Salthouse's Unique Sports Management Agency.

    The Bayer Leverkusen star has been linked with moves to both teams as well as Tottenham.

    Everton are also said to have sent scouts to watch the winger.

    Jamaican international Bailey is valued around £40million and will be represented by his dad Craig Butler's Phoenix Sports Management and Salthouse's USM, according to the Mail.

  • Anthony Chapman

    BRING THE MOISE

    Man Utd are leading the charge for Chelsea target Moises Caicedo.

    Fabrizio Romano claims contacts have been made with the 19-year-old Ecuador midfielder.

    There are no bids on the table yet but the ball is in United’s court.

    And it’s now up to the Red Devils to make their move before Chelsea and other sides join the fray.

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