Man Utd poised to land Angel di Maria, but Benatia says no

Aug 15, 2014
Bill Mann

Real Madrid winger could finally be be on his way to Old Trafford in £48m deal

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It's a familiar refrain, heard every summer for the last few years, but could this be the season Angel di Maria finally ends up playing for one of the Premier League big guns? The Real Madrid star has been linked to everyone from Arsenal to Man City in the past, but now, the Daily Mirror reports, Manchester United are "in the box seat" to sign the Argentine winger after rivals Paris Saint-Germain withdrew from the race.

The French champions were penalised last season for failing to hit their Financial Fair Play targets, and they're obliged to show more fiscal prudence this summer. As a result they won't be able to accommodate Real Madrid star Di Maria in their wage structure, having already stumped up £50m for Brazilian defender David Luiz (money they must now be regretting given his disastrous displays in the World Cup).

So with PSG pulling out of the race, the Mirror says Manchester United are in pole position to snap up the Argentine winger. All that remains is to agree a fee with Real Madrid with the Mirror saying the European champions "are demanding £48m".

Manchester City have shaken off the disappointment of losing to Arsenal in Sunday's Community Shield final by announcing another of their big names has committed to the club. With David Silva and Vincent Kompany having already put pen to paper this week, Sergio Aguero has done likewise.

The Guardian reports that the 26-year-old Aguero, who arrived at the Etihad in 2011 from Atletico Madrid, has penned a new five year deal. And in doing so the Argentine – who scored 28 goals in 34 games last season for the champions – said: "Ever since I came here, during every close season, there have always been rumours suggesting that I might be returning to Spain. There has always been this speculation, but I certainly never pay much attention to it. People hear this stuff flying around and they take it seriously, but I can tell the fans and everyone at City to relax – I'm going to be here until I see out my contract."

It looks like Manchester United's chances of landing Mehdi Benatia are disappearing faster than a squirt of vanishing spray. According to Metro the Moroccan international centre-back has "ruled out moving away from Roma" this summer, despite the interest of United gaffer Louis van Gaal. Chelsea and Tottenham have also been having a sniff but Benatia has responded to the rumours with a message from Roma's training camp in Austria. Telling them to "relax", Benatia said he was "staying put" and had no intention of leaving the Italian capital.

In other news Southampton continue to ship in fresh blood after most of their established stars jumped ship this summer. Talksport reports that the Saints have not only signed Shane Long, as we reported yesterday, but also Romania international defender Florin Gardos. The 25-year-old arrives at St Mary's on a four-year deal from Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest with Talksport claiming that a fee of around £6m has been agreed. Capped 12 times by his country, Gardos is the Saints' seventh signing and manager Ronald Koeman declared: "I am very happy to have Florin here. He's still a young player so he can develop himself a lot more, and that's part of the ambition of Southampton."

Also in chipper mood is everyone at Tottenham following the announcement on their website that 21-year-old striker Harry Kane has signed a new deal. Declaring themselves "delighted" with the news, Tottenham added that the new contract will tie Kane to the Lane until 2019. Capped five times by England Under-21s, Kane is regarded by manager Mauricio Pochettino as one of the most exciting young frontmen in England. 

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