In Depth

Man Utd transfer news – Alba snub a blow for Mourinho

Barcelona left-back resists Old Trafford's overtures, while Rooney prepares for Everton return

Barcelona defender Jordi Alba has rejected an approach from Manchester United, claims the Daily Express.

Apparently the 28-year-old Spanish left-back was approached by officials from Old Trafford and asked about a possible switch to the Premier League. But, according to Spanish newspaper AS, Alba turned down the advance and wants to stay at the Camp Nou.

United were encouraged after Alba lost his place in the Barcelona team last season, but with Luis Enrique now gone he's decided to see how he gets on under new coach Ernesto Valverde.

He is said to regard Alba "as a crucial part of his squad for the upcoming season", which is a blow for Jose Mourinho. The United manager is desperate to strengthen his defence, particularly at left-back, where last season Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo all failed to impress.

Meanwhile The Sun claims Wayne Rooney will this week confirm his return to Everton.

The Toffees "will land the striker for free but continue paying him his current £250,000-a-week wages" in what will be seen as a major coup for the Merseyside club.

Everton was where it all began for Rooney and he returns 13 years after making his £26.5m move to Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old has withdrawn from United's impending tour to North America and, according to The Sun, the "deal is all but done", after Rooney plumped for Everton rather than uproot his family to China.

Man Utd transfer news - Real put £75m tag on Morata  

4 July

There was a visitor to Real Madrid on Monday and his presence at the Bernabeu is good news for Manchester United. So says the Daily Telegraph, with the paper reporting that Alfonso Morata visited the stadium to discuss with the club the future of his son, Alvaro.

The Real Madrid striker is tipped to join the Red Devils any day now and, according to the Telegraph, Morata senior and the player's agent, Juanma Lopez, spent nearly an hour with Real officials in the hope of speeding up his move to Old Trafford.

Taking Spanish paper AS as its source, the Telegraph says that the European champions have put a £75m price tag on Morata, and that's a little too steep for United. While they remain keen to sign the 24-year-old Spanish striker, United would like Real to drop their price by a few million. And so anxious is Alfonso Morata to see his son join United that he and agent Lopez are acting as brokers in the expectation that a compromise can be reached.

The Telegraph says that United "remain optimistic that a deal will be struck this week" with boss Jose Mourinho "desperate" to sign Morata in time to take him on their pre-season tour of the States.

According to The Sun, United will announce the £60m signing of Morata on Thursday after Real "relented" on their asking price in the face of constant badgering from United.

The Spanish club decided it was best to take a sizeable sum rather than see the deal fall through and, once the paperwork is completed, Morata will be officially unveiled as a Red Devil later this week.

Man Utd transfer news: Mourinho plans Lukaku hijack

3 July

Jose Mourinho has joined the race to sign Romelu Lukaku, reports the Daily Star, despite recent reports suggesting the Belgian striker is on the brink of signing an eye-watering contract with Chelsea.

Starsport "understand the Blues have already agreed personal terms worth in excess of £150,000 a week" but that seems only to have spurred Mourinho into action, with the Special One aware that Chelsea have yet to agree a fee with Everton.

With that glimmer of hope, the United manager believes he can gazump his old club by meeting Everton's asking price of £100m - as well as signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.

The Spanish striker is still very much in the forefront of Mourinho's mind but, with United having already released Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer and likely to cut adrift Wayne Rooney, the club is in desperate need of frontline replacements.

The Star says that Mourinho is confident he can "resolve lingering bad blood between himself and Lukaku", which stems from his decision when Chelsea manager to offload Lukaku to Everton.

But The Sun has a word of warning for United vis-a-vis Rooney, with the paper warning that the former England striker "is ready for a £30m war with United".

The 31-year-old has a year left on his deal but he can trigger an additional 12-month option on his £300,000-a-week salary should he so choose.

According to The Sun, Old Trafford chiefs "plan a golden goodbye of around £10m" but Rooney is fully aware that he can triple that if he decides to see out his contract. The veteran has been linked with a return to his boyhood club, Everton, as well as a move to China, but apparently he wants to stay at Old Trafford.

No Morata talks yet, says Perez

29 June

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed that there has been no approach from Manchester United for Alvaro Morata.

It was reported earlier in the week that the Spanish striker had told the club he wanted to move after word reached him that Real had upped their asking price from £60m to £80m.

But Sky Sports says that while Morata's agent Juanma Lopez "has held talks at the Bernabeu to try to negotiate the player's departure", Perez has yet to receive any formal contact from United.

In conversation with Spanish broadcaster El Primer Palo radio, Perez said: "I believe we are not negotiating with Manchester United, which does not mean that there are not people around him who are talking, which is normal."

Asked about rumours suggesting United had agreed a fee with Real for Morata, Perez said: "I have read that we have reached an agreement for I don't know how many million euros, but it is not true."

Worryingly for United, who want Morata to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan are now on the trail of the Spaniard and have already tabled a £70m bid. Although that was rejected it's expected that the Italians will return with an offer in the region of £80m in the hope of securing Morata's signature.

One Real player who United might have better luck with is South American playmaker James Rodriguez. According to The Sun the Red Devils have "offered Real Madrid £70m for James Rodriguez – £4m more than their asking price".

The paper adds that the Colombian, who has slipped down the pecking order in Madrid, has agreed personal terms ahead of his move to Old Trafford and their claims are backed up by Italian outlet Mediaset Premium, who says that Rodriguez is desperate for regular first-team football to ensure he's in with a shout of making Colombia's World Cup squad.

Man Utd transfer news: Real Madrid reject Ronaldo exit talk

20 June 

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has spoken for the first time about the future of Cristiano Ronaldo amid rumours he wants out of the Spanish capital following accusations of tax fraud.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are both said to be vying for his signature, but Perez came out fighting when quizzed on the subject. "The only thing I can say is Cristiano Ronaldo is a Real Madrid player," he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero, on the day he was re-elected president of the European champions.

"Obviously something has happened, something has affected him, his credibility. I'm sure he will tell us and we will see. If Cristiano wants to leave Real Madrid, it won't be for money."

BBC Sport says Perez will speak with Ronaldo after he has finished playing for Portugal in the Confederations Cup but asked if he was prepared to sell the player - and also Real teammate James Rodriguez - to United, he replied: "We want to keep all our players next season, including James."

When it comes to more local rivals United intend to beat Man City in the race to sign Nelson Semedo and have tabled a £30m bid for the Benfica right-back.

Rumours have begun circulating that City boss Pep Guardiola cut likes the look of the 23-year-old, and according to The Sun that has spurred Jose Mourinho into action.

With Barcelona having recently dropped out of the race to sign Semedo because of his price tag, it looks like it's a straight shootout between the two Manchester clubs.

Spanish rag Mundo Deportivo claims that Benfica would like £48m in an ideal world for the Portugal international, but they are prepared to consider bids upwards of £35m. United's offer, therefore, seems to be some way off the mark but it's believed that the Red Devils are just testing the water and they are prepared to go much higher, particularly if City come calling.

That could happen imminently, says Portuguese news outlet Correio da Manha, which claims "that a bid from City is set to arrive in the coming days".

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