In Brief

Man Utd and Real Madrid battle to sign Erling Braut Haaland

Red Devils are also linked with Kai Havertz and Mario Mandzukic

Tussle for Haaland

Manchester United face competition from Real Madrid in their bid to sign Erling Braut Haaland. 

The Daily Star predicts a “tough transfer battle” in January for the teenage striker, who has caught the eye this season playing for Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes their shared nationality may prove decisive in the hunt for the 19-year-old Norwegian, but Spanish outlet AS claims Real Madrid are determined to snap up Haaland in the new year. 

Having scored a stunning 18 goals in 11 games this season, Leeds-born Haaland is in the form of his life, which will be of no surprise to Solskjaer. 

He coached him at Molde for one season and has always believed in his potential, but Real boss Zinedine Zidane is also a fan and a bidding war is expected. 

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Hesitant Havertz

Another youngster in Solskjaer’s sights is Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, claims the Daily Mirror

Liverpool also have their eye on the 20-year-old German and this time it’s Jurgen Klopp who hopes he can use patriotism to his advantage. 

Havertz, who was called into the Germany squad last year, is highly regarded in the Bundesliga, and United and Liverpool have both had their scouts at Leverkusen of late. But the Mirror says before the youngster makes any decision, “he’ll speak to Germany boss Joachim Low first”. 

Valued at £80m, Havertz wants to ask the advice of his national coach as he’s also aware that Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona have also been mentioned as suitors. 

“I listen to many people but in the end it will be my decision,” said Havertz. “I will embrace any advice Low will give me because he has a lot of experience.”

Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic celebrates scoring a goal for Juventus

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Mandzukic deal ‘agreed’

The Daily Express says Man Utd and Juventus frontman Mario Mandzukic “have now reached a verbal agreement”, and a transfer will be completed in January. 

It will require the Red Devils to hand over £10m in readies to the Italian champions, but that is a price that United are prepared to pay. 

Solskjaer believes the Croatian ace can “beef up his misfiring front line” and Juventus are ready to offload the 33-year-old as he’s longer part of their plans.

Matic to Milan?

The Express also reports that Inter Milan are “targeting” United midfielder Nemanja Matic.

The Serbian is a bit-part player these days at Old Trafford, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay preferred by Solskjaer, and he’s considering his options as he enters the last few months of his contract. 

According to Italian paper Corriere dello Sport, Inter boss Antonio Conte is “keen to reunite” with Matic after their time together at Chelsea, and the Express says that the Italian club are “preparing a three-year contract worth €5m [£4.4m] per season”.

Liverpool up next

After the international break United will next be in action on Sunday 20 October when Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to Old Trafford. The match kicks off at 4.30pm and is live on Sky Sports.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Premier League fixtures

Saturday 19 October (3pm unless stated)
  • Everton vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on BT Sport) 
  • Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion  
  • AFC Bournemouth vs. Norwich City  
  • Chelsea vs. Newcastle United  
  • Leicester City vs. Burnley  
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford  
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Southampton  
  • Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 20 October
  • Manchester United vs. Liverpool (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 21 October
  • Sheffield United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on Sky Sports)

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