3pm Man Utd news LIVE: Dybala transfer BLOW, Fred begs Pogba to stay, Almada battle with City, Project Restart – The Sun

OLD TRAFFORD chiefs are preparing for the return of the Premier League.

After the success of the Bundesliga this weekend, United are primed to restart when safe to do so – and we've the very latest on Paul Pogba and Thiago Almada.

Follow live Man Utd updates and transfer gossip below…

  • CHRIS LOSS

    Roma are set to miss out on Chris Smalling’s permanent transfer from Manchester United due to a lack of funds.

    Daily Mail cite a Corriere dello Sport report outlining significant financial losses at the Stadio Olimpico.

    If the Giallorossi miss out on Champions League football, their latest half-yearly loss of £77.5million would be exacerbated and force a change of tack.

    That would likely make a move for experienced centre-back Smalling beyond their means.

    Furthermore, there is a sense that the coronavirus pandemic will affect Roma significantly, like many other clubs expecting to endure a quiet summer market.

  • ON THE PAUL

    Paulo Dybala is reportedly set to extend his stay at Juventus until 2025 to deal Manchester United a major blow in their pursuit of the player.

    The 26-year-old was close to joining the Red Devils last summer, only for the Old Lady to pull the plug, with the ex-Palermo ace since becoming a key player under Maurizio Sarri.

    Gazzetta dello Sport claim that Dybala has agreed terms on a new long-term deal to remain in Turin.

    They claim that Dybala – who already pockets £6.6million-a-year on his current salary – has been offered a bumper new contract with lucrative bonuses.

    It has also been suggested that it is only formalities to be signed before the extension becomes official.

  • STEP FORWARD

    Premier League clubs have voted to approve a formal return to the training ground, writes Martin Lipton.

    The agreement to move to “Stage One” of the training protocols will see all 20 top-flight squads beginning basic work from tomorrow, allowing individual training and groups of no more than five players per pitch, with training times staggered.

    The green light came as part of the latest video meeting of the 20 “shareholder” clubs, which lasted around two and a half hours.

    Clubs discussed a number of other issues, including their desire to play all the remaining 92 games this season in home stadiums rather than at neutral venues.

    The proposed £330m rebate to broadcasters was also raised around the virtual boardroom table.

    Some clubs are unhappy at being asked to give more live games and access to TV companies in exchange for less money than had originally been agreed as part of the total £9bn three-year deal for domestic and overseas rights.But the only vote taken was in favour of the official return to training, although with a number of strict conditions.

  • ‘TOUGHEST TIME’

    Craig Bellamy has opened up on how he turned down Manchester United while he starred for Newcastle.

    In a stark interview where he discussed his struggles with mental health problems, the ex-winger recalled how injury ravaged his confidence on Tyneside.

    He told Sky Sports: “We were in Malaysia. It was us, Newcastle, Chelsea and a Malaysian team. I was struggling with tendonitis at the time in both knees and I remember we played Birmingham, and Chelsea in the final.

    “I went back to the hotel and did not sleep that night. Couldn't sleep, tossing and turning. I couldn't play to the level I want to, when Newcastle have invested in me heavily to play well.

    “I didn't feel I could justify it. I didn't feel I was in a position. Manchester United were interested in me as well. They were interested in me that summer, I didn't feel I could go there because I was in no position to compete with the players they had. I just felt tortured.

    “God, this wasn't what I expected my football career to be like. I'm in this much pain where I didn't want to sprint. I certainly didn't want to accelerate because it hurt too much.

    “Twisting and turning, I didn't want to train hard the day before because it would take it out of me in the game, my knees would be too sore. Having to deal with that was the toughest time during my career.”

  • RUN FOR THE MIL

    Manchester United are hoping to sign highly-rated Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar this summer, according to reports.

    The 25-year-old's performances for Antonio Conte's side have put him on the radar of Europe's biggest clubs.

    Technically proficient and physically imposing, the 6ft 2in defender is viewed by many as the ideal modern defender.

    And according to the Mirror, Inter have decided to cash in on the Slovakian – despite him still having three years remaining on his contract.

    The likes of Manchester City and Barcelona have been interested in Skriniar.

    But United's biggest competition will come from Real Madrid.

  • TATT’S ALL

    Marcus Rashford was pictured sporting new ink as he stepped up his preparations for a return to Manchester United training.

    The 22-year-old was snapped training one-on-one with a member of United's coaching staff at Moss Lane, home of Altrincham FC.

    And on the England international's thigh, a new tattoo of the star's logo could be seen.

    An M above an R, as featured on Rashford's website, is surrounded by a picture frame and what appear to be angel wings.

    The crest is encircled by rays of sunshine.

  • TOL ORDER

    Manchester United are reportedly “working on a deal” for Corentin Tolisso with Bayern Munich set to put the money towards a swoop for Leroy Sane.

    The French World Cup-winning midfielder, 25, has spent three seasons with the Bundesliga giants after joining from boyhood club Lyon in a £37m deal.

    But this season he has been restricted to just seven starts as he struggled for game time and now wants to leave.

    The Daily Express claim United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing a summer swoop – after the Old Trafford chief failed to sign him on loan during the January transfer window.

    And it is believed the star fancies a crack at the Premier League as well.

    Bayern will not stand in Tolisso’s way as he looks to secure a new club.

  • HANCOCK APOLOGY

    Following Gary Lineker’s earlier apology to ex-Manchester United youngster Luke Chadwick for his role in They Think It’s All Over’s mocking of the player, Nick Hancock has also said sorry.

    The presenter, 57, helmed the TV panel gameshow between 1995 and 2004.

    He told the BBC on Monday: “Listening to Luke is incredibly humbling, he’s shown so much more generosity and understanding and good judgment than we did at the time.

    “I’m appalled for him and at myself. When I hear him speaking, I’m full of admiration for the present Luke Chadwick and full of sympathy for the young Luke Chadwick.

    “The terrible thing about comedians and comedy shows is that if you’re getting laughs, you think you’re doing a good job.

    “Of course the worst thing for Luke was that it became a bit of a running joke. To us it was a photograph. That’s not good obviously, we should have been thinking about the person, but that’s what can happen.”

  • GUNNING HIM DOWN

    Ryan Giggs has revealed the toughest Premier League opponents he ever faced.

    The Arsenal side of 1998/99 fell short in terms of beating Manchester United to the title but the Welshman feels they “could do everything”.

    He told Sky Sports: “Obviously at the back the famous back five but in front of them had a bit of everything.

    “They had power, they had pace, imagination with Dennis Bergkamp, goals and penetration with Nicolas Anelka.

    “I agree with [Gary Neville], they were the toughest team to play against.

    “I mean Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team were tough in a different way they were pragmatic and tough to break down but Arsenal could do everything.

    “They were similar to ourselves they could build up, could counter attack, they were similar, right through the spine they were so strong right from the goalkeeper through to Bergkamp and Anelka.”

  • CHADWICK APOLOGY

    Gary Lineker has apologised to former Manchester United winger Luke Chadwick after he spoke of his pain at jibes from BBC show They Think It’s All Over.

    The show ran from 1996 until 2006, during which Chadwick was trying to break into the United first team.

    The player was targeted by jokes mocking his appearances, with Lineker today tweeting his apology as a regular on the show.

    The ex-striker wrote: “I was part of that show, therefore, I too would like to apologise to Luke for any hurt caused.”

    Chadwick had told The Athletic: “I was so shocked because I was quite naive back then, even if I was playing occasionally for Manchester United.

    “I watched it the next week and I could see people laughing at these jokes about me. It was obviously funny to other people but, to me, it didn't feel like that.”

  • DEVIL IN THE DETAIL

    Former Manchester United star Nani has revealed why he snubbed the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal to sign for the Red Devils.

    In 2007, the winger was a promising prospect at Sporting CP before United swooped in a £25million deal.

    He recalled on the club podcast: “My agent asked me as there were so many teams to choose from – Chelsea, Arsenal, teams in Italy like Juventus and Inter. Bayern and Madrid – I don’t know if they were true but it was in the news.

    “I chose Manchester because of the reasons they gave me at that time and everything [about how] the past was involved with me.

    “It gave me the reasons to go there, all my story and beyond that, told me to go to Manchester.

    “It was a club where I have a story in the past before I moved to Manchester when I was a kid, so it was good.”

  • POGBA MOVES

    It's a done deal!

    Pogba is officially on the move – Florentin Pogba, that is.

    The 29-year-old defender, brother of Manchester United star Paul, is off to Ligue 2 side Sochaux in a deal agreed with MLS club Atlanta United.

  • THE DOCTOR IS IN

    Manchester United’s team doctor was the only person to arrive at training on Monday morning after the entire squad was tested for coronavirus at the weekend.

    Stars including Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay were amongst those seen at Carrington on Sunday to be tested for the virus.

    And on Monday morning, only doc Steve McNally arrived at the Aon Training Complex, with players ordered to stay home.

    It's thought players were booked in for 15-minute slots in order to comply with social distancing measures for their testing on Sunday.

    Old Trafford aces were tested for Covid-19 with top-flight action thought to eventually restart on June 19.

    At least nine first-team stars were snapped driving in to the United facility.

  • OWEN, GOING, GONG

    Jadon Sanco could win the Ballon d'Or if he moves to Manchester United, according to Owen Hargreaves.

    The former United midfielder played in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich before his switch to Old Trafford and thinks now is the time for Sancho to make a similar move.

    He told BT: “Obviously, Liverpool and Manchester City have moved away from everyone else in the Premier League, but United would still be a team to join.

    “Things go in cycles. Man Utd will be back and the ­recruitment of a player like Jadon would help.

    “He knows Manchester well because he was at City, but whoever gets him will be very fortunate.

    “Can he become a Ballon d’Or winner? Yes, because potentially he is off the charts.”

  • FREE FOR ALL

    Premier League games are set to be shown for free on TV from mid-June to stop people going out.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden today confirmed the Government were desperate to bring football back if it could be done safely.

    Appearing on Sky News, the minister claimed making games free to watch was important to make sure people stayed home.

    He said: “We are working hard with them to try and get it back, I am aiming for mid-June. The number one test is public safety.

    “I'm hoping that we can have something a bit more ambitious with some more free-to-air matches available so people can watch from home because that would be helpful in terms of discouraging people from leaving their homes.

    “What we are aiming for is to finish the season from behind close doors from mid June onwards.”

  • OH DIERE

    Arsene Wenger's furious reaction to Arsenal's stunning 6-1 defeat to Manchester United in 2001, featuring a first-half Dwight Yorke hat-trick, has been revealed by Jeremie Aliadiere.

    The Frenchman told Goal: “Arsene went absolutely mental. We got smashed in that first-half when Igor Stepanovs was playing at the back.

    “It was a joke. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were absolutely killing us. I wasn’t even in the squad, I was just there as 19th man or something. And when I saw him losing it like that I was like: ‘Wow!’. I’d never seen him going that crazy before.

    “He was throwing bottles across the room, they were going everywhere. He was shouting and swearing – and Wenger never usually swore. He was just going absolutely mental.

    “He wasn’t doing it at anyone in particular because he didn’t want to start point fingers, but he was just going crazy for about five minutes before he started to calm down a bit.”

  • NO GREAL

    Aston Villa are determined “not to be bullied” on Jack Grealish’s asking price and will demand £80million even if they are relegated.

    The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Manchester United for months as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to bring him to Old Trafford.

    He tops the Red Devils’ wanted list this summer with the Old Trafford giants already starting background checks on the Villa captain.

    However, any hopes Solskjaer had of getting Grealish on the cheap should the Midlands outfit fail to stay in the top-flight have been dashed.

    And The Mirror claims “they will not be hammered down from what they see as a fair market value” for their talisman even if it’s an immediate return to the Championship.

    Villa are determined to keep hold of Grealish but if they do suffer the drop then the boyhood Villa fan is expected to hand in a transfer request.

  • JUVE GOT COMPANY

    Juventus are set to rival Manchester United for the much-coveted signature of Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez, according to reports.

    The Mexican has been in fine form once again this season, scoring 22 goals in all competitions for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

    The 29-year-old made his switch to Molineux permanent last summer for around £34million, having spent the West Midlanders' first season back in the top-flight on loan from Benfica.

    And his excellent performances have drawn the keen eyes of Manchester United.

    Despite what is set to be a depleted market because of the coronavirus pandemic, Wolves will still be looking to make a handsome profit on their No9.

    And in addition to this hurdle, The Times claim that Juventus are set to rival the Red Devils for his signature – as they seek to upgrade on Gonzalo Higuain.

  • MORNING MAN UTD FANS

    Paul Pogba is close to completing a switch back to Juventus – after the Italians offered Manchester United Adrien Rabiot to sweeten the deal.
    French newspaper L'Equipe claim Juventus are close to getting the deal for Pogba, 27, over the line.
    Rabiot's agent – and mother – Veronique is pushing on with the exchange as she wants her son to play in the Premier League.
    Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has claimed Park Ji-sung was just as crucial to Manchester United's success as Cristiano Ronaldo.
    He wrote in his Sunday Times column: “It’s crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, 'Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United,' but if you said 'Park Ji-sung' they may not know who he was.
    “Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success. That’s because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They – not stars – are the most important thing in sport.
    In other news, the Red Devils have reportedly been joined by Arsenal in the pursuit of Argentina’s rising star Thiago Almada.
    Mundo Deportivo claim that as well as the Gunners, United, Inter Milan and Man City are all tracking the Velez Sarsfeld magician, 19.
    And finally,Paul Gascoigne has brutally torn into Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that he could have changed his wild ways had he joined United.
    Speaking during an event earlier this year, which was covered by The Athletic, Gazza said: “Alex Ferguson says it would have been different if I had signed for Man United.
    “Well, Rio Ferdinand did a runner from a f***ing drugs test. Eric Cantona two-footed some c*** in the neck in the stand.
    “Wayne Rooney s****ed a f***ing granny. And Ryan Giggs s****ed his brother's f***ing wife. F***ing hell, man.”

  • WALK IN THE PARK

    Wayne Rooney has claimed that Park Ji-Sung was “just as important at Manchester United as Cristiano Ronaldo” and recalls his “unbelievable” stifling of Andrea Pirlo.

    Park arrived at Old Trafford for a bargain £4million from PSV Eindhoven in 2005 and many wouldn't consider him as important as Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals alone in the 2007-08 double season

    Writing in The Sunday Times, Rooney said: “It's crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, 'Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United', but if you said 'Park Ji-Sung' they may not know who he was.

    “Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success.

    “That's because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They – not stars – are the most important thing in sport.”

  • RESULTS DAY

    The Premier League will discover how many players have contracted coronavirus when they meet to vote on Project Restart on Monday.

    All 20 top-flight teams have been tested for Covid-19 over the weekend — many for the first time — and should receive the results today.

    In the absence of an overwhelming number of positive diagnoses, the clubs will give their official backing to taking the first tentative steps out of lockdown today.

    If all goes according to plan, every team in the top flight will return to training in small groups of five or less this week.

    Yet while the majority of players and managers are ready to give a cautious green light to phase one of the plan, many are unconvinced about the next stage.

    That will involve full contact training with an eye to resuming the Premier League fixtures on June 12 or June 19.

  • WAY TO GO

    Wayne Rooney believes Paul Pogba can replicate the success of former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard in the middle of the park IF Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changes his position.

    Derby County forward Rooney – writing in his Sunday Times column – said: “You ask any striker or central midfielder and they will tell you one of the hardest things to deal with is a centre-back who comes out with the ball.

    “Another nightmare is the Frank Lampard type, the midfielder who runs past you: with Frank, when the ball went wide you knew he would be off, sprinting into the box and he was one of those about who Fergie would say: 'This player is not a one-man job — you have to pass them on.'

    “He would say that about some you wouldn’t imagine: Stephen Ireland was one, Jermaine Jenas another, purely because they were willing to run beyond your midfield and with those players there’s going to be a crossover movement from when your central midfielder is dealing with it to when your centre back is.

    “One lapse of team concentration in that moment and the best — like Lampard — punish you.

    “That’s why I would love to see Paul Pogba playing deeper and attacking the box the moment the ball went wide. He would score more goals and with his good feet, his athleticism, he would be an absolute nightmare.

    “I would use him in that role — it’s one where, if he developed in it, he could be incredible.”

  • MARC'S, SET, GO!

    Marcus Rashford looked raring to go ahead of a return to Manchester United training by squeezing in a quick workout at local club Altrincham.

    On Sunday, the striker was seen being put through his paces at Moss Lane, near his pad to the south of the city in the footballers' enclave of Hale.

    Working alongside a United fitness coach, Rashford worked with the ball in a series of dribbling skills.

    Fans will be hoping the 22-year-old has shaken off a back injury that kept him out of the weeks leading up to football's shutdown.

    Fears of a six-month layoff initially put him on course for a June return, putting his participation in Euro 2020 in doubt before that tournament was postponed.

    Therefore a Premier League restart in the middle of next month may coincide with Rashford regaining his fitness.

    After his workout at Altrincham, the England star was spotted driving into Carrington.

  • MAN UTD LATEST

    It's set to be a busy summer at Old Trafford, with plenty of comings and goings.

    As Premier League players prepare to return to training, there is speculation that Paul Pogba could be on his way back to Juventus.

    French newspaper L'Equipe claim the Old Lady are close to getting the deal for Pogba, 27, over the line.

    But speaking to Brazilian TV, fellow Utd star Fred has begged the Frenchman to stay put.

    He said: “Pogba is a great player. The people who are here on a daily basis with him know that.

    ““He knows how to play the Premier League. So I’m sure I want him to stay because I’m sure he will help us a lot.

    “We’re in the same position, but the more quality players on the team, the better. You will not build a team with 11 players. You need a strong squad.

    “So I really hope that he stays, and if he stays, I’m sure he will be a very strong reinforcement for us next season.”

    While Man City are aiming to win the race with their great rivals for Argentina’s rising star Thiago Almada.

    Boss Pep Guardiola has been chasing the Velez Sarsfeld magician for a year as he sees him becoming David Silva’s long-term successor.

    City failed to agree a price a year ago but now the auction has begun, ironically sparked by reports of United coming in for him.

    The cost may be around £15million, plus extras.

    And finally, all Premier League players must have given a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of resuming training and be tested twice per week.

    They must also self-isolate for seven days if showing symptoms or if any members of their family do, while club staff must confirm in writing they understand the new regulations.

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