Manchester United have not played a domestic game for some time – but there is still plenty going on for the club on and off the pitch as the countdown to January continues.
Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have started all three matches for England at the World Cup in Qatar and teammate Marcus Rashford made a big impact against Wales on Tuesday night. But will the academy graduate retain his place in the starting XI for their last 16 showdown?
England take on Senegal on Sunday night (7pm) with other United players also in action. One eye, meanwhile, is on the upcoming transfer window as would-be signings such as Cody Gakpo continue to be linked with a move due to his sensational performances for the Netherlands.
And then there is the rather important matter of the proposed takeover at Old Trafford.
TODAY’S BIG TALKING POINT: United invited to make England signing. Have your say here .
Look back at Saturday’s news, views and transfer rumours below.
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Be sure to check back in tomorrow as we cover the latest updates and build-up to England’s last 16 World Cup clash with Senegal when United trio Rashford, Maguire and Shaw could all feature.
Van Dijk aims swipe at United over Gakpo links
Liverpool FC defender Virgil van Dijk has delivered some cutting comments about United amid repeated links with Cody Gapo.
The attacker has netted three times at the World Cup, adding to the 13 he has scored for PSV this season.
Van Dijk doesn’t believe United would necessarily be the next best step for countryman Gakpo, though.
Read what he said here >>>
United ‘contact’ Bennacer’s agents
United are rumoured to have contacted the representatives of Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan.
The midfielder has reportedly also been scouted by Chelsea having impressed in his 21 appearances this season.
Read more here >>>
Martinez Argentina’s hero
A wonder-tackle from Lisandro Martinez ensured Argentina earned a 2-1 win over Australia to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The United defender came on five minutes after half-time and produced a goal-saving block from a shot at close-range following Aziz Behich’s mazy run eight minutes from the end to prevent the game being levelled.
Australia’s coach Graham Arnold couldn’t believe Lisandro Martínez blocked this shot pic.twitter.com/ljyO4sDm1v
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 3, 2022
OPINION: Two academy graduates could be handed chance after World Cup
Of the 16 Manchester United players who went to the World Cup in Qatar, 12 have got through the group stages, three have been knocked out and one has had his contract ripped up mid-tournament. It’s been eventful.
United’s players have shone in Qatar, with Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, in particular, on top form, but the fact more than a dozen have had their World Cup extended means Erik ten Hag’s plans are becoming clearer.
Read the full piece here >>>
Southgate thinks Maguire has been ‘unfortunate’ at United
England boss Gareth Southgate believes Harry Maguire has not had the rub of the green at United in recent times.
The defender has started all three of his country’s World Cup matches so far and has put in terrific showings in each.
However, the club captain has been dropped from Erik ten Hag’s first-choice starting XI at United and enjoyed little game time heading into the tournament.
Read what Southgate said here >>>
Lisandro Martinez on the bench for Argentina
Argentina are about to kick off their last 16 World Cup tie against Australia and United defender Lisandro Martinez has been left on the bench for a third game.
The centre-back has played twice this tournament and did not concede in either of his outings.
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) December 3, 2022
Martin Dubravka explains why he joined United:
“I had a couple of offers as well from abroad, and here in England in as well, which I considered.
“But, obviously when I had the chance to join Manchester United, it was quite simple for me.
“I wanted to join and want to be part of the process and part of this club. So I’m here now.”
United saw ‘Van de Beek swap proposal rejected by Juventus’
Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Marco Guidi claims Juventus refused a swap deal proposed by Manchester United, which involved Donny van de Beek and Weston McKennie, in August 2021.
American midfielder McKennie was an important part of the USA’s run to the World Cup last 16 and has played regularly for his club side over the past two seasons, as well as the current one.
United’s Van de Beek has failed to make an impression since his arrival in 2020 and has struggled to find his feet under former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.
Da un’intercettazione dell’agosto 2021 si scopre che la #Juve ha rifiutato uno scambio tra #McKennie e #VandeBeek proposto dallo #United #calciomercato
— Marco Guidi (@MarcoGuidi13) December 3, 2022
Amad finds the net again for Sunderland
Amad scored his fourth goal in six matches for loan club Sunderland in today’s 3-0 Championship clash.
The United starlet opened the scoring on 53 minutes to continue his impressive comeuppance at the Stadium of Light.
The Championship allowed the fixture to be played during the World Cup period after it was postponed amid Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing in September.
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Maguire tipped to make summer exit
United have been backed to offload Harry Maguire in the summer despite his recent from for England.
The club captain has lost his starting spot at Old Trafford to Lisandro Martinez, who partners Raphael Varane when fit.
Maguire’s current United deal expires in 2025.
Read more here >>>
De Gea on what has changed at United:
“I think this year we want to dictate games and want the ball. We want to play from the back and press teams, press high in the opposition half.
“We try to keep the ball in the opposition half, try to score goals and win games.”
Read what he said about the start of the season and the arrival of Erik ten Hag here >>>
Malacia on the bench for Netherlands vs USA
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 3, 2022
FT: United 5-0 Aston Villa
What a win for Marc Skinner’s side!
The Reds move to the top of the Women’s Super League table after defeating Villa 5-0 at Old Trafford.
Click here for all the reaction from the game.
OPINION: Gakpo has created transfer dilemma for Ten Hag
Currently, you would consider the likes of Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema, Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski as the world’s best strikers. They are the cream of the crop and the chances of any of them rocking up at Old Trafford in January are non-existent.
It is no secret that United need to add a new striker to their ranks next year, whether it be in January or in the summer, and PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo, who has also scored three goals at the World Cup so far, and Victor Osimhen of Napoli are two names gathering interest. Gakpo, however, despite operating as a central striker for the Netherlands in Qatar, is not an out-and-out No.9, even if his record in front of goal this season says otherwise.
He has played all of his football for PSV this season on the left wing, even though it has not stopped him from being devastating in the final third. With respect, the Premier League is a huge step-up from the Eredivisie and few players that have found the net regularly in the Netherlands have replicated similar form in England.
Read the full story here.
Meunier ready to ‘listen to offers’ from United
Borussia Dortmund right-back Thomas Meunier is reportedly open to a move to Old Trafford as he continues to be linked with an exit from the Bundesliga giants.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona remain interested in the 31-year-old, but a transfer to Camp Nou appears unlikely. The report adds that AC Milan, Juventus, and two London-based clubs are also monitoring the player.
United remain well represented in Qatar
Alex Telles ‘out of World Cup’ – reports
Casemiro details what has impressed him at United
Summer signing Casemiro has admitted that he has been impressed by just how passionate United’s supporters are.
The Brazilian, who scored for Brazil in their 1-0 World Cup win over Switzerland earlier this week, joined the club from Real Madrid during the summer transfer window.
He has excelled so far in the Premier League, becoming a firm fans’ favourite at Old Trafford in the process.
Click here to see what the Brazilian has had to say.
Van der Sar makes Martinez admission after United switch
After raiding Ajax for manager Erik ten Hag, United launched a second raid on the Dutch giants during the transfer window, signing Lisandro Martinez.
The Argentine was quickly identified as Ten Hag’s top target to strengthen the Reds’ centre-back options during the summer and they made it their mission to secure the Dutchman’s leading defensive choice. He joined the club in July and has enjoyed an outstanding start to life in M16.
However, Martinez’s replacement in Amsterdam, Calvin Bassey, who signed from Rangers, has not enjoyed such an encouraging start, prompting criticism from the Ajax fans.
Click here to read the full story.
Cavani hits out at VAR monitor
Atletico to ‘listen to offers’ for Felix
According to a report by The Times, Atletico Madrid are ready to ‘listen to offers’ for striker Joao Felix amid ongoing reports linking him with a move to United.
The Portuguese international has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks, as the Reds look to try and beef up their attacking options ahead of the January transfer window opening.
The United players still at the World Cup
The group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup drew to a close last night, meaning the round-of-16 kicks-off later today. Here, MEN Sport has taken a quick look at the United players who are still in with a chance of winning the tournament in Qatar:
- Alex Telles, Fred, Casemiro & Antony – Brazil
- Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire & Marcus Rashford – England
- Diogo Dalot & Bruno Fernandes – Portugal
- Lisandro Martinez – Argentina
- Raphael Varane – France
- Tyrell Malacia – Netherlands
Napoli ‘planning to cancel’ release clause of United ‘target’
According to a report by Calciomercato.it, Italian giants Napoli are ‘aiming to cancel’ the release clause in defender Kim Min-jae’s contract.
The South Korean international has been regularly linked with a move to United in recent weeks amid his impressive performances.
The 26-year-old only joined Napoli during the summer and has quickly made a telling impression, hence why he is already being linked with a move to United.
Therefore, it is reported that Napoli are now looking to scrap the €45 million foreign buy-out clause on his contract that becomes active between July 1 and July 15 next year.
Howe to hold Dubravka ‘talks’
Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe is planning to hold ‘talks’ with Martin Dubravka later this month about his immediate future.
The goalkeeper is currently on loan at Old Trafford and is scheduled to stay with United for the rest of the season. However, he has played just once, starting last month’s 4-2 Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa.
He was expected to feature more regularly, certainly in the Europa League. However, David de Gea has started all but one game this season.
According to the Chronicle, Howe is planning to speak to Dubravka ahead of the January transfer window opening to discuss the prospect of maybe recalling him.
Martinez poised for the knockouts
United defender Lisandro Martinez could feature as Argentina face Australia in their round-of-16 clash at the World Cup in Qatar this evening.
After losing their opening fixture against Saudi Arabia, Argentina won their remaining two group fixtures to win Group C. They now face Australia to try and get into the quarter-finals.
Martinez has featured twice at the World Cup so far.
United ‘willing’ to pay €60m for Zubimendi
Reports state United would be willing to pay €60m for Martin Zubimendi.
Zubimendi, 23, has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford.
But the Real Sociedad midfielder also has Barcelona monitoring his current situation.
Spanish publication AS suggest United would be willing to match his €60m release clause to lure him away from La Liga next summer. Zubimendi progressed through the Sociedad system and his contract there runs until 2027.
Odds on World Cup glory?
England are into the last-16 where they will play Senegal this Sunday evening.
Here are the latest tournament winner betting odds from bookmakers SkyBet;
Brazil – 2/1
Argentina – 9/2
France – 9/2
Spain – 6/1
England – 8/1
Portugal – 12/1
Netherlands – 20/1
*Odds were correct at 19:30 on December 2. Subject to change.