Raphael Varane is preparing for his move to England after Manchester United formally announced a transfer agreement for his signature earlier in the week.
Varane, 28, is set to become the third summer arrival at Old Trafford following deals for Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton, although it might be a little while before he is seen in club colours for the first time.
The French defender is effectively a United player already but he will have to spend five days in quarantine upon his arrival before he can undergo a medical and complete his formal unveiling.
In terms of other news Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer window while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side drew 2-2 against Brentford in their third pre-season friendly fixture last night.
A recap of the day’s United news.
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Sancho getting ready for his United arrival 20:41Daniel Murphy
United postpone Preston friendly after suspected Covid outbreak in first-team squadManchester United have called off Saturday’s friendly at Preston after a ‘small number’ of the first-team training group tested positive for Covid on Thursday.
United drew 2-2 with Brentford at Old Trafford on Wednesday night and the squad underwent lateral flow tests on Thursday, when a number of positives were returned. Those affected are now isolating as they await confirmation from PCR tests.
It is understood first-team players and staff have returned positive tests, forcing United to call off the friendly against Preston at Deepdale that was due to be played on Saturday afternoon.
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United statement on Preston cancellation United said in a statement: “Maintaining COVID security is a priority for Manchester United.
“Following routine testing of the first-team training group today (Thursday), we have identified a small number of suspected positive cases.
“This has led to those people isolating, pending further tests.
“As a precautionary measure based on COVID protocols, we have taken the difficult decision that we will not now be able to play the friendly match against Preston North End this Saturday (31 July).
“We regret the disruption to Preston North End and disappointment caused to fans.
“Any Manchester United supporters who have purchased tickets for the game will be automatically refunded.
“At this stage, we do not expect further disruption around our forthcoming matches, but we will continue to follow Premier League protocols in this regard.”
Preston’s Deepdale Stadium (Image: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)19:52KEY EVENT
Man Utd vs Preston friendly cancelled 19:32Daniel Murphy
Solskjaer comments show how Manchester United ambition has changed this season When Manchester United signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James in 2019 nobody expected them to challenge for the title. A year later, when Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani were added to the January addition of Bruno Fernandes they were a step closer, but still a long shot.
Now, with deals for Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho done with a month of the window still to go, it feels like there will be a disappointment if United don’t lay down a serious challenge for a 21st league title. The next four-and-a-half weeks could bring more arrivals, maybe a significant departure, but in what looks like a competitive title race, United should be right there.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called this a “rebuild” when he got the United job. On Saturday he stressed there will always be room for improvement, but did admit that this was now very much his Manchester United.
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OPINION: Varane’s relationship with Paul Pogba could convince midfielder to stay at UnitedManchester United have finally reached an agreement to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid as they look to strengthen their squad in a bid to challenge for the Premier League title.
Varane, who becomes United’s third summer signing after the arrivals of Tom Heaton and Jadon Sancho, will add some much-needed experience to their back-line despite initially coming close to joining 10 years ago.
However, the transfer could prove to be a catalyst to convince Pogba to stay at the Red Devils despite being linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer.
Read the full story here.
Solskjaer discusses Varane signing17:25Daniel Murphy
The favourites to leave United this summerThe bookies believe Paul Pogba is the most likely player to leave United this summer.
Paul Pogba – 7/4
Jesse Lingard – 5/2
Daniel James – 4/1
Anthony Martial – 6/1
Donny van de Beek – 10/1
Odds via BetFair.
Uncertainty surrounds Pogba’s future at Old Trafford. (Image: 2018 UEFA)16:51Daniel Murphy
United ‘confident’ of keeping Pogba15:54Daniel Murphy
Skinner confirmed as new United Women boss15:12Steven Railston
Newcastle ‘leapfrog’ Aston Villa in Tuanzebe pursuitThe Football Insider claim Newcastle are now leading the race to sign Tuazebe on loan.
It’s suggested Newcastle are in ‘pole position’ to sign the centre-back because they could offer him a regular starting role, something that Dean Smith’s Aston Villa can’t promise.
The MEN reported last month that Tuanzebe, 23, was preparing for a season-long loan.
Tuanzebe has been told the “perfect” destination for his future. (Image: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)14:36Steven Railston
Manchester United appoint Marc Skinner as Women’s coachManchester United Women have appointed Marc Skinner as their new coach.
Skinner, 38, has joined the club from National Women’s Soccer League side Orlando Pride and replaces Casey Stoney, who left to coach San Diego.
Skinner said: “I am excited and proud to become head coach at Manchester United Women. I’m looking forward to working closely with the staff and this talented group of players.
“Our focus is to build on everything they have already achieved in the women’s game. It’s an exciting opportunity to lead the team into what will be another competitive Women’s Super League season; I want us to achieve success together and our aim is to give the fans a team they can continue to be proud of.”
The United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, added: “Marc is a coach with proven pedigree in the WSL and we are delighted he is joining the club and returning to the league after his recent time in the US.
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ON THIS DAY: Solskjaer’s journey at United started13:36Joe Bray
Elanga explains his United ambitionAnthony Elanga is relishing his chance in pre-season as he keeps trying to impress United coaches ahead of the new campaign.
“I just like to keep working hard, I keep my head down and I just let my work do the talking,” he told United:
“For me it’s just about improving, getting better and better. That’s what this pre-season is about: getting better, playing games, getting minutes in my legs and just enjoying it in general.”
Ramos sends Varane message after transfer announcementSergio Ramos has sent former teammate Raphael Varane a good luck message.
“Dear Rapha, I can only thank you for these years of friendship, companionship, and triumphs, and wish you luck in a new stage that will surely be exciting,” Ramos wrote on social media.
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid12:47Steven Railston
Phil Jones blocked Raphael Varane’s transfer to Manchester United under Sir Alex FergusonPhil Jones was responsible for blocking Raphael Varane’s transfer to Manchester United in 2011.
Varane’s impressive emergence over a decade ago at French side Lens didn’t go unnoticed to Sir Alex Ferguson, who duly made the then 18-year-old centre-back one of United’s transfer targets as he carefully plotted his path to another Premier League title.
However, when Ferguson acted swiftly in the transfer market to sign a highly regarded, young Phil Jones from Blackburn for £16m, Varane’s potential move to Old Trafford was thrown in doubt – the Frenchman then joined Real Madrid for around £8.5m.
While Jones’ career at United eventually stuttered, Varane would go on to enjoy unrivalled success at Madrid and, although the Reds finally have their man after Ferguson had identified him as a target, he’s explained Jones inadvertently once blocked his move.
Click here to read what Varane had to say.
Raphael Varane in December 2012. (Image: Getty Images 2021)12:27KEY EVENT
Manchester United get Luke Shaw injury boostLuke Shaw expects to be fit for the start of Manchester United’s season.
Shaw played through England’s knockout stages of
the European Championship with cracked ribs and managed a wrist injury throughout the tournament.
The 26-year-old has returned to England following a holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos and he is quarantining ahead of reporting for pre-season training at United’s Carrington training complex on Monday.
Although United are yet to assess Shaw’s injuries, the left-back is understood to be confident of being fit enough to start in the Premier League season opener against Leeds on August 14.
Shaw is likely to have two weeks of training in the run-up to the Leeds game, with United due to travel to St Andrews in Scotland for their second UK training camp next week.
Click here to read more about United’s Shaw boost.
Was Solskjaer sending a discreet warning here?11:27KEY EVENT
Kieran Trippier stance on Manchester United transfer in summer windowKieran Trippier expects any move to Manchester United to materialise towards the end of the transfer window.
United prioritised the signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane and have now placed an emphasis on outgoings in order to secure any more incomings.
Trippier, 30, has entered the last year of his Atletico Madrid contract and wants to join boyhood club United, having arranged for his family to relocate to Manchester.
Members of Trippier’s family are understood to have spoken confidently about the likelihood of the England international signing for United. Other Premier League clubs are also interested.
There has been speculation that Atletico could outprice Trippier of a move but United successfully negotiated lower fees for Sancho and Varane and Atletico, whose debt stands at €1billion, will come under pressure to obtain a fee.
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Manchester United want to sign Kieran Tripper this summer. (Image: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)10:57Steven Railston
ICYMI: Match In Pictures | Man United 2-2 Brentford10:37Steven Railston
Newcastle ‘pushing’ to sign TuanzebeNewcastle are ‘pushing’ to sign Tuanzebe this summer.
That’s according to The Telegraph who claim Steve Bruce’s side will attempt to sign the 23-year-old centre-back, who the MEN understand will head out on loan this season.
With Varane potentially arriving, first-team opportunities for Tuanzebe at United could be rare.
Paul Pogba meets a fanGood to see Paul Pogba making time to take photos with his fans while still on holiday.
Elanga reflects on Old Trafford goalAnthony Elanga opened the scoring last night with a fine strike, and has talked through the goal to United’s media:
“When it went in I could hear the roar from the fans, and I felt special. It’s my first time playing at Old Trafford with the fans, I played here against Leicester with no fans but with fans it’s even more special.
“When I scored that goal, to see Teden and Mason, players that I’ve played with since I was in the under-14s, it’s just even more special. Forget the goal for a minute, just being with them, playing with them, it’s beautiful, it’s special.”
“I think I worked really well with my feet. It’s something I’ve been really working on a lot, especially in the Under-18s with Colin Little, he’s been teaching me a lot on how to work with my feet. That’s what I did with my goal. The ball’s behind me and I had to adjust my feet to get the contact and it’s a really nice goal I think.”
Full story: McCann to leaveMEN Sport can confirm those reports earlier regarding Charlie McCann’s move to Rangers.
McCann, 19, is expected to join the Scottish champions for a fee rising to £750,000 and will initially play in the Rangers B team.
Watch Pereira’s stunnerWhat a goal this was last night from Andreas Pereira.
Barlow seals Doncaster moveFormer United youngster Aidan Barlow has signed for League One side Doncaster, to link up with Richie Wellens – another academy graduate.
“It’s been a tough year for me out of the game. I’ve just had to keep my mind on it and keep working hard.
“When the gaffer (Wellens) was at Salford I was there for quite a while, actually, and he wanted me to sign but unfortunately he left so I was delighted when he showed an interest here.
“I like to get on the ball, play one-twos and link up with players and obviously I love to score goals! I’m obsessed with scoring goals and winning’s even better.”
Barlow’s old United teammate Angel Gomes took to Instagram to send the following message:
Rangers ‘to sign’ United youngsterRangers boss Steven Gerrard is reportedly expected to sign United U23 midfielder Charlie McCann.
Reports in Scotland say that McCann is set to sign for Rangers after a good season for United at under-23 level last year.
The Daily Record say Rangers will have to pay a fee for McCann, who has a year left on his deal at United.
Charlie McCann is in great form for United Under-23s (Image: John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)08:18Joe Bray
Saul Niguez ‘lined up’ as Pogba replacementIf Paul Pogba leaves United this summer, the club will reportedly move for Saul Niguez.
The Star report that Pogba is set for ‘showdown’ talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over his future when he returns for pre-season. If he decides to leave, then United will look for a replacement.
And it’s claimed that Saul Niguez has been identified, with Atletico Madrid open to offers given their financial situation. It’s suggested that £50m could be enough to sign the Spanish international.
Saul Niguez has been linked with a move to Manchester United (Image: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)