Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time.More info
Manchester United are just one week away from kicking off the new Premier League campaign against Leeds as pre-season nears an end.
The club’s preparations for this coming season are going far more smoothly than last year’s, when they barely got a pre-season under their belt and missed out on their top transfer target, but there are still some wrinkles to be ironed out before kick-off on 14 August.
Fans are understandably curious about the unresolved futures of Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba and the later-than-expected returns of Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani.
There’s also the potential knock-on effect on United’s transfer business from Lionel Messi’s unexpected Barcelona exit, when Raphael Varane will officially arrive, what’s going on with Kieran Trippier, and where the club stand on outgoings in the current window.
The MEN’s chief United writer Samuel Luckhurst hosted a live Q&A session on Friday afternoon, where he answered fans’ questions on all the burning topics concerning the club.
Q: Hello Samuel. Hope you’re doing well. Can you update us on the situation of Jesse Lingard? He looks like the most saleable asset. Are United looking into selling him?
A: Because Lingard’s into the last year of his contract, a lot of clubs will only be prepared to go for him next year as money is tight. For those considering a move this summer, money is also tight, so if a deal does happen it is going to be late in the window.
Lingard’s value is quite high at the moment, so United are not going to give him away for tuppence. He’s having a good pre-season, too, and could be of use against Leeds next week. Maybe even Southampton and Wolves as well. It makes sense to keep him involved from both sides.
Danny Ings’ move to Villa is an anomaly. He’s a similar age to Lingard and was also out of contract next year. But Villa have just banked £100m from the Grealish deal, so there was some sense in overpaying to offset such a significant sale.
Ultimately, United are dependent on a club submitting an acceptable offer for Lingard. If one isn’t forthcoming, he’ll likely still be there beyond September. A loan is of little help, as United would want to obtain a fee.
Q: Hello Samuel, hope you’re doing well. Is Lingard really not leaving and has he been given guarantees here?
A: ‘Really not leaving’? I don’t think that’s concrete. Solskjaer is believed to be mulling over whether to keep him because of Rashford’s injury and other issues in attack. I can understand that to a degree but it’s too sentimental. That’s an issue with Lingard: he’s been at the club for 21 years and it will be a wrench for many at United if/when he does go. That should still not cloud the judgement call, which is he should be sold if an acceptable bid is made.
Q: Hi Samuel, is there a scenario where Jesse Lingard is looking to move away from Manchester for free next summer?
A: Entirely possible but I don’t think the Glazers would allow that to happen. It would be illogical and bad business, unless he is back in ‘Messi Lingard’ mode and United absolutely have to offer him a new contract.
There is a lot of indecision around Lingard when I still think it’s a straightforward decision: sell when/if the right offer comes in.
Q: Any chance of United going for Messi? Do you think we’ll see more signings this transfer window considering we normally make three major signings per summer?
A: Messi is moot! I’ve said all along I think United will make three significant signings (Tom Heaton isn’t one of the three, obviously).
Q: Hey Samuel, how come Jadon Sancho hasn’t started training yet? His return date was expected today, but got pushed back ’til Monday. Is there any reason why?
A: I’m glad to be able to address this. Sources at the club said to me on Wednesday Sancho was due back on Friday, but then I received a message on Thursday morning from them that he isn’t actually due back until next week. No wonder fans are confused by the return dates.
I would imagine Sancho has had three weeks off and then it could be the best part of a week for quarantine, or he’s just had another week off. United have been so inconsistent with the return dates it’s caused confusion.
I think Sancho has had too much time off, particularly given how little he played at the Euros. He’s entitled to a break, of course, but you can understand why some fans are unsatisfied at him not being in training.
Q: Samuel, regarding the outgoings, how many of them look really set on leaving? And do you have any news on Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot?
A: There’s nothing new to report on either. I addressed Lingard in an earlier post. With Dalot, late August was always identified as the time he might go, if he goes at all. Fred Caldeira spoke with Pereira and wrote about United demanding €25m (!!!) for him.
All could feasibly go. Some of them need to go, irrespective of incomings.
Q: Hi Samuel, how are you mate? Any update on outgoings?
A: As you can tell from this week, no. I always thought this would be a dead week for United, with the training up at St Andrews. It’s kicked off elsewhere with Kane, Grealish, Lukaku et al. but United are still not at that stage where a club is desperate for Phil Jones or Andreas Pereira.
Axel Tuanzebe’s loan will probably be signed off once Varane is completed.
Q: Hi Samuel, how confident are you that a deal for Kieran Trippier will be done?
A: I think my opinion on that is moot. I’ve reported he is hopeful. Some members of the Trippier family have been *very* confident of it happening. I can see it happening but, as reported, it will happen later in the window – if it does happen.
I will stick by what I’ve said previously: that United will make a third significant signing.
Q: Hi Samuel, I hope you are well. Is there any update on Raphael Varane in terms of medical/quarantine. United’s update made no mention of needing to quarantine, will he need to quarantine for five days before doing a medical?
A: I genuinely don’t know if he is double-jabbed, which would mean he wouldn’t have to quarantine. But last I heard, quarantining was expected.
Some like to update fans on every cough-and-spit of a transfer but Varane is a bit of a non-event now until he gives his first interview to the club. I’m not waiting with bated breath for a press conference/Zoom call unveiling…
Q: Does the potential signing of Messi make a Pogba renewal more likely?And have you heard anything about the position Ole wants Pogba to play in considering he has tried Paul in a double pivot and recently as a supporting creator from the left wing?
A: I wouldn’t say it makes a ‘renewal more likely’ as there are two clubs Pogba would much rather play for if/when he leaves United (Madrid and Juventus). He’s run down a United contract before, of course.
Depending on how much longer Pogba stays at United, I’d be surprised if he is given a consistent position. The formation will still change from time to time and he is too mercurial to ‘own’ a role.
This month does offer a chance for consistency, though. No midweek matches, a week between games etc.
Q: Hello, in case Pogba moves to PSG – is Declan Rice the first choice midfielder that United wants?
A: I don’t think United are budgeting to sign Declan Rice, a 22-year-old England regular at a Premier League club playing in Europe and with three years left on his contract, this year.
Q: Hello Samuel, do you still believe a midfielder would be signed irrespective of what happens to Paul Pogba?
A: I don’t think I’ve ever said a midfielder will be signed irrespective of what happens with Pogba. I have said United have eight midfielders. Just look at the squad size: 33 players. Are fans seriously expecting United to be buying after two marquee moves with that number of players? You’ve got to be realistic.
Q: Hello Samuel, if Chelsea sign Romelu Lukaku, would Inter Milan pay the rest of finances (i.e. the sell-on clause) immediately? And will we buy a midfielder with that money?
A: United have been vague on that. The windfall from the sell-on clause and possible outstanding funds from the fee agreed in 2019 would be handy for the final weeks of the window.
Nobody can say with certainty United will ‘buy a midfielder with that money’.
Q: Do we know why Edinson Cavani hasn’t joined up with the squad? Over five weeks since Uruguay went out of the Copa America, and Leeds is just over a week away now, we’d need him fit and firing!
A: I would imagine it’s because he went seven months without playing last year, he is the oldest outfield player in the squad and he can only start one game per week. His conditioning almost drove a wedge between player and club in February and March until that matter was resolved. Some extra time off might help United in the long-term.
Q: Will Henderson still be the no.1 when he returns from COVID even if it is after the Leeds game?
A: I think it’s doubtful he plays against Leeds. That situation just does not look like it is going to get resolved any time soon. It will be an interesting few weeks on the goalkeeping front.
United started last season with a number one and ended it without one. They might start it without one, too.
Q: Hello Samuel. Will James Garner get the opportunity to play with a Premier League club on loan? Or will he return back to Nottingham. What’s the latest?
A: I think Norwich were mentioned but Billy Gilmour has gone there and it is difficult to identify another Premier League club where Garner would get regular minutes. He’s put some muscle on, at least, but it might be another upper echelon Championship club, which would not be a disaster