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TOP STORY: Man United look to Barca’s Umtiti
Manchester United’s search for a central defender has seen them target Leicester City’s Harry Maguire for much of the summer, but French outlet le10sport is suggesting they could now focus their attentions on Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti as the window is potentially closing on a move for the England international.
United are prepared to spend up to £46 million on the France international — considerably less than Leicester’s asking price for Maguire but still around £10m short of Barca’s asking price.
United and Leicester have been unable to agree on a fee for Maguire, who himself is seemingly growing as frustrated as the rest of us with the continuing saga, and which is why United might explore a plan B.
Umtiti, 25, played just 14 times in La Liga last season after missing much of the season with a knee injury. However, he has made 97 appearances in total and has been a cornerstone of their domestic success when healthy.
08.44 BST: Atletico Madrid winger Vitolo says he is aiming to show coach Diego Simeone that he deserves to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Vitolo, 29, has had an injury-hit time since joining Atletico from Sevilla for €36m two summers ago and, in early July, sources told ESPN FC that he would move on if an offer was received which suited both player and club.
The Spain international has since been in excellent form in preseason, scoring in Atletico’s 7-3 International Champions Cup victory over Real Madrid last weekend. And he told a news conference that he remained unsure over his future but was “excited” to remain a Rojiblanco player.
“I’ve not spoken with [Simeone], at the moment neither the club nor the boss have told me anything,” he said. “I’m still here, and am not looking at going anywhere. I am motivated to be here, excited to be here, and want to show the boss I can be here. I have a lot more football to give Atletico.”
08.29 BST: Pochettino has admitted he does not know if reported Real Madrid target Christian Eriksen will be sold or sign a new contract this summer.
Eriksen spoke at the beginning of the transfer window about “trying something new,” and AS said this week that a deal with Madrid had stalled as Bernabeu coach Zinedine Zidane preferred to move for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
“I just coach him, I try and obtain the best for him,” Pochettino said at the postmatch news conference after Tottenham beat Madrid 1-0 in the Audi Cup on Tuesday. “Whether we sell a player, or renew his contract, is in the club’s hands.”
08.00 BST: Sometimes we like to start our mornings angry. Just like Mauricio Pochettino.
The Tottenham boss has distanced himself from the club’s lack of transfer activity, suggesting that his title may need to be changed from manager to head coach.
So far this summer, Tottenham have broken their transfer record to sign Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon, while they have also signed young winger Jack Clarke from Leeds United, where he will return on loan for the coming season. Having gone the two previous transfer windows without a single signing, a frustrated Pochettino believes he should not be the one held responsible for the lack of arrivals at White Hart Lane.
PAPER TALK (by Nick Judd)
Barca to send Malcom to Zenit
Malcom, who joined from Bordeaux last summer on a €40m deal, is out of the picture at Camp Nou, and the Catalan giants are keen to recoup some of the money they’ve spent in the current transfer window.
Everton had also been keen on bringing the man from Sao Paulo to the Premier League but sources said Malcom has already agreed on the move to the Russian league champions.
The move would be the latest drama in the 22-year-old’s club career. Bordeaux and Roma had publically annouced Malcom’s transfer to the Italian side last summer before Barcelona made their late swoop.
Seagulls to break record for reliant Robin
Brighton look set to smash their club transfer record with the signing of Bristol City centre-back Adam Webster, reports the Independent.
The Seagulls look set to offer £20m up front and £5m in add-ons for a deal the Indy claim is close to completion. The £25m package would eclipse the Championship record of £24m, which is what Leicester City paid Norwich City for James Maddison this time last year.
Webster starred for the Robins last year following his move to the West Country from Ipswich Town. He made 47 appearances in all competitions, scoring three times as the Robins finished in the top eight of the Championship just outside the playoff positions.
Brighton’s previous record signing was the £17m they paid for Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
– Laurent Koscielny could be on the move to Rennes, with the French club opening negotiations with Arsenal for the services of the wantaway defender. reports The Sun. Koscielny refused to travel on the Gunners’ preseason tour and has admitted he doesn’t want to play for the club again. The French centre-back is believed to have been training with the academy as his fallout with the club continues to escalate.
– Calciomercato reports that Napoli have made contact with Inter Milan over the potential signing of Mauro Icardi. The Argentine has been told he doesn’t figure in the club’s plans for the coming season, and while Juventus had expressed an interest, Napoli appear keen to follow up their long-term pursuit.