No New Defender For United?
Manchester United won’t make a move for Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi and they won’t sign another defender if Sergio Ramos decides he wants to stay at Real Madrid. That’s according to the city’s local newspaper the Manchester Evening News.
The MEN claims that despite numerous links with Otamendi over the course of the summer he isn’t one of the names under consideration by manager Louis van Gaal.
The report flies in the face of all the speculation going back at least a month, both in Spain and the UK. United were reported to be prepared to pay no more than £25million for the Argentina international. Valencia insisted on the full €50million (£35million) release clause in his contract with the club.
Otamendi arrived early yesterday morning at Valencia’s Paterna sports complex at the start of pre-season training. Reports from the east coast of Spain suggest he settled down to training with the rest of the squad as if nothing had happened.
The MEN claims United believe they are being used by Valencia simply to drive Otamendi’s price up. However, while he still wants to leave Valencia the La Liga side have dug in their heels simply because they don’t want him to go. Coach Nuno Espirito Santo believes the best way to approach the club’s forthcoming Champions League campaign is with a £35million centre-back in his ranks.
However, the MEN also claims that if Sergio Ramos doesn’t leave Real Madrid then United won’t switch their attentions elsewhere. The 29-year-old is looking more likely to stay at the Bernabeu after talks with Real president Florentino Perez at the weekend. He looks set to be offered the club captaincy as well as a new contract. The new deal might not be as much as the €10million a year nett that he is looking for, but it will be more than the €7million Real have offered him.
United had the fourth-best defence in the Premier League last season and Louis van Gaal will rely on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Jonny Evans for the coming season. The latter has been linked with Everton and West Brom but he won’t be allowed to leave if no new defender is brought in. Michael Carrick, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair were also utilised by United in defence last season.
Pedro – £23m
Barcelona are prepared to listen to offers to winger Pedro despite not being able to recruit any new players until January.
The 27-year-old is being linked with Manchester United with the Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo claiming that the Red Devils will pay a transfer fee of €32.5million (£23million).
The newly-elected Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told the club’s in-house TV channel Barca TV that coach Luis Enrique wants him to stay: “He has Pedro – part of the club’s history with two trebles. We hope he continues with us.”
But the Catalan radio station RAC1 claims that Barcelona will listen to any offer from United.
Nolito, who worked under Enrique at Celta Vigo and who is still at the Galician club, is being lined up by Barca to replace Pedro. However, his move wouldn’t come into effect until January when Barca’s transfer ban expires.
The ban forms part of the La Liga side’s current thinking. It would be better to let him go then, but the transfer fee would be lower.