Manchester United have barely had chance to take in their Carabao Cup glory before preparing to host West Ham at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fifth round this evening.
Erik ten Hag brought silverware back to M16 for the first time since 2017 with Sunday’s Carabao Cup win against Newcastle, goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford laying the foundations for a comfortable win at Wembley.
United returned to training not long after lifting the trophy and, speaking to the media yesterday, Ten Hag admitted that both Luke Shaw and Fred are doubts for the visit of the Hammers, while Anthony Martial will also be unavailable.
In matters off the pitch, United continue to plan for a summer of spending as Ten Hag looks to take his side to the next level. MEN Sport understands that the club will look for a new midfielder in the summer and that a fresh defender could also arrive if Harry Maguire leaves.
The Reds will have to compete with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid for the signature of Paulo Dybala, according to Fichajes.
It is claimed that the AS Roma forward has a €12m release clause in his contract, which has led to him being linked with United and several other clubs round the globe. The report stats that both clubs view the forward as a cheap signing who can improve their attack.
Dybala has registered 12 goals and seven assists this season.
According to The Athletic, Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al-Thani – who is keen on taking over United – was previously involved in similar talks over 10 years ago.
The report claims that Al-Thani was linked with a group called the Red Knights, who, back in 2010, reportedly attempted to link up with the Qatari Royal family to buy out the Glazers.
It adds that Al-Thani was among those present for talks that were held in Doha.
According to The Guardian, the Glazers are intent on pocketing a higher fee for United than the initial bids of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, which were reportedly £4.5bn.
It adds that, while there is currently indecision between the six Glazer siblings, the sale is still under serious consideration by the family as a whole. However, the desire to secure a higher could mean that a deal is unlikely to go through by the end of March.
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong remains a United target this summer, according to Sport.
The Manchester Evening News understands the 25-year-old privately gave his old Ajax coach Erik ten Hag assurances he was happy to join United last summer, despite publicly stressing his preference was to stay at Barcelona.
The Reds agreed an €85million fee with the Spanish club for De Jong in the summer but the issue of his wage deferral proved to be an insurmountable stumbling block.
Former United midfielder Paul Pogba made his first competitive appearance for Juventus on Tuesday night after rejoining them last summer.
He sustained a knee injury in pre-season and underwent surgery, which meant he missed the first half of the campaign, as well as the World Cup in Qatar.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were quick to react to his comeback.
Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong remains on United’s radar but no concrete approach has been made yet, according to Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg.
United have emerged as frontrunners in a reported pursuit of the Dutch defender, who is enjoying an outstanding season in the Bundesliga and is expected to make the step up to a Champions League outfit swiftly.
Several reports suggested an initial approach had been made, but while the Reds are keen on Frimpong, Plettenberg states any move is not as advanced as once thought.
Anthony Martial will not be available for Manchester United in their FA Cup fifth round tie against West Ham.
Martial has missed 28 of United’s 40 games this season and he has been sidelined for four weeks with a hip injury.
The 27-year-old has started individual training sessions and did some ball work during last week’s open session at Carrington but he has not started for United since the Manchester derby on January 14. United are aiming to sell Martial in the summer to partly finance a move for a new goalscorer.
Luke Shaw and Fred are also doubts for the visit of West Ham. “Anthony Martial is not available,” United manager Erik ten Hag confirmed. “Luke Shaw and Fred are questions for tomorrow.”
Erik ten Hag wants at least two significant signings in the summer to maintain Manchester United’s momentum next season.
The power brokers at United have prioritised a new goalscorer and Ten Hag is also pushing for a midfield reinforcement. United could also recruit a centre-back to bolster their defence if captain Harry Maguire leaves.
The Manchester Evening News revealed in January United have compiled a list of players they are prepared to sell and figures at the club are planning for more outgoings than incomings ahead of next season.
Irrespective of the situation surrounding a possible takeover of United, player sales are necessary to comply with Uefa’s financial sustainability laws. United sources have indicated funds from any player sales would underpin an intended move for a midfielder.
Erik ten Hag is unsure if Anthony Martial will play again for Manchester United before the March international fortnight.
United have up to six fixtures before the spring internationals and Martial has missed 26 of United’s 40 games this season through five separate injuries.
The 27-year-old has been sidelined for four weeks with a hip injury but has started individual training sessions and did some ball work during last week’s open session at Carrington.
However, Martial has not started for United since the Manchester derby on January 14 and he last completed 90 minutes in a Premier League match in January 2021.
United are aiming to sell Martial in the summer to partly finance a move for a new goalscorer and Ten Hag clarified “except Anthony Martial, the availability from all the players is there”.
“I hope but I don’t give an expectation about that,” Ten Hag said of a possible Martial return within the next two-and-a-half weeks. “Let him do his work. Several times now then he drops back too quickly. Give him the time.
“Of course, I hope he’s on board but at this moment we’re doing really well with this set-up. When he is available then we have an extra option and a good option so give him time.
“When he’s back we’ll be happy because we will have quality extra option, hopefully for the rest of the season.”
Ten Hag suggested Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford would start against West Ham in spite of their recent workload. The pair started in all eight of United’s fixtures in February and Rashford came off with an apparent ankle injury against Barcelona last week.
Erik ten Hag insists it is too early to decide if Manchester United are to try and keep Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer.
United signed Weghorst and Sabitzer on loan from Burnley and Bayern Munich in the January transfer window to offset the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and injury to Christian Eriksen.
United do not have an option or an obligation to sign either player but Weghorst, 30, has started in all 12 games he has been available for while Sabitzer, 28, has lined up in United’s last three Premier League games.
“I think it’s much too quick, much too soon to talk about that,” Ten Hag said. “First, we are in this season. That is where the only focus has to be. No distractions for what is coming next season.
“No, we are in this season and we are in the right positon in this moment. This is the position we want to be because we are competing in three competitions.”
With United still in two cup competitions and third in the Premier League but eight points behind Arsenal, there has been tentative talk of a potential quadruple among some supporters.
Ten Hag downplayed that ahead of six games in 18 days across three competitions and was taken aback there had not been a question on United’s FA Cup opponents, West Ham United. “That is for fans, we have to focus on the next game and that is the only thing we are doing.
“Us, we are talking for ten minutes and I didn’t hear the words West Ham United. I think it was the press conference for West Ham United so it’s only about this we have to talk about it. We don’t have to talk about trophies. We have to talk about West Ham United, that is the game tomorrow
“I can’t influence that but we have high expectations from ourselves, we are ambitious but ambitious to play better. We have to make our game better. That is what we have to aim for day by day so the demands are for high standards.”
Sadio Mane has revealed that former Manchester United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo told him that his move to Bayern Munich was a “great step” in his career.
The Senegal ace left Liverpool last summer to join the Bundesliga giants, with the Merseyside club eventually accepting £35million for the player after rejecting Bayern’s opening two bids. He left Anfield after six years at the club, having registered 120 goals and 48 assists in 269 appearances.
Mane came up against United on several occasions during his time in England – facing the Reds on 14 occasions so far in his career. The forward scored two goals and grabbed two assists in those outings, winning on six occasions. While the 30-year-old and Ronaldo were rivals last term, they held a conversation about Mane’s future over the summer break.
Since his move to Bavaria, Mane has missed nine matches through injury. Despite this, Julian Nagelsmann’s side still find themselves at the top of the Bundesliga table.
“That says everything about the Bundesliga and underlines what I’ve already said: I think you underestimate the Bundesliga here,” said Mane, speaking to BILDSport. “The recent performances in the Champions League prove that.
“I met Cristiano Ronaldo in Mallorca before this season after my move was completed. He congratulated me and told me: ‘A great club. This is a great step for you.’”