Manchester United latest: Including Ferdinand and Alcantara deal ‘close’

News, views and rumours relating to Manchester United in the past 24 hours.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand insists he is ‘not worried’ by United’s ‘tough’ Premier League opening fixtures for the coming season 2013/14, which were officially released yesterday.

"It's a lively old start to the season but I think it's a good one," said Ferdinand.

"It can really shape your season. If you can come through those games and you're still in

the mix, the world's your oyster.”

"You know you're in for a hard fight facing Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City inside the first five games,” he continued.

"That's three of our biggest rivals in terms of being local with Liverpool and in terms of winning things with the other two.”

"So it's a tough start but I'm sure it's one that we'll warm to and be looking forward to. A start like that can focus your minds, because you know you're working towards something,” added the Red Devils veteran.

Ferdinand also believes United must ‘prepare’ for life without Sir Alex Ferguson who retired last month after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford. You can see the full video interview here via The Guardian.

In transfer news, Barcelona starlet Thiago Alcantara is ‘close to joining Manchester United’, according to numerous reports today.

According to The Mirror, United could sign Alcantara for just £15 million, which is his reported release clause with Barcelona.

The Daily Star claim that United ‘maintain’ their ‘interest’ in Cesc Fabregas, Alcantara’s Barcelona teammate, despite the former Arsenal captain insisting he has received no contact from any club and sees his future at the Camp Nou.

United will, however, 'miss out' on signing Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid. The Spanish youngster looks set to remain at the Bernabeu this summer, the same source claims.

"I called the president and he told me that I will stay at Real Madrid next season," Morata told Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

"He is very happy with me."

Elsewhere, West Ham are ‘eyeing’ up a loan move for Wilfried Zaha, United’s January addition from Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile, Arsenal ‘powerbroker’ shareholder Alisher Usmanov has ‘hinted’ at a ‘raid’ for Wayne Rooney who he believes would be a ‘perfect fit’ for the Gunners.

In other news, Shinji Kagawa scored a stunning goal for Japan in their dramatic 4-3 defeat to Italy on Wednesday in the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

United will likely face Juventus and Italy legend Alessandro Del Piero and his A-League All Stars in Sydney next month as part of their pre-season tour.

United’s pre-season plans may be ‘scuppered’ by a fourth-tier Thai side Pattaya FC who successfully won an injunction to prevent voting on FIFA regulations that would allow United to play Singha All Stars XI on July 13 as they had planned.

Finally, Swansea City’s Alan Tate’s testimonial has been postponed and will not take place on Tuesday August 13th as had been planned. United will honour Tate at a later date, yet to be confirmed.

image: © eirikref

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch