All the news, views and transfer rumours from Old Trafford this weekend…
Manchester United continue to be linked with a number of new arrivals, and with the transfer window closing in just nine days they will have to act swiftly if they intend to strengthen their squad. To read our United-specific transfer news you can find our Saturday report here and our Sunday report here.
The biggest transfer news surrounding United this weekend is that Cristiano Ronaldo may return to the club next season.
The Observer reports that the Real Madrid forward has indicated he may spend his final years in the game back at Old Trafford; and that while he has no intention of leaving despite the imminent arrival of Gareth Bale, that could change next summer when the Portuguese has only a year left on his contract.
From potential arrivals to potential departures, with the Daily Mail claiming Wayne Rooney can leave United…if it is for a team abroad. However the story also claims there has been no such interest in the player, and with United unwilling to sell to Chelsea, Rooney is set to remain where he is, at least for now.
Not that Jose Mourinho agrees, with his latest comments suggesting there is nothing wrong with selling to a domestic rival.
“To me it is not a difficult decision,” he said, “because you want very much to keep Rooney or you don’t want to keep him.
“But that old-fashioned mentality of, ‘I don’t sell players to clubs in the same country’ – I think doesn’t help.”
That may be his opinion, but the simple fact is selling Rooney to Chelsea would strengthen them at exactly the time United need to attempt to maintain their domestic dominance.
Another manager has been speaking out about United, this time Everton boss Roberto Martinez.
In light of David Moyes’ recent comments that he would have found it hard to refuse an offer from United for Marouane Fellaini or Leighton Baines in his time as Everton manager, Martinez has warned the United boss to keep his thoughts to himself.
“I think everyone should look after their things internally,” he said. “I’m sure they’ve got many issues in the same manner.
“I could easily come out and give my opinion on his players, but I think I’ll be a bit more respectful than that.”
And with that, yet again, Martinez proved he is both a football manager and a gentleman.
In early team news for tomorrow evening’s clash between United and Chelsea, Moyes has suggested Rooney may start the game.
It would be a bold statement and it would be interesting to see how Rooney performs if thrown in against a club that publicly desires his services.
Moyes is without Rafael and is unlikely to be able to call upon Nani, Ashley Young or Javier Hernandez due to injury.
For Chelsea, David Luiz may still be missing, while Mourinho is likely to choose between Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres up front.
And finally, Alex Buttner looks set for a loan switch to Besiktas after Moyes sanctioned the move.
According to website TRT Spor, the Turkish side will pay €1million for his temporary services, and the left-back must now decide if he wishes to make the move in light of the fact that he is unlikely to get much game-time at Old Trafford in what is a World Cup year.
image: © Gordon Flood