Man Utd: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Manchester United, at one point, looked destined to sign Ruben Neves from Wolves. However, the club now appear to have changed their mind on the Portugal international. And it would be a surprise to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side make more signings before the transfer window slams shut on August 31.
It was Eurosport’s Dean Jones, speaking at the end of July, who claimed United had a deal for Neves ‘relatively far down the line’.
“I just haven’t heard a lot about Saul Niguez personally,” he told The Football Terrace podcast.
“So it’s hard for me to assess that one. So I’d say because of the information I’ve had, and it all depends on your sources, I know for a fact that they do like Neves, that they’ve been working on it in the background and it’s reasonably far down the line.
“And if they do want to progress with it they can, because the foundations have been laid.
“I don’t know about Saul Niguez, how much weight there really is behind that so it’s difficult for me to judge.
“There’s enough out there to believe there’s some substance to it but I’m sceptical because it’s Saul Niguez, this has happened a few times.”
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United have indeed had interest in Neves.
They’re open to signing another midfielder as they look to play more on the front foot next term, with Fred and Scott McTominay primed to sit on the bench more often next term.
United will going with a 4-3-3, instead of their usual 4-2-3-1, with Solskjaer keen to use Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the attacking midfield positions.
That’s why they’ve been looking at Neves, believing the Wolves star can be the ideal anchorman in the middle of the park.
However, they’ve now changed their mind on a deal.
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The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday that United had abandoned their pursuit of the Wolves star, as well as dropping their interest in Eduardo Camavinga and Saul Niguez.
And that suggests United will now go with what they’ve currently got. Which could represent a risk.
Pogba is undoubtedly talented, but the France international has blown hot and cold ever since returning to the club from Juventus back in the summer transfer window of 2016.
Fernandes was over-played last term and it was evident that, by the end of the campaign and at Euro 2020, the Portugal international had ran out of steam.
Fred and McTominay are both trusted by Solskjaer, but neither is good enough to fire them to title glory. Not yet, at least.
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Donny van de Beek made just four Premier League appearances last season and, though he’s bulked up, still has a big point to prove.
And Nemanja Matic is entering the twilight years of his career, too, with the Serbia international expected to be a squad player again this term.
Changing their mind on Neves is a gamble.
But United could be vindicated if they soar in the Premier League, with Leeds first up on Saturday afternoon as they look to get their campaign off to a winning start.
Speaking ahead of that match, meanwhile, Solskjaer has opened up on the club’s transfer business so far.
Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have all moved to Old Trafford this summer from Aston Villa, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.
And Solskjaer has admitted he’s happy with United’s signings, while also refusing to rule out more ‘surprises’.
“You never know what is going to happen in football,” he told Sky Sports.
“We’ve still got one hopefully coming in (Varane should be unveiled on Thursday) and any surprises, anything can happen.
“We’ve got to be ready, but I’m very happy with what we’ve done so far.”
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