Angel Di Maria, who Manchester United have reportedly targeted as a significant acquisition this summer, does not want to return to Real Madrid for pre-season training on the expected date of the 5th of August, as reported by AS.com.
However, Man Utd might still be beaten to the punch for the talented midfielder, and will need to make an offer soon, with Paris Saint Germain stealing a march on their rivals for his signature. The Paris club have raised their bid for the midfielder to €75 million, having seen their previous offer of €65 million rejected by the Spanish giants.
While Carlo Ancelotti is keen to keep hold of the winger, Real’s hierarchy have stressed to the manager that they cannot afford to turn down a bid of that size for the player. It would help the club finance the signings of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, and the expected addition of Keylor Navas.
PSG will have to watch out, however, with Man Utd lurking. Louis van Gaal has reportedly identified Di Maria as a target, as reported today by the Daily Star. Furthermore, PSG may have to sell before they can buy, and will need to move on two of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani to avoid further Financial Fair Play issues.
New Chelsea signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have combined on their debuts to score the opening goal in their side’s second pre-season friendly of the summer.
Diego Costa joined the Blues from Atletico Madrid this summer, having won La Liga with them last season and reached the Champions League final. The powerful striker impressed last season, and changed his national allegiance ahead of this summer’s World Cup, making his way into Vincente del Bosque’s Spain squad for the tournament. Spain were eliminated in the group stages.
Fabregas, part of the same team at the World Cup, also moved to Chelsea this summer after sending a handful of seasons back with Barcelona, where he began his career. He moved to the London club despite holding great allegiance towards their cross-city rivals Arsenal. The talented midfielder is a significant addition at the club, and adds a significant level of creativity to their midfield.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have been delighted to have seen his new pair combine in such an effective fashion so early into their career at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United are reportedly not targeting a move for Feyenoord’s Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij, despite consistent rumours that Louis van Gaal was interested in bringing his national team stalwart in to Old Trafford, as reported by Dutch radio station RTV Rijnmond.
De Vrij is considered one of the top young defenders in Europe, and impressed heavily at this summer’s World Cup. Van Gaal selected him for every match as the Dutch national side reached the semi finals, eventually finishing in third place.
Along with Arjen Robben, the central defender was one of two players in Van Gaal’s side who were selected in the Team of the Tournament.
It was no surprise that De Vrij was heavily linked with a move to Man Utd this summer. Van Gaal is seeking to implement his 3-5-2 formation at his new club, but the defence needs significant reconstruction work.
The Old Trafford club have only three central defenders available to them – Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. It would have made sense for Van Gaal to turn to a defender he clearly trusts, who is already used to the new system, to build a back three around.
De Vrij scored his first international goal at the World Cup against Spain.