Di Maria’s wife breaks the silence on his mega move to Manchester United

Angel Di Maria’s wife, Jorgelina Cardoso, has recalled that there were voices in Spain that labelled her husband as mercenaries following his departure from Real Madrid in 2014.

Cardoso admitted that Manchester United made an offer that the Argentine winger could not turn down.

Jorgelina Cardoso and Angel di Maria 2

“Angel played in what is, for me, the best team in the world,” Di Maria’s wife said.

“We were perfect; the weather was perfect and the food fantastic.

“One day Angel came and told me, ‘An offer came in from Manchester’.

“I said no bloody way and warned him he was going alone.

“He replied, ‘Yes, we are going’.

Angel di Maria

“There was a lot of money and the Spanish came out to call us mercenaries.

“And yes, we were.

“If you work in a company and the competition comes to tell you that they pay double, you will go running.”

Nigeria’s Ighalo and Manchester United likely to agree on a permanent move

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted the Red Devils could look to sign striker Odion Ighalo on a permanent deal if he impresses while on loan.

United raised more than a few eyebrows with the acquisition of Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua on transfer deadline day.

Solskjer was desperately scouring the winter market for a striker after Marcus Rashford’s injury left them short at that end of the field.

After selling Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan over the summer, United surprisingly didn’t bring in a replacement and Rashford had been burdened with the responsibility of leading the line.

Odion Ighalo 2

Image: Odion Ighalo

Teenager Mason Greenwood was promoted to the first team and has impressed but many felt the Red Devils were seriously lacking in cover.

Rashford was ruled out for at least six weeks after sustaining back injury, with some reports even suggesting he could miss the rest of the season. But United are optimistic about their academy product being back on the field in the latter stages of the term. However, his absence forced their hand in the transfer window.

Former Watford striker Ighalo, who has been playing in the Chinese Super League since February 2019, was the man they finally landed on.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has forced Ighalo to train away from the rest of the United squad ahead of their Monday trip to Chelsea.

Ighalo scored 36 goals in 90 appearances for Watford between 2014 and 2017 and has taken a pay cut to join his boyhood club on-loan.

The Red Devils will be hoping he can hit the ground running and Solskjaer’s latest comments may help to add further motivation for the Nigeria international. Solskjaer said: “It’s a loan, but when you’re in the door and if you impress it gives you a chance.

“That’s exactly the same for everyone who signs if it’s permanent or it’s a loan. If you impress as a player, if you impress as a person, if you can help this group improve, then, of course, there’s a chance that we’ll look at extending things.”

The Old Trafford outfit will undoubtedly need to add a striker on a permanent deal next summer and Ighalo could convince United to tie him down over the coming months.

Rio Ferdinand suicidal after wife’s death

Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand, has opened up about his struggles with alcohol before meeting his new wife Kate Ferdinand.

Ferdinand’s late wife Rebecca passed way in May 2015 following a long battle with breast cancer, leaving the former defender to raise their three kids – Lorenz, Take and Tia – alone. It was then that he turned to alcohol as a means to deal with his grief.

“I was drinking most nights once the kids had gone to bed. I was in a bad place,” Ferdinand told You magazine ahead of the release of his upcoming BBC documentary, Rio And Kate: Becoming A Step Family, on Monday, February 10.

The former England international explains in the documentary how hard it was for him to find out his kids knew about his drinking problem after he had thought he had been hiding it from them. But, eventually, he got himself together again after meeting his new wife Rebecca, much to the delight of his worried children.

“I thought I kept it hidden from them, and hearing that was hard for me. I’d shut down but meeting Kate changed that and surely that can only be a good thing.”

Ferdinand feared he would never meet anyone

Ferdinand also admitted that he feared he would never find love again following the death of Rebecca.

He said: “I thought I’m never going to be happy again. I’ll never meet anyone, I was just really content with just being me and the kids and that’s all I thought it was going to be. And then something just happened.

“When you speak to the kids and the response is much more fun in the house, like – what dad couldn’t want that? She’s uplifting, she’s added value to this house given where it was. It was at a low ebb.”

The former United centre back started dating Kate in 2016, with the two tying the knot in Turkey last year.

Manchester United are rebuilding for the future – Ed Woodward

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced that the club will continue to strengthen the squad and sees this summer’s transfer window as an important opportunity to make reinforcements.

Woodward explained that last month’s signing of Bruno Fernandes was brought forward six months –a clear demonstration of the club’s commitment to rebuilding the squad.

Fernandes joined at the end of January on a reported 55 million euro deal from Lisbon-based outfit, Sporting Club. More recruits are expected when the next window opens on 1 July.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Bruno Fernandes and the players we brought last summer are evidence that our process is the right one,” Woodward said via a statement read on his behalf at today’s Fans’ Forum.

“There has been no shortage of investment in players over the past few years, with over £200 million spent since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became our manager.

“Our aim is to ensure that we continue to achieve consistency in quality of recruitment.

“Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild we see this coming summer as an important opportunity. We had consistently taken the view that – because January is not an optimal time in terms of availability of players – we would only buy in January if players we had already targeted for the summer became available and we were pleased that this strategy played out with the signing of Bruno Fernandes.

“We are not yet where we want to be but it is the overwhelming priority of everyone at the club to get us back to regularly challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles”.

Pogba set to move on

It confirms that United are in for a busy summer with several players set to move on – including Paul Pogba, which would raise funds for a number of transfer targets including Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martínez.

Irobiko Chimezie

Manchester United ready to splash cash on Christian Eriksen

Manchester United are reportedly set to revive their interest in Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen in January as they will be able to sign him for a reduced fee.

The Old Trafford boss is a huge admirer of his fellow Scandinavian, who has run down his contract and can quit north London next summer on a lucrative free transfer.

United sounded out the 27-year-old playmaker earlier this year although the Dane told them he had set his heart on a move to Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants, however, failed to make their move and Eriksen’s camp remains uncertain as to whether officials at the Bernabeu have since cooled on their client.

It’s understood intermediaries recently made the Red Devils aware Spurs are prepared to accept a fee of around Pound 8 million, rather than see the former Ajax starlet leave them cashless by letting his final six months lapse.

And Solskjaer is now ready to establish if Eriksen would be willing to reconsider and make a shock switch to the Theater of Dreams when the transfer window opens in a fortnight.

United previously made it clear to the player they could meet his salary demands of Pound 250 000-per-week, which would put him near the top of their salary scale.

They also know Eriksen is shortly able to discuss his options with clubs on the continent, with Juventus also making the usual noises about procuring a top player for next to nothing.

Spurs had hoped the Denmark international might sign a new five-year deal following the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager last month.

Eriksen, though, has remained on the periphery and is unlikely to start Sunday’s home derby clash against fierce rivals Chelsea, which would see the Lilywhites leapfrog them into fourth with a win.

United are in the market for a creative midfielder and have been strongly linked to Leicester City and England schemer James Maddison, who they know would set them back the thick end of £70m to extricate from King Power Stadium.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy fueled the Eriksen fire on Wednesday after admitting he would not be scared to sell him to a fellow Premier League side.

Transfer Market: Solskjaer says Manchester Utd won’t spend much in January

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Saturday there is little hope of Manchester United being able to make significant additions to their under-performing squad in the January transfer window.

United have been linked with a long list of potential new recruits as Solskjaer seeks to improve after an inconsistent start to the season.

Names like England winger Jadon Sancho, currently with Borussia Dortmund but reportedly keen to return to English football, Leicester playmaker James Maddison and Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland, one of the most sought after young talents in Europe, have all been linked with United.

A possible move for Haaland appears particularly plausible, given that Solskjaer worked with the forward while at Norwegian side Molde.

But, given the constraints presented by the mid-season window, Solskjaer insists that talk of a wholesale injection of fresh blood in January is fanciful.

“It is not about ‘x’ amount of money, it is about who do we think will be good for the club in the long-term, not just three or four months,” he said.

“Not many clubs want to sell players that they would otherwise want to keep in January.

“Maybe one or two could be a loan deal but that is not a big money thing, it is just to help the team. But we are getting players back and we are looking at what can be available for us.”

No firm return date for Pogba

Getting players back to fitness has been one of many challenges faced by the United manager over the opening weeks of the campaign, with French World Cup winner Paul Pogba the most notable absentee.

There is still no firm date for Pogba to return form a persistent ankle problem, with the most optimistic estimates appearing to put his possible comeback in mid-December.

But United’s difficulties in the centre of midfield have been exacerbated by the loss of Scott McTominay, who injured his ankle before the international break, and veteran Nemanja Matic who has only just returned to training after nearly seven weeks out.

The problems do not appear likely to be solved in time for the start of next month which kicks off with United welcoming Tottenham, and their recently-appointed former United manager Jose Mourinho, to Old Trafford before visiting City in the season’s first Manchester derby.

However, Solskjaer has pointed to the recent improvements shown by Brazilian midfielder Fred, a disappointment last season after a Pound 52 million move from Shakhtar Donetsk, with his manager finally believing that the 26-year-old is living up to his potential.

“First of all, the price tag, that is none of Fred’s concern, and it shouldn’t be because that is just how football has gone,” said the United manager.

“The prices nowadays, you think, ‘Hmm’ but the market today is different to what it was. That shouldn’t be on Fred, that should be on us.

“Fred came in, he did well to start with. Then he hit a difficult period. Then when I came in, he found it hard, then he had a very good period. And now he is having a very good period again. He is showing what we saw in him.

“He is more confident, he believes in himself. He has come to a new country, the biggest club in the world, he is learning the language. He is speaking good English now, I don’t have to speak very slowly to him when we talk to him now.”

What Ed Woodward did after Mourinho was hired by Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho revealed he received a “special” message from Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after being named Tottenham head coach.

Three-time Premier League title winner Mourinho was appointed by Tottenham on Wednesday, less than 12 hours on from Mauricio Pochettino’s departure.

Mourinho had been out of work since being sacked by United last December following a poor run of form that left the club sixth in the Premier League.

Despite his acrimonious split with United, Mourinho was congratulated by Woodward for landing a new job.

“I received messages from everybody, everywhere [from my former clubs],” he told Sky Sports News.

“Maybe I get the opportunity to apologize for not answering 500 of them that I couldn’t answer. I have 700 but only had time to answer 200.

“But it was curious to see, from my last club, so many people showing me that respect, empathy and feeling. It was nice.

“All of them were special. The first one was from [United managing director] Richard Arnold. The third, fourth or fifth was Ed Woodward. And they were my bosses.”

Mourinho’s relationship with Woodward appeared to be strained at times over a disagreement on transfer targets, but he is not expecting that to be an issue with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

“I think we will get on well,” Mourinho said. “He explained to me the vision for the club and I embraced that. It was one of the most important reasons I accepted. So, when I did that, it’s a very good start.”

 

Manchester Utd star wants Mourinho back at Old Trafford

Victor Lindelof admits he misses his former manager Jose Mourinho being in football, following his departure from Manchester United last season.

Mourinho has been out of managerial work since being sacked by United in December 2018, after he oversaw the club’s worst start to a campaign in 28 years.

The Portuguese, 56, has been linked to various roles in world football since then and Lindelof, who won the Swedish Golden Ball award for the second consecutive year this week, says he would like to see him back managing at the top level again in the future.

“He is, after all, one of the world’s best coaches and he is supposed to have a job at one of the biggest clubs. I miss him in football,” Lindelof told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

“He’s a great coach and a great person, whom I owe a great deal. It was he who gave me the chance here, who brought me into everything.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho was critical of Lindelof’s performance in United’s 2-0 defeat away at West Ham in September, claiming that the defender can be “bullied” by attackers and is weak in aerial battles.

The centre-half, who Mourinho signed from Benfica for £30m in 2017, was unfazed by the comments at the time, and maintains that he owes his ex-manager a debt of gratitude for bringing him to the Premier League.

“I have all the respect in the world for him and appreciate everything he has said and done for me, from scolding to a hug.

“Even if I did not agree, at the time… he has very great charisma, you had great respect for him.

“He’s won everything. When he says something, you listen.”

Real Madrid have a better replacement for Pogba

With 28 days of the transfer market remaining, it seems that Real Madrid’s plan for their midfield is to sign Donny van de Beek and leave Paul Pogba at Manchester United.

This is a disappointment for the French player and for Zinedine Zidane, who was very keen to bring his countryman to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Nothing is certain in football, but it does appear that Van de Beek is hours away from joining Los Blancos and that Pogba is an impossible mission.

The fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he has “no doubt” that Pogba will stay at Old Trafford and the fact that the Premier League market closes on August 8 makes it complicated for Real Madrid, as Manchester United wouldn’t have time to reinvest any transfer fee received for the player.

Pogba didn’t travel to Cardiff for his side’s most recent match, due to a back injury that many in England were suspicious about.

It was even reported by The Daily Mail that Pogba was rebelling in order to try to force an exit, but Solksjaer insisted that the player was injured and also that he’d be staying and would probably be available to take on Chelsea at the start of the Premier League season.

Manchester United haven’t wanted to sell Pogba and, even if they were willing to negotiate, the starting point would have likely been around 180 million euros.

Pogba, then, is set to stay in England, but Real Madrid will reinforce their midfield with Van de Beek.

Donny van de Beek.jpg

As was reported by MARCA on Friday, there is a deal between the Spanish club and the player and now an agreement just needs to be reached with Ajax.

Although these negotiations haven’t yet reached a conclusion, Real Madrid are hopeful of closing a deal for 50m euros plus a small number of potential add-ons.

The midfielder played in Ajax’s 2-2 draw with Vitesse on Saturday, scoring once and assisting another, and his team’s fans could be heard chanting for him to stay.

“I heard that, yes,” he said afterwards.

However, it seems that the 22-year-old Dutchman will be coming to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and his transfer could even be completed in the coming week.

Solskjaer: Pogba not going anywhere this summer

Manchester United brought their pre-season campaign to an end with a 2-2 draw against AC Milan in Cardiff, yet they did so without the services of Paul Pogba who was absent with a back injury.

In the face of fresh speculation about the Frenchman’s future, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in no doubt that Pogba will stay at Old Trafford this summer.

United’s creativity from midfield was certainly diminished without Pogba in the team on Saturday, although the disinterest he has shown throughout the summer tour when not in possession wasn’t missed.

“I have no doubt that Paul Pogba will stay at Manchester United this summer,” Solskjaer explained in his post-match press conference.

“He’ll probably be back training early next week, it’s not an injury but just some pain.

“I wasn’t going to risk anything this weekend; he should be okay for Chelsea.”

Despite suggestions that Zinedine Zidane was pushing Real Madrid to re-investigate the possibility of signing the former Juventus midfielder this summer, Los Blancos are waiting to agree a fee with Ajax for Donny van de Beek, with the Dutchman set to arrive this week.

Real Madrid ready to break the bank for Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard.jpg

Manchester United have reportedly spoken with Real Madrid over the sale of midfielder Paul Pogba.

Los Blancos chiefs are believed to have met with Red Devils officials last week as they were tying up a deal for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, but Madrid will have to meet United’s asking price of £150 million, according to the Sun.

Zinedine Zidane wants Pogba at the heart of his midfield as he prepares to transform his side this summer.

The Frenchman could be free to move this summer after the transfer ban on his agent Mino Raiola was suspended.

Hazard, meanwhile, was signed on Friday evening in a deal that could potentially rise to the same amount United are asking for.

The forward star joins Real for the same basic fee (£89m) that Gareth Bale joined them from Tottenham and Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus for. Add-ons are expected to make the Hazard deal more expensive than Kylian Mbappe’s permanent move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.

Solskjaer planning a nice send off for Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia.jpg

Ahead of the upcoming clash between Manchester United and Cardiff City, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he will give previously unknown players a chance to represent the club.

The Sunday game against Neil Warmock’s Bluebirds will be one of Premier League’s last matches for the 2018/19 season.

Solskjaer isn’t sure that Captain Antonio Valencia will play against the visitors due to his fitness level—a situation which may deny him [Valencia] the chance to make a farewell appearance. His contract ends in the summer transfer window.

However, the Norwegian coach has revealed plans to test some young players with first-team action. Some of the lucky youngsters are Mason Greenwood, Dylan Levitt, Angel Gomes, James Graner, Arnau Puigmal and Tahith Chong, who trained with the senior team on Thursday.

Speaking with high expectations from his “surprise” line-up against Cardiff City, Solskjaer said some of the new boys will certainly play alongside their idols. He, however, refused to talk about the upcoming transfer window and United’s plan to sell, buy or swap players.

‘Nothing is ever certain in football,’ Solskjaer said. ‘It’s hard—in most cases—to tell which match will be your last or which one will provide a stepping stone to another player’s career.’

He continued, ‘United has many young, fit and motivated players waiting for their chance all season…Some of those who trained with us on Thursday may get a green.’

Chong played against Huddersfield last weekend—as a substitute—and Greenwood has been certified fit to play after sustaining an injury which ruled him out of the 1-1 draw.

Captain Valencia, who hasn’t tested first-team action since 2 January, is back in training and motivated to prove his worth.

‘I had a conversation with Valencia yesterday and he admitted struggling to regain fitness,’ United manager said, adding that it’s rather unfortunate that his captain hasn’t played since the 5 or 6 months he was appointed Caretaker Manager.

He continued, ‘Valencia feels he has an obligation to play a part in the Cardiff game and I look forward to seeing him go through with the training process so we could give him a nice after-match party…He has been loyal, dedicated and fantastic at Old Trafford.

‘He [Valencia] means lots of things to people—a captain, Player of the Year and a motivator—which explain why it’s only fair that we celebrate him with loud ovation and a nice send off.’

Luis Antonio Valencia is a 33-year-old Ecuadorian footballer. He plays as a winger and captain for both Manchester United and his national team.

Manchester United disgraced 4-0 at Goodison Park

Manchester United followed up their Champions League exit to Barcelona with a humbling defeat against Everton at Goodison Park.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side suffered their heaviest loss of the season as goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott secured a 4-0 win for the hosts.

The Red Devils started the game slowly and were behind after 13 minutes as Barcelona target Richarlison netted with an acrobatic effort.

Questions were asked of David De Gea as United went two down thanks to Sigurdsson’s long-range strike that beat the Spanish goalkeeper at his near post.

It was a similar story after the break, with former Barcelona full-back Dignebeating De Gea from the edge of the area.

Solskjaer had made two changes at half time, but it was an Everton substitute who made an impact on the game when Theo Walcott stole in behind the United defence and slotted in the Toffees’ fourth.

The defeat leaves United in sixth, two points off Arsenal in fourth having played a game more than the Gunners.

“We have got to apologize to the fans,” Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

That performance was not good enough for a Manchester United team – from me to the players.

”We know we let the fans and the club down. That performance is difficult to describe because it was so bad. They beat us on all the basics.

“We were beaten on all the ingredients you need, added to your talent, today. As I said last week as well, there is no place to hide on the pitch. It was 85 minutes before we had a shot on target. It’s not good enough. We know that.”

Solskjær signs a 3-year contract with Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been appointed manager of Premier League side Manchester United.

Latest news from Old Trafford confirm the football coach who previously held position as the club’s caretaker manager has signed a 3-year contract. The new agreement elevates his position to “full-time manager.”

According to Manchester TV, the former United striker will hold a press conference later this evening.

‘From my first day at Old Trafford, I had a feeling that club is special and I was right about it,’ Solskjær before the announcement.

‘It was a great honour to be a Manchester United player.

‘Starting my coaching career here indicates something about the club’s values as well as mine… In recent months, our experience has been quite inspiring. I am grateful to the club management, coaching staff and players for the progress we’ve made so far.

‘Coaching is a job that I always dreamed of. And I’m beyond excited to have the chance to lead United for such a long time, with the hope that we will continue to amaze our fans—and by so doing—deliver trophies.

Between 1996 – 2007, Solskjær scored a total of 126 goals in 366 appearances for United. He was in-charge of the club’s reserve team until the end of 2010. In December 2018, the former striker was appointed “caretaker manager” and has since won a record 14 out of 19 games, also amazing highest points in EPL within the period. His most memorable achievement as a manager at Old Trafford is winning consecutive eight games in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s disappointing exit from Old Trafford.

United are currently 5th with 58 points on the English Premier League table, just 2 points behind Arsenal and 3 points behind Tottenham Hotspur.

“Since coming in as caretaker manager in December, the results Ole has delivered speak for themselves,” United Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward said.

“More than just performances and results, Ole brings a wealth of experience, both as a player and as a coach, coupled with a desire to give young players their chance and a deep understanding of the culture of the club.

“This all means that he is the right person to take Manchester United forward…I want to thank Ole and the coaching team for everything they have done so far and congratulate him on this richly deserved appointment. The fans and everyone at the club are behind him as he looks to take us where we need to be and build the next stage of our history.”

Manchester United vs Arsenal: All you need to know

Manchester United will be looking to build on Wednesday’s progression to the Champions League quarter-finals when facing Arsenal in the Premier League this Sunday evening.

Here are some of the essential stats you need to know ahead of the big game at the Emirates Stadium, which kicks off at 16:30 GMT

  • The Reds have won eight, drawn eight and lost 10 of our 26 away games at Arsenal in the Premier League era.
  • Nine of the current United squad have scored against Arsenal: Alexis, Herrera, Lingard, Martial, Mata, Pogba, Rashford, Valencia and Young.
  • In our 17 games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Reds have scored the first goal on 13 occasions.
  • Solskjaer made more appearances (19) against Arsenal as a player than any other team. He scored twice against the Gunners and was on the winning side six times.
  • United have faced Arsenal more times than any other team. Today’s game will be the 200th league meeting and 230th game between the sides in all competitions.
  • Of the 39 goals we have scored under Ole, 20 have been scored by Academy graduates.
  • United have won our last three matches in all competitions, scoring three times in each game.
  • The Reds will be looking to extend our club-record winning run on the road to 10 matches.
  • The Reds will be looking to extend our club-record winning run on the road to 10 matches.
  • Chris Smalling could make his 200th Premier League appearance for United in today’s game at Arsenal.