Transfer Talk – Manchester United bosses vetoed Jose Mourinho targets


ESPN FC’s Craig Burley is “astonished” to see a club as big as Manchester United do so little in the summer transfer window.

The English transfer window is closed, but the rest of Europe is still open for business, and Transfer Talk has the latest rumours making the rounds. Follow along with our daily blog throughout the summer.

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Man United ‘vetoed’ Mourinho targets

Jose Mourinho is “frustrated” after ending transfer deadline day with Manchester United having seriously pursued precisely none of his defensive transfer targets during the window.

According to the Telegraph, Mourinho was told by United’s buying arm that the club would be willing to spend big money only on a “world-class defender” in the Raphael Varane bracket rather than compromise on a “lesser light”.

United would have happily paid £100 million for Varane, but the Real Madrid centre-back was never available.

However, the club were unimpressed by the alternative suggestions/demands put to them by their manager, flatly deciding that the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire were not worth the stratospheric fees being touted for them.

Indeed, the Guardian says that United chief executive Ed Woodward actually “vetoed” a number of Mourinho’s targets over concerns that the Portuguese was taking an overly short-term view rather than accepting that paying way over the odds might not be best for the club in the long run.

If that happens to be true, then something tells us this won’t be the last we hear of it.

United passed on Maguire a year ago

In the aftermath of Deadline Day, United fans will no doubt be heartened to learn that the club passed on the opportunity to sign one of their defensive targets just 12 months ago.

The Telegraph reports that the Red Devils were offered the chance to buy Maguire from Hull City for £15m in the summer of 2017 — mere weeks before the centre-back signed for Leicester City.

Skip forward a year and, after Maguire excelled for England at the World Cup, purported offers of £75m and upwards weren’t enough to lure the Foxes into selling their star man to United when the latter club returned to the well last week.

Still, despite missing out on several targets, Mourinho will no doubt be able to make do by persevering with the defender he ultimately bypassed Maguire to sign instead. That man was Victor Lindelof, who cost £31m to bring in from Benfica.

Did Arsenal make offer for Dembele?

Arsenal made a tentative effort to sign Ousmane Dembele on loan from Barcelona on Deadline Day, according to Gerard Romero, a noted journalist with an inside line on happenings at the Camp Nou.

Romero confirmed to Catalan radio station RAC 1 that Barca received an exploratory offer for Dembele from the Gunners on Thursday, though it was quickly rejected out of hand.

Arsenal had been linked with an approach for the French winger earlier in the week (which entailed an initial £10m loan with a £90m obligation-to-buy clause tacked on), but for his part BBC journalist David Ornstein refuted that Arsenal made an offer.


Luka Modric is continuing to train “professionally” with Real Madrid but his heart is still set on a transfer to Inter Milan this summer. Los Blancos are holding out hope that a suitably enormous contract offer will be enough change Modric’s mind, but, as Gianluca Di Marzio put it, the whole situation is fast becoming a “chess match” between the three interested parties.

– Nottingham Forest are still hopeful of wrapping up a loan deal for West Ham full-back Sam Byram despite negotiations over a permanent move appearing to peter out on Deadline Day, says the Nottingham Post.

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