MANCHESTER UNITED are kicking on with training ahead of the Premier League's likely restart in June.
But they could be without Odion Ighalo, who faces a nervous wait to find out whether he will be permitted to stay at Old Trafford or forced to return to Shanghai Shenhua.
Get all the Red Devils news and updates here…
GOOD MORNING, UTD FANS
Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso is the new man on the transfer speculation list – as United are once again linked with fellow 25-year-old France midfielder Adrien Rabiot.
The Bundesliga champions are reportedly willing to sell Toliss as he has made just seven starts this season.
And Juventus ace Rabiot has also struggled to hold down a regular place for the Serie A kings.
Now Gazzetto dello Sport say United are in talks with his mum and agent Veronique.
Rabiot was initially linked with a swap deal involving Juve target Paul Pogba but now he is thought to be available at £27million.
Talking of Pogba, ex-France and Barcelona striker Christophe Dugarry rates him the “ideal signing”for Real Madrid – but former Bernabeu star Uli Stielike says the 27-year-old is not “humble” enough to be a wise buy.
Meanwhile, loanee Odion Ighalo faces an uphill battle to persuade Shanghai Shenhua to let him stay with United beyond May 31 – for the rest of the extended Premier League season.
The Chinese Super League club appear determined that the Nigeria striker, 30, returns for the start of their season next month.
And United starlet Angel Gomes dreams of emulating Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta.
The England Under-20 midfielder told United's website: “In terms of who I model parts of my game on, I’d say Iniesta.
“He was always one of my idols… a big player I watched while growing up.”
SANCHO ALTERNATIVE SUS-SED
Chelsea are being linked with Porto's Mexico winger Jesus Corona – as a cheaper alternative to Manchester United target Jadon Sancho.
Corona, 27, who can also play as a wing-back, would also boost Frank Lampard's squad if, as expected, Willian and Pedro move on this summer.
United are rated favourites to sign £100million-rated England attacker Sancho, 20, should he leave Borussia Dortmund this summer.
But the coronavirus pandemic is likely to mean less spending this summer.
So the chances of mega-fee players like Sancho and United midfielder Paul Pogba moving on in the summer have reduced dramatically.
PLAY-DAY LOANS: EXPERT VIEW
As SunSport revealed some Prem clubs might consider payday-style loans, a financial expert involved in this area explains why the sport has arrived at such a situation.
The specialist said: “Football has lived way beyond its means for years and now they’ve run out of money.
“It’s like any other market in a downturn, so when you’re desperate for money you go to the people who have it and they dictate the terms.
“Firms are being asked for loans from clubs who don’t necessarily have the assets to command better rates.
“Liquidity in football clubs is very low and most of those looking for cash are asking for tide-over money of £30m-50m over six months.
“There’s no rule to say the lender can’t set whatever rate it likes if they know the client is desperate.”
Cash-strapped Premier League clubs are considering payday-style loans with huge interest rates to stay in business.
City investors are looking to cash in on the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic by charging 25 PER CENT on borrowings up to £100million.
At least four struggling Prem outfits are at the mercy of private equity or venture capitalist firms offering loans at rates massively above the Bank of England base rate of 0.1 per cent.
Lack of match-day revenue and uncertainty over how and when football will return have created a black hole in revenue for clubs.
And with games behind closed doors likely in the immediate future, clubs are unable to borrow cash against season ticket sales and normal game-day income.
They are also discouraged from using potential earnings from broadcast deals as collateral for loans.
BEST BA NONE
Ex-Barcelona striker Christophe Dugarry claims Paul Pogab would be the “ideal” signing for Real Madrid.
United midfielder Pogba's chances of moving to the Bernabeu or old club Juventus seem to have faded due to football taking a massive financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
But former France, Milan and Birmingham star Dugarry told RMC Sport: “We have all observed that this [Real squad] is ageing a little. “It has problems projecting, breaking lines and reaching the second line when there are centres.
“Pogba can do it. He is a boy who can score goals. For me, he is the ideal boy to give Real Madrid what is missing.
“A year has passed that has been difficult for him, because he has injuries and his team does not perform well, but every time he has been able to play, he quickly recovers his level.”
BUK TO THE FUTURE
Bukayo Saka appears to have told Manchester United and Liverpool they must be kidding if they hope to sign him.
Arsenal have reportedly been struggling to reach an agreement with speedster Saka, 18, over extending his contract beyond 2021.
But the ex-Gunners schoolkid posted a cute picture of himself in his very earliest days with the Londoners – smiling serenely as he posed in a teamshot.
Saka's Instagram snap soon attracted tens of thousands of likes – with, inevitably, many fans urging him to pen a new deal.
RAUL OUT BARGAIN DEAL
United would face a huge battle if they move in for reported target Raul Jimenez.
Wolves' owners Fosun have reportedly toldboss Nuno Espirito Santo there is no pressure to sell, despite recent talk pacy winger Adama Traore and Mexico marksman Raul Jimenez might be sold in the summer transfer window.
The Daily Mirror say Fosun told the Portuguese manager he can also keep other stars, likeRuben Neves and Joao Moutinho.
Sixth-placed Wolves hope to press for a champions league place if, as expected, the Premier League seasons resumes in mid-June.
GOMES IN IT TO WIN IT
United starlet Angel Gomes is trying to copy Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.
The England Under-20 midfielder told United's website he dreams of matching 131-cap ex-Spain playmaker Iniesta, 36, now with Japanese side Vissel Kobe.
Gomes, 19, said: “In terms of who I model parts of my game on, I’d say Iniesta.
He was always one of my idols… a big player I watched while growing up.”
Gomes believes the tiki-taka pass master operates in “similar positions” to him.
But he will have a sensational career if he achieves even half as much Iniesta.
The Catalan maestro won the World Cup once and the Euros twice at international level, whilst winning La Liga nine times and the Champions League on four occasions with Barca.
FIXTURES AND FITTING
Most clubs are expected to back the Premier League proposals put forward in phase two – including for returning to action next month
And Sky Sports claim the end of the week could see top flight bosses put forward draft plans as virtually the last step before the season resumes amid the coronavirus crisis.
That could include a provisional fixture list, including the date when football will officially return.
June 19 is one date commonly mentioned. But some Premier League clubs want a further week to prepare.
PREM CLOSE TO AGREEING RETURN DATE
THE Premier League's eagerly-awaited return date could be decided this week.
And a blockbuster clash between Manchester United and Spurs could be the first game back after the coronavirus pandemic.
Players are already preparing to step up training to include close-contact, with coaches reportedly being brought in to monitor contact.
Stars and managers can discuss any remaining concerns over phase two of Project Restart when they hold separate video calls with the Premier League on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, clubs can then vote on whether to move to the next stage of training, which could be brought in before the end of this week.
NEV IS MINGS THE MERCILESS
Gary Neville and Eddie Hearn made fun of Dominic Cummings' extraordinary press conference.
Prime minister Boris Johnson's top adviser faced a media grilling as he defended his 260-mile trip to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.
Social media was lit up with commentary on Cummings' performance during his interrogation.
Neville commented on how uncomfortable Cummings looked – with a pop at himself that had followers in stitches.
Manchester United legend Neville tweeted: “The most uncomfortable I’ve seen an Englishman in a press conference since a 7-0 defeat in Barcelona.”
That was in reference to his Valencia side's 7-0 mauling at the hands of Barcelona back in February 2016.
Luis Suarez scored four that night and Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick in the Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg clash.
And it led to an excruciating 11-minute meeting with the media afterwards, which Neville likened to Cummings' own performance.
GAS FUMES AT ROONEY
Cesc Fabregas still feels angry over Wayne Rooney's “dive” during Arsenal's famous 'Pizzagate' clash in 2004 when Manchester United ended the Invincibles' 49-game unbeaten run.
The Gunners and Chelsea legend told ex-United defender Rio Ferdinand on FIVE’s new Locker Room YouTube series: “Every single time he had the ball. You know Wayne dived for the penalty against Sol [Campbell].
“So we felt emotional. The emotion was that we lost against a great team, which can happen, but we didn’t feel we should have lost.
“We didn’t think it was the right time to lose our Invincible run.
“So yeah that was the main thing to be honest. Everyone was really, really upset.”
Premier League stars were cleared to kick off close-contact training on Sunday in a boost for the return of top-flight football.
New Stage Two guidance lets elite athletes train in pairs and small groups and waives the two-metre social distancing rule.
The news put a smile on the face of Wilfried Zaha as he began Crystal Palace training on Sunday.
And the easing of restrictions came as just two new positive results returned from 996 Premier League tests last week. They were logged at different clubs and the figure is four fewer than the week before.
More testing is due today and tomorrow before league bosses decide on Wednesday whether full-contact training will resume.
Odion Ighalo will keep pleading with Shanghai Shenhua to let him stay with United beyond May 31 – for the rest of the extended Premier League season.
But the Chinese Super League club are thought to be determined that the Nigeria striker, 30, returns for the start of their season next month.
United are said to have been in discussions with Shenhua – but so far without a solution to continue Ighalo's stay beyond four months.
POGBA'S NOT REAL 'HUMBLE'
Real Madrid legend Uli Stielike says United midfielder Paul Pogba's ego is too big for the Bernabeu.
Former West Germany star Stielike has told Real boss Zinedine Zidane that big-name signings are fine – but only if they are team players.
He told AS: “If you want to return to the idea of the Galactics, maybe yes.
“But I am more in favour of humble players with great talent and sacrifice for the team.”
RACE TO GRAB RAB
United have joined Arsenal in the race to land wantaway Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to reports.
Rabiot, 25, has only managed 11 Serie A starts after struggling to cement his role in Juve's congested midfield.
And now boss Maurizio Sarri will offload if he receives an offer in the region of £27million.
According to Gazzetto dello Sport, United are looking to make their move and have already held talks with his mother Veronique who acts as his agent.
Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to bolster his squad when the transfer window opens and sees Rabiot as a bargain buy.
It is also suggested that United have sent scouts to watch him in action on several occasions over the campaign.
United are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, according to reports.
And the Red Devils will be boosted by the news the Bundesliga giants are willing to sell him in the next transfer window.
The French World Cup-winning midfielder, 25, has spent three seasons with Bayern after joining from boyhood club Lyon in a £37m deal.
But this season he has been restricted to just seven starts as he struggled for game time and now wants to leave.
United were interested in a deal in January but while there are no negotiations going on at the moment, if they were to move in the summer, Bayern would sell up according to German outlet Bild.
Earlier this month, it was claimed United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing a summer swoop after failing to sign him on loan during the January transfer window.
Ryan Giggs was used to dealing with tough love playing in a Manchester United team captained by Roy Keane.
But the Old Trafford icon has revealed the hardest opponent he ever played against was Javier Zanetti – who broke his nose!
“The hardest player I played against was [Javier] Zanetti from Inter.
“He ran all day and he used to be a midfielder so he was comfortable on the ball.
“He could defend, he was tough and he actually broke my nose in the quarter-finals against them. He had everything as a defender.”
Clubs are set to find out if the Premier League will resume in mid-June.
Manchester United and Tottenham are expected to be the clubs given the green light to play the Friday night game which was postponed back in March.
June 19 is the date being proposed, after doubt was cast over whether June 12 would work.
Either way it'll be a Friday night game to kick us off.
According to ESPN, clubs are demanding three weeks of contact football before resuming matches.
Marcus Rashford has shared a picture of himself when he did modelling as a kid.
A young footballer appeared on the back of a Kellogg's cereal packet advertising free swimming vouchers.
He shared this long-distance shot on his Insta stories.
NOT SO SUPER
The Women’s Super League and Championship seasons have been ended, according to the FA.
Promotion and relegation are yet to be decided.
ON YOUR SAY 'SSO
United are still interested in signing Bayern Munich midfielder Correntin Tolisso, according to reports.
The Frenchman appears to be surplus to requirements at the Allianz Arena and Bayern would entertain selling him.
Tolisso, 25, has played 24 games in all competitions this season.
According to Bild’s Christian Falk: “At the moment there are no concrete negotiations. The player is currently injured.
“I do not rule out there is still interest in the future. Bayern would sell him.”
BAD NEWS FOR ZLAT
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have played his last game in professional football with reports claiming the AC Milan striker has suffered a suspected Achilles injury.
The Swedish striker – who turns 39 in October – only signed a short-term deal with the Serie A side when he re-joined the club on a free transfer midway through the season.
And with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign, his future not only at Milan, but in football is in doubt.
Taking to Twitter, SportMediaset journalist Pietro Balzano Prota said: “Bad injury for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“Medical tests are expected but it could be a long stop.”
According to Sky Sports Italia via Marca, the former Manchester United marksman is feared to have ruptured his Achilles tendon.
NO COMING BECK FROM THAT
Sir Alex Ferguson famously split David Beckham's eyebrow open after a furious spat following a defeat to Arsenal in 2003.
And now former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre has shed more light on the details of the incident, revealing the other players had to step in to prevent the pair having it out.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, Silvestre – who played the full game – said: “I was there. Everyone was shocked, but things like this happen in dressing rooms.
“It was a random kick by the boss – it was just unfortunate that the boot went straight into Beckham’s face!
“He was very angry and we had to intervene to prevent a confrontation. But that was the end of it then.
“Still, it impacted their relationship, and was probably among the reasons why David left that summer and signed for Real Madrid.”
United fans are reacting to news that Josh King could replace Odion Ighalo after the Nigerian's loan stint ends.
Ighalo's loan spell was only due to last until the end of May, due to the fact that he has commitments with his owning club Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League.
But the Norwegian striker, who came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, is not a name that excites United fans.
Solskjaer did try to sign King, 28, before the winter window shut at the end of January, but managed to capture Ighalo instead.
King has scored four goals and has two assists in 20 games this season.
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