Raphael Varane believes France team-mate Paul Pogba would be a "fantastic" addition if he joined Real Madrid.

Pogba, 26, has been heavily linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu this off-season, but the midfielder remains at Manchester United.

Varane, whose team's pre-season struggles continued with a 1-0 loss to Tottenham at the Audi Cup on Tuesday, would welcome Pogba to Madrid.

"I think we have a team. Pogba is a good player, I know him very well. For any team he would be fantastic," the defender said.

"I trust my team-mates. If new players come, we'll see. I trust my team-mates."

Madrid have lost three of their four pre-season games, with their only victory coming over Arsenal on penalties at the International Champions Cup.

But Varane is retaining belief in Zinedine Zidane's team, saying they would be a different beast once the season proper starts.

"I understand that you always want to improve. We are working on that and I trust in our work," he said.

"It is true that on an individual level we are making mistakes. They're not tactical, they're technical errors. This will be corrected. I think we're going to improve little by little. We are focused on our work.

"I understand that there are many expectations. I also want to see Madrid win, we all want more, it's good and normal.

"I remember that in 2017, when we won everything, we started the pre-season badly, with defeats.

"We all know that when the competition starts, Madrid is something else. This is not an excuse. We are focused on friendly matches.

"You have to be calm, this season didn't start. When it starts, we'll be ready."

Harry Maguire would be a good signing for Manchester United if they can lure him from Leicester City, says Wayne Rooney.

Maguire is reportedly a target for United, as well as Premier League rivals Manchester City, but the Foxes are said to value the England international at £80million, which would be a world-record fee for a defender.

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Leicester have already turned down two offers for the England international, who missed training on Monday, although James Maddison joked on social media his team-mate's absence was due to an upset stomach.

United's need for defensive reinforcements was exacerbated on Tuesday when it was confirmed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Eric Bailly could be out for five months after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.

Reports in Spain have suggested United are interested in Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti, but the club's all-time leading goalscorer Rooney has backed Maguire to be a success at Old Trafford.

"I think Harry's a good player and over the last few years he's improved as a player," Rooney said to ESPN FC.

"He's gotten better, and he's been a main player for Leicester City, but also for England. I think he'd be a good signing if they can get him."

While Maguire may arrive at Old Trafford ahead of August 8's transfer deadline, Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a move away.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola confirmed this month he is working on a deal for the midfielder, who has been touted as a target for Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

"It's obviously down to the club, to the board, to the manager, but I think also to the player," Rooney added when asked about the World Cup winner.

"If the player wants to stay, he'll stay and prove what a good player he is.

"Behind the scenes, I'm sure they're working on whether to keep him or whether to let him go."

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be sidelined for the foreseeable future after having knee surgery.

The 25-year-old centre-back suffered a knee injury against Tottenham during a pre-season friendly in China last week.

The initial signs were not good and Bailly may not play again in 2019, having also battled knee problems during an injury-plagued 2018-19.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the news after watching his side scrape past Norwegian outfit Kristiansund 1-0 in Oslo on Tuesday.

"Eric has had an operation and will be out for four to five months," he said.

"Hopefully we'll have him back around Christmas time."

Solskjaer acknowledged his side were fortunate to post their fifth straight pre-season victory after Juan Mata went down in the penalty area in the 91st minute.

Mata appeared to make the most of little-to-no contact from Andreas Vaikla, the third goalkeeper used by Kristiansund during the match, before scoring from the spot.

"They held their own. They defended really well," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"Of course we couldn't really break them down. They defended well and their 'keepers, all three of them, they did really well. But it's one of these games that we might get in the league ... sometimes it's the 91st minute, sometimes it's the first minute.

"The goal was very good... quality pass, great run and you're happy winning the game."

Solskjaer's son, Noah, appeared off the bench for Kristiansund in the dying stages, while the manager was flanked by his youngest son Elijah throughout the contest.

Asked if it was a proud night for his family, the United boss added: "I think so. Noah makes his debut for them in front of 28,000. It's not very often a Norwegian boy does [that]. Elijah next to me, he enjoyed it. That's what it about."

United play AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

Juan Mata's stoppage-time penalty gave a profligate Manchester United a controversial 1-0 friendly win over Norwegian outfit Kristiansund in Oslo on Tuesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side lacked sharpness in their penultimate pre-season friendly and wasted a host of chances - Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford the prime culprits.

Scott McTominay hit the post in the first half, too, and a draw seemed on the cards until Mata went down in the penalty area in stoppage time.

The Spaniard stepped up to take the spot-kick and coolly converted, sparing Solskjaer's blushes against a Kristiansund side who sit seventh in the ongoing Eliteserien.

Much of the pre-match build-up surrounded Noah Solskjaer, the 19-year-old son of the Manchester United boss who has occasionally featured for Kristiansund's B team.

Solskjaer Jr. was a late substitute, while new Manchester United signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James started for the visitors.

The chances came thick and fast in a one-sided opening half but Kristiansund held firm with a mix of defiant defence, a goalkeeper in inspired form and the odd stroke of luck.

Defender Christoffer Aasbak produced two vital interventions in the space of four minutes, first producing a last-ditch challenge that deflected a Lingard effort over before he cleared a dangerous Luke Shaw cross that James was waiting to tap in at the far post.

Kristiansund keeeper Sean McDermott was called upon at regular intervals - saving sharply from a Rashford free-kick, denying the same player with his legs and producing a one-handed stop to keep out a Lingard strike.

United's first half was summed up by McTominay's 42nd-minute strike that he thrashed into the woodwork before watching it bounce away to safety.

Kristiansund should have taken a shock lead six minutes into the second half but Sondre Sorli missed the target with a free header from close range and the near-miss kicked Solskjaer's men into action.

Rashford forced a one-handed save from Serigne Mor Mbaye, who replaced the excellent McDermott, while Solskjaer made 11 changes in a bid for the elusive first goal.

Mason Greenwood fired into the side netting and Fred then curled wide before the decisive moment, as Mata went down softly after Andreas Vaikla - the third goalkeeper to play in the match for Kristiansund - rushed off his line.

United have one more pre-season friendly remaining and will take on AC Milan on Saturday. A clash against Chelsea - now managed by former player Frank Lampard - will follow on the first weekend of the Premier League season.

Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved said there are "proposals" and "interest" for Paulo Dybala as the star attacker faces an uncertain future with the Serie A champions.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve are reportedly willing to cash in on Dybala, who has been linked to Manchester United, Tottenham, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Dybala struggled for form last season, scoring just five Serie A goals as the Argentina international was unable to cement a consistent role following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival.

"There are some proposals, there is some interest, but we wait for concrete action so we can then decide calmly," Nedved told reporters.

Reports grew on Monday that Dybala could be involved in a swap deal to lure Romelu Lukaku to Turin from United.

Serie A rivals Inter have been tipped to sign Lukaku throughout the window, however, the Nerazzurri are yet to reach a deal with United.

Juve have now emerged as a possible destination for Lukaku, with the Italian champions ready to offer Dybala to the Red Devils in exchange for cash plus the Belgium striker.

Asked about Lukaku, Nedved added: "Having won eight consecutive Serie A titles, we feel that we have a strong team already. Obviously, with the transfer market open, we're trying to reinforce the squad.

"I won't get into details and I don't want to talk about individuals, but let's say we are working on it."

 

Lazio president Claudio Lotito said the club will consider offers for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic amid growing links to Manchester United.

Midfielder Milinkovic-Savic reportedly has a verbal agreement to join Premier League giants United, with Ander Herrera having left for Paris Saint-Germain and Paul Pogba's future uncertain at Old Trafford.

According to reports, United are ready to offer €90million to prise Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio – who signed the 24-year-old Serbia midfielder in 2015.

"As I said a long time ago, it doesn't matter how hard it could be [to keep Milinkovic-Savic]," Lotito said.

"We will see what the market can offer and all the conditions that are going to be.

"We [as a club] feel great with Milinkovic, as he feels with the club. Offers, if there will be any, will be considered in a spirit of cooperation in order to guarantee both the interests of the club and the player."

Milinkovic-Savic scored seven goals in all competitions last season as Lazio won the Coppa Italia and finished eighth in Serie A.

Inter's offer for Romelu Lukaku was "fair and important," and they will not be forced into overpaying for the Manchester United striker, according to the Serie A side's CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

Lukaku has looked destined for the Old Trafford exit for much of the close season, with the striker's style of play seemingly not appealing to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Belgium international lost his place in the United team to Marcus Rashford last term after Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December, leading to significant transfer speculation.

Antonio Conte has made no secret of his desire to land the former Everton star - who has not been involved in United's pre-season matches due to injury - and Marotta confirmed on Monday that a bid has been made.

But following rumours of United rejecting the offer and demanding £80million (€88m), Inter appear unprepared to pay huge sums.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Marotta said: "These days it is clear that the demands for players [from clubs] are really high in some cases, as for Lukaku.

"We have made an offer [that was] fair and important, respecting the player's value. We will monitor the situation, but I don't feel I want to lose balance.

"The transfer window is long this year. Operations are not rushed, as they have been in past years.

"We are careful to assess opportunities based on financial and economic capacities. We must, however, respect the parameters of Financial Fair Play.

"But we must seize opportunities. We are confident."

James Maddison says Harry Maguire's absence from Leicester City training on Monday was down to an upset stomach.

England defender Maguire has been heavily linked to both Manchester City and Manchester United during the close season and reports circulated that he had skipped training.

That sent the rumour mill into overdrive, but Foxes team-mate Maddison used social media to light-heartedly reveal Maguire will have spent most of the day in the bathroom rather than negotiating a transfer.

Maguire, who started a pre-season game at Stoke City on Saturday, is reportedly valued at £80million by Leicester with Brendan Rodgers confirming they have turned down two bids for their star centre-back.

Former Manchester United and Juventus defender Patrice Evra has announced his retirement from football.

The 38-year-old – who made 81 appearances for France – also played for Monaco, Nice and Marseille during a glittering career, which ended with West Ham in 2018.

Evra has revealed that he has started preparations to become a coach and says he has the backing of legendary United manager Alex Ferguson.

"My playing career is officially over," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I started training for the UEFA B Coaching License in 2013, now I want to finish it and then go on to get the UEFA A license.

"In a year and a half, if everything goes well, I'll be ready to lead a team. Sir Alex Ferguson had predicted at the time that two of his players would become coaches of a high level: Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra."

Evra started his career with Italian sides Marsala and Monza before six seasons in France with Nice and Monaco. His form at the latter attracted the interest of Ferguson, who brought him to Old Trafford in 2006.

He then developed into one of Europe's best left-backs and enjoyed seven and a half fruitful years with the club, winning five Premier League titles and the 2007-08 Champions League.

Evra left the Red Devils for Juventus in 2014 and won two Serie A titles before returning to France with Marseille.

But Evra's time there ended in controversy after he kicked one of his side's supporters during the warm-up of a Europa League tie against Vitoria de Guimaraes.

He was subsequently banned by UEFA for seven months, returning to the Premier League to make five appearances for West Ham during the closing months of the 2017-18 season. 

Evra has also become famous for his exploits on social media, which included putting the leg of a raw chicken in his mouth during an Instagram video meant as a Thanksgiving message.

Romelu Lukaku has been left out of Manchester United's squad to face Norwegian side Kristiansund in Oslo on Tuesday.

The Belgium international failed to feature at all on the club's tour of Asia and speculation about his future is set to continue following his omission from the 26-man group named to fly to Norway.

United did not offer an explanation for striker Lukaku's absence.

Serie A side Inter have made their interest clear and the 26-year-old fuelled rumours of a move over the weekend as he uploaded a photo to social media showing him alongside his agent Federico Pastorello, captioned: "Soon to be continued."

San Siro might not be his only possible destination, however, with Italian champions Juventus also reportedly weighing up whether to make an offer.

Full-back Matteo Darmian, another player linked to Inter, has also been excluded from United's travelling party.

Eric Bailly will not travel after twisting his knee during last week's 2-1 victory over Tottenham in Shanghai.

The Kristiansund clash is the penultimate match on United's pre-season schedule, with only an International Champions Cup game against AC Milan in Cardiff to follow.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men then begin their Premier League campaign against Chelsea on August 11.

David Moyes believes Manchester United are starting to return to a transfer policy reflective of the club's "values" of old.

United have made two signings since the end of last season, both players aged 21.

Daniel James first joined from Swansea City and Aaron Wan-Bissaka followed in a reported £45million move from Crystal Palace.

Ex-United manager Moyes commended new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the approach after being left confused by the signings of recent seasons.

"They have now chosen to sign some young players and when you look back they signed Wayne Rooney from us at ­Everton aged 18," Moyes told the Mirror.

"Cristiano Ronaldo was also 18 when he joined, so over the years they have had a policy of signing young players and many of them have been the best up-and-coming future stars.

"Now and again there would be a sprinkling of stardust, like an Eric Cantona, or someone who they signed to make the difference, like Robin van Persie.

"I never thought they were a club who thought it was all about spending the money, but if they needed to, they could.

"Manchester United's values weren't always to buy the most expensive players but to do it their way which was bringing in the boys from the academy and picking up the best young players."

Moyes has coached Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham since being removed from his post at Old Trafford in April 2014.

The former Everton manager admitted to being "disappointed" with himself for not making more of the opportunity handed to him in the wake of Alex Ferguson's retirement.

However, the Scot believes the club would be more stable and in the Champions League regularly had he been granted a longer spell in charge.

"I didn't think I was going to be under pressure after six or 10 months because that wasn't the club's values," he said.

"Maybe I was naive and I should have realised that quicker."

The contract still needs signing but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is poised to make the biggest move of his career… if you believe reports.

Linked with Europe's biggest clubs last season, Lazio star Milinkovic-Savic is once again in demand heading into 2019-20.

And the Serbia international's future is reportedly already decided.

 

TOP STORY – MILINKOVIC-SAVIC GIVES UNITED HIS WORD

Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic has a verbal agreement to join Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

With Paul Pogba's future at Old Trafford uncertain amid links to Real Madrid, Milinkovic-Savic has emerged as a transfer target for the Red Devils.

And Serbia international Milinkovic-Savic – who is reportedly rated at £80million – has agreed in principal to make the switch to Manchester as the world waits on Pogba's next move.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United are closing in on Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes. SPORT claims United are readying a £63m (€70m) offer for the 24-year-old Portugal midfielder. It comes after the Red Devils tried to continue their Portuguese pursuit with a move for Benfica defender Ruben Dias as an alternative to Leicester City star Harry Maguire but the club were unsuccessful, according to O Jogo.

- According to RMC, Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal is not a done deal. Lille star Pepe has been tipped to join the Gunners, however, Liverpool and Inter are reportedly still in the running to sign the Ivory Coast international.

Juventus are in pole position to sign Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku ahead of Serie A rivals Inter. That is according to Tuttosport, who say the possibility of a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala has put Juve at the front of the queue. Dybala is also wanted by Tottenham.

- Marca reports Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen is interested in a move to Juventus. The Spanish newspaper says Eriksen – who has no intention of re-signing with Spurs – also likes Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, having been previously linked to Real Madrid.

- Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye is set to undergo a medical with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Monday ahead of his €32m (£28.7m) transfer, reports the Guardian. Everton, meanwhile, reportedly had a £52m bid for Wilfried Zaha rejected by Premier League rivals Crystal Palace.

- According to Turkish newspaper Star, Besiktas will make another attempt to sign Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala. The Frenchman has struggled to make an impact since arriving in 2014.

- Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning are unwilling to pay the transfer fee that Real Madrid are demanding for Gareth Bale, according to Marca. Bale was reportedly set for China but that move appears off… for now.

Atletico Madrid are growing pessimistic in their pursuit of Real Madrid's James Rodriguez. Atletico have emerged as frontrunners for James ahead of Napoli, however, negotiations with Madrid are proving difficult, reports Marca.

Sporting CP head coach Marcel Keizer is not sure whether star midfielder Bruno Fernandes will remain at the club amid strong links to Manchester United.

Fernandes has been tipped to join United throughout the transfer window and talk of a switch to Old Trafford has gathered pace with the Premier League season on the horizon.

The Sporting captain appeared to be in tears following Sunday's 2-1 friendly loss to Valencia in Lisbon, prompting talk of an imminent departure.

Asked about Fernandes – who was in the starting line-up – Keizer told reporters post-match: "We'll see if we can keep our players and then we'll see what we do.

"I hope he [Fernandes] stays, of course, like everyone else at Sporting, but we don't know."

Fernandes scored 20 goals – 31 in all competitions – and supplied 13 assists in the Primeira Liga last season as Sporting finished third.

And Sporting team-mate Luciano Vietto hopes the 24-year-old Portugal international will not be tempted away.

"He is the most important player of our team; I hope he will continue," said Vietto, who joined Sporting from Atletico Madrid this month.

Paul Pogba would strengthen Real Madrid if he makes the move from Manchester United, according to the midfielder's brother.

Reports in England and Spain claim Zinedine Zidane wants to sign France star Pogba once Gareth Bale completes an expected move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.

The rumours come in the wake of Madrid's humiliating 7-3 loss to city rivals Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup.

Pogba's future at Old Trafford has been in doubt since his agent, Mino Raiola, confirmed the 26-year-old's "willingness" to negotiate a transfer.

And his brother Mathias, a professional footballer formerly of Partick Thistle, thinks a move to the LaLiga giants could make sense for both parties.

"I feel my brother could help any team," Mathias told AS.

"If he plays for Madrid, he will help Madrid.

"I always want what's the best for my brother. If he feels Real Madrid is the best club for him, he will come."

Guinea international Mathias, 28, completed his own move to Spain over the weekend, signing for fourth-tier Manchego Ciudad Real after a spell at Tours in France.

However, the elder Pogba said: "I'm in Spain because I want to be and it has nothing to do with the possibility of my younger brother securing a move.

"We can't do anything about the rumours."

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