Bruno Fernandes has provided Manchester United with a big boost but "one or two pieces" are needed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team to be where he wants it.

Having failed to reach a deal with Sporting CP in the close season, United finally snapped up Fernandes in January in a transfer that could cost up to £67.6million (€80m).

The Portugal international has scored two goals and set up another pair in his five appearances since arriving at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer has no doubt Fernandes has provided United with something they were lacking, but he feels further additions are needed to get his team up to the standard he expects.

"We knew when we made the decisions we made in the summer it was going to take time and Rome, as I've said a few times, wasn't built in a day," said Solskjaer ahead of Sunday's trip to Everton.

"But the culture, the attitude, the fitness, the camaraderie, the team spirit, maybe even the understanding between players, have improved.

"We have missed that box-opener that Bruno is proving to be now. There was one or two pieces missing and we still know we're missing one or two pieces to be where we want to be. But it's a work in progress.

"Kieran [McKenna], Michael [Carrick] fantastic on the training ground I have to say, the coaching, and the boys are willing to learn. And now we've got more and more fit players as well."

Solskjaer has been impressed by the attitude displayed by Fernandes, who was on target from the penalty spot in a 5-0 win over Club Brugge on Thursday that sent United into the last 16 of the Europa League.

"When I send him in or when I take him off – obviously he didn't want to come off [against Brugge], that's one thing. He just loves football, he's got so much enthusiasm and has a smile about him, he wants to be out there and wants to be better," said the manager.

"I tried to send him in because it was cold and [he said,] 'Oh, no, no. I want to watch.' He just loves football, he'll probably know everything about football and is just one of these old-school boys that football is everything for him. He's been a big, big boost for us."

Everyone wants a piece of Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian teenager has taken Europe by storm this season. First with Salzburg and now with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland's exploits have reportedly alerted Real Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID MAKE CONTACT FOR HAALAND

Real Madrid have held talks with Borussia Dortmund over the signing of star striker Erling Haaland, according to Radio Marca.

Haaland has enjoyed a record-breaking start to life at Bundesliga outfit Dortmund after arriving from Salzburg in January, having turned down Manchester United.

But the 19-year-old's time with Dortmund could be brief as LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly circle amid their goalscoring woes.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira claims Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. With veteran centre-back Thiago Silva out of contract at the end of the season and facing an uncertain future, Ligue 1 champions PSG are set to turn to Koulibaly, who has been linked to the likes of United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham. Napoli are reportedly set to demand at least €100-110million.

Madrid are also reportedly interested in Koulibaly, while El Desmarque says Zinedine Zidane is tracking Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Tottenham are monitoring Manchester United defender and Roma loanee Chris Smalling, reports Calciomercato. Roma want to sign Smalling permanently.

- According to Football Insider, City have identified Everton defender Mason Holgate as a primary transfer target. Pep Guardiola is determined to bolster his defensive options after an injury-plagued season.

- Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is wanted by LaLiga champions Barcelona but Madrid are ready to go head-to-head with their rivals for the Argentina star, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Milan are eyeing a move for Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul at season's end, reports Schira.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is hopeful James Maddison will sign a new contract amid links to Manchester United.

Maddison's future continues to dominate headlines, with the Leicester star reportedly a top transfer target for Premier League giants United.

United are set to try to prise Maddison to Old Trafford at the end of the season, however, Rodgers hopes the England international midfielder's long-term future is at King Power Stadium.

"Talks have been ongoing with the club and his representatives," Rodgers said ahead of Friday's match against Norwich City.

"I know the boy is very happy, he wants to be here and he sees this as the club he can develop at. I am hopeful it will be done."

Maddison has scored nine goals across all competitions for Leicester this season, six of those coming in the Premier League with three assists.

The 23-year-old has established himself as one of the Premier League's best attacking midfielders since joining from Norwich in June 2018.

Maddison has enjoyed another fine campaign as Leicester sit third in the standings and on track to qualify for the Champions League after 27 matches.

FIFA has announced its proposed restrictions on international loan transfers will come into effect in July 2020, pending approval from the FIFA Council.

The Football Stakeholders Committee has endorsed the introduction of international loan limits for players aged 22 and over.

Clubs will be allowed a maximum of eight in and out from 2020-21, with that figure decreasing to six in 2022-23, with no more than three in and three out between the same clubs.

FIFA said the regulations would "ensure that [loan transfers] have a valid sporting purpose for youth development".

With the new rules for international deals set to be introduced in July, member associations have three years to set regulations for domestic loans.

These domestic laws would have to be "in line with the principles established at international level".

Liverpool appear to be getting closer to completing a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 23, has been linked with a move to Anfield after a prolific season with the Bundesliga side.

Now, it seems the Germany forward is continuing to take step towards joining the European champions.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL OFFER WERNER FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Liverpool have offered Werner a contract until 2025 worth £6.8million (€8m) a season plus bonuses, according La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

The Premier League club are reportedly ready to pay Werner's release clause of £49m (€58m) before April.

Werner, who recently spoke glowingly about the Premier League club, has 27 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season.

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- Manchester United are backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Sun reports United are preparing a £250m spending spree amid links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Leicester City's James Maddison.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen seems set to leave Tottenham. The Evening Standard reports Inter have contacted the defender about a potential move.

- Could Marcelo Bielsa be set to leave Leeds United? ElDesmarque reports Real Betis have contacted the Argentinian about his situation, with Leeds chasing promotion to the Premier League.

- Looking to strengthen their defence, Chelsea have made RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano their number one transfer target, according to the Mirror.

- Amid some criticism of Real Madrid over their decision to let Theo Hernandez leave for Milan in July, CalcioMercato reports the 22-year-old Frenchman is happy at the Serie A club, where he has starred this season.

Liverpool appear to be getting closer to completing a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 23, has been linked with a move to Anfield after a prolific season with the Bundesliga side.

Now, it seems the Germany forward is continuing to take step towards joining the European champions.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL OFFER WERNER FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Liverpool have offered Werner a contract until 2025 worth £6.8million (€8m) a season plus bonuses, according La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira.

The Premier League club are reportedly ready to pay Werner's release clause of £49m (€58m) before April.

Werner, who recently spoke glowingly about the Premier League club, has 27 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are backing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Sun reports United are preparing a £250m spending spree amid links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Leicester City's James Maddison.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen seems set to leave Tottenham. The Evening Standard reports Inter have contacted the defender about a potential move.

- Could Marcelo Bielsa be set to leave Leeds United? ElDesmarque reports Real Betis have contacted the Argentinian about his situation, with Leeds chasing promotion to the Premier League.

- Looking to strengthen their defence, Chelsea have made RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano their number one transfer target, according to the Mirror.

- Amid some criticism of Real Madrid over their decision to let Theo Hernandez leave for Milan in July, CalcioMercato reports the 22-year-old Frenchman is happy at the Serie A club, where he has starred this season.

David Beckham said MLS side Inter Miami have a "great opportunity" to sign superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona captain Messi and Juventus forward Ronaldo have both been linked with moves to the United States – Beckham's expansion franchise Inter looming as a possible destination for the pair.

There is speculation Inter, who will make their MLS debut against Los Angeles FC on Sunday, could lure both players to Miami after Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath talked up the possibility.

Inter co-owner Beckham addressed the speculation during his appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on Wednesday.

"Well you know what, we've got great opportunities down in Miami," former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England star Beckham said with a smile.

"We've been contacted by a lot of different players with possibly coming to join the team. As any owner, you really want the best players and if we have the opportunity to bring in players like Cristiano or Leo, I have such admiration for them as athletes, if we could bring those players in than great.

"But at the moment, we have a great roster. Young players, a couple of experienced players too, but a lot of young players who are just ready to play.

"One of the things I learnt from [former United manager] Alex Ferguson… he turned around to me and said whoever you bring in, they have to be the right fit for the club. It's not about the biggest name or personality, it's about who fits in best with the players.

"That's what we'll do. But like I said, as an owner if you want to bring these players in than we have a great opportunity."

Inter, who have also been linked to Manchester City's David Silva, Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, have a Designated Player spot available after signing Rodolfo Pizarro and Matias Pellegrini.

The future of Lautaro Martinez could also have an impact on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Martinez is wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Aubameyang is reportedly eyeing an Arsenal exit.

Both players could be at different clubs in 2020-21.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ OUT, AUBA IN?

Inter will look to replace Barcelona target Martinez with Arsenal star Aubameyang, according to Calciomercato.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City following his exploits for Inter.

The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are considering selling forward Aubameyang, who is out of contract in 2021, and he could be targeted by Inter should Martinez leave San Siro.

ROUND-UP

- Kepa Arrizabalaga is Chelsea's record signing but his future at Stamford Bridge is in doubt. El Chiringuito TV reports Chelsea have offered out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa plus €30million (£25m) to Atletico Madrid for Jan Oblak.

Madrid are ready to offer €70m to Napoli for star midfielder Fabian Ruiz, claims Calciomercato. City and Barca are also reportedly looking to sign the Spaniard.

- Manchester Evening News writes that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. It comes as the Daily Express claims United are likely to offload Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

- Calciomercato says Inter are ready to battle Europe's elite for the signing of Gent star Jonathan David. The Canada international is wanted by the likes of United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Tottenham and Ajax.

Juventus hold an interest in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Calciomercato. Aouar is an option for Juve should the Serie A champions fail in their efforts to sign either United midfielder Paul Pogba or Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

Manchester United's squad rebuild will continue with an emphasis on academy products and "world-class recruits", and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

United announced their second quarter fiscal results for 2020 on Tuesday, with much of the focus on a 17 per cent fall in operating profits to £36.5million, a seven per cent increase in commercial revenues and the club's net debt inflating by 23 per cent.

But Woodward, speaking on a conference call with investors, highlighted the club's commitment to replenishing the squad.

United added Bruno Fernandes to the team in January, with the Portugal international making a solid early impact, and Woodward outlined the club's plans to continue adding ready-made "world-class" players and highly rated academy products to Solskjaer's squad.

In a statement to investors, Woodward said: "Now, I want to provide an overview of progress towards our number one priority - winning trophies with a team playing entertaining, attacking football.

"Since our last call in November we have progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League; we are through to the fifth round in the FA Cup, and we remain in the mix to qualify for the Champions League.

"This season is one of rebuild, with many changes to the squad - in terms of players who have left or gone out on loan; new players who we have brought into the club; and academy graduates that we have brought through to the first team. This process will continue as we implement our plan and our footballing vision under Ole and his coaching staff.

"Despite being linked in the media to 111 players in January, our acquisition of just one of them - Bruno Fernandes - is an important step in that direction, demonstrating our commitment to adding experienced, world-class recruits to the exciting crop of academy graduates that are at the heart of this developing team. We will take the same planned, disciplined, approach this coming summer.

"In addition to the first team signings, somewhat under the radar, we have also made a number of exciting youth acquisitions in the past year, reflecting our commitment to bringing the best talent into our academy.

"So far our academy graduates have contributed over a third of first team playing minutes this season and over half of our goals, emphasising our academy's status as one of the most productive in elite-level European football.

"This is an important competitive advantage for us and represents an excellent return on the fourfold increase in investment that we have made in the academy over recent years."

Fittingly, shortly before Woodward's call, United announced new contracts for Under-23 goalkeeper Paul Woolston and 18-year-old full-back Ethan Laird, the latter of whom featured for the first-team in two Europa League group matches earlier this season.

Real Mallorca have signed midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on a free transfer until the end of the season.

The 31-year-old moves to LaLiga after having had his contract terminated at Newcastle United by mutual consent last month.

The South Korea international was confirmed as a new Mallorca player on Tuesday and could make his debut in Sunday's clash with Getafe.

"It's a great honour to play for Mallorca. For me, it's a great honour to play in Spain because when I was younger I dreamt of playing in Spain so hopefully I’m looking forward to playing against the best players. Dreams do come true," he told the club's website.

"I think now fans from Korea are going to try and be a bit more interested because I play for the team. 

"Take [Takefusa] Kubo is also a very talented player and those from Japan are watching games. Hopefully we will be able to contribute to the team and a lot of fans from the area will support us."

Mallorca are 18th in the table and two points from safety after 25 matches, although four points from their past two games against Deportivo Alaves and Real Betis have given their survival hopes a boost.

Perhaps Jadon Sancho will remain at Borussia Dortmund beyond this season.

Sancho, 19, has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League after impressing with the Bundesliga side.

But the England winger could yet stay at Dortmund a little longer.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO MAY STAY AT DORTMUND BEYOND THIS SEASON

Sancho is happy at Dortmund and an exit in the close season is not certain, according to Ruhr Nachrichten.

The teenager is contracted at the club until 2022 so may at least begin the 2020-21 campaign at Dortmund.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are all reportedly interested in Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Liverpool and the Premier League leaders may have received more good news. Sport1 reports RB Leipzig star Timo Werner's release clause is £25.2m (€30m) plus a guarantee of performance-related bonuses. Previous reports said the forward's release clause was £50.4m (€60m).

- Marcelo Brozovic has done enough to impress Antonio Conte. CalcioMercato reports Inter are ready to begin contract talks with the Croatia international, who is set for a salary increase but could also have his release clause of €60m removed. Brozovic's current deal runs until 2022.

- Could George Clooney be set for a foray into … Malaga? AS reports a group with business links to the American actor are in talks to buy a stake in the Spanish club.

- With his Manchester United contract expiring at season's end, Nemanja Matic appears set for a move from Old Trafford. CalcioMercato reports the midfielder's agents have offered the 31-year-old to Milan, Juventus and Inter.

- Leicester City are considering offering defender Christian Fuchs a new deal, according to the Daily Mail. Fuchs is out of contract at the end of the season.

Gerard Pique believes it is possible Lionel Messi could one day play for Napoli, but the Barcelona defender hopes the superstar retires at the LaLiga giants.

Messi and Barcelona face Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

It has led to fresh comparisons between Messi and Diego Maradona, an Argentina great who starred at Napoli.

Asked if Messi could emulate Maradona and sign for Napoli, Pique told a news conference: "You can never say never in football, but I guess that is complicated.

"You should ask him as he decides his future. I would like him to retire with us. I can't tell you more."

Messi has scored 23 goals in 28 games in all competitions for Barcelona this season.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca said the Serie A side want to sign loanees Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan permanently.

Smalling and Mkhitaryan are on season-long loan deals from Premier League duo Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.

United centre-back Smalling has impressed for Roma, who are determined to make the England international's deal a permanent one in the Italian capital.

"Chris is a great, great man, a great, great professional," Fonseca told Sky Sports News.

"The adaptation [to Italian football] was very easy for him. He's a boy that everyone loves in the club because he is a great professional.

"I would like Chris to stay. We are speaking. I don't know if it is possible because of the situation with Manchester United, but I would like so much for Chris to stay here with us because he is very important.

"He is a great player, a great man with a great attitude every day and for all of these reasons I would be very happy if Chris stays."

Mkhitaryan, a former United team-mate of Smalling, has experienced an injury-interrupted spell with Roma.

However, the attacking midfielder has still managed five Serie A goals and a pair of assists after scoring and creating another in the 4-0 rout of Lecce on Sunday.

"Mkhi during this season got some injuries but he is returning now and he is proving his quality," Fonseca said.

"Let's see. He is a player with great decisions on the pitch and I would also like to keep Mkhi in our team."

Roma are fifth in the Serie A standings, three points adrift of Atalanta, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Erling Haaland has taken the world by storm since joining Borussia Dortmund in January.

Already stunning Europe with his exploits for Salzburg, Haaland has scored 12 goals in eight appearances as a Dortmund player.

Now, Real Madrid could be about to come sniffing in their pursuit of goals.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AN OPTION FOR MADRID

Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland could be a cheaper alternative for Real Madrid instead of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, writes Marca.

Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane is a keen admirer of his fellow Frenchman.

However, 19-year-old Dortmund recruit Haaland – whose €75million release clause is set to kick in next year – has emerged as an option for Madrid, with PSG set to demand a mammoth fee for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Reports linking Inter star Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona are gathering steam and Calciomercato says the LaLiga champions want to start negotiations by May. Madrid and Manchester United are also reportedly interested.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barca are keen on signing Valencia centre-back Hugo Guillamon, according to Sport. The 20-year-old will be available on a free transfer at season's end.

Bayern Munich are interested in RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano but Kicker claims the Bundesliga champions believe he is too expensive at €60m. Upamecano has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham, Barca and Madrid.

- Remaining in Munich and Kicker also says Bayern are unconvinced by the €100m price tag of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, whose admirers include the likes of Liverpool and United.

Jurgen Klopp admitted success helped Champions League titleholders Liverpool attract players, but it also made completing signings harder.

While they hold a 19-point lead atop the Premier League, Liverpool have been linked with moves for numerous players, including RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Klopp is unfazed by suggestions his team are the world's best, but said it could help with signings.

"It's easier if players see you as that. If they see you are successful, it's easier to get into talks with players," he told UK newspapers.

"But on the other side, it's more difficult the better your team is because they ask questions like, 'where and when would I play?'

"We need players who want to be part of this, who want to fight for their spot, who want to make the next step together with us, who want to develop and improve so that's it.

"We have these players and whoever wants to join us needs to have exactly this kind of attitude."

Liverpool are still unbeaten in the Premier League ahead of hosting West Ham at Anfield on Monday.

Klopp said finding the right players to add to his side, who were Champions League winners last season, was difficult.

"The age group of the team is good in the moment. In two or three years, maybe it'll be different but for the moment, it's good," he said.

"It depends on what you want. Is it a good age for selling? Probably not. But is it a good age for performing? Yes.

"So there are a lot of things we have to think about. It's an interesting period."

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