Casemiro said the qualities of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric made it "easy" to star in Real Madrid's midfield ahead of his move to Manchester United, as he backed Los Blancos to replace him from within.

The Brazil international is joining United in a deal reportedly worth an initial £60million (€70m), having won an incredible 18 trophies during a nine-year spell with Madrid. 

Casemiro lifted the Champions League on five occasions during his time in the Spanish capital, and produced a masterful performance as Carlo Ancelotti's team clinched their 14th European crown against Liverpool in May.

Modric, Kroos and Casemiro have been key throughout one of the most successful spells in Madrid's history, starting together in four Champions League finals (in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022), and the 30-year-old admits he will miss the duo.

"All the titles that you win, all the training sessions, the games you play, they make you happy, just realising you are a Real Madrid player," Casemiro said at a news conference on Monday.

"This era, winning five Champions League titles, is a once in a lifetime experience and very special to me, something I'll never forget. 

"Speaking about Kroos and Modric, they're my great friends, and apart from on the pitch I also think about them as two fantastic people and the great friends they've been to me. 

"It's very easy to play alongside them, I don't have much work to do, I will give them all the credit for all the work they have done. Of course, I will miss them a lot.

"It was difficult to talk to them, like it was in my conversation with the president. Toni sent me a message at 4am, asking me if all the rumours were true. 

"I'm really loyal to all of my team-mates, not just these two team-mates, but I have to be sincere with myself. If my time here is over, I have to take a step forward. I'm going to a great club, the biggest in the UK. 

"I will always be a fan, celebrate Real Madrid's goals and titles, which they will continue to win, no doubt about it. Real Madrid players are the best in the world and it's the best club in the world – it will always be like that for me."

With Kroos absent through illness, Madrid fielded a new-look midfield as they made it two wins from two outings in LaLiga by thrashing Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday, with Eduardo Camavinga and recent arrival Aurelien Tchouameni joining Modric in the starting line-up.

And Casemiro believes the presence of the two young French talents means Madrid may not need to replace him, adding: "Real Madrid is a club that always signs the best players in the world.

"Aurelien could also do the job, he's the kind of player that Madrid can rely on for many years to come. Toni and Modric will play at this high level but he can be a great asset as well.

"Camavinga already showed us how important he can be as well. Tchouameni is also a player that is very important, in the French national team as well.

"Real Madrid find themselves in a great place right now, they have great players and will continue to win important titles, that's what this club is about."

Cristiano Ronaldo is "one of the best players in history", so says Casemiro, who is thrilled to link up with his former Real Madrid team-mate at Manchester United.

Casemiro is set to join United in a deal reportedly worth £60million (€70m).

The 30-year-old leaves Madrid after nine-and-a-half years at the club. He has won the Champions League five times and collected three LaLiga titles among 18 major trophies in total.

Casemiro played alongside Ronaldo until 2018, when the latter left Madrid for Juventus, having become Los Blancos' record goalscorer with 450 to his name in all competitions.

Ronaldo returned to United last year and scored 18 Premier League goals, though the Red Devils recorded their lowest points tally in the competition's history (58) as they finished a disappointing sixth.

Uncertainty surrounds Ronaldo's future, with the 37-year-old having been keen to leave Old Trafford in search of Champions League football. While manager Erik ten Hag has insisted the forward is not for sale, reports last week suggested United might even agree to release Ronaldo on a free transfer.

Casemiro, however, is hopeful Ronaldo will stay put, as the Brazil international relishes the chance for a reunion.

"I haven't talked to Ronaldo yet but he knows what I think about him and the history he has made," Casemiro said in a news conference in Madrid on Monday.

"I know he will continue to be unique and I can't wait to start playing with him again.

"I hope he decides to stay because he is one of the best players in history, I am really excited to start playing with him and my new team-mates."

While Ronaldo is seemingly unhappy with playing in the Europa League instead of the Champions League, that is not an issue for Casemiro, who is targeting domestic success with United.

He added: "We won't play in the Champions League this year but it's one of the biggest teams in the world. Knowing the level of this team, we will have a great Europa League season."

Asked what he wants to learn at United, and what he wants to achieve, Casemiro said: "What I want is to transmit the way I feel about the club, my respect and everything that I did [at Madrid], I want to do there too.

"I want to show my fighting spirit, my capacity to work hard, my professional attitude and want to work hard every day to show how serious I am. I want to win the league there.

"I'm going through one of the best moments of my career, I feel really fit and mentally I feel great. It's a great moment to take this decision."

United play rivals Liverpool on Monday, but head into the fixture on the back of two defeats to open their Premier League campaign, having gone down 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion and 4-0 to Brentford.

Casemiro wishes he was available to play in that match, but as he prepares to settle into a new league, he also has to consider the upcoming World Cup, with the midfielder a key player for Brazil.

"It's a very important year for me," he said. "You always feel privileged to play for Real Madrid but this change is my big challenge right now.

"I spoke to my wife and she said that I look like an 18-year-old kid who is super excited about his new project, and I really do feel so excited about playing in the Premier League. If I could, I would play today against Liverpool.

"I'm really excited, it's a club with a great history and I will have to work hard to make a name for myself with United. I'm ready to work hard in order to face this new challenge.

"I'll make sure to help my new team-mates have a great season. We'll see what happens in the World Cup."

Casemiro believed his time at Real Madrid was coming to a natural end as the midfielder shot down suggestions his move to Manchester United is is financially driven.

The 30-year-old will complete his transfer from LaLiga champions Madrid to the Premier League this week after he was handed a hero's farewell at Santiago Bernabeu.

Casemiro makes the switch to Old Trafford in a transfer thought to be in the region of £60million (€70m), as United splash the cash in the wake of a dismal start to Erik ten Hag's tenure.

It will see Casemiro switch from a team out to defend their Champions League title to one that might be struggling to make Europe by the end of the season.

But he is relishing the challenge, and believes it was the right moment to call time on his Madrid career.

"My cycle here is finished," he stated. "I am looking for new challenges, new goals, [to] experience a new culture, [to] live in a different city.

"I haven't won anything there yet, I will be just another player looking to help the team. The main reason is the new challenges and wanting to do something new in my life.

"I've become a father here, I've spent nine years here. People who know me, know it's not because of money. If it was, I would have left much earlier, but it's not that.

"It's my decision. The club has supported me, but people who think those things are people that don't know me and they are wrong. The last thing I think about [is money]."

During his time at Madrid, Casemiro won 18 major trophies, including three league crowns and five Champions League titles, and his decision to step away was a hard one.

"I'm very happy when I think about everything I've done here," he added. "I feel I did the job that I was expected to. I've always tried to give my all, [and] I'm very happy for everything that I've achieved here.

"It's always difficult to take such a decision, considering how many years I’ve spent here, how much I'm loved and how happy I was here, but I was really sure about my cycle here being over. I've already made history here and achieved everything that I wanted to achieve, and now it’s time for me to think about new challenges."

Casemiro also revealed his decision was a long time in the making.

He explained: "After we played the Champions League final I talked to my agent. I felt that I was finishing my cycle here. I've always been very honest with myself, the president, the fans and I felt that my cycle was coming to an end at Real Madrid.

"I went on holiday, deciding to relax and to see what happened, and when I was back I still had that feeling. I'm extremely happy because of everything I've done here and I feel that I did what I had to do. History was made, and it was made in the right way."

Marcus Rashford believes Manchester United's clash with Liverpool represents the ideal opportunity for the Red Devils to reverse their dismal start to the Premier League season. 

United have lost their first two matches of the campaign after producing calamitous displays against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, leaving new boss Erik ten Hag facing fierce criticism ahead of Liverpool's visit.

They have not won any of their last eight Premier League meetings with Liverpool, conceding nine goals without reply in two games against their rivals last term. Indeed, United last had a longer winless league run against a single opponent between 1983 and 1987 (10 vs Everton).

Another defeat to Jurgen Klopp's side, meanwhile, would see United slip to four consecutive league defeats for the first time since 1972, but Rashford says the hosts must approach Monday's match with confidence. 

"We have a chance to put it right and there's no better game to do that than Liverpool at Old Trafford," Rashford told Sky Sports.

"If we can play well and get a result it will be positive for us and get us going for the season.

"The first thing is you have to go out there and believe you're going to win. That's the biggest thing, belief and confidence in the team and the tactics. We have to have that.

"Football is an unpredictable game. Things can go well, things can go bad but the reaction has to be positive. 

"We've not started the season as we'd have liked to, but we can't let that go against the fact it's early in the season and we're still working and pushing towards something.

"It can be a good season. Early days everyone always over-exaggerates anyone's performances but for us we have to stay concentrated on each individual game.

"We can't look too far ahead and we definitely can't look back. We have to stay positive and look forward to the next game."

United finished a frustrating 2021-22 campaign sixth in the Premier League table, and already look like outsiders to secure a top-four finish. Ten Hag, meanwhile, is hoping to avoid becoming the club's second manager to lose his first three matches in charge, after John Chapman in 1921.

Rashford acknowledged United have fallen short on a consistent basis, adding: "It's been tough. Especially last season, we didn't reach the heights we could have reached. We didn't reach the standard we're capable of.

"But it's something to work towards and definitely right now the team is a work in progress and we have to understand the situation and keep pushing ourselves every day. That's the bare minimum and if we keep doing that, I'm sure we'll get back to winning ways.

"You speak about the next step. Sometimes you can be so close but if you're not there you're not there. 

"That distance can be bigger than what it feels like. At the same time, we can't get away from the fact that two years ago we were up there and competing against the best teams in the league."

On an individual level, Rashford endured a poor 2021-22 campaign, making just 13 Premier League starts and recording a total of six goal contributions (four goals, two assists) after spending several months out with a shoulder injury following Euro 2020.

Asked whether a spate of fitness issues had impacted his form in front of goal, Rashford replied: "Yeah, probably. But at the end of the day a lot of those were decisions I made. 

"I was playing for a long time with these injuries, and they weren't small injuries, they were injuries I probably should have taken time out [with] and rested. If I feel I can be positive for the team, I'll always try and put myself out there.

"For me it's just about repetitions and once I start putting the ball in the net again it will be a feeling that will last for a while."

Real Madrid are "very proud of the history" Casemiro has made at Santiago Bernabeu, ahead of his transfer to Manchester United.

That is according to club president Florentino Perez, who spoke glowingly of the 30-year-old at his farewell ceremony on Monday.

Casemiro brings the curtain down on a nine-and-a-half-year stint at Madrid this week, as he nears a move to Manchester United.

A mainstay of the great Madrid side that won a trilogy of Champions League triumphs under Zinedine Zidane, Casemiro leaves as one of their most decorated stars.

Speaking ahead of the player's own farewell words, Perez delivered a glowing tribute to the outgoing player, stating that he departs as a "legend".

"We're very proud of the history you have made at this club," he stated. "Real Madrid is a very demanding club, but you've not only been able to cope with it, but also made it better.

"You've been a role model for this club, and everybody admires you for the commitment you have given since the day of your arrival. You have given the best for this club and your attitude and talent has taken you very far.

"It’s not easy to close this impressive cycle of your career at Real Madrid. You've won 18 trophies; five Champions League titles, three Super Cups, three LaLiga titles.

"For everything that you've given this club you have the right to take your own decisions, as far as the future is concerned. You leave after being voted man of the match in the Super Cup final.

"I'm very proud of you, and our fans are too. You are joining a legendary club, Manchester United, to continue to make history. Regardless of where you are going to be in the future, you will always be an example here.

"You have achieved so much. You are leaving the club as a Real Madrid legend. Thank you very much for helping us make history at Real Madrid."

Manchester United-bound Casemiro has promised to return to Real Madrid later in his career.

Casemiro is joining United in a deal said to be worth an initial £60million (€70m). 

The 30-year-old, who joined Los Blancos from Sao Paulo in 2013, has been a mainstay of Madrid's midfield since he returned from a loan at Porto in 2015.

He has won 18 titles with Madrid in total, including five Champions League triumphs and three LaLiga successes. 

Ahead of his move to United officially going through, Casemiro bid farewell to Madrid on Monday, and pledged that he will one day return to the club.

"I want to make it clear that one day I will come back here to show how special this club is to me, and to help in any way that might be useful," said Casemiro, who was in tears as he spoke to a gathering of Madrid players, officials, coaches and his team-mates.

"I am excited to develop my career at such a great club like Manchester United. Madrid will always be great in the present and the future, thank you so much and Hala Madrid!"

He further explained: "When my wife and myself arrived here we didn't know anyone, it was a new country for us, this new club and we wanted to build our lives here and our future and our family, of course.

"When I got a call from Real Madrid, I was at Sao Paulo, and obviously I was very excited about it. I knew that one day I would play for the first team, but when I arrived I started at Real Madrid Castilla, and it was such a big excitement for me. I started learning the values of this club and they are the best part of this club.

"The future of this club is always its homegrown players. I've won a lot of titles here, thank God, but obviously without my mum, brothers, my wife and my beautiful children it would not have been impossible. Without the club, everyone who is here today.

"Thank you very much the board of directors, for treating me in such a nice way, the coaching staff and obviously my team-mates, who I wouldn't have achieved anything without."

Casemiro had particular thanks for his fellow midfielders, adding: "Speaking of my team-mates I can't not mention two of them: Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, who I've played alongside in so many crucial matches and who I have experienced so many unique moments with.

"I've grown here as a person and as a player. I'd like to thank our fans for all those magical nights here."

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has suggested "drastic changes" in the club's ownership structure may be the path forward from their current problems.

The Premier League heavyweights have lost their first two games of the Erik ten Hag era in limp fashion, slipping to an opening defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion before being thrashed 4-0 at Brentford.

That has increased the common refrain for club owners Joel and Avram Glazer to step aside and sell the club, with the pair having drawn the frequent ire of supporters since their arrival at Old Trafford.

Now, Saha - a double title winner during his time with United - has addressed the calls for a switch in ownership, suggesting dramatic action is needed at the bottom as much as the top.

"Any drastic changes, something that can help people and fans, [give] the media other stuff to talk about - no, the problem is still there," Saha told StatsPerform.

"Tomorrow, you give them a billion dollars to get the players [but] if the scouting is wrong, you still have the same problem on the pitch and people will still protest.

"So you have to make the right choices, you have to really be in a position where everything is in harmony. If your commercial part is working but [not] on the field, you will see a protest.

"If the club is not earning money, like Barcelona, people say it is badly managed and all that. Everything needs to work [together at] the same time.

"Sometimes, for that, you need drastic changes. I'd be interest to see what happens."

A fan protest is expected when United host Liverpool on Monday, with Jurgen Klopp's Reds also looking for a first win of the campaign.

Manchester United are working overtime to land at least one of the Eredivisie's top stars, with their chase for Ajax's Antony and PSV's Cody Gakpo reportedly heating up.

Antony racked up eight goals and four assists in 23 league games last season, and has started the new campaign in hot form, collecting a goal and two assists from his first two fixtures.

Gakpo netted a brace in PSV's season opener against FC Emmen, and while the Telegraph claims United will only be able to afford one of the two wingers, a conflicting report from the Netherlands' De Telegraaf says that might not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO ADDRESS WINGER SHORTAGE WITH EREDIVISIE RAID 

The report from De Telegraaf says "it is not a question of [Antony or Gakpo], but the club wants to contract both players", which would mean well over £100million in transfer fees after their last offer of £68m for Antony was rejected.

Ajax have no interest in letting Antony leave, with the Brazilian's contract tying him to the club through 2025, but Goal is reporting he has missed recent training sessions, and the reason he was absent from his side's 1-0 win against Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday was due to him trying to force his way out.

The Telegraph claims United are "expected" to complete a £34m deal for Gakpo, but it remains to be seen if they are willing to pull the trigger on the Dutchman while they still believe they can land Antony.

ROUND-UP

– According to The Sun, United will block any moves for captain Harry Maguire after Chelsea expressed interest earlier in the week.

– Calciomercato is reporting Milan have approached Tottenham about a potential transfer for 23-year-old English centre-back Japhet Tangana.

Tottenham and Newcastle United are waiting to see if Juventus secure Barcelona's Memphis Depay, with the two Premier League clubs hoping to swoop in if the Bianconeri's deal falls apart, according to The Sun.

– Free agent Andrea Belotti has rejected an offer from Wolves, according to Calciomercato, instead preferring to wait for Roma to make room for him.

– Sport1 is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are planning a move for RB Leipzig defenders Josko Gvardiol and Mohamed Simakan, but the German side hope to retain both. 

Jurgen Klopp hinted Liverpool are unlikely to make any further signings before the transfer window closes, as he ruled out Naby Keita leaving Anfield.

Liverpool have faced calls to dip into the transfer market after drawing their first two games of the Premier League campaign and suffering a spate of injuries in midfield.

The Reds were without Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones for their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last week, as youngster Harvey Elliott joined Fabinho and James Milner in Klopp's line-up.

Liverpool have added striker Darwin Nunez, creative midfielder Fabio Carvalho and young full-back Calvin Ramsay to their squad since winning both domestic cups last season.

Asked whether he was content with Liverpool's midfield options ahead of Monday's trip to Manchester United, Klopp said: "Yes, when they are all fit, 100 per cent, but even then we always look to strengthen.

"We always did that, but it must be the right player and if the right player is not available in this moment, then we deal with what we have rather than sign not the right player.

"This situation did not change. Now we have more injuries than we would have imagined. It would be cool to have a new midfielder in, of course. We don't know when the boys come back, stuff like that. Things change constantly.

"[But] there is another fact that I am not in charge of what we can spend. We get things told to us. Then we deal with it. That is always the same, never different.

"I always have to accept that and always did. It makes no sense to worry about something you cannot change. That is a waste of energy, a waste of positivity.

"I love this group and not because they are so good looking. No, because they are incredible characters. If the facts are the facts, accept them and go from there."

Dynamic Guinea international Keita was tipped to make a big impact when he joined Liverpool from RB Leipzig in 2018, but he has been limited to just 46 Premier League starts during an injury-hit spell on Merseyside.

Fellow midfielders Jordan Henderson (120), Fabinho (117), Georginio Wijnaldum (110) and Milner (105) have all made considerably more league appearances for Liverpool than Keita (76) since his arrival, with Wijnaldum doing so despite departing for Paris Saint-Germain last year.

Although Keita has struggled to maintain fitness during his Liverpool career, Klopp is refusing to countenance his possible departure, particularly given the absence of a replacement.

"Selling Naby now and not replacing him? No, that is not possible. Of course not. It is not the plan," Klopp said.

"We are not dumb that we think a player can go and we don't replace him. No, there's no chance. Naby will not go, but if he would – which he will not do – there must be a replacement, of course."

Liverpool are bidding to avoid going without a victory through their first three matches of a Premier League season for the first time since 2012-13 when they face United on Monday, and could also win on three consecutive league trips to Old Trafford for the first time in their history.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho believes his Brazil team-mate Fred has come in for an unfair share of heavy criticism amid Manchester United's recent struggles.

The Red Devils are second bottom of the embryonic Premier League table after losing their opening two matches.

Having been outplayed in a 2-1 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, United were thrashed 4-0 at Brentford on a chastening day for new boss Erik ten Hag.

Fred has long come in for criticism from United fans and that has only increased after the club's dismal start to the season.

He and Fabinho are likely to come up against each other when Liverpool visit Old Trafford on Monday, and Fabinho thinks his compatriot deserves more respect from United supporters.

"Sometimes I don't really understand the criticism of Fred because he is a regular player, he always plays good football," Fabinho said in the Telegraph.

"In general Manchester United have not been successful in the last seasons so you try to find a solution or you try to put the fault on some of the players and sometimes I think Fred is that player.

"But he is a good player. In the national team, he is always a starter, he always plays good and, yes, sometimes the player needs a little bit more confidence to play good.

"Last season he played really good football, maybe he was one of the best United players. This season United didn't start really good but I hope Fred will play good and United will stay playing like this."

Fred will soon be joined at United by another Brazil international after the Red Devils announced on Friday they had agreed a deal with Real Madrid for the transfer of Casemiro.

Fabinho played with Casemiro for Madrid's second team 10 years ago and believes the 30-year-old is well equipped to deal with the demands of English football.

"Of course, he will be a good signing," Fabinho said. "Casemiro is a smart guy, he is a good player, he is strong, he is good in the air, so it will not be hard for him to adapt to the Premier League."

Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder remains optimistic about keeping Manchester United target Antony, despite the unsettled winger sitting out a 1-0 win at Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday.

Antony starred in consecutive title-winning campaigns under Erik ten Hag in Amsterdam, and the new United boss is reportedly keen on a reunion with the Brazilian as he bids to reverse the Red Devils' poor start to the season.

Ten Hag became the first United manager in over a century to lose his first two games at the helm when his team suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Brentford, and he is looking to make several additions ahead of the closure of the transfer window.

United have already reached an agreement to sign Real Madrid enforcer Casemiro, and they have been tipped to make a big-money move for Antony after seeing Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho struggle in the wide positions.

Speaking after Ajax maintained their perfect start to the Eredivisie campaign, head coach Schreuder indicated he hoped the Dutch club would not be tempted to sell.

He told ESPN: "I want Antony to stay, so I don't assume he will be sold.

"The money we are talking about is absurd these days. [But] we've already sold five or six base players. I don't like it if we sell another player. I think we are very strong financially."

The former Barcelona assistant then took aim at Antony's suitors, adding: "We play Champions League, I don't think United do."

 

Antony hit double figures in each of his first two seasons with Ajax, scoring 11 goals in the 2020-21 campaign after joining from Sao Paulo before netting 12 times in all competitions last term.

Former Tottenham attacker Steven Bergwijn scored Ajax's only goal on Sunday, after Schreuder confirmed in a pre-match interview that Antony was left out due to not being in the right state of mind to play.

"I spoke to him. He has indicated that he does not feel 100 per cent to play," Schreuder said.

"I only want to have players in the selection who are 100 per cent with Ajax. I am very clear about that. That is the most important thing for me."

Speaking to De Telegraaf on Saturday, Antony refused to rule out a move to Old Trafford and backed Ten Hag to improve United, revealing the Red Devils boss had been "super important" in his development.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is relishing the challenge of facing Liverpool, issuing a rallying cry to the club's supporters after a torrid start.

Erik ten Hag's side welcome their north west rivals to Old Trafford on the back of a woeful start to the season, losing back-to-back matches at Brighton and Brentford to stand pointless in the early stages of 2022-23.

While there is additional pressure on Monday's fixture, with Liverpool also seeking their first win of the season after consecutive draws, Rashford is feeling no different to how he did in previous encounters.

''To be honest, I feel exactly the same [as in the past]," he told the club's official website.

"Against anyone, you want to win but against your Liverpools and Manchester Citys, you want to prove why you play for Manchester United.

"Winning against Liverpool is the same feeling as when I was a kid."

Fans have made their frustrations clear throughout the transfer window and in the early stage of the season, with the Glazer family's ownership coming under regular criticism from supporters and the media alike.

Further demonstrations against the American owners are expected at Old Trafford on Monday but, while fans may have their attention cast towards the bigger picture, Rashford is confident they will be focused on supporting the team during the clash to help propel the squad to a positive result.

"From what I can remember, when we've beaten Liverpool, the fans have helped us massively," he added.

"It's always a difficult game physically and mentally, so we'll definitely need them. They'll be up for the game, they'll want to beat Liverpool just as much as we do.''

Adrien Rabiot will play for Juventus at Sampdoria on Monday, just days after his move to Manchester United collapsed, manager Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The Bianconeri boss has also not ruled out further arrivals before the transfer window shuts, after a busy off-season for the Serie A heavyweights.

Rabiot looked set to bring the curtain down on his time in Turin with a move to the Premier League earlier this month, with new United boss Erik ten Hag looking to bolster his ranks after a slow start to the new campaign.

But despite the two clubs agreeing a fee, it was reported that the deal fell through when terms could not be successfully brokered with the player.

It means Rabiot looks destined to remain at Allianz Stadium for another season - and now Allegri has confirmed the France international will feature in Monday's clash with Sampdoria.

"Rabiot will play tomorrow," he stated. "On the transfer market, [with] players, it is normal that there are chances that they can leave and that the club will ask if the player is available."

Having scraped their way to Champions League football again last term, Allegri has strengthened with the recruitment of Angel Di Maria, Filip Kostic, Bremer and Paul Pogba in the transfer window, the latter returning from United.

But the Frenchman's injury record will see him miss the first few weeks of the season, and his boss is keeping his powder dry when it comes to further additions.

"Regardless of the transfer market, we must do our best with the squad we have available," he added. "We are doing a lot these months. without being distracted."

Antony was not included in Ajax's matchday squad for Sunday's Eredivisie clash with Sparta Rotterdam amid ongoing links with a move to Manchester United.

The Brazil international is rumoured to have already been the subject of a £67million (€78.9m) bid by United, which the Dutch giants are said to have turned down.

Speaking in an interview published in De Telegraaf on Saturday, Antony suggested his future may lie away from Amsterdam, where he has spent the past two seasons.

And amid reports in the Netherlands that Antony has sat out training this week to help facilitate a move away, the 22-year-old played no part against Sparta on Sunday.

Antony spent two seasons playing under Erik ten Hag, who is now in charge of United, and played a direct part in 22 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions last time out.

He has started the 2022-23 campaign in good form with two goals in his first three outings under new head coach Alfred Schreuder.

United have already brought in Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia this window, while a deal is in place to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid.

Manchester United risk being "destroyed" by Liverpool if they fail to improve on their poor early-season performances, according to former Red Devils striker Louis Saha.

The Red Devils are bottom of the embryonic Premier League table – the first time that has happened since 1992-93 – after losing their opening two matches.

After being outplayed in a 2-1 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion, United were thumped 4-0 at Brentford last weekend on a chastening day for new boss Erik ten Hag.

It is the first time in 30 years that United have started a season with back-to-back league losses and life does not get any easier for Ten Hag, with Liverpool up next on Monday.

Liverpool have themselves had a slower-than-expected start to the 2022-23 campaign, having played out draws with Fulham and Crystal Palace so far.

That makes Monday's contest the first time in Premier League history that these two sides have entered this fixture each seeking their first win of the season.

While a meeting with last season's runners-up is hardly an ideal fixture for an out-of-form United, Saha believes it could provide a good opportunity to kickstart their season.

"I think it’s going to be a surprising game," he told Stats Perform. "Liverpool are not playing at the same level as before. There are some questions about how they have started.

"I think it's a good and positive game for Manchester United to react. The opening 30 minutes are going to be very important.

"If United don't provide a good contest all the way through, they can be destroyed as any team can against Liverpool.

"But if they find the right spirit, like we saw during pre-season, then it could be an amazing game to watch."

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