Chelsea are in the market to bolster their defence following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Thomas Tuchel's side have already added Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £35million.

The Blues are eager to add another centre-back to their ranks before the closure of the transfer window.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO MAKE WORLD-RECORD BID FOR FOFANA

Chelsea are preparing to make a world-record offer for Leicester City's French defender Wesley Fofana, reports Football London.

The Blues' bid would be the highest fee paid for a defender, having had a previous offer declined by the Foxes.

It is believed Chelsea's previous bid was £70m with Leicester insisting he is not for sale. Harry Maguire, sold by Leicester to Manchester United, holds the record for a defender at £80m.


ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, having reached an agreement with the Italian club for an initial £15m fee, according to The Guardian. France international Rabiot is in the final year of his contract with Juventus.

– 90min reports that United target Benjamin Sesko is close to agreeing to a deal with German club RB Leipzig. The report claims that 19-year-old Slovenian forward Sesko will move from Salzburg to Leipzig in 2023.

– United have also reached out to Real Betis on Guido Rodriguez's status according to AS, while the Red Devils are still considering Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports The Telegraph.

– Tottenham have reached an agreement with Udinese for winger Destiny Udogie for more than €20m, claims Fabrizio Romano. Udogie, however, will still on loan at Udinese this season.

– Monaco are keen on signing Manchester United defender Eric Bailly on loan, claims L'Equipe. The Ligue 1 club want the Ivorian, who is under contract until 2024, with an option to buy.

– Fiorentina will rival Villarreal for the signature of Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The Argentina international spent time on loan with Villarreal last season.

Valencia will revive its interest in Tottenham's Bryan Gil following Goncalo Guades' move to Wolves, claims Diario AS.

– The Telegraph claims Milan have re-opened talks with Chelsea's Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech who has been transfer listed.

Chelsea are in the market to bolster their defence following the exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Thomas Tuchel's side have already added Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £35million.

The Blues are eager to add another centre-back to their ranks before the closure of the transfer window.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO MAKE WORLD-RECORD BID FOR FOFANA

Chelsea are preparing to make a world-record offer for Leicester City's French defender Wesley Fofana, reports Football London.

The Blues' bid would be the highest fee paid for a defender, having had a previous offer declined by the Foxes.

It is believed Chelsea's previous bid was £70m with Leicester insisting he is not for sale. Harry Maguire, sold by Leicester to Manchester United, holds the record for a defender at £80m.


ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, having reached an agreement with the Italian club for an initial £15m fee, according to The Guardian. France international Rabiot is in the final year of his contract with Juventus.

– 90min reports that United target Benjamin Sesko is close to agreeing to a deal with German club RB Leipzig. The report claims that 19-year-old Slovenian forward Sesko will move from Salzburg to Leipzig in 2023.

– United have also reached out to Real Betis on Guido Rodriguez's status according to AS, while the Red Devils are still considering Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports The Telegraph.

– Tottenham have reached an agreement with Udinese for winger Destiny Udogie for more than €20m, claims Fabrizio Romano. Udogie, however, will still on loan at Udinese this season.

– Monaco are keen on signing Manchester United defender Eric Bailly on loan, claims L'Equipe. The Ligue 1 club want the Ivorian, who is under contract until 2024, with an option to buy.

– Fiorentina will rival Villarreal for the signature of Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The Argentina international spent time on loan with Villarreal last season.

Valencia will revive its interest in Tottenham's Bryan Gil following Goncalo Guades' move to Wolves, claims Diario AS.

– The Telegraph claims Milan have re-opened talks with Chelsea's Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech who has been transfer listed.

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has joined the club's sporting director Marco Di Vaio in suggesting 33-year-old Manchester United target Marko Arnautovic will remain in Italy this season.

Arnautovic arrived at Bologna ahead of the 2021-22 campaign after three years with Shanghai Port in China, and it proved to be a savvy move from the Serie A side as he netted 15 goals in 34 appearances – eight more goals than any of his teammates.

Speaking before Bologna's Coppa Italia clash against Cosenza, Di Vaio said Arnautovic is at the centre of what he is trying to accomplish this season, and that "it's not a question of money, it's priceless for what it represents for us" before adding "he has no market value".

After the match, Mihajlovic told the media he believes the club will hold on to the big Austrian.

"If he were to go away it would be a great loss," he said. "I would be happy for him, but I think he will stay in the end.

"We talked to each other, surely if he stays here he will train well and do what he has to do. If he goes away we will see, but I don't think so."

United reportedly have had a €9million offer turned down, while Arnautovic's agent has confirmed "it's true that there is an offer from a well-known club."

Bologna sporting director Marco Di Vaio has warned Manchester United off a move for "priceless" forward Marko Arnautovic.

United are widely reported to have made an approach to try and bring Arnautovic back to the Premier League, where he previously represented West Ham United and Stoke City.

Erik ten Hag is short of options to lead the line, with Cristiano Ronaldo's future uncertain and Anthony Martial injured, but luring Arnautovic from Bologna will not be an easy task.

Speaking ahead of the Coppa Italia clash against Cosenza, Di Vaio made it clear that the Serie A club are not willing to negotiate over a deal.

"It is not easy to play in the market phase, there is a lot of talk, our will is to retain Marko. He is at the centre of our project," he told Italia 1.

"This interest makes us proud above all because it is an idea born by Sabatini [Walter, Bologna's former sporting director] and carried out by the club to realise a dream that was to bring him here after two three years in China.

"It was a bet won, he responded on the field and we want to move forward with him. Our will is not to sell, but to strengthen the team to make an important season."

Pressed over whether the club's stance would change if a significant offer was presented, Di Vaio suggested that would not be the case.

"It's not a question of money, it's priceless for what it represents for us," he explained.

"We want to move forward with him because we are convinced that he can do better and help us grow. He is always the first in training to spur others, he has no market value."

Adam Lallana has revealed part of Brighton and Hove Albion's plan in their opening weekend victory at Manchester United was to target new arrival Lisandro Martinez.

Graham Potter's side got their Premier League campaign underway with their first ever win at Old Trafford, with the former England international a key figure to his team's 2-1 success on Sunday.

The introduction in the second half of Cristiano Ronaldo by new United manager Erik ten Hag was not enough for the hosts, as Pascal Gross' two first-half goals proved enough to see off an Alexis Mac Allister own goal.

Martinez made his debut from the start following his pre-season move from Ajax, and the Argentine's partnership with Harry Maguire was put to the test early on by the movement of the visitors.

Speaking to Sky Sports' Melissa Reddy after the win, Lallana said it had been part of the plan to try and unsettle Martinez as he was new to the league.

"[The plan was] to have a lot of courage," the former Liverpool man revealed. "We had a shape, we had triggers. Me and [Danny Welbeck] have a lot of experience in the final third.

"We went a little bit more direct because we knew United had been pressing well in pre-season, obviously with new ideas from the manager, and I thought Wells caused them problems all game.

"With their new signing [Martinez], we know the Premier League's difficult, so we thought we'd ask him questions early on. We landed on second balls, gained good territory and attacked the ball well in numbers. Something we've spoken about is getting across the front post and Pascal got the finishes."

Ronaldo was left on the bench initially by Ten Hag, having only featured for 45 minutes of pre-season due to personal reasons, though there had also been frequent speculation suggesting he wishes to leave for a Champions League club.

His introduction early in the second half led to a change of shape, with another United debutant, Christian Eriksen, moving from a false nine position into midfield.

Lallana credited Potter with "taking the sting" out of the game, while also bemoaning some refereeing decisions that went against them, including a push from Martinez on Welbeck in the penalty area that was deemed fair by the officials.

"We knew they were going to react tactically or with personnel," he said. "We played the second half knowing it wasn't going to be the same [as the first], but we weathered the storm.

"I thought there were a couple of decisions that didn't go our way. We had a penalty chance, a couple of fouls that the ref let go, but we made good subs at good times. I thought the manager just took the sting out of the game and we shored the game up brilliantly in the last five or 10 minutes.

"It was a huge positive and good game management."

Marko Arnautovic's agent says they have received an offer from "a well-known club" amid reports linking Manchester United with a move for the Bologna forward.

The Austria international joined the Serie A outfit last term, having spent two years with Shanghai Port in the Chinese Super League, and remains under contract until 2024 with them.

But news broke over the weekend that United, who suffered an opening Premier League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, were exploring a remarkable move for the 33-year-old.

Bologna have reportedly rejected an opening offer from the Old Trafford club, but now Danijel Arnautovic - both agent and brother to the star - has confirmed the existence of a bid and says they are working for a result.

"It's true that there is an offer from a well-known club," he told Kurier. "I'm in contact with Bologna to see if that can be realised."

Arnautovic previously spent a six-year spell in the English top-flight, with four years at Stoke City and two at West Ham, where he was voted Hammer of the Year in 2018.

Since arriving at Bologna last year, the attacker has arguably been in the best form of his career, netting 14 goals in 33 Serie A games last term.

News of a potential move for the star however has been met with a broadly negative reaction by many fans and figures associated with United, including former captain Gary Neville, who labelled them as "desperate".

After the best goalscoring season of his career, Valencia's Goncalo Guedes has reportedly earned a move to the Premier League, with Wolves said to be finalising a transfer worth up to £35million.

After arriving at the Spanish side back in 2017 from Paris Saint-Germain, the 25-year-old forward has established himself as a regular in Portugal's international side, collecting 32 senior caps and scoring the only goal in their 1-0 Nations League final win against the Netherlands in 2019.

Having never previously scored more than five league goals in a season, Guedes racked up 11, as well as six assists, in Valencia's last LaLiga campaign, and helped his side through to the final of the Copa del Rey.


TOP STORY – WOLVES CLOSE IN ON GUEDES

Wolves have no shortage of talent, boasting arguably the strongest Portuguese contingent in the Premier League, including manager Bruno Lage, and four starters from their opening fixture against Leeds United – Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, Ruben Neves and Jose Sa, with Joao Moutinho and Nelson Semedo among the others in their ranks.

According to the Daily Mail, all signs point to Guedes being added to that list, while at the same time a starting position may be opening up as Morgan Gibbs-White's name continues to be included in heavy transfer speculation, with Nottingham Forest keen to sign him for a similar price Wolves will fork out in this reported deal.

Flipping an unproven talent like Gibbs-White into an established international performer like Guedes would likely be seen as a win by the club, but if they do wish to retain their English midfielder, the Daily Mail is also reporting they should be able to collect £12m from Everton in exchange for centre-back Conor Coady.


ROUND-UP

– The Guardian is reporting Leicester City and Southampton are interested in Callum Hudson-Odoi after the 21-year-old informed Chelsea he would like to leave on loan, and the Daily Mail claim Borussia Dortmund are also a potential landing spot.

– The Mail is also reporting that Chelsea's Timo Werner is close to a permanent deal to return to RB Leipzig, with the fee said to be around £30m.

– According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle United have decided to make a run at in-demand 19-year-old striker and Manchester United target Benjamin Sesko from Salzburg.

Feyenoord have accepted a £12.6m bid from Bournemouth for 25-year-old Argentine defender Marcos Senesi, per The Sun.

– The Athletic is reporting United have made a £6.8m bid for 33-year-old Bologna striker Marko Arnautovic, who has previously spent six seasons in the Premier League between Stoke City and West Ham.

Frenkie de Jong appears likely to remain at Barcelona for this season, if the comments from club president Joan Laporta after their side's 6-0 pre-season win against Pumas are to be believed.

De Jong scored the sixth goal in the rout, coming off the bench at half-time and finding the net in the 84th minute.

He has been one of the main names featured in transfer rumours this off-season, with Barcelona's questionable finances making it seem like the club would have to part ways with the 25-year-old Dutch international to fund their sizeable moves for Leeds United winger Raphinha, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

However, having been outspoken about his desire to remain at Camp Nou, it now seems more likely he will not be sold during this transfer window, with Laporta saying before the match against Pumas that it is what both parties want.

"Frenkie is our player and we want him to stay at Barcelona," he said. "He wants to stay, too.

"With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay."

After the match, Xavi was less emphatic about De Jong's future when interviewed by TV3, but insisted that he's "counting on" the midfielder this season.

"I don’t know what will happen to Frenkie, as until August 31st anything can happen," he said.

"He knows what I think, and what the club want and need. Of course I’m counting on him, he’s a great player."

Barcelona will open their LaLiga campaign at home against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Gary Neville launched a scathing attack on Manchester United's transfer strategy after their 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, labelling the Red Devils "desperate" amid reports linking them with Marko Arnautovic.

United began the Erik ten Hag era in dismal fashion on Sunday as Pascal Gross' double condemned them to an opening-day defeat to the Seagulls.

The result made Ten Hag the first United boss to lose his first Premier League game at the helm since Louis van Gaal did so against Swansea City in August 2014.

With wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench and fellow forward Anthony Martial injured, United struggled to test a resolute Brighton rearguard and only pulled a goal back when Alexis Mac Allister put through his own net.

In the aftermath of United's defeat, widespread reports suggested they had a £7.6million (€9m) bid for Bologna's 33-year-old forward Arnautovic rejected.

United have also failed to entice top target Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona thus far, and Neville did not hold back when discussing the club's recruitment.

"The first thing you do when the phone rings from Manchester United is reject the bid, because the reality of it is after losing that game against Brighton on Sunday, they're actually negotiating from an even worse position than they were on Saturday, and that's an even bigger problem for them," the former United defender said on Sky Sports.

"I've got a comment on everything in the world, apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic. I've got nothing to say.

"We've seen Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavani, Odion Ighalo - desperate, it's a pattern. 

"It's happening time and time again. I don't even get angry or animated about it anymore. I'm not going to comment about it."

Micah Richards was also unimpressed by the potential acquisition of Arnautovic, adding: "What has happened to Manchester United, seriously? I'm not going to stick the boot in. Arnautovic was a quality player, but he's 33 playing in Italy."

After playing in the Premier League for Stoke City and West Ham, Arnautovic spent two years in China with Shanghai Port before moving to Bologna – for whom he scored 14 Serie A goals last season – in 2021.

In his post-match media conference, Ten Hag declined to mention Arnautovic by name, only lamenting the unavailability of the strikers in his squad, with Ronaldo limited to a substitute appearance.

"I don't go into names because I think in this pre-season 250 players are involved or linked with Manchester United, so that's it," Ten Hag said. "We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with Marcus Rashford as well.

"We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good pre-season on the left side and today he had two really good chances coming in from the left side.

"So I think it was the right decision to do it like this, the typical number nine wasn't available today."

Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag insisted his defence was not to blame for their opening-day defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The Seagulls found themselves 2-0 up at half-time after Pascal Gross scored a first-half brace.

Ten Hag had opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench due to a lack of fitness, but brought him on in the second period to positive effect and an Alexis Mac Allister own goal set up a tense finish.

Brighton held on though for their first ever away win at Old Trafford, condemning Ten Hag to defeat in his first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils.

However, the former Ajax boss refused to blame his backline for the defeat, telling reporters: "It wasn't the defending. We defend as a team and we made passing mistakes that were unnecessary in the midfield, then they took over. 

"We have to be better at organisation because we have made appointments and they have to do the job which we talked about, which they have been appointed to do. That is not what we did and then we got punished.

"The same with the second goal, it was totally unnecessary from a ball that was loose in the corner on the other side. It is not good that you then go on and concede a goal."

Ten Hag also spoke on the improvement in United's performance after Ronaldo entered the fray, while conceding that he still has a way to go until he is at his best.

"It was clear to see that in the second half we were better in the midfield, with Christian Eriksen back down and Cristiano Ronaldo further up," Ten Hag added.

"Then we create and [Marcus] Rashford had two really good chances and it's a pity we didn't score to make it 2-2.

"It takes time. We cannot force it and one week in training, a little bit more now, he has to do more to get fit and this game will help him. The 35 to 40 minutes he had now and now we have one week and he will be better next week."

Manchester United head coach Erik Ten Hag has said "it wasn't the defending" that led to his side's opening-day defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

The Seagulls found themselves 2-0 up at half-time after Pascal Gross scored a first-half brace to put his team two goals to good at the interval.

Ten Hag had opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench due to a lack of fitness, but brought him on in the second period to positive effect and an Alexis Mac Allister own goal set up a tense finish.

Brighton held on though for their first ever away win at Old Trafford, condemning Ten Hag to defeat in his first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils.

However, the former Ajax man refused to blame his backline for the defeat, telling reporters: "It wasn't the defending. We defend as a team and we made passing mistakes that were unnecessary in the midfield, then they took over. 

"We have to be better at organisation because we have made appointments and they have to do the job which we talked about, which they have been appointed to do. That is not what we did and then we got punished.

"The same with the second goal, it was totally unnecessary from a ball that was loose in the corner on the other side. It is not good that you then go on and concede a goal."

Ten Hag also spoke on the improvement in United's performance after Ronaldo entered the fray, while conceding that he still has a way to go until he is at his best.

"It was clear to see that in the second half we were better in the midfield, with Christian Eriksen back down and Cristiano Ronaldo further up," Ten Hag added.

"Then we create and [Marcus] Rashford had two really good chances and it's a pity we didn't score to make it 2-2.

"It takes time. We cannot force it and one week in training, a little bit more now, he has to do more to get fit and this game will help him. The 35 to 40 minutes he had now and now we have one week and he will be better next week."

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic insists speculation linking winger Leroy Sane with a move to Manchester United is wide of the mark.

Reports have suggested the Premier League club enquired about the availability of the Germany international, who spent four years in England with United's cross-city rivals Manchester City between 2016 and 2020.

Sane scored 25 goals in 90 Premier League appearances for the Citizens before moving back to Germany in order to join Bayern, where he has won two Bundesliga titles in two seasons.

Bayern left Sane out of their starting eleven for a 6-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt in their Bundesliga opener on Friday, but Salihamidzic says the 26-year-old is not going anywhere.

When questioned regarding a potential transfer for Sane, Salihamidzic told Sky90: "There's nothing to it.

"Leroy is an important player for us, so there's nothing to tell."

Sane provided an assist for Jamal Musiala after entering the fray 65 minutes into Bayern's thrashing of last season's Europa League winners, as the Bavarian giants started the Bundesliga season with an emphatic success.

The former City winger scored seven goals and added seven assists in the Bundesliga last campaign, with only Thomas Muller (eight), Serge Gnabry (14) and the since-departed Robert Lewandowski (35) netting more league goals than Sane.

Erik ten Hag described Manchester United's dire opening-day defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion as "a real disappointment", as he backed wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo to improve following his second-half cameo.

Ten Hag's United tenure got off to a nightmare start as Brighton claimed their first ever win at Old Trafford at the 15th attempt, with Pascal Gross scoring a first-half brace before an Alexis Mac Allister own goal set up a tense finish.

But the Seagulls held on for a memorable victory as Ten Hag became the first United boss – including caretakers – to lose his first Premier League match at the helm since Louis van Gaal did so against Swansea City in August 2014.

With Ronaldo starting on the bench, United faced 12 shots and managed just five of their own in the first half of the contest as Brighton produced a polished display, with this just the third time one of Ten Hag's teams have conceded 12 attempts before the break in 229 top-flight matches. 

Speaking to Sky Sports after the demoralising defeat, Ten Hag bemoaned United's lack of defensive organisation and called for them to improve quickly.

"Of course, it's definitely a setback, a real disappointment, and we have to deal with it," he said.

"I knew from the start it would not be easy, it's a process, it takes time but you don't have time. You have to win games and we should have done better.

"I analysed it and it's unnecessary, we gave two easy balls away, and in think in our organisation there was a big mistake, but that happens, we have to take the lessons.

"I'm not satisfied, I'm totally not happy because we lost and it was unnecessary, we should have done things better. I think also with those players, we could have done better."

 

United's shot count did improve with 12 attempts in the second half, as Ronaldo's 53rd-minute introduction allowed debutant Christian Eriksen to drop into a deeper position after he started in a false nine role.

Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford remains uncertain after he reportedly professed his desire to leave in search of Champions League football, but Ten Hag was happy with his contribution from the bench and is backing the 37-year-old to improve as he gains match fitness.

"It's clear to see that in the second half we were better in midfield, with Christian Eriksen down and then Cristiano Ronaldo up," he added.

"Then we created. I think [Marcus] Rashford had two very good chances, and it's a pity we didn't score for 2-2.

"It takes time, you cannot force it, and he [Ronaldo] is now one week in training. He has to do more to get fit, this game will help him, the 35-40 minutes he had now, and he will be better next week."

United's next Premier League outing sees them travel to Brentford next Saturday.

Harry Maguire felt Manchester United's poor ball retention and weak mentality were crucial factors in their chastening 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in Erik ten Hag's first Premier League match in charge.

United were beginning a new era at Old Trafford on Sunday, and Brighton were seen by many as a kind first opponent despite the Seagulls battering them 4-0 in May.

Ten Hag handed debuts to Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen, but with Anthony Martial injured and Cristiano Ronaldo only deemed fit enough to start on the bench, United lacked a presence in attack.

Two close-range goals from Pascal Gross had Brighton 2-0 up at half-time, and although a slightly improved United performance led to a scrappy Alexis Mac Allister own goal, the Red Devils could not come up with an equaliser.

In the long run it is hoped Ten Hag will be able to implement an attack-minded possession-based brand of football, but there were few signs of it on display here.

Scott McTominay was indicative of United's poor ball retention and lack of control, completing just 19 passes at a success rate of 67.9 per cent despite playing nearly the entire match in midfield. Even goalkeeper David de Gea attempted (29) more passes than the Scotland international (28).

Captain Maguire thought United showed a poor response to going behind.

He told Sky Sports: "I think we started pretty the game well and on the front foot and as a team we had control of the game.

"Then we conceded the first goal and that knocked back really badly. We stopped playing from then, they got a lot of control in the game.

"We need to look at not letting that first goal set us back as much as it did, but we've got to be better on the ball, we gave the ball away too often in that first half especially after the first goal, we gave them encouragement to come forward and attack us. It was a nightmare start to be 2-0 down at half-time.

"Everyone knew the task. We had a bad season last season, now we've got a new manager trying to put his philosophy on the team, but when we don't get it right we look far too open."

Specifically on the subject of United failing to react to Brighton's first goal, Maguire added: "It's something we need to address or it'll keep happening.

"The first goal felt like a big blow to all 11 of our players. We spoke about getting the next goal [at half-time].

"I think in the second half you saw good parts to our game, but overall we didn't do enough. We had a lot of pressure and a lot of ball, but we need to be a bit more creative and we need to improve on that."

It was the first competitive game Maguire had played with new signing Martinez, and while the Argentina international showed glimpses of his ability, Danny Welbeck got a lot of joy out of both centre-backs.

Maguire accepts forging a proper partnership will require patience.

"It's great to have Licha [Martinez] at the club. We have competition for places at centre-back," he said.

"We've not played much together and in that first period we weren't on the same wavelength. Centre-back partnerships are built over time and we will get a lot better and keep clean sheets."

Manchester United showed it will take much more than one pre-season to become a force again as Erik ten Hag's era as manager began with a chastening 2-1 home defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The atmosphere at United seemed to improve over pre-season, but their performance on Sunday was little better than the underwhelming football regularly served up under Ralf Rangnick.

United struggled to cope with Brighton's fluidity and the visitors deservedly found themselves two up at half-time as Pascal Gross – twice the scorer of winning goals against the Red Devils – netted a brace.

Cristiano Ronaldo – benched due to a lack of fitness – made a difference in the second half and a scrappy Alexis Mac Allister own goal halved the deficit, but Brighton held on for a first ever win at Old Trafford.

There were warning signs inside 20 seconds when a Diogo Dalot error led to Leandro Trossard smashing into the side-netting.

As Brighton's confidence continued to grow, Danny Welbeck inspired the opener with half an hour played, flashing the ball across goal for Gross to tap in at the back post.

Gross was in the right place at the right time again nine minutes later, beating Fred to a rebound and converting after David de Gea parried Solly March's shot.

Ronaldo's introduction just after the break did little to turn the tide initially, with United lucky to avoid a penalty concession when debutant Lisandro Martinez barged Welbeck over.

The Portugal striker did lay a great chance, though, picking out Marcus Rashford who was denied at point-blank range by Robert Sanchez.

But Brighton's goalkeeper was at fault as United pulled one back, putting Mac Allister off as he tried to clear off the line.

United's late flurry failed to produce an equaliser, however.

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