Despite winning LaLiga and the Champions League last season, Real Madrid want to secure a bright future to follow their trophy-laden present.

Having confirmed the signings of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger this off-season, Madrid managed to bolster their squad in two areas of the pitch.

Meanwhile, they are on the verge of securing the long-term futures of three foundational pieces in those successes last term.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SECURE BRAZILIAN TRIO

Real Madrid are all but set to confirm renewed contracts for their Brazilian trio of Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Despite tricky initiations for each, all three have now established themselves as vital players under Carlo Ancelotti, as evidenced by their new release clauses.

Militao and Rodrygo have reportedly extended to June 2028, with respective €500million and €1billion release clauses.

After a breakout season, culminating with his goal in May's Champions League final, Vinicius will reportedly extend to June 2027, along with a €1bn release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are now considering a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as an alternative to Frenkie de Jong, Calciomercato is reporting.

– Juventus have made a €23m (£19.5m) move for Liverpool's Roberto Firmino as they finalise the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Jules Kounde's departure from Sevilla appears likelier with the defender close to agreeing personal terms with Barcelona, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Arsenal have confirmed their interest in Lucas Paqueta but are yet to make Lyon an offer, The Times has reported.

Manchester United's players must "be ready to hear things we don't want to" from new manager Erik ten Hag if they are to avoid a repeat of last season, according to full-back Diogo Dalot.

Ten Hag officially replaced interim boss Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford last month on the back of United posting their lowest-ever Premier League points tally (58) in the 2021-22 campaign.

The Dutchman's tenure has started in a positive fashion with three wins and a draw during the Red Devils' pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, scoring 13 goals in the process.

However, Ten Hag criticised his team for an "unacceptable" loss of concentration in Saturday's friendly with Aston Villa, which finished in a 2-2 draw despite United leading by two goals at half-time.

Dalot, who played 67 minutes of the game in Perth, accepts that such comments must be taken on board.

"It is discipline. We need to be ready for that, to be ready to hear things that maybe we don't want to hear," Dalot said. "Everything is for the greater good of the team and that’s the most important thing.

"I feel that we start from scratch: new manager, new stuff, new energy, new players coming in, and we’re looking forward to playing with them as well. We need to build a team, a staff, a club, everyone together and go forward."

Jadon Sancho's third goal of pre-season and a Matty Cash own goal put United in a commanding position against Villa at Optus Stadium, but Leon Bailey pulled one back and Calum Chambers headed a stoppage-time leveller.

"We should have come into the second half a little bit more lively," Dalot said. "Obviously we were winning 2-0, but we need to keep the tempo, keep the ball, we don't want to concede so many counter-attacks that we conceded.

"But it is something to learn for the future. We are going to analyse the game for sure and take the lessons. We need to be proactive, not just the full-back – everyone. Read the game, be always on our toes.

"Mentally we have to be connected all the time, and hopefully we can improve a little bit more as well and go to the season."

Dalot has started all four of United's pre-season friendlies, suggesting he has dislodged Aaron Wan-Bissaka as first-choice right-back heading into Ten Hag's first season in charge.

The Portugal international has struggled to hold down a place since arriving from Porto in 2018, and was sent out on loan to Milan in the 2020-21 campaign, but he is up for the challenge of proving himself.

"I want to be ready for the manager, for the club – every time he needs me I'm going to be there," Dalot said.

"I need to show my qualities as well. This is why I came here, to show to this club I'm capable of playing many games for it. This is what I want."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has rubbished reports the club have accepted an offer from Manchester United for midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

Erik ten Hag is keen to reunite with the 25-year-old, whom he managed at Ajax, and United have been pushing to bring the Netherlands international to Old Trafford.

The financial situation of Barcelona has been identified as a reason why the Catalan side may be tempted to sell, with reports stating the club have accepted an offer from the Premier League side but De Jong himself is yet to be persuaded by a move.

Such claims have been refuted by Laporta, who made it clear to ESPN that no bids for De Jong have been accepted.

"Frenkie de Jong is our player, we really like him," he said.

"We received some offers for Frenkie but we didn't accept as of now, as we want to talk with him and know exactly what he wants. We need to clarify some aspects of his situation."

Laporta's stance on De Jong was echoed by Xavi, although the Barcelona coach admitted the financial situation could affect the proceedings heading into the final month of the transfer window.

"I’m not here to send messages. I already spoke with Frenkie, I value him very much. He's a key player, but then there's economic situation and Financial Fair Play," he said following Barcelona's 1-0 pre-season win against Real Madrid.

Xavi also dropped a hint on plans to utilise De Jong's versatility next season, adding: "He can give us a lot also as a centre back."

Marcus Rashford says his current pre-season is priceless for his prospects, though the Manchester United forward is reluctant to discuss an England recall.

The Old Trafford star suffered a difficult 2021-22 campaign on the field, and was criticised for his performances as much as he was praised for his humanitarian and community work off it.

It came on the back of a frustrating Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, in which he missed a penalty in the decisive shoot-out, with fluctuating form and injuries ultimately seeing him dropped from Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad.

But after a string of impressive performances under new United boss Erik ten Hag during the club's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia, Rashford admits he is raring to go again.  

"For me personally, it's priceless to have the pre-season that I've had," the 24-year-old stated.

"Sometimes I don't really take as much note of it because usually we're playing games in the summer and stuff like that, so the next season sort of just rolls onto the previous season.

"But this year I've had time to break, rest, recover mentally and physically, and then I've had a proper pre-season. I feel really happy. I'm pleased that I managed to do that."

Asked on the matter of a recall to the international setup ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup however, Rashford admitted all he can do is impress at club level to see if he can force his way back into Southgate's plans.

Despite making several squads across the tail-end of 2021, he has not featured since that day at Wembley, with others battling for his spot in the squad in his absence.

"I've not spoken to [Southgate] since the summer, really," Rashford added. "I'm not too sure but all I can do is try and do my best for United, and then we'll see what happens."

Atletico Madrid are reportedly set to fund a bid for Cristiano Ronaldo by putting Antoine Griezmann up for sale, with the club hoping to bring the Portugal superstar back to La Liga.

Ronaldo has sat out Manchester United's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia amid reports he has requested an exit from Old Trafford if a suitable bid is lodged.

The veteran forward signed a two-year deal in a spectacular homecoming last season, but could not help United avoid missing out on a top-four finish, leaving him without Champions League football this term as things stand.

 

TOP STORY - ATLETICO SEEK TO SELL GRIEZMANN TO LAUNCH RONALDO MOVE

Widely considered one of the greatest players in the modern game, Ronaldo is likely to accept only a move to a club that can offer him a shot at major European glory once again, limiting his pool of options.

Though linked with a host of European heavyweights, the funds required to cover his wage bill also present a major stumbling block - which is why Atletico are looking to push Griezmann off their books, says The Times.

Having left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019, the France international and World Cup winner returned to Wanda Metropolitano last year after a dismal stay at Camp Nou, pushing to recapture his best form.

He is halfway through a two-season loan with a permanent transfer set to come into force at the end of that deal, with Diego Simeone's side looking to move him on early.

Prospective buyers, such as Paris Saint-Germain, are not interested in taking Griezmann however, suggesting Neymar will remain at the Parc des Princes despite talk of an exit.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to the Mirror, United would let Ronaldo leave on a season-long loan deal - providing he triggered a one-year extension that would ensure his Old Trafford return in 2023.

– Sport believes that Barcelona hope to successfully hijack Chelsea's move for Jules Kounde by offering a lump sum payment to Sevilla, rather than the instalments favoured by the Blues.

– Newcastle are weighing up a move for Leicester winger Harvey Barnes, but the Foxes' £50m price tag is throwing a wrench in the Magpies' plans, says The Sun.

Brighton will not take a penny under their asking price for Marc Cucurella, with the Seagulls refusing to drop from their £50m valuation after Manchester City's £30m offer, per The Athletic.

– Timo Werner is eyeing an exit from Chelsea in this window as the Germany international is concerned over his game-time ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Erik ten Hag says there can be no excuse for Manchester United's "unacceptable" second-half display after they let a two-goal lead slip in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

Jadon Sancho's third goal of pre-season and a Matty Cash own goal put United in a commanding position at half-time in the friendly at Optus Stadium in Perth.

However, the Red Devils were unable to see out a fourth win in four outings, as Leon Bailey pulled one back and Calum Chambers headed in a 93rd-minute leveller.

While disappointed his side dropped off after the break, Ten Hag is glad it happened in a friendly rather than in a competitive contest.

"I said in the dressing room, a drop of focus is unacceptable, but I'm happy because now I can tell them it cannot happen [again]," he said in his post-match news conference.

"[At the start of the second half you] have to get out of the dressing room and back in your plan and your focus and back to your performance and that is what we didn't do.

"We had a lot of movement behind the defending line, scored two great goals, so we were 2-0 up at half-time, and then our focus dropped."

United's fourth and final friendly in 11 days on their tour of Thailand and Australia was played in wet conditions, with concerns raised over the quality of the pitch ahead of kick-off.

Ten Hag did not want to use the playing surface as a reason for their shortcomings.

"It can be that the guys are tired, but that's not an excuse. They have to perform and it is what we didn't do in the second half," he said.

"It was the focus. I don't want to make excuses about the pitch or weather. No matter what, we have to perform.

"Football is a sport of mistakes and we have to decrease the mistakes. That's clear, but I have seen a lot of progress in these two weeks.

"In the first half I saw really good football, really controlling and dominating the game, but we have to learn from what happened in the second half. 

"It's not possible that you go 2-0 [ahead] and then throw it away."

United face Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano next weekend in their final outings ahead of taking on Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening Premier League match.

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in Australia will provide important experience for the forthcoming season, following a second-half fightback from Steven Gerrard's side. 

Jadon Sancho scored his third goal in four pre-season games with a first-half volley, which was added to by an own goal, but Leon Bailey pulled one back for Villa in the second half before Calum Chambers' equaliser in the dying moments.

The draw ends United's perfect pre-season run so far, having won each of their three games prior to the clash against their fellow Premier League side, but Ten Hag has seen the positives and believes the setback can provide an education for the upcoming season.

"First half, it was a decent performance, second half, we came back out of the dressing room and we had to control the game but we gave it away. That is no good, so that is a lesson," he told MUTV.

"From the players, the team, I think there has been a lot of progress. There's been some positive aspects. 

"In the end there was a setback but that is also a part of the season because a season is not always getting up, you will also have setbacks that you have to deal with."

United face Atletico Madrid in Oslo later this week in their penultimate pre-season match, before bringing their preparations for 2022-23 to a close against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford next Sunday, and Ten Hag has outlined how he wants his team to continue to play in those games.

"We now play a different type of football against different systems, I think that will also be the case when we play the two Spanish teams," he added.

"What we want is to play proactive football, we want to play with initiative, we want to play attacking football. That is also what we have seen today over a long period but in the end, you have to control the game and that's what we didn't do."

David de Gea has made his plans for the rest of his career clear, stating in no uncertain terms that he wishes to remain a Manchester United player well beyond the completion of his current contract.

The Spanish international with 45 senior caps has racked up an incredible 487 total club appearances for United in the past 11 seasons, and he will move into the club's top-10 in games played if he makes 24 starts in the upcoming season.

If he sticks around for a couple more years he can make a big impression on that all-time list, sitting only 72 games behind Wayne Rooney in sixth place.

Speaking to the media during his side's pre-season exhibition tour in Australia, De Gea called United "one of the best things in my life".

"I would be really happy to be here for as long as [the club] wants," he said. "I didn't talk with anyone yet, but I want to be here for more years.

"I feel very good here. It's a privilege and an honour to be here in this club. It's one of the best things in my life, to be a part of this club."

He went on to discuss the struggles of last season, and his excitement to get back out there with new manager Erik ten Hag in charge.

"It was a very tough season, embarrassing sometimes," he said. "Some games were a mess, a disaster.

"So we should learn from last season that it cannot happen again. Losing 4-0 or 5-0, it was unacceptable. We needed a better culture of football, of just thinking about football, nothing else. 

"With a new manager, we are in a good way. He is very focused on football and what we need, and the players feel the same."

The 31-year-old has one year remaining on his £375,000 per week deal, with an option of a one-year extension that seemingly will be utilised if it is his choice.

David de Gea has taken pride in winning individual trophies at Manchester United but hopes he never collects another personal accolade because it will mean the Red Devils have failed again.

Jose Mourinho became increasingly frustrated during his time at Old Trafford as goalkeeper De Gea won the Player of the Year award for United, amounting to failure from his outfield stars in the Portuguese's eyes.

The Spain international may have felt hard done by to not win another of those awards last season, with Cristiano Ronaldo pipping him to the honour after scoring 24 goals across all competitions.

De Gea made 128 saves in the 2021-22 Premier League, the third most in the English top flight, as United limped to a sixth-place finish and their lowest points tally in the competition's history.

New manager Erik ten Hag has made a promising start to his tenure with United, though, with the Red Devils winning three pre-season friendlies, including a 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool in Bangkok. They face Aston Villa on Saturday as the season build-up continues.

De Gea has been a vocal critic during United's downfall in recent years, and has insisted he no longer wants to win individual awards as that would represent more failure.

"It's good for me individually, of course, I love to win trophies, but I totally agree with what [Mourinho] said," said De Gea, who has won the Player of the Year award at United on four occasions.

"It must be a striker, a midfielder [who wins that award], that's what needs to happen, but this season it's going to be another player or striker, for sure."

Ten Hag has begun his sizeable rebuilding task with the Premier League side by bringing in Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen, while striking a deal for Lisandro Martinez.

Jadon Sancho, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes have spoken approvingly of Ten Hag, and De Gea hopes the Dutchman will help United respond to an abject campaign last season.

"For me, for everyone, it was a very tough season, embarrassing sometimes," De Gea said, quoted in several British newspapers. "Some games were a mess, a disaster.

"So we should learn from last season that cannot happen again because it was tough, it was painful to be there – not capable to win games, losing games 4-0 or 5-0. It was unacceptable.

"Sometimes you have to feel pain to go up and keep going."

A notable feature of United's early pre-season games has been Ten Hag's insistence for his side to build from the back and play possession-based football.

For this to be successful, as seen with Ederson at Manchester City, De Gea as a goalkeeper must be confident with the ball at his feet, and the 31-year-old backs his own abilities.

"I think I showed it already," he said. "If you watch my games with the national team or when we played with Sir Alex Ferguson at the beginning, you could see it.

"I don't need to show anyone. I've been playing for many years. I will try my best. I'm going to stay quiet, calm and try to show that to the team and play out from the back.

"Obviously with different managers you have to adapt to the way they want you to play, but I used to play like this in the national team for many years so I'm comfortable with it."

Jadon Sancho hailed the early work of Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, saying the Dutchman has made the same players feel like a "whole different team".

Ten Hag has a sizeable rebuilding task at Old Trafford following the unsuccessful interim spell of Ralf Rangnick, whose mid-season appointment to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed last campaign.

United finished sixth in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign after recording their lowest points tally, while failing to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

The former Ajax coach has brought in Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen, while striking an agreement for Lisandro Martinez and reportedly holding negotiations with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong.

United have also impressed in their pre-season friendlies, defeating Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, and Sancho was quick to credit Ten Hag's early influence.

"He's told all the boys that every friendly is a must-win game," the winger said to United's official website.

"I can already tell from his mindset that he wants us to do well and, when the players hear that from a manager, you all take that in and we all want to give our best, especially out on the pitch.

"That's been a real confidence boost. We've been having lots of meetings with the manager and understanding how he wants us to play and there's definitely been a big sign of everyone taking that on board and us producing what he wants to happen.

"This pre-season, we have the same players but it just looks like a whole different team and I do think that's something we're working on and I feel like we're getting better.

"The manager is big on team-bonding and having fun together and doing things like team dinners and things like that. So, yeah, it's helping.

"You can see in the games, as I said before, with how we're playing and there being a lot more structure and opportunities to score, and we're keeping the ball more too and being effective [with it]."

Sancho arrived from Borussia Dortmund last season as the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the previous three seasons.

But the England international struggled in his debut season in Manchester, scoring just three times in 29 Premier League appearances and he is keen to make amends in the upcoming term.

"Last year wasn't great and I feel like everyone has something to prove for this upcoming season," he added.

"It's my second year now, settling into the team, knowing how players play and I'm excited for the upcoming season, with a new manager and how he wants us to play, and I think it will be good for myself.

"We don't want to put performances in like we did last year and upset the fans. Some fans travelled for a long time to get to the stadium and watch us not perform.

"I'm sure, this year, everyone is going to make up for that and make sure every game we play we put 100 per cent in and make sure the fans are smiling at the end of the game."

Bruno Fernandes insists Cristiano Ronaldo was not the reason Manchester United struggled last season, while he expects the "strict" Erik ten Hag to deliver success at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo has reportedly asked to leave United, less than a year after returning to the club, and is yet to report for training with Ten Hag's squad after missing three pre-season friendlies due to family reasons.

Fernandes claimed earlier in the week that he had no knowledge of Ronaldo's future intentions but called for respect for whatever his Portugal compatriot decides to do.

Ten Hag has already made it clear that Ronaldo remains an integral part of his plans after the 37-year-old top-scored with 24 goals in all competitions for United last term.

As United prepare to face Aston Villa in their next pre-season friendly on Saturday, Fernandes again leapt to the defence of the forward, refusing to blame him for the Red Devils' issues last term.

Asked whether Ronaldo's presence caused a change in style and problems for United, Fernandes told Sky Sports: "No I don't think so.

"I am there to serve my strikers and I think we had an amazing start to the season. When Cristiano came in he scored two goals in his first game and I scored one and after that, I scored many goals playing with Cristiano.

"I think all of my goals I was playing alongside Cristiano, so I don't think that was the problem at all.

"I play with him for Portugal and that will never be the problem because good players can fit together at any time at any point."

Whether Ten Hag has Ronaldo to call upon in the upcoming campaign or not, Fernandes lauded the former Ajax coach's training methods as the Dutchman attempts to implement a new style of play at United.

"Nobody can get away with anything with him and the senior players have to play their part too, making sure that everyone is on the same page," he added.

"Everyone knows they have to be pushing to the same side and if not, they will be out of the team. That's a good thing because if you want to be successful as a team you have to be always in the same way.

"He's strict, he's tough, but at the same time, he's a nice and easy guy to chat to. 

"The main thing is following what he wants because I think he has a straight line that he wants to have with the team and I want to follow that straight line because I think we can be successful that way.

"I think everyone will be happy at the end of the season if we can do everything he wants us to do."

Fernandes netted 28 times for United in all competitions in the 2020-21 season, the best return by a midfielder for a Premier League club in a single campaign, surpassing Frank Lampard's 27 for Chelsea in 2009-10.

The Portugal international failed to follow that up in the next campaign, managing 10 goals across all competitions, and Fernandes wants to prove his worth after signing a new five-year contract in March.

"Last season, as a team it was not successful so individually it's difficult to be successful," he added.

"I was trying in the same way to improve the team, but obviously, it was a difficult season for everyone and was tough to be successful individually because the results were not there.

"I know everyone is expecting so much from me because my first season was amazing and last season I only scored 10 goals and 14 assists. I know I can do much better than that.

"So for me, it's about following the rules [Ten Hag] wants, following his demands and my game will come naturally. The main thing for me is that the team is successful."

Nemanja Matic wasted little time in deciding to join Roma and work with Jose Mourinho, explaining the Giallorossi coach "convinced me in less than five minutes".

The Serbia international will play under the stewardship of Mourinho for a third time in his career, having already featured for the Portuguese at Chelsea and Manchester United.

Mourinho first signed the midfielder for Chelsea from Benfica in 2014 in a deal worth £40million ($50m), winning the Premier League in their sole season together.

Matic played at Stamford Bridge for a further two years after Mourinho's departure, before the Portuguese coach re-signed him at United in 2017.

The following year Mourinho was relieved from his duties at Old Trafford, with Matic staying at United until last month, when he reunited with his former coach on a one-year deal in the Eternal City.

Matic has played 118 matches under Mourinho, the 33-year-old's most appearances under a single manager in the Premier League, and could not turn down working with him once more.

"He convinced me in less than five minutes to come to Rome: when I left United he called me and I immediately said yes," Matic told Il Messaggero.

"Mou has something extra that motivates and spurs you. I've never seen him satisfied, when he wins he already thinks about the next day. He is the first to be hungry for victories.

Brian Brobbey has agreed to return to Ajax on a permanent deal from RB Leipzig, the Eredivisie champions have announced.

The young forward moved to the Bundesliga side on a free transfer ahead of the 2021-22 campaign but made just one top-flight start and a further eight off the bench in an unhappy spell.

Brobbey subsequently returned to Ajax, where he came through the youth ranks, on loan in January and scored seven goals in 13 games to help Erik ten Hag's team secure the title.

Ten Hag was reportedly keen to link up with the 20-year-old again at Old Trafford, but Ajax – who were in need of a forward after selling Sebastien Haller to Borussia Dortmund – have now agreed to pay Leipzig €16.35million up front to complete a full transfer, with the deal potentially reaching €19.35m. Brobbey has agreed a five-year deal with the club.

Prior to moving to Leipzig, Brobbey scored six times in 19 games having made his debut in October 2020.

Erik ten Hag has warned Manchester United's board the club need to sign an attacker to be competitive this season, though he remains excited to integrate Cristiano Ronaldo into his plans.

United travelled to Thailand and Australia for the first part of their pre-season obligations with reserve left-back Tyrell Malacia the only new signing Ten Hag has been able to work with.

Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have since agreed switches to Old Trafford, while a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong – who worked with Ten Hag at Ajax – is still in the works, albeit that deal is fraught with difficulties.

But Ten Hag wants attacking reinforcements to bolster a forward line including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho. 

Superstar striker Ronaldo is too still on the books despite reports suggesting he wants to depart Old Trafford less than 12 months after returning.

A move for Ajax's Antony has been touted, with one of the winger's representatives, Junior Pedroso, said to have been in Manchester for talks, though an asking price of €80million (£68m) is thought to be a sticking point.

When asked if an injury up top could leave United short, Ten Hag told a news conference: "That is a reason but also the number of games. You need more options in the offence.

"I think it’s vital if you want to get success – the season is really long – but we also still have time to fill that in."

Ronaldo did not travel with United for personal reasons unrelated to his future. Asked if there was any update about when he might join up with the squad Ten Hag added: "No – it is the same [situation] as last week."

Questioned on whether there was "concern" over Ronaldo's fitness for the new campaign, Ten Hag said: "Of course, but concerned is maybe not the right word. 

"I focus on the players who are here. They are doing really well, they are in good shape. I prefer to focus on that and develop that. 

"But I cannot wait for [Ronaldo] to come in. Then we will integrate him [into the team]."

United's competitors by contrast have concluded business swiftly, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham acting quickly in the market.

Ten Had concedes it is not ideal working without new signings but is confident the squad will adapt.

"It is definitely an advantage we could have but we are not in that situation," he said. 

"Then you have to deal with that situation. You have to develop the team with the players you have. That's what we do.

"Back in Manchester, Eriksen, Martinez, will join in, we have more options. I think they can quite quickly integrate into the team."

Another headache for Ten Hag is how to get the best out of skipper Harry Maguire, who has endured a difficult 12 months and was the subject of boos during United's 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Tuesday.

Ten Hag told the England centre-back the only way to win over the doubters is via his performances on the pitch.

"About Maguire we heard [the boos] but you see, if you perform, it slows down," he added. "I think [Maguire] and the team impressed with the way we played.

"I don't think it matters to find out if I understand it [the boos]. It’s about how we can change it. So it's the team and Harry himself by performing. That is what we're working on. That is the only focus."

Barcelona may have to rely on selling commercial revenue streams and broadcasting rights to ease financial difficulties should Frenkie de Jong not join Manchester United.

That is the message from football financial expert Kieran Maguire, who outlined to Stats Perform the issues Barca face in meeting LaLiga financial fair play rulings.

The Blaugrana have already spent over €100million to bring in Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski, alongside free agents Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, while renewing Ousmane Dembele's deal.

Barca's dealing have led to question marks from pundits given the club are reportedly €1.3billion in debut, with Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann pondering how they were able to sign Die Roten's prized asset Lewandowski.

Maguire explained Blaugrana president Joan Laporta has relied on two "economic levers", the first seeing the Catalan giants sell 10 per cent of their LaLiga broadcasting rights to investment firm Sixth Street.

The second method, Maguire said, will involve Barca selling up to 49 per cent of their commercial revenues "in a deal which could be worth a couple of hundred million euros".

Maguire suggested Barca would have up to €130m to spend from those two deals, but added they need De Jong – who has been linked with the Red Devils – to leave to allow the LaLiga giants to raise funds and register their new arrivals.

"They can sign players, but they can't register players, and that's the more important issue," he told Stats Perform. "What Barcelona have to be able to do is to reduce the level of their short-term debt under the LaLiga rules.

"Now, the way they're going to do that is to generate short-term income. First of all in respect of their broadcasting rights, so they've been involved in a deal with Sixth Street from the US and I think they've sold 15 per cent of their broadcasting rights, covering around about the next 20 years.

"It's the equivalent of a payday loan, in which you take money now which comes out of your future revenue. And that's being referred to by Laporta as one of the two economic levers that they have. The other way that they're going to do that is in respect of some of their commercial revenues.

"I think they're willing to give up to 49 per cent of those, again in a deal which could be worth a couple of hundred million euros. You put those two together and that will allow them to spend some money.

"I think now the first deal has gone through with Sixth Street, they should be able to register one player. They were relying on De Jong going in order to be able to register the others.

"If that's not going to work, then expect them to pull the other levers, perhaps quicker in order to generate the revenue that will allow them to register the remaining players."

Last week, United and Barcelona reportedly struck a deal for De Jong worth £63m (€75m), with a further £8.5m (€10m) in add-ons also possible.

But reports suggested the move for the Netherlands international is being held up by £17m (€20m) worth of deferred salary payments that Barca owes De Jong.

 

"The player is very much in the right here, the player signed a contract with an agreed amount of remuneration," Maguire added. "The club asked the player to make a sacrifice during COVID-19.

"If the club can afford to recruit Lewandowski and recruit Raphinha, and [Ferran] Torres, then those players will not be taking pay cuts.

"So why should De Jong be the fall guy in respect of this? You can understand the player being angry about this situation.

"Effectively, he's being treated as a disposable asset and asked to take a financial sacrifice at the same time."

Maguire insisted Barca's financial difficulties, the reason Lionel Messi had to join Paris Saint-Germain last August, are due to their own incompetency and not solely down the coronavirus pandemic.

"Barcelona have been run very poorly from a financial point of view for a long period," he continued. "They have relied on Messi to be their focus of attention until things started to deteriorate on the back of COVID.

"But COVID was not the only reason why Barcelona are in this problem – and other clubs aren't. So Barcelona are trying to emotionally blackmail some of their players by focusing on the Barcelona brands, its appealed to a fan base.

"And I think there will be resistance from players because they've acted in good faith. Whether they're worth the money they're being paid, that's not for me to decide.

"Nobody forced Barcelona to offer these players the wages that they are currently being paid. So it's up to Barcelona to honour the contracts and they don't appear to be willing to be honourable."

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