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Football transfer rumours: Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United?


 “Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Spain!” they squeal. “The decision is irreversible and he has already told the Real Madrid president”. It seems the player is “outraged” by the charges of criminal tax fraud that have landed on his doorstep this week and is planning to take his revenge by personally snubbing their country of origin. Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain could both be interested in sealing a – deep breath – £157m deal for the 32-year-old.

If he does take the former option he wouldn’t be the only Portuguese player moving to Manchester, with the £15m-rated Benfica midfielder/striker Anderson Talisca also on his way to the club, according to Anderson Talisca. “I’ve had a good season and Mourinho has a love for me,” he roars in the Mirror. “I will not lie. His love is old and I like his work. He’s a great coach and I hope everything works out. My representatives are dealing with the situation. Soon, they’ll have news.” The good news is that United still have Benfica on speed dial, having sealed a deal for Victor Lindelof on Wednesday. The bad news is that they signed Lindelof, not Talisca.
Ivan Perisic is also on his way to Manchester United, according to “sources close to the player” and the Manchester Evening News, who reveal that the Croatian midfield schemer “appreciates” and “enjoys” Mourinho’s management skills – which is another way of saying he didn’t watch much of United last season – and would be happy to leave Internazionale. Fortuitously, Mourinho also appreciates Perisic, and “a source close to the potential move” has told the Mail that despite a hefty £44m asking price “we’re looking at it going through within weeks”.

And the Mill’s final United update of the day concerns their negotiations with Álvaro Morata, with whom they have apparently agreed a massive £350,000 a week contract. This adds up to a little over £90m over the course of a five-year deal, which given that they may end up paying a £90m fee for the player – though £78m might do it, according to some papers – amounts to a £180m outlay, for a player who started 41% of Real Madrid’s league games last season, and only one of 13 in the Champions League. Meanwhile Arsenal are ready to send Olivier Giroud to Monaco if it will help them take Kylian Mbappé in the other direction. Which it won’t, because he’s going to Madrid.

Tottenham have joined the chase for Lazio’s Keita Baldé, the £30m-rated, 22-year-old forward who also figures prominently on the Everton and Liverpool shopping lists, according to the Mirror. The player “is understood to be holding out for a move to Juventus”, but should his desires turn out to be unrequited a rival suitor could swoop. Meanwhile Chelsea are ready to hand Napoli all the loose change jangling around their purse – some £52.5m once you add it all up – for Kalidou Koulibaly, who they tried to sign last summer and are ready to bid for again. Asked about the speculation, Koulibaly’s agent apparently said: “Chelsea? I don’t want to talk about this now.”
M’Baye Niang, the French forward who starred very sporadically while on loan from Milan to Watford last season, could soon make a permanent move to England – though to Merseyside, rather than Hertfordshire. Sources spotted him at Everton’s Finch Farm training ground on Thursday, and a £15.7m transfer could now be sealed within days.

Watford hope to boost their Niangless creative ranks with the signing of the Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic, who worked with their new manager, Marco Silva, at Hull last season with some success. They will have to fight off Zenit St Petersburg and “clubs in Portugal”, according to the Sun, who assert that Markovic is “one of a handful of fringe men Jürgen Klopp will look to flog” this summer. The bad news for the Hornets is that this will be no bargain buy: they may scarcely have played him, they may be looking to flog him, but Liverpool want £20m for him anyway.

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