Manchester United to hijack Chelsea's bid for John Stones
Manchester United are attempting to hijack Chelsea's move for Everton and England defender John Stones.
The Daily Mirror says they are prepared to offer out-of-favour Jonny Evans as bait in a player-plus-cash deal to try to beat off competition from Jose Mourinho and, reportedly, Manchester City.
United boss Louis van Gaal, who has missed out on long-term target Sergio Ramos, is still in the market for a new centre-half.
The Mirror claims United have yet to make a formal approach but have made 'discreet enquiries' about Stones, as the bidding war hots up.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have already had two offers turned down but are confident the England prospect wants to move to Stamford Bridge.
They went in with £20 million, had another bid of £26 million rejected and are preparing a third offer.
Paris Saint-Germain expect to complete the signing of Angel di Maria this weekend, reveals The Daily Telegraph, with Van Gaal ready to replace the unsettled Argentine with Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez.
Despite Van Gaal claiming he had no idea as to the whereabouts of Di Maria, the £59.7 million British record signing, following United's 2-0 defeat against PSG in Chicago on Wednesday evening, it is understood that discussions between senior figures at both clubs have taken place while the former Real player has remained in Argentina awaiting a conclusion to negotiations.
Having initially offered to pay just €40m (£28.5 million) for Di Maria, who had been due to link up with the United squad in California last Saturday before missing the flight to the United States, PSG are now prepared to pay in the region of £45 million for the 27-year-old.There is also a sense within the club that Di Maria has displayed little appetite to work through his difficulties and that Van Gaal is fully prepared to wash his hands of the player and turn instead to Pedro, who is available for £22 million and has already told close friends that he is preparing to move to Old Trafford.
In further Di Maria-Pedro related news, The Daily Express says United will dock the Argentine £360,000 for his no-show on their US tour. Marca, meanwhile, reports Barcelona aim to retain Pedro's services until after the European Super Cup, which will see Barca face off against Sevilla on August 11 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
And news of Pedro's move to Old Trafford has left one (Pedro) fan very upset...
United are facing a dilemma over what to do with David de Gea just a week before the start of the new season, reports The Manchester Evening News.
United have maintained throughout the protracted transfer wrangle with Real Madrid that only a deal for Ramos would convince them to release De Gea. But, on Thursday, Spanish newspaper Marca, who have strong links with Real, reported Ramos had agreed a new five-year deal at the Bernabeu.
The news came just hours after Van Gaal suggested De Gea is not in the right frame of mind to start the season as his first-choice goalkeeper.
The MEN says United can either reaffirm their stance that De Gea will not be allowed to sign for Real Madrid this summer unless Ramos moves in the opposite direction - something that now looks highly unlikely. Or they can admit defeat and agree a deal with the Spanish side rather than lose the 24-year-old for nothing when his contract expires in 12 months.
And finally, United are clear to make a shock move for Kevin de Bruyne, with Wolfsburg ready to accept offers.
United, suggests The Metro, were strongly linked with De Bruyne earlier in the summer, before Man City firmed up their interest in the Belgium international.
Former Chelsea flop De Bruyne scored 16 goals and bagged 27 assists last season for Wolfsburg and is now rated at a whopping £34.9 million.