Friday 19 January 2018

Robben turns down Van Gaal plea to join his Old Trafford revolution

Arjen Robben has rejected an offer from from Louis van Gaal to join him at Manchester United
Arjen Robben has rejected an offer from from Louis van Gaal to join him at Manchester United

Jeremy Wilson

Arjen Robben has rejected an offer from Louis van Gaal to join him at Manchester United.

After leading Holland to a third-place World Cup finish with their 3-0 victory against Brazil, Van Gaal now begins work as manager at Old Trafford and he admitted after Saturday's match that he made an audacious attempt to convince Robben to move from Bayern Munich.

"I have a special bond with him," Robben said. "He is the most important coach in my career. After the match he did ask me to come to Manchester."

It was not clear how serious the offer was but Robben, who was smiling while speaking about it, said: "It is not an option. I will stay at Bayern Munich."

Van Gaal said later that Robben would have an open offer to join him – "he is always welcome" – and is now hoping to be as popular at United as he was with Holland.

"I hope that the group in Manchester will become like this one – we have to start singing from the same hymn sheet," the Dutchman said.

"I will do my best – whether that's enough for the fans I will wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case." After a combined deficit of 10-1 in the semi-final and third-place play-off, the future of Luiz Felipe Scolari as Brazil manager is far less clear.

Scolari was bullish even after seeing his team were beaten heavily for the second time in five days, saying that the explanation did not rest with "managers or coaches".

He will now write a report about Brazil's World Cup campaign but pointed out that he had won the Confederations Cup last year and reached at least the semi-final in the three World Cup tournaments he has overseen with Brazil and Portugal.


"The first phase of my job finishes," Scolari said. "They will look at what was right and what was wrong in what I did, but I know in the last year and a half we had several good situations.

"We have to be ashamed of the 7-1. It was a catastrophe but is everything bad because of one result?"

Scolari also appeared to reject the idea that Brazilian football needed fundamental change, instead arguing that the core of this squad can challenge in 2018. "The team is still very young – the path is open for a team that will be much better," he said.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are preparing a bid for Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina after Cardiff City priced David Marshall out of a move back to the Premier League.

Arsene Wenger needs to add another goalkeeper this summer following the departure of Lukasz Fabianski, who turned down the offer of a new contract.

The Gunners made an initial inquiry for Marshall but, with Cardiff wanting £10m, Wenger felt that he could get better value elsewhere.

Ospina has impressed for Colombia during the World Cup and it is thought that he would be available from Nice for as little as £3m. Arsenal expect to confirm later the signings of two new right-backs – Newcastle United's Mathieu Debuchy and Atletico Madrid's Javi Manquillo – this week.

Their arrivals will mean loaning out Carl Jenkinson so that he can experience first-team football.

Having completed the £30m signing last week of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, Wenger is also hoping to enhance his central midfield options.

There is interest in Germany internationals Lars Bender and Sami Khedira, although it remains uncertain whether their respective clubs, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Madrid, would allow either player to leave. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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