Friday 19 January 2018

Louis van Gaal's mystery striker revealed - it's Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente

Louis van Gaal's mystery transfer target has been revealed as Juventus striker Fernando Llorente.

The Man Utd boss recently admitted during the club's pre-season tour of the US that he is after a forward, but refused to disclose the player's identity.

But now The Mirror reports that United have been offered Spain international Llorente and have asked to be "kept informed" of his situation.

Llorente, 30, has struggled since joining Juventus from Athletic Bilbao two years ago, managing just 27 goals in 90 appearances.

However, we are told United will still face competition for his signature from Real Madrid, who are said to be ready to bid for the 6ft 5in front-man.

The link to Llorente emerges as Angel di Maria's proposed £45 million move to Paris Saint-Germain edges nearer.

PSG have stepped up their efforts to sign Di María before the Argentine flies to the United States to join up with Manchester United, reveals The Daily Telegraph.

Di María, who became the most expensive signing in British football history when he moved from Real Madrid for £59.7 million last August, is due to arrive in California on Saturday before United's friendly against Barcelona in Santa Clara. 

However, PSG believe that a deal can be done to persuade United to sell the 27-year-old, who has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Olivier Letang, PSG's sporting director, has spoken to Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, about Di María in recent days, but the French champions have yet to meet United's demand for a fee close to the figure they paid.

It is understood, however, that PSG will pay at least £45 million for the former Benfica player.

Meanwhile, United want Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos and goalkeeper Keylor Navas - or £28 million in cash - for keeper David de Gea.

Rumours of the defender's departure from Real Madrid fizzled out after Florentino Pérez and Rafa Benítez spoke publicly about Ramos forming part of their plans this season. Now, though, according to Marca, Van Gaal has sown the seeds of doubt once again.

The goalkeeper's transfer remains on ice given that Van Gaal is not willing to let him leave. Not on the cheap, anyway. For a straight cash deal, United are not willing to go below £25 million for De Gea.

Either that or "Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas", according to what Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman, told Jorge Mendes, the keeper's agent. Real, apparently, consider the demands exorbitant and are not prepared to accept a deal on those terms.

Rival Spanish newspaper AS reports that Perez will have urgent talks with Ramos, who has supposedly verbally agreed on a salary with United were he to move to Old Trafford.

We are told that United have made on offer of €60 million and that the player has asked Madrid to listen to what the Premier League giants have to say because of his desire to leave.

Anders Lindegaard is ready to do a U-turn and stay at Old Trafford - even though, claims The Daily Star, United are closing on on Argentina keeper Sergio Romero.

Lindegaard was set to quit Old Trafford this summer, after failing to make a senior appearance last season.

But the Danish international was encouraged when Van Gaal selected him for the current tour of the USA, after axing Victor Valdes. He could even be offered a 12-month contract extension.

And finally, Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm admits he cannot guarantee that Thomas Muller will not follow Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United.

Reports in Germany have claimed that United are preparing to table a big-money move for the forward.

And Lahm is quoted in The London Evening Standard as saying: "It's not my decision. Things can happen very quickly in football. I certainly can't provide any guarantee for Thomas Muller (staying)."

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