Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has refused to discuss rumours linking him with a move for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, neither confirming nor denying reports of a £91m bid.
United were heavily linked with a number of centre-backs during the summer, with the likes of Jerome Boateng, Diego Godin and Harry Maguire all reportedly targeted by the Red Devils. The club failed to strengthen in the position, but Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to sign a new defender in the immediate future.
Speaking after United's 2-2 draw with Southampton on Saturday, Mourinho refused to discuss the rumours of a £91m bid for the Senegalese defender. He is quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying: "I cannot answer to your question.
"If is true, if is not true, I cannot answer to your question. Maybe your question is the first one about the market and maybe the next press conference I have two more questions, and maybe the next press conference I have three more. The only thing I can tell you is Koulibaly is a Napoli player. And I don't speak about players from other clubs."
In October. reports from Italy emerged suggesting that Napoli have rejected an offer of around £80m for Koulibaly, with the club said to be holding out for an offer of at least twice that value. Real Madrid and Barcelona were both linked with the defender, and the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal have also been touted as potential suitors for Koulibaly in the past.
Since joining Napoli in a £7m deal in 2014, Koulibaly has developed into one of the world's finest defenders. He was a key player under former manager Maurizio Sarri, using his unique blend of physicality and technical ability to assert himself as an elite defender. During the summer, there were rumours that Koulibaly would follow Sarri to Chelsea, but he remained in Naples.
He has played every minute of Carlo Ancelotti's young reign at Napoli, helping the Partenopei to second in Serie A. Koulibaly has also been a vital player for the side in the Champions League, guiding Napoli to positive results against both Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.
Man United Still in Hunt for Napoli Star as Report Dismisses Talk of €90m Bid
After reports earlier this week claimed Manchester United had already seen a €90m bid for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly rejected, it has now been revealed that this was a mistranslation, while the rest of Europe's elite remain in the hunt for the defender.
According to Sport Witness, using Sunday's reports from La Repubblica, the misunderstanding centred around the use of 'maxi offer', which some publications thought signified the use of a club's maximum offer, when it actually just means a 'huge bid'.
Thus, the report actually explained: "United would be willing to put on the plate a €90m maxi offer, but Naples will send it back to the sender."
It also revealed that the Red Devils, as well as other English clubs, had also been rebuffed in their advances for the Napoli defender during last summer's transfer window.
While the Partenopei have repeatedly stated that the 27-year-old Senegalese international is not for sale, that report claimed his transfer value is over €100m - a figure north of the record outlay for a defender set by Liverpool's £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk.
And fellow Italian publication Corriero Dello Sport have also cited the figure needed to pry Koulibaly away from Southern Italy as €100m+.
De Jong is flattered by the interest of Barcelona (who wouldn't be?!) but it looks like the Catalans are prioritising the CB position. ✊ https://t.co/XnD89YBLXI
— 90min (@90min_Football) November 20, 2018
They have gone one step further though, and proclaimed that, while Jose Mourinho's side retain interest in the centre back, they will face considerable competition from Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
Koulibaly, who was born in France and came up throught the ranks at local side SR Saint-Die and later FC Metz, joined the Serie A side from KRC Genk in 2014 for a €7.75m fee. He has gone on to make 180 appearances for Gli Azzurri, picking up eight goals and six assists.
Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred is expected to finalise his move to Manchester United early this week.
The Brazilian came on as a second-half substitute in his side's 2-0 win against Croatia at Anfield on Sunday.
It is now anticipated 25-year-old Fred will have a medical at United before completing his switch to Old Trafford for a reported £52m.
Brazil coach Tite says he wants his players' domestic futures sorted ahead of this month's World Cup in Russia.
"When this happens, and it is inevitable, they are going to come to us and our advice to them is resolve this as soon as you can so your head is back with us and focusing on the national team," he said after Sunday's friendly.
"If I was a manager I'd ask to sign him as well."
Provided the deal goes through as anticipated, Fred would be United boss Jose Mourinho's first signing of the summer, although he is also closing in on the transfer of 19-year-old Porto full-back Diogo Dalot.
Fred joined Shakhtar in 2013 and was part of the Brazil squad for the 2015 Copa America.
Fred scored 10 goals in 53 appearance for Shakhtar after signing for the Ukrainian side in 2013
Ferguson's family have requested privacy as he recovers in Salford Royal Hospital.
"We will keep Sir Alex and his loved ones in our thoughts during this time, and we are united in our wish to see him make a comfortable, speedy recovery," United later said in a tweet.
"He needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery."
The most successful manager in the history of the British game, Ferguson's trophy haul at Old Trafford included 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.
Ferguson famously won the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999, the year in which he was knighted.
United's club captain Michael Carrick said he was "devastated" to learn his former manager had needed emergency surgery.
"All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Be strong boss," he posted on Twitter.
Ferguson has been married to wife Cathy since 1966. His son Darren manages Doncaster Rovers but did not not take charge of their League One match against Wigan on Saturday.
Ferguson began his playing career with Scottish club Queen's Park as a 16-year-old striker while working as an apprentice tool-worker at Clyde Shipyards.
His most notable spell as a player came in a two-year stint at Rangers from 1967. He retired as a player in 1974 when he was on Ayr United's books.
He began his managerial career as a 32-year-old at East Stirlingshire before going to St Mirren, where he won his first trophy by taking the Scottish first division title in 1977.
Ferguson moved on to Aberdeen and turned them into a major force in a Scottish top division in which Rangers and Celtic had dominated.
He led them to three Scottish titles, four Scottish FA Cups, one League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 by beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the final.
Wages, which make up half of the clubs costs, rose 9.4% to £69.6m.
Players were paid more because Manchester United was back in the UEFA Champions League, but that also meant higher income from TV.
Broadcasting revenue was £61.6m, up 17% on the previous year, with total revenue for the quarter up 3.8% to £163.9m.
As well as UEFA Champions League games, income during the quarter was boosted by two extra Premier League games that were broadcast live.
"Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the Club with the extension of Jose Mourinho's contract as manager and the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez. We look forward to the remainder of the season with confidence," said Ed Woodward, Executive Vice Chairman of Manchester United.
Last season, the club won the Europa League competition, securing it a slot in the lucrative Champions League for the current season.
The club has reached the last 16 of that competition and is currently second in the Premier League.
Manchester United's Andreas Pereira keen to stay on at Valencia
Manchester United's Andreas Pereira has said he wants to remain at Valencia beyond his current loan deal.
The 21-year-old midfielder joined the Spanish side for the 2017-18 campaign on Sept. 1 in search of playing time and has made nine league appearances, including four as a starter, for a side that is second in the La Liga standings, just three points behind leaders Barcelona after 11 rounds.
Asked if he would like to play for Los Che beyond June 2018, Pereira told Valencia-based sports newspaper Superdeporte: "Of course, that would be a very good option for me, it would be positive. I'm happy at Valencia CF.
"Valencia is a big club and seeing our current form, everyone wants to remain here.
"Everything is going so well, everyone in the squad is happy. We want to maintain this."
"In my mind I want to be here and help Valencia until June," Pereira said. "That was my intention when I came here. I know there is a clause inserted into the loan deal and I will have to wait and see. But my focus is on Valencia and I would like to stay here."
Pereira impressed while on loan at Granada last season where he scored five goals and set up three more in 34 La Liga starts.
However, the Andalusian club finished bottom of the standings and were relegated.
"It gives me great pride and to hear those words is beautiful," he said. "I really liked Paul Scholes, he was my coach when I was young. For me, he was one of the best and I was lucky that he coached me. Paul is one of the football greats."
However, Pereira says he is learning a lot from Valencia coach Marcelino and has heaped praise on the former Villarreal boss.
"He has given me a lot of confidence and I feel important in this team," the Belgium-born Pereira said. "Marcelino tells me what I have to do. He is the one that has created all of this, this great environment. All that we are achieving is because he has built this group. He is a great coach. He tells us with clarity what one in particular has to do as well as what the team has to do at a given moment.
"I think if we continue to listen to him, we can go very, very far. I want to continue doing what I'm doing, helping the team win and offering the best of my football for the collective aim that we have, which is to continue winning games."
Valencia head into Sunday's game at Espanyol unbeaten in La Liga and on an eight-game winning run in the league, which is their best ever start to the competition.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.
Celtic and Manchester United express support for Liam Miller
Celtic and Manchester United have expressed their support for former midfielder Liam Miller after reports that the 36-year-old is battling pancreatic cancer.
The former Republic of Ireland player is reportedly receiving treatment in the United States, where he last played for Wilmington Hammerheads.
Celtic wrote on their official Twitter account: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic Football Club are with Liam Miller and his family at this time."
Miller made his professional debut for Celtic in 2000 after coming through the youth ranks at Parkhead and helped them win the Scottish Premier League title in 2004.
He then moved south to United on a free transfer, making 22 appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson in two seasons - which included a spell on loan at Leeds - before joining Sunderland in 2006.
Miller was part of the Black Cats' squad that won promotion to the Premier League in 2007 but he was on the move again in 2009, this time to QPR.
A short spell at Loftus Road was followed by stints at Hibernian, Australian clubs Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City, home-town club Cork City and, most recently, Wilmington.
Many of his former clubs and colleagues have publicly expressed their support for Miller through social media.
John Hartson, who played alongside Miller at Celtic, tweeted: "My thoughts are with Liam miller and his family this morning. Hope he can get through this difficult time of his life."
Jacob Burns, the former Leeds and Australia midfielder who is now head of football at Perth Glory, tweeted: "In shock! Thoughts and prayers are with my old team Mate and friend Liam Miller as he and his beautiful family fight through this battle!"
Miller won 21 caps for the Republic between 2004 and 2009, and current Ireland international David Meyler said the squad are thinking about their compatriot.
The Hull midfielder told a press conference on Monday: " Obviously we heard the news, we're unsure about the details, but our thoughts go out to his family and we're just thinking about him and we just hope he can pull through and he's strong. That's from the whole team and everyone."
Manchester City want to beat United to Espanyol's Aaron Martin - sources
Manchester City are interested in signing Espanyol left-back Aaron Martin after sending scouts to watch him in Monday's 1-0 win over Real Betis, sources close to City have told ESPN FC.
Martin played the full 90 minutes and City boss Pep Guardiola is ready to make a move to sign him in January as he wants to bring in a left-back to replace the injured Benjamin Mendy.
Mendy is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury and Guardiola has been forced to play midfielder Fabian Delph in a left-back role in the Frenchman's absence.
The City boss has admitted he may be forced into the transfer market when the window reopens in January and sources have told ESPN FC that Martin has emerged as his top target after watching him in action on several occasions in the last few weeks.