Where Manchester United stand with Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and more players in transfer window

After a slow start to the summer transfer window, the market movement is bound to accelerate as the start of the season nears.

Manchester United’s announcement for Jadon Sancho is imminent and he is unlikely to be the only high profile incoming at the club, with United progressing with a move for Raphael Varane. Outgoings are also expected, with Paul Pogba’s future still uncertain.

Amid a difficult financial market, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to do his best in order to bolster his squad ahead of a crucial Premier League season.

The MEN’s chief Manchester United writer Samuel Luckhurst hosted a live Q&A session on Thursday afternoon, where he answered fans’ questions on all the burning transfer topics.

Q: Hi Samuel, do you think that united might sign a striker, maybe a cheap striker, after doing 3 big deals? I have read many reports that ole still wants a striker even with cavani renewing his contract? If so, who do you think it might be?

SL: I don’t, no. Look at the attack they already have. Getting a striker next year is shaping up to be the number one priority.

Q: Hi Samuel!

Does Manchester United view Saul as a serious target? Or is Camavinga more higher on the list

SL: There was a piece on Saul on Wednesday morning that you can read.

Q: Hi Samuel,

I listen to the MEN podcasts, and generally tend to share the same opinions as you and Tyrone. Out of curiosity, I’ve always wondered why you pronounce Martial as Marshall instead of mar – shee – al.

Anyway, my question is, we’re apparently getting Sancho and Varane, whilst I don’t think Trippier is a bad buy, what’s the point when we have Dalot? Should we not be going for a defensive midfielder, like Bissouma, or Zakaria that are decently priced? And/or a midfielder like Aouar or Renato Sanches if Pogba leaves?

SL: Interesting question and I’ve literally never given it any thought. I’m sure someone thinks that constitutes a ‘media agenda’…

Because Dalot has not really cut it in England, Trippier is one of the best right-backs around, is out of contract next year and wants to go to United.

But (and there’s almost always a ‘but’): United are keeping their options open with Dalot and would be sanguine if they end the window with him and Wan-Bissaka as their right-backs. Dalot still gets on well with Solskjaer, stayed fit in Italy and improved defensively.

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But if you can improve and the terms are right, the option has to be explored.

Q: Do you think we could risk Pogba leaving on a free next year with Goretzka potentially on the market as a free agent by then as a replacement?

SL: A lot of clubs are already looking at next year’s market because of the amount of quality players who could be out of contract next summer. It would be negligent not to look up the options.

German players are usually more than happy to stay at Bayern into their 30s. Nagelsmann has just rocked up there, too, so there’s possibly still no clarity on Goretzka’s future yet but he’s an obvious player to link with clubs in need of a midfielder.

Q: Hi Samuel, If Pogba ends up staying, do you think with rashford possibly having an op, he will start the season on the left? and what are United’s plans regarding Pogba going forward, is there any chance he leaves again on a free?

SL: Leaving on a free is entirely down to Pogba but it would mark a departure from how the Glazers operate if they do not insist on getting a fee.

It’d be a bit of a disaster if Pogba plays well the first half of the season but then an offer comes in in January and he goes. For all concerned, a sale this summer is the best course of action. Raiola has been very quiet of late, suspiciously quiet, in fact.

As for the left-hand side debate, I would imagine Sancho and Greenwood would be on the flanks against Leeds with Fernandes and Pogba behind them, with maybe McTominay holding, unless more reinforcements come in before August 14.

Q: Hi Samuel – what is the likelihood of United pushing on with a Trippier deal?

SL: I don’t see that happening any time soon (as in this month). He wants to join United and United would like him, but a midfielder is more of a priority. Some other Premier League clubs are keen on Trippier but he’d be a good move for United.

Q: Hi Samuel

do you think Varane’s deal can be completed before AUG 1?? besides,romano and TA say Pogba is not interested in joining PSG, but France media say he is attracted by PSG, could you say your opinion ??

SL: I don’t know who ‘TA’ is. United haven’t received any contact from PSG. Out of the viable options, PSG are the least desirable for Pogba but Madrid and Juve’s financial issues are well documented.

Q: Sancho, Varane, Trippier or CDM (who will be 3rd major Signing)?

SL: Don’t think anyone has written all of these ‘deals’ are nailed on to happen. United are looking at positions of interest but I will be amazed if they fill a slot for all of them.

They’re not planning to, either, given the financial climate. Substantial funds would have to come in to justify all of that (ie. sell Pogba, Lingard and Bailly).

Q: Hi Samuel! Thanks for answering my question on Mings earlier. What do you expect will happen with Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira? Do you think Lingard will want to stay as a squad player or leave for first team football?

SL: There is some talk Solskjaer wants to keep Lingard because of Rashford’s injury. Essentially, United are keeping their options open and, given his fitness and form this calendar year, you would expect Lingard to be in the matchday squad against Leeds, especially if it’s a nine-man bench.

But, with almost everyone back, fit and available, you could also easily see Lingard not making the cut. At that point, he may insist on leaving permanently. This window will only truly get going in mid-August.

Q: Will any centre backs (Bailly, Jones, Lindelof, ect) leave in case Varane joins the club?

SL: United will want to sell one and I still think Bailly is the likeliest, irrespective of the new contract. Jones is unsellable and Lindelof, though not viewed as a first-teamer, retains some loyalty from Solskjaer. It’d be a major flip if he was sold within the next 34 days.

Q: Hey Samuel, what is going on with regards to the new training kit sponsor?

SL: My time’s primarily been occupied by window movement but certain sponsors backed off in talks with United following the Super League news.

The whole thing about there being no such thing as bad publicity isn’t true. United’s image was hurt by the Super League, they’ve won three trophies in eight years and seldom played captivating football in that time, so they’re not as big a sell as they once were.

Q: Hello Samuel first I’d like to say thanks for the big news & exclusives and ignore the hate from some people. I’d like to ask when will Varane actually come? And another question is why is there a discrepancy in Varane’s valuation between a report and another?

SL: Well, I never see the hate because of my notification settings. I’m in a privileged position millions would love to be in, so jealousy is inevitable. It’s amusing strangers will abuse a stranger who will never see the abuse. That’s their time wasted.

Q: Is Sancho going to be number 16?

SL: I genuinely don’t know and genuinely don’t care. But I can see why a lot of fans do care.

Q: Good day Samuel,Any news about Shaw being injured and has mufc taken the final decision regarding Rashford’s surgery?

SL: Solskjaer addressed the Rashford situation on Sunday. From a journalistic perspective, it feels moot. He is on holiday, has been out of form this year and shouldn’t be starting for United against Leeds, surgery or no surgery.

Q: Good afternoon Samuel. Can you explain what Varane being in “United mode” means? Is he wearing a pair of our shorts in his hotel room? Is he singing “five Cantonas” around the pool? Has he changed his ring tone to “Come On You Reds”?

SL: That will hopefully be written at a later date.

Q: Chances of garner staying as the midfielder if united don’t bring in anybody else?

SL: He still needs a loan. It’s not like United are lacking midfielders as it is.

Q: Pogba is most likely running down his contract, is there yet a possibility he could sign a new contract after that expiry (2022) if united say win the premier league?. As united can probably offer more money than even a madrid or juventus struggling financially. What’s the most likely outcome for pogba’s future?

SL: I don’t think Pogba will be in a situation where his future hinges on winning something six weeks before his contract expires.

I still think the likeliest outcome is that he goes, by virtue of the little time left on his contract and how much he has wanted to leave the last three years – despite the spin on it from his fan club. United have not been successful, either.

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Q: Hi there Samuel there have been reports from England suggesting we haven’t even started negotiation for varane and personal terms haven’t been agreed. But in Spain they have stated that personal terms agreed in principle and that direct negotiation have started but united want to drag it out to reduce the money. What is actually going on in the varane saga?

SL: I can only refer you to the stories I’ve written on Varane.

Q: Hi Samuel, is there any truth in the rumours that Ruben Neves is on the list of midfield targets? Cheers.

SL: Wolves are in decline, Jorge Mendes is the agent, Neves has been linked with United repeatedly over the last three or four years and United want a midfielder. Read between the lines.

Neves reminds me of that Raul Jimenez story in Portugal last year, when an outlet buried that he was ‘joining United’ in the fourth paragraph of a five-paragraph story. Jimenez is, of course, still at Wolves.

Neves is a good player, though not one you would bank on holding the midfield on his own.

Q: What’s the hold up with the Sancho announcement?

SL: See the MEN site on Thursday, where there’s a story on it. It’s minor but not believed to be down to United or Dortmund.

Q: Good day Samuel, just wondering if there is any surprises we could expect from this window, that hasn’t perhaps been made public through the media? Ole did say, after the season finished, we could sign someone who has gone under the radar

SL: I touched upon that last week. The only time that has happened really was with Daniel James, and that still emerged just before a Solskjaer press conference. It is nigh-on impossible to keep a deal or target under wraps in this day and age.

A second centre-back or midfielder could be the name that has flown under our radar – if United recruit for either role.

Q: Hi, Samuel. Sort of two questions here. Is there any truth to the links to Aouar being looked at to replace Pogba? And could you expand on a line you reported stating “the word is Rice likes Manchester United more than United like Rice”?

SL: I’ll be honest: I just Googled ‘Aouar’ after you mentioned him. Some will say that is ‘lazy’. The truth is I just don’t watch Ligue 1 or Lyon at weekends and have a social life.

Again: United looked at 804 right-backs in their database two years ago. They have probably looked at every living midfielder under the sun.

United cannot justify the investment in Rice this summer when Sancho and Varane are coming in. It would be illogical if United were to shout from the rooftops about how great Declan Rice is. But Rice asked Maguire and Shaw about United on England duty in March.

Q: Hi Samuel! Any truth in the rumours of Tyrone Mings as a backup to Varane? Left-footed and English CB to partner Maguire so would fit the criteria.

SL: At this stage, any talk of a ‘back-up’ plan for Varane is irrelevant as the deal is so advanced. I’ve not heard Mings mentioned myself but if United went for him (big ‘if), he would be a squad player.

Again, read between the lines: England international with three years left on his contract at an ambitious Premier League club, where he’s a starter. Mings would cost a fair whack. It does not make much sense.

Q: Hello Samuel, could you possibly provide any information on midfield targets and the likelihood of getting one? Many thanks.

SL: Hi Ben. I’ve written about it already. If United do get a midfielder in I think it will not necessarily be the ‘name’ midfielder United fans would like, but it could still be a good bit of business.

Go back four years to when some online United fans were convinced Fabinho was on his way because an overseas reporter said so. He never was and – as the MEN wrote – Matic came in. Not as spectacular a player but a solid piece of business who’s been a decent player for United.

There’ll be a bit more on the midfield on Friday.

Q: Samuel do you think Varane could be done before the end of next week?

SL: I don’t like doing timeframes with signings, just for the purpose of covering my backside, more than anything! But also because it is pointless putting timeframes on such things.

I think some do it to whip fans into a frenzy and get more impressions on Twitter. A prominent reporter was up-front with United in saying if they tweet about the club they get more impressions. You never see said reporter put out a link.

Varane hasn’t got much time left on holiday and he would like to get stuck into United matters quite quickly after his rest. I’ve already written that frustration would only come into it if he’s training at Valdebebas in a Real Madrid kit. It’s a deal I’m pretty confident will happen but these things always take time.

Q: Has there been any talks for Eduardo Camavinga?

SL: Hello Youssef. You’ll know more about that this time tomorrow if you’re on the MEN site.

Q: Could Haaland join United next summer?

SL: Of course he could. His release clause would be active, United wanted him 18 months ago, Solskjaer mentored him at Molde and United will need a striker. But plenty of other clubs would also want Haaland and probably be able to afford him in a year’s time.

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