Alvaro Morata edges closer to Manchester United move

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Alvaro Morata.

With the transfer window set to open next month, the frenetic nature of speculation has already begun.

Rumours are starting to gather pace and we take a look at the latest stories doing the rounds in the media.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Share with us your thoughts – get in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

ALVARO MORTA

Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata could complete his move to Manchester United as early as next week, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 24-year-old has become Jose Mourinho’s top transfer target this summer, with the club confident they will land the Spanish international.

Despite making just 16 appearances in La Liga last season, Morata scored 15 goals and provided four assists, and is viewed by Mourinho as the ideal candidate to lead the Red Devils attack next season.

RATING: 9/10

SPORT360 VERDICT: The move now appears inevitable, with Morata set to undergo a medical this weekend.

Alvaro Morata.

Alvaro Morata.

PIOTR ZIELINKSI

Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski could be Anfield-bound, with the Daily Express reporting Liverpool and Tottenham are both interested.

Reports suggested that Real Madrid were keen on securing the Poland man’s services, with Zinedine Zidane an admirer.

But according to Italian paper Il Mattino, Liverpool and Tottenham have both lodged £25million bids for the in-form 23-year-old, who scored five goals and provided seven assists in 18 Serie A appearances last term.

RATING: 4/10

SPORT360 VERDICT: It is suggested that Napoli are looking for around £60 million for their star man, which makes a deal look unlikely for both sides.

Piotr Zielinski.

Piotr Zielinski.

JAMIE VARDY

The Sun reports that Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is a target for Fenerbahce.

The Instanbul giants are looking to strengthen their attack with Emmanuel Emenike expected to leave this summer alongside Moussa Sow and Robin van Persie.

The 30-year-old produced another fine season for the Foxes, scoring 18 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions.

It is believed the opportunity to play European football next season will convince him to move.

RATING: 6/10

SPORT360 VERDICT: Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare is unlikely to allow fan favourite Vardy to leave the King Power Stadium, unless there is a large offer on the table. With two years left on his current contract, could the star attacker cash in for one final big move?

Jamie Vardy.

Jamie Vardy.

CARLOS BACCA AND DUVAN ZAPATA

Across the city, Everton are also stepping up their summer transfer business with a reported shopping spree in Italy.

Comments from club scout Carlo Jacomuzzi to Italian radio station CRC, in which he admits AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca and Napoli counterpart Duvan Zapata are “interesting options”, are widely quoted in the local and national press.

Bacca scored 14 goals in 34 appearances for Milan last season, while Zapta netted 10 in 38 games.

The pair represent an either/or option, while Jacomuzzi is also quoted as saying there will be no move for Napoli pair Dries Mertens and Faouzi Ghoulam.

RATING: 6/10

SPORT360 VERDICT: With Romelu Lukaku set to leave Everton this summer, the Toffees are looking to bolster their attack with influential replacements such as Bacca, who is believed to be interested in a possible move to the Premier League.

Carlos Bacca.

Carlos Bacca.

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Manchester United's new signing Victor Lindelof: Five interesting facts about the Swedish centre-back

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Victor Lindelof has become Manchester United’s first summer recruit after moving to Old Trafford for a fee understood to be 35million euros (£30.75million).

The Sweden centre-back, known as ‘The Iceman’ in Portugal, made a name for himself at Benfica but remains a largely unknown quantity ahead of the new Premier League season.

Here are five things you need to know about the 22-year-old.

HE’S A LATE BLOOMER

It is almost seven years since Lindelof made his senior debut but he has only just passed the 100-top-level-appearances mark. He broke through at Vasteras – more on them later – in his homeland and was soon snapped up by Portuguese giants Benfica, who largely left him in their ‘B’ team until promoting him for the 2015-16 campaign.

He has not looked back since, commanding a starting role in the Benfica back-line and helping the Lisbon club win a league and cup double last season.

ZLATAN RATES HIM

Lindelof arrives in Manchester backed for greatness by his fellow Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who looks set to leave Old Trafford this summer.

In November the prolific striker told the Manchester Evening News: “I think Victor is doing great things, he is playing good for Benfica, he gets a lot of responsibility for the national team now, he is growing. Is he good enough for United? I think he’s good enough for the big clubs out there. It’s up to him what he wants and what the situation says.”

VASTERAS TO CASH IN

Vasteras, managed by former Celtic defender Johan Mjallby, are currently languishing in the Swedish third tier. But the windfall they should receive from Lindelof’s sale to United will certainly boost the coffers ahead of a stab at promotion.

The boy born in the city on Lake Malaren was sold to Benfica for just 60,000 euros, yet Vasteras will now bank around 4.1m euros in sell-on fees. A squabble between Vasteras and Benfica reportedly stymied his development, but now all parties can profit.

ACCOMPLISHED ON THE WORLD STAGE

Lindelof scored the fifth penalty in a shootout victory over Portugal in the final of the European Under-21 Championship and – with that medal in his cabinet – he is pushing for silverware with the senior Sweden squad.

The Scandinavians top a World Cup qualifying group containing France and Holland thanks to a dynamic young team marshalled in defence by Lindelof and propelled forward by another rising Swedish star, Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig. His experiences at United will only aid his quest.

SMORGAS-BORO?

While Lindelof was lost in the wilderness at Benfica, with a first-team future at the Estadio da Luz looking less than likely, he underwent a trial at Stoke.

The Potters did not want to sign him for a reported £260,000 fee and so he tried his luck at Championship club Middlesbrough, who were understood to have been keen to tie up a £5million deal for the physically-imposing teenager. The deal fell through, but Boro can take comfort from the fact United have had to pay six times more.

Provided by Press Association

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Manchester United sign Victor Lindelof on a four-year deal, Jose Mourinho praises 'talented' defender

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The 22-year-old arrived at Manchester United’s Aon Training Complex on Wednesday morning after the two clubs agreed a fee which Press Association Sport understands to be 35million euros (£30.75million).

United boss Jose Mourinho told the club’s official website: “Victor is a very talented young player, who has a great future ahead of him at United.

“Our season last year showed us that we need options and quality to add depth to the squad and Victor is the first to join us this summer.

“I know that our fantastic group of players will welcome him as one of us.”

Lindelof had arrived in Manchester fresh from international duty with Sweden, where he was an unused substitute in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Norway.

Lindelof has been a long-time target for United as they look to bolster their defensive options ahead of next season’s return to the Champions League.

He told United’s official website: “I am thrilled to be joining Manchester United.

“I have enjoyed my time at Benfica enormously and I have learned a lot there. But I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League at Old Trafford and for Jose Mourinho.

“I’m keen to get started and make my contribution to the team’s efforts to win more trophies.”

Lindelof could be one of three or four high-profile acquisitions at Old Trafford this summer, with the club also understood to be keen on Alvaro Morata.

The Real Madrid forward’s agent said earlier this week that United had lodged a “very important offer” with the Spanish giants to try to bring him to the north west of England.

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