Jose Mourinho 'pours water' on Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United speculation

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Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't had the best of seasons at Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho said Cristiano Ronaldo was the kind of player every manager would want in their squad amid speculation the Real Madrid forward could be on his way back to Old Trafford.

The Portugal international, 32, has been linked with a return to Manchester United and Mourinho has stated previously he intends to make a big signing ahead of next season.

Reports in Spain claim Ronaldo will join United if Real are able to persuade Brazil forward Neymar to move from Paris Saint-Germain.

United sold Ronaldo to Real for a then-world record £80 million in July 2009 and while Mourinho did not want to heighten speculation, he gave United fans a glimmer of hope on Thursday.

“I think at the moment Real Madrid is with him now. I think I should be the last one to add some fuel to the fire,” the United manager said.

“Madrid is on fire. The results are not good, and it’s a club where I worked for three years, I care about the club and I am the last one to add fire.

“So to put some water on the fire I think Cristiano is the kind of player that every manager wants, every club wants,” the Portuguese boss added.

“But only one manager can, only one club can have – (Zinedine) Zidane and Real Madrid, that’s my feeling.

“We want to improve all the time and get better and better. We want to achieve big things. We are not going to stop until we do that.”

Mourinho meanwhile believes Alexis Sanchez has left a “fantastic club for a giant club” as he prepares to hand him a United debut against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup on Friday.

The Chile forward, 29, joined United from Arsenal in a swap deal which saw Armenia playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan move in the opposite direction.

Sanchez will be United’s squad for Friday’s fourth-round tie at Huish Park and Mourinho could not resist a veiled dig at Arsene Wenger’s side as he considered the merits of the transfer.

“Manchester United made a fantastic deal,” Mourinho said.

“I think Arsenal also made a fantastic deal… I got a fantastic player, and Mr Wenger got a fantastic player.

“Alexis changed from a fantastic club to a giant club. Henrikh Mkhitaryan changed also to a fantastic club. So I think it was a great deal for everyone.”

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Gareth Bale rejects Bayern Munich move, PSG willing to let Neymar leave on one condition

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Gareth Bale wants a Tottenham return, but will he get it?

We’re into the last week of the January transfer window and clubs are looking to finalise any moves that could help reinforce their squads for the rest of the season.

Here, we take a look at the biggest stories dominating the headlines on Thursday.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts.

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GARETH BALE REJECTS BAYERN MOVE

Gareth Bale has reportedly rejected an offer to join Bayern Munich, according to Diario Gol. The Welshman has performed admirably on his latest return from injury but could still be offloaded by Real Madrid at the end of the season, with the 28-year-old preferring a return to the Premier League, ideally with his former club Tottenham Hotspur. Madrid may try to include Bale in any deal for Spurs striker Harry Kane.

RATING: 6/10

VERDICT

Bale might prefer a return to Tottenham, but his old club won’t be able to give him the same wages he’s on at Real Madrid – and for that matter, it’s not certain that Bayern Munich could match the wages Manchester United, Chelsea, or Manchester City could offer. More to the point, sentiment aside, would you let go of Kane for Bale + cash if you’re Tottenham? Bale is no doubt an extremely talented player, but he’s not a 30-goal-a-season striker like Kane. The Englishman is irreplaceable, and getting Bale in return may not be enough of a sweetener for a club which has already said it would resist a £200million bid for Kane.

Will Bale finally leave Madrid this summer?

Will Bale finally leave Madrid this summer?

PSG READY TO LET NEYMAR GO – ON ONE CONDITION

Goal understands PSG president Nasser Al-Khalifi has promised Neymar he will be allowed to leave for Real Madrid if he can lead the Paris club to Champions League glory this season. Neymar has been linked with a return to Spain all season amid rumours that he is struggling to settle in at PSG.

RATING: 5/10

VERDICT

PSG’s new owners have been craving European success ever since they took over the club, only to see their team repeatedly fall short. The Champions League has long been the holy grail for rich new owners, so it’s understandable that PSG would be the same – especially when, barring last season’s blip, success on the domestic front has become routine. But is winning the Champions League once enough to part ways with a club-record, statement signing after just one season? It seems highly unlikely that PSG would let Neymar leave only one summer after arriving, regardless of what he’s able to achieve in that one year.

Neymar hasn't quite settled at PSG.

Neymar hasn’t quite settled at PSG.

MORATA TRYING TO RECRUIT ISCO, ASENSIO TO CHELSEA

Diario Gol reports Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is aiming to recruit former Real Madrid teammates Isco and Marco Asensio to the reigning Premier League champions. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is looking to reinforce his squad after a disappointing season, and Morata has reportedly been speaking to his ex-teammates about joining him in London.

RATING: 4/10

VERDICT

One of the few positives Real Madrid have had this season is that they still have a young Spanish core that can help them bounce back quickly after this season. It seems unlikely, taking that into consideration, that they’d let the two best young Spaniards leave the club. Isco has long been billed as Madrid’s next big star, and he’s already been playing like it over the last season-and-a-half, and while Asensio has at times failed to live up the hype he generated with some excellent performances in the preseason, he’s still shown enough talent to ensure that Madrid will keep faith with their talented youngster. Chelsea no doubt need reinforcements, but it won’t happen just because Morata is friends with a couple of Real Madrid players.

Real Madrid won't want to let go of Isco and Asensio.

Real Madrid won’t want to let go of Isco and Asensio.

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Man City set to launch record bid for Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte

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Hot property: Aymeric Laporte.

Highly-regarded French defender Aymeric Laporte could become runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City‘s record signing according to British media reports on Thursday.

The 23-year-old centre-back – who has been at Athletic Bilbao since he was 16 – would cost City £57m ($81m) owing to a release clause in his contract at Bilbao but would resolve a problematic area for manager Pep Guardiola where veteran Vincent Kompany is injury-prone and Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala has not impressed.

Laporte – whose move reportedly would be dependent on Mangala moving on – would provide cover for present first-choice pairing England international John Stones and Argentinian Nicolas Otamendi.

According to The Sun and the BBC, Guardiola favours investing that amount in Laporte – who has yet to win a senior France cap though he was called up for two 2018 World Cup qualifiers – than spending around £24million on rivals West Bromwich Albion’s 30-year-old Northern Irish central defender Jonny Evans.

City’s current transfer record is £55million. They paid VfL Wolfsburg for Belgian international Kevin de Bruyne in 2015.

Provided by AFP Sport

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