Championship table-toppers Bournemouth have completed the signing of Manchester United full-back Ethan Laird on loan until the end of the season.
The England Under-19 international spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Swansea, where he made 21 appearances for the Cherries’ Sky Bet Championship rivals.
Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake told the club’s website: “Ethan is an exciting prospect and we are very pleased to have brought him on board.
“His style of play fits perfectly with ours and I’m confident he can help us build on what has been an excellent first half of the season.
“He has impressed during his two previous loan spells and is very well thought of at Manchester United, so we couldn’t be happier to have secured his services.”
Basingstoke-born Laird, 20, has made two senior appearances for United, both coming in the 2019-20 Europa League.
Laird spent the second half of last season on loan at MK Dons, making 25 appearances for the League One club.
He was reunited with former Dons boss Russell Martin in August following the former Scotland defender’s switch to Swansea.
Sevilla hopes of Martial deal fading
Meanwhile, Sevilla’s hopes of securing the Anthony Martial transfer appear to be fading fast amid claims the Manchester United striker is looking instead to sign for one of their LaLiga rivals.
United interim boss Ralf Rangnick revealed earlier this week that Martial has asked to leave Old Trafford. And what’s more the German coach “understands” the striker’s desire to depart, but he has insisted any transfer must be right for the club.
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Talks between the pair last week resulted in Rangnick accepting that Martial’s time looks to be up. But he made it clear that no formal offer had yet been made by any club, despite interest from Sevilla.
Indeed, Sevilla remain very much focused on signing Martial this month and are prepared to bide their time. However, their decision to stall on negotiations appears to have backfired amid claims that the Frenchman now has a move elsewhere in his sights.
As such, Catalonian paper Sport now claims Martial is now targeting a move to Barcelona. Despite the capture of Ferran Torres earlier this month, Barcelona remain keen to further boost their forward line.
Efforts to sign Alvaro Morata, who was Xavi Hernandez’s first choice, appear to have failed. That’s after Max Allegri informed the striker he would be staying put at Juventus.
Now Sport claims they are sniffing round a deal for Martial – and the striker has informed his agent it’s a move he fancies making.
As such, they write that Martial and his agent have ‘frozen’ all other offers they have received so far and are waiting for a response from the Blaugrana.
For Manchester United’s part, they have always made clear that Martial can move on. However, as with Sevilla, any suitor must pay not a penny less than their €40m (£33.3m).
Loan-to-buy option for Barcelona
Whether that fee remains within Barcelona’s reach remains to be seen. However, with finances tight, the Catalonians may have to offload before they can buy, meaning their pursuit of Martial may go to the wire.
That said, Sport does raise the possibility of a potential loan-to-buy deal if Barca include an obligation to purchase Martial come the end of the season.
Rangnick, however, remains cautious over sanctioning a transfer for the 26-year-old.