Man Utd respond to claims they could launch double raid for midfield duo

Date published: Wednesday 10th July 2019 9:39 - James Marshment

A Manchester United source has denied claims in the media this week linking them with an unlikely pair of midfield signings.

United jetted off on the first leg of their pre-season tour this week when they headed to Australia but that hasn’t stopped the search for new signings, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to further strengthen his squad for the new season.

Solsksjaer addressed the media on Wednesday morning and was quick to issue this warning over their pursuit for Harry Maguire, while also downplaying talk Paul Pogba could be sold.

But among the array of star performers linked with United, it perhaps came as a surprise to their supporters to see links to two lesser names emerge, with speculation on Monday night claiming they had opened talks with Chelsea over a move for Tiemoue Bakayoko, while The Times claimed on Tuesday evening that the club had been given permission to sign Mario Lemina from Southampton in a potential £18million deal.

However, the Evening Standard reports a senior source at Old Trafford has rubbished the rumours and claims they have no interest in either player.

That will likely mean United are putting all their focus into the midfield signings of Sean Longstaff and Bruno Fernandes.

The lack of interest will come as a boost in particular for Arsenal, who also hold an interest in Gabon international Lemina.

The player been made available by Ralph Hassenhuttl after being left out of Southampton’s squad for their pre-season tour to Austria. Charlie Austin was another high-profile omission.

Southampton signed the 25-year-old from Juventus in an £18million deal two years ago but he has been unable to nail down a regular spot at St Mary’s and has now been told he can leave for similar fee.

Lemina admitted at the weekend he is ready to quit the club, saying: “I still have another three years of contract. But it is true that I do not rule out the possibility of seeing something else.

“The last four months have not been easy for me, with my injury. The coach put his team together. I want to start afresh. So why not leave?

“We have very good discussions with the club. We are in agreement. If I don’t feel good in this project, I can leave.

“They are giving me the opportunity to be able to go elsewhere.”

That could leave the Gunners as sole suitors for the player, while Arsenal are also reportedly in the running to sign Bakayoko, who seemingly has no future at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea spent £40m on Bakayoko to sign him from Monaco two years ago but after a poor first 12 months at Stamford Bridge he spent last season on loan at AC Milan, but his career is at a major crossroads as he seeks a move to rejuvenate his career.

 

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