It’s been a far from conventional pre-season for Manchester United this summer, if only for the fact that the identities of the players that could leave the club are of as much interest by any potential new arrivals. Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred, FC Porto’s Diogo Dalot and Stoke City’s Lee Grant have all made their way to Old Trafford in preparation for the new season, with Jose Mourinho hoping that a central defender will join them. Who that will be is still anyone’s guess, with Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng now being touted as a fallback option in case a deal can’t be secured for Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld.
A deal for the Belgian defender has been talked about for almost two months, as has the potential exit of United’s Anthony Martial. The French forward, purchased from AS Monaco in 2015 is said to have fallen out with Mourinho and rarely featured in the second half of last season after Alexis Sanchez’s January arrival from Arsenal, whilst rumours continue to swirl that Paul Pogba has been offered to the continent’s biggest clubs having also experienced a rupture in his relations with the manager.
However, ESPN are reporting that United will resist bids for both players in August before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Pogba has reportedly been the target of interest by Barcelona and his former team Juventus, after both learned of his dissatisfaction with life at Old Trafford, but the club aren’t willing to sell either. Martial is said to have made it clear that he wishes to be sold this summer, with Mourinho willing to sanction the departure of an unhappy player, but executive vice chairman Ed Woodward does not want to part with a player of such potential, and the notion of selling Pogba only two years after bringing him back to the club for that £89m fee is unthinkable.
As such, it seems as if United will retain two of their most talented players as this summer’s transfer window draws to a close.