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Rice, Ndidi, Saul on Man United shortlist of Pogba replacements

The January transfer window might seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up, so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Man United draw up shortlist to replace Pogba

It has already been reported that Manchester United will consider allowing Paul Pogba to leave the club if he refuses to sign a new contract, but the club are reportedly drawing up a shortlist of replacements in case he departs.

The Mirror believes that United are to sit down with Pogba and agent Mino Raiola this month in an effort to agree to an extension. However, should Pogba turn down what is reported to be an offer of £400,000-a-week, United will act fast to replace him, rather than let him move for free next summer.

And on that list of replacements are Declan Rice, Wilfred Ndidi and Saul Niguez.

Rice, 22, has been a key man for West Ham United in their rise up the Premier League table this season, but the Hammers could ask for as much as £100 million for their talismanic midfielder.

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Ndidi has been superb at the base of Leicester City’s midfield this season and is considered a far more affordable option. The 24-year-old Nigeria international has helped the Foxes break the top four and reach an FA Cup final.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid star Niguez, 26, has been at the club since 2013 and is the most attacking midfielder of the trio on United’s shortlist, but he can play in a variety of positions.

United’s preferred option of all of the above, however, is for Pogba to sign on the dotted line.

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08.30 BST: Real Madrid have made an improved offer to Lucas Vazquez to remain at the club beyond this summer, according to Onda Cero.

Vazquez, 29, becomes a free agent on June 30 and has yet to sign a contract extension with Real Madrid.

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The Spanish winger/full-back already turned down a three-year contract extension offered by Madrid that would see his wages cut by 10%. Real Madrid are eager for Vazquez to stay put and have made an improved offer, that includes a three-year deal with an optional fourth. Vazquez has been a key player for coach Zinedine Zidane and has played 34 of Madrid’s 46 games this season.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Nick Judd)

– New Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s top target appears to be Neymar, with the La Liga giants contacting Paris Saint-Germain about a move that would reunite the 29-year-old Brazilian striker with Lionel Messi. That is according to RAC 1, which believes Barca are not only looking to convince Messi to stay but also to create a commercial opportunity — that is, signing Neymar — that might help their financial situation. The outlet says Barcelona will offer PSG €130m plus three players.

– Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is reported to have a gentleman’s agreement that would allow him to leave under certain criteria, according to an interview by ARD with club sporting director Michael Zorc. Zorc revealed that Manchester United almost activated this agreement last summer. It is likely the Red Devils will return this time around with a €90m offer, with Dortmund facing the prospect of not claiming a European place for next season.

– Following reports from Saturday that Real Madrid were considering making an offer for Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski in the summer, Bild has suggested the Premier League is a far likelier destination. It reports that with the Poland international’s existing deal coming to an end in June 2023, Bayern aren’t thinking about negotiating a new contract just yet.

– Leicester are continuing negotiations to sign midfielder Boubakary Soumare from Lille, reports Fabrizio Romano. The Foxes have been on the trail for the 22-year-old for some time, and with his contract expiring in June 2022, Leicester are one of many clubs looking to seize the opportunity to sign him, with Lille more likely to let him leave this summer rather than lose him on a free in 12 months’ time.

– Newly promoted Watford have opened talks to bring back 35-year-old Ashley Young to the club as a free agent, says Fabrizio Romano. The Hornets are ready to pounce if Serie A champions Internazionale don’t offer the left-back a new contract at the end of the season.

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