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Basketball

Heal junior named in Opals squad

Shane Heal represented the Australian Boomers at four Olympics, now his daughter Shyla has a chance to follow in his footsteps for the Opals.

Heal junior has been named in a strong Opals senior squad in preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

The gun guard joins a formidable squad of 23 that is full of depth and talent, including a potent mix of veteran stars and young, fresh faces.

The 18-year-old’s rise to the Opals squad is a reward for years of success in the Australian junior ranks.

Heal won a gold medal and was named MVP on international debut for the Sapphires at the 2017 FIBA under 17 Oceania championship in Guam.

She also guided the Sapphires to gold at the FIBA under-16 Asian Championships in India in ’17 and a third-placed finish at the under-17 World Cup in Belarus in 2018.

Heal made her debut for the Gems at the 2019 under-19 World Cup in Thailand, winning a silver medal.

Opals coach Sandy Brondello can’t wait to work with some of Australia’s finest rising basketballers.

“While the core group has remained the same, we are excited to include some of our talented younger players,” Brondello said.

“The likes of Heal, Jaz Shelley, Maddie Rocci and Tiana Mangakahia have shown much improvement over the past few years and deserve their selection in this squad.

“While the Olympics postponement was disappointing but necessary, we are excited as a group to get back together in November and start the process of building our chemistry to become the best team possible for Tokyo and beyond.”

Shane Heal’s daughter Shyla was playing WNBL for the South East Queensland Stars despite only being 15 years of age. Picture: Patria JannidesSource:News Corp Australia

The Opals have named a squad in advance with the coronavirus pandemic casting uncertainty over the FIBA qualification window from November 8 to November 16, 2020.

The team will continue expectantly through to September when Basketball Australia will be advised about the status of FIBA qualification events.

The squad can be reduced and or increased should an athlete deliver outstanding performances during their competitive season as the Opals work to build their strongest side for the upcoming Olympics in 2021.

All coaches will continue to monitor and assess the elite performances of Australian athletes in professional leagues such as the WNBL, the European Leagues, the WNBA and the Chinese Basketball Association.

The 2020 Australian Opals squad:

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Soccer

Man United injury news: Latest on Cavani, Bailly and more – expected return dates

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping for a massive reaction to Manchester United’s 6-1 mauling by Tottenham before the international break. Ahead of their return to action this weekend, Express Sport has the very latest injury news.

A number of Solskjaer’s squad have been involved on international duty and he will be hoping they all return fully fit ahead of a pivotal week.

Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire both started for England on Sunday, while players like Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are playing for their respective nations.

On Saturday night, Solskjaer’s men visit St James’ Park to take on Newcastle, before they start their Champions League campaign with a daunting away fixture against PSG.

Chelsea then make the trip to Old Trafford, with the Red Devils hoping to put their early-season struggles behind them.

JUST IN: Man Utd confirm Edinson Cavani is out of Newcastle clash

Edinson Cavani was one of four players signed on deadline day, but due to quarantine guidelines, he will be out of action for the trip to Newcastle.

After arriving from France on October 4, Cavani will self-isolate until October 19, meaning he could be available for the European clash with former club PSG.

In an official statement, United issued the following update: “The Uruguay international will be free to play against his former club Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, though, if deemed fit and ready for action.”

With Anthony Martial suspended following a red card against Spurs, it means Mason Greenwood or Odion Ighalo will likely lead the line in his absence.

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United fans feared the worst when Eric Bailly limped out of Ivory Coast’s friendly with Belgium in Brussels.

After starting the game, the centre-back limped out of the action, with what looked like a worrying hamstring injury.

Solskjaer had only brought him back in to the line-up for the game with Spurs, as the United boss hopes to find a stable pairing in the middle of his defence.

And he should be available for Saturday after he assured fans the injury was only the result of fatigue. He posted on social media: “Thanks for worrying about me. But I feel perfectly fine, just fatigue.”

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In another potential boost for United, Bailly’s defensive colleague Axel Tuanzebe is also nearing a long-awaited return.

The 22-year-old has been out with injury since December, but has returned to first-team training, as he looks to finally earn a place in the starting line-up at Old Trafford.

Phil Jones meanwhile, is likely to remain out of the side. He was unable to complete a move in the window due to an unspecified injury.

However, after being omiited from Solskjaer’s Champions League squad means he is unlikely to be given a chance, even if he has recovered from the transfer-blocking knock.

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Golf

Aussie Jason Day loses playoff against Billy Horschel after three-putt at Byron Nelson

JASON Day lost his sudden death playoff against American Billy Horschel with a disappointing three-putt at the Byron Nelson PGA tournament.

World No.4 Day failed to match Horschel’s par at the first playoff hole, missing his four-foot second putt as his rival claimed his fourth PGA tour victory. Earlier, Day shot a two-under par 68 final round to tie with Horschel (69) at 12-under.

He had claimed the outright lead when he chipped in on the 15th hole and he missed a birdie putt for victory on the 18th.

Playing the tournament that provided the first of his 10 tour victories back in 2010, former world No.1 Day was seeking his first win since last year’s Players Championship..

His runner-up result represents a return to better form after struggling with injury and his mother’s illness, with his previous best outing in 2017 a tie for fifth at Pebble Beach back in February.

World No.76 Horschel admitted he had been struggling before this win.

“This is the most emotional of all the four (wins),” he told Sky Sports.

“The other three I was playing well going into them and this one I wasn’t, I can’t lie, I didn’t have any success.

“Jason didn’t have his best game out there, and I know I didn’t, but we both battled.

“This is what I know of myself. I am as good as the top players in the world.

“Do I have as much talent as Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlory? No. But I try to get everything out of my game that I can and if I can do that I can compete with these guys.”

Jason Day of Australia reacts to after missing on his birdie-attempt on the 18th green.Source:AP

Joint overnight leader James Hahn finished one shot back in third place ofter a 69.

Australian John Senden attended the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday with his 13-year-old son, who has a brain tumor. Senden has been on leave from the PGA Tour since withdrawing from the PGA Zurich Classic of New Orleans three weeks ago after learning of Jacob Senden’s diagnosis.

Players this week wore patches on their caps resembling a Rubik’s Cube, which is Jacob’s favorite toy. Day wore one of those patches while playing in the final group.

Among the other Australians playing Sunday was Rod Pampling. Senden had been set to partner with him at the Zurich team event.

Billy Horschel, left, and Jason Day, right, shake hands after their playoff.Source:AP

Originally published asHeartbreak for Day after three-putt shocker

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Soccer

Arsene Wenger’s comments on Mesut Ozil contract have been proved spot on

The Mesut Ozil saga keeps rumbling on at Arsenal as one of the greatest midfield talents in recent years continues to cut a peripheral figure at the club.

The German midfielder has still not played a minute since March, and unless his manager Mikel Arteta performs a dramatic U-turn he looks set to be frozen out until the end of his contract in June.

It would be a sad and undignified end to Ozil's time at the Emirates given how much the German playmaker contributed during the beginning of his spell in north London.

At that time, Gunners great Arsene Wenger was his boss, and the Frenchman spoke out on Monday urging Arteta to give the player another chance.

"I feel it is a waste for him (Ozil)," Wenger said.

"Firstly because he's in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it's a waste for the club as well because he's a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.

"He's been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again."

Despite his recent words of encouragement to Ozil, Wenger was perhaps one of the first who could have seen this highly uncomfortable situation developing judging by his comments in 2019.

At that time, Ozil had only recently signed his lucrative three-and-a-half year extension to his existing deal at Arsenal, with his wages increased to an eye-watering £350,000-a-week.

Wenger, however, clearly did not agree with the decision, and was worried how it would affect Ozil's work rate and effort.

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New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.

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Speaking after being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards last year, Wenger said: "I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases.

"Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practise, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone."

Indeed, Ozil was already demonstrating signs of a faltering lack of effort under previous manager Unai Emery at that stage, perhaps for the very reasons Wenger had highlighted.

Nobody, however, could have predicted just how great his fall would be, to the point that there are now question marks over whether he will ever be seen in an Arsenal shirt again.

The next few weeks will be fascinating to watch play out.

Will Arteta be able to coax Ozil out of his "comfort zone" and get him contributing to the team again before it is too late?

Or will Ozil continue to rot in the reserves with Wenger's previous warning hanging over him?

Only time will tell.

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Soccer

Man Utd target Jadon Sancho nearly joined Real Madrid this summer and was ‘disappointed’

Manchester United transfer target Jadon Sancho nearly joined Real Madrid this summer, according to reports. The Borussia Dortmund star was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priority acquisition throughout the window but, in the end, remained at the Westfalenstadion. However the Red Devils aren’t the only team to miss out, with Real Madrid coming close to bringing the forward to La Liga.

Manchester United missed out on Sancho, with the club turning their attentions to the likes of Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pestrelli and Amad Traore late on transfer deadline day.

They retain an interest in the Dortmund star, however, and are expected to pursue him again in the future.

United were widely considered as the only club in the frame to sign Sancho this summer, with the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona distancing themselves from the 20-year-old.

However, the Guardian say that wasn’t the case – and that Real Madrid probed a deal late in September.

It’s claimed they thought they could get a discount fee on Sancho as a result of the coronavirus crisis and explored the possibility of a deal worth €90m plus bonuses.

Yet he was left crushed when the move didn’t materialise, with Dortmund holding out for £108million throughout the whole summer.

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A source is quoted as saying: “It was so close to being done, the player was disappointed.”

Real are expected to rival United for Sancho in next summer’s transfer window, although Kylian Mbappe remains their priority target.

The La Liga giants also have interest in Dortmund star Erling Haaland, though any potential deal for the Norway international won’t be happening until 2022 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, regarding Sancho, former United star Luke Chadwick recently hit out at his former side’s inability to sign the England international.

Chadwick told Sports Mole: “It does seem from the outside looking in that maybe all the eggs have been put in the Jadon Sancho basket and that’s going to keep people happy for a certain period of time.

“I think it’s been glaringly obvious since the start of the season that there needs to be another central defender to come in and offer more competition, someone who plays every game really, with the back four that’s playing at the moment.

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“It does seem to be a little bit reactive in terms of there doesn’t seem to be a huge recruitment plan there of what happens.

“It seems to be someone might become available and United go and try and get them.

“Obviously Van de Beek is a hugely talented football player but you wonder where he’s going to play because I assume Bruno [Fernandes] is going to play every game, I assume [Paul] Pogba is going to play every game.

“We talk about the issues in the back four – if it’s a Van de Beek, Bruno, Pogba (midfield) in front of them it doesn’t offer a huge amount of protection to the back four so you look at the likes of [Nemanja] Matic and [Scott] McTominay who surely have to play at the moment to protect the back four to a certain extent.”

Former United star Paul Scholes, meanwhile, thinks the club were wrong not to land Sancho when Solskjaer wanted him so much.

Scholes said: “I don’t think he’s the first one who hasn’t been backed.

Premier League done deals: Every confirmed transfer in the summer window

“There’s been a lot of money spent but has it been spent on the first choices these managers want? I’m not too sure.

“I think Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho especially had a moan about that and it’s understandable when they aren’t getting the players they want.

“I think Ole’s been supported. I think Maguire at £80m is a lot of money, Fernandes just in January has been an excellent signing and the form was good especially coming from Fernandes in January time, you felt that this team was going places.

“Towards the end of the season it’s a lot easier to win games, it’s a lot easier to go on a run when the pressure’s not really on.

“Okay you can talk about pressure to get in that top four but that’s not the pressure United want, United want to be winning leagues.

“You felt at the end of last season he would have got more support in the transfer market to go on again to that next level but he’s not been given that. It’s quite clear the players he wanted have not come.”

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Soccer

Arsene Wenger claims Mesut Ozil is being 'wasted' at Arsenal

‘Let’s not forget who this guy is – a world champion who has played at Real Madrid’: Arsene Wenger claims £350,000-a-week outcast Mesut Ozil is being ‘wasted’ at Arsenal and urges his former club to ‘get him involved again’

  • Mesut Ozil has not played for Arsenal since before the coronavirus lockdown
  • Arsene Wenger brought the former German international to England in 2013
  • But he has now fallen out of favour under Mikel Arteta at the Emirates 

Arsene Wenger fears Mesut Ozil’s best years are being wasted at Arsenal and has urged Mikel Arteta ‘to get him involved again’.

Wenger brought Ozil to Arsenal in a sensational £42m deal back in August 2013, but has seen the former German international fall from grace since he left the club two years ago.

The 2014 World Cup winner has not featured under Mikel Arteta yet this season, and has not played a single minute of football since before the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Mesut Ozil has not featured for Arsenal since before the coronavirus lockdown in March

Arsene Wenger (right) fears that Ozil’s best years are being wasted in the wilderness at Arsenal

Wenger still feels the 31-year-old has much to give, but admits that evolution of the modern game has ‘kicked out’ playmakers like Ozil. 

‘I feel it is a waste for him,’ Wenger told the BBC. ‘Firstly because he’s in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. 

‘And it’s a waste for the club as well because he’s a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass. 

‘The way football is going at the moment it’s quick counter-pressing, quick transitions and everybody plays the same. It’s kicked out players like Ozil. Although let’s not forget who this guy is. A world champion who has played at Real Madrid.

‘He’s been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again.’ 

Manager Mikel Arteta has not selected Ozil since a 1-0 victory over West Ham in March

Arsenal have made attempts to end the 31-year-old’s £350,000-per-week contract early

Sportsmail reported last week that Arsenal are to re-open talks with Ozil ahead of the January transfer window over ending his £350,000-per-week contract early.

The Gunners, it is understood, have approached Ozil about reaching a settlement agreement for the final nine months of his contract but the attempts proved unsuccessful.

Ozil is said to want virtually all the remaining £13million on his deal.

The prospect of Ozil playing much first-team football before then looks remote.

UEFA have already confirmed the German’s omission from Arsenal’s Europa League squad, while Ozil is expected to be left out of the club’s 25-man Premier League party.

Ozil was part of the Germany squad that lifted the 2014 World Cup trophy in Brazil




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Soccer

Josh Maja: Being in the spotlight can have its ups and downs. At Bordeaux, I get to enjoy my football every day

Out of the spotlight, even out of sight to an extent, too, Maja admits it took a while for him to settle in Ligue 1. A skilful and instinctive striker, still bearing strong resemblances to his cage football grounding, the culture and language were foreign, and the manager’s public admission that the transfer was a “gamble” provided little comfort.

Last season, though, he steadily began to find his feet. A first professional hat-trick was cathartic, even if first-team opportunities were still limited, and now, already under his third manager at Bordeaux, Jean-Louis Gasset, Maja is beginning to find a balance on and off the pitch, starting four of the club’s six games so far this season. 

“I definitely think I wasn’t ready to start when I arrived,” he says. “But my quality was always there. I’ve developed technically and tactically, but the biggest difference is my mindset. I’ve had to be patient and focus and just listen to everything the coaches say and pick up lots of little things which can help me to make a big difference. This season, I want to showcase what I’m capable of, to start more games and score more goals.

“Being in the spotlight can have its ups and downs,” he adds. “Here, I just get to enjoy my football every day, that’s not something I take for granted”

Raised in South London, home still inevitably pulls at the heartstrings. After the French season was curtailed by the pandemic in March, Maja was able to spend an expended period with his family for the first time since moving to Sunderland almost five years ago. He retraced old footsteps, played football with his brother, and savoured his mum’s homemade cooking. “Those are the precious moments that make the sacrifice of living alone in France worth it,” he says. “Just to enjoy time with them. My brother was the one who used to take me to training at Crystal Palace. My mum sacrificed so we could have a bed, clothes and keep us under a roof.”

By leaving home, Maja was able to repay them, and he doesn’t have to veil his desire to one day return to England, be closer to his family and play in the Premier League – “the best in the world”. But after enduring so much in a short space of time, he is in no rush. At Bordeaux, he has found a corner of peace off the beaten track, and before leaving Ligue 1, he wants to make his mark. If these past years have taught him anything, it’s that the ups and downs are as unavoidable as they are inevitable. So whatever happens from now on, he says, “I’m just going to continue enjoying it as long as it lasts”.

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Soccer

Real Madrid will make bid for Haaland 'if effort to sign Mbappe fails'

Real Madrid will make bid for Erling Haaland ‘if attempt to sign Kylian Mbappe fails’ as Borussia Dortmund star with £63m release clause is seen as the perfect replacement for Karim Benzema

  • LaLiga giants Real Madrid may turn to Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland 
  • The LaLiga giants have been long-term admirers of PSG forward Kylian Mbappe 
  • Haaland is reportedly seen as alternative and more affordable option to Mbappe
  • The prolific Norwegian has a release clause of £63million in his current contract

Real Madrid will reportedly turn to Borussia Dortmund star striker Erling Haaland if they cannot sign Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain.

The LaLiga giants have been long-term admirers of Mbappe but due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic could not splash the cash this summer.

Madrid are keen to lure the 21-year-old forward away from the Parc des Princes in the future but also see Dortmund star Haaland, who has a £63million release clause in his contract, as an alternative option, according to Marca.

LaLiga giants Real Madrid are interested in Borussia Dortmund star striker Erling Haaland

They will reportedly turn to star striker Haaland if they cannot sign Kylian Mbappe from PSG

The Norwegian is reportedly seen as a perfect replacement for current striker Karim Benzema

The report appeared on the front page of the Spanish newspaper on Tuesday morning, with the headline reading: ‘Haaland if Mbappe does not come.’ 

Mbappe has entered the final two years of his deal in France with PSG desperate for him to agree new terms.

Norwegian forward Haaland is reportedly seen as a perfect replacement for current striker Karim Benzema, who Madrid are reliant on to lead the line, and he is considered more affordable than Mbappe.

The report appeared on the front page of Spanish newspaper Marca on Tuesday morning

Benzema turns 33 in December while £62m signing Luka Jovic has failed to make an impact at the Bernabeu.

Haaland bagged a stunning hat-trick in the 4-0 UEFA Nations League thrashing of Romania on Sunday to make it 51 goals in his last 48 games for club and country. 

He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United prior to his switch to Dortmund earlier this year and United are reportedly still keen on the 20-year-old.

Zinedine Zidane has been a long-term admirer of Mbappe, who has two years left on PSG deal




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Paul Scholes in full agreement with Harry Redknapp over Edinson Cavani deal

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has criticised the club's decision to sign Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani on transfer deadline day.

After failing to land a number of their main targets, United turned to 33-year-old Cavani after he was released by PSG, with the Uruguayan forward signing a lucrative two-year deal at Old Trafford.

Cavani will be unable to make his debut in the Red Devils' match against Newcastle on Saturday due to the fact he is in quarantine, but he could be in line to make his bow for his new club against his old one when United take on PSG in the Champions League next week.

While some believe Cavani is a shrewd bit of business for United, others are less convinced, with former Premier League manager Harry Redknapp among those who feel the forward may be past his best.

Redknapp told The Sun last week: "I think you all know I like a gamble now and again… but nothing like the one Manchester United have taken in signing Edinson Cavani.

"But signing Cavani, 33, on over £200,000 a week on the final day of the transfer window did smack of desperation to me.

"If he was someone United were that keen on signing, why did they leave it so late?"

And talking to Stadium Astro, Scholes agreed with Redknapp that Cavani's age will be a concern to those involved with United.

He said: "Obviously in his day, he’s been a top quality centre-forward. There’s no doubt about that. But he’s 33 years old, looked like he was going to retire. He’s not played a lot of football for PSG last season.

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"Five, six years ago, yeah he’s a great signing, he’ll take us onto that next level possibly. But I just don’t think he’ll take us to the next level now.

"But that’s what Manchester United seems to be now, it seems to be – I think of the forwards we have… Cavani, he should be a loan signing.

|If you’re struggling without a centre-forward it should be a two or three month loan signing just to get through a sticky period."

Cavani will clearly have a lot to prove when he does eventually pull on a United shirt for the first time, and he will be hoping he can help the side turn around their patchy start to the season, which has seen them lose two of their first three games in the Premier League.

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What Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did to ‘surprise’ Old Trafford dressing room

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly ‘surprised’ the Old Trafford dressing room by dropping Sergio Romero last season. The Argentina international was benched for the FA Cup and Europa League semi-final defeats to Chelsea and Sevilla. And that hasn’t sat well with his team-mates.

Manchester United have seen Romero act as a steady deputy to David De Gea ever since his arrival on a free transfer back in 2015.

The Argentina international has won two trophies throughout his time at Old Trafford, starting every match in the Europa League as the club scooped that prize during Jose Mourinho’s spell in charge.

Louis van Gaal and Mourinho both used Romero frequently in the cup competitions and, for the most part, so has Solskjaer.

However, last season, Romero was dropped for the defeats to Chelsea and Sevilla.

And ESPN say that decision shocked the dressing room.

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De Gea fluffed his lines in the defeat to Chelsea at Wembley, allowing Mason Mount’s effort to squirm under his body.

And the Spain international was unable to stop Solskjaer’s men from losing to Sevilla, with the La Liga giants winning 2-1 in their showdown in August.

Now, Romero has been frozen out.

And many players feel Solskjaer has made the wrong decision to treat the veteran in such a way, especially given how well he’s done his job since his move.

Romero has made 61 appearances for the club during his five-year stint at the Theatre of Dreams.

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And he’s conceded just 27 goals in that time, keeping 39 clean sheets along the way.

Romero wanted to leave United for Everton on transfer deadline day but the move broke down, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side unwilling to meet his asking price.

And that prompted a furious rant from the goalkeeper’s wife, Eliana Guercio, who said: “It is a very sad day because he desired the chance to go to another club.

“He has worked hard every day for this, because he gives his all for United and I think that his chances of playing for United have gone down.

“This doesn’t sound right to me. It doesn’t appear honest or professional or serious that they have to let him go. I am very sad because of this.”

Premier League done deals: Every confirmed transfer in the summer window

Romero felt the offer Everton made was a fair one and he was relishing the chance to challenge Jordan Pickford at Goodison Park.

Instead, the Merseyside outfit ended up signing Robin Olsen on loan from Roma.

The door isn’t shut for Romero to leave Old Trafford with the MLS transfer window open until October 29.

But he has no future at the club regardless of what happens, having been left out of United’s Champions League squad.

Solskjaer has gone with David De Gea, Dean Henderson and Sergio Romero instead for that competition.

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