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Soccer

Wilshere considers MLS transfer in bid to rebuild career after West Ham exit

Jack Wilshere is considering a move to the MLS as he looks to rebuild his career after leaving West Ham.

A number of clubs at home and abroad have shown interest in the former Arsenal and England star, whose contract with West Ham was cancelled last month.

But the 28-year-old is understood to favour a move to the United States, where he hopes to remind fans of the talents that once made him one of the best young players in the English game.

Wilshere burst on to the scene with Arsenal, becoming their youngest league debutant at the age of 16 years, 256 days in September 2008.

Later that month, he became only the fifth 16-year-old to play in the Champions League when he appeared as a substitute against Dynamo Kiev.

Wilshere quickly established himself as one of the most promising players in the Premier League and, at the age of 18, he became the 10th youngest player to wear the England shirt when he won the first of his 34 caps.

A glittering career beckoned, but the very likeable Wilshere then suffered a stress fracture in an ankle, an injury that would ultimately be the first of many.

Surgery would rule him out for six months but further complications meant he missed the season, with surgery on a knee problem lengthening the lay-off.

Early in the 2013-14 campaign, Wilshere finished off a goal against Norwich that defined everything Arsenal were about, one that would be voted Goal of the Season on the BBC.

That award followed the FA Cup winners’ medal he’d picked up earlier that month, the season ending on a high despite the fact a hairline crack in a foot had ruled him out for two months between March and May.

Injuries were beginning to take their toll on his development and he returned after another 90-day lay-off in February.

A few days later, he was ruled out for another month, but was back in plenty of time to make another substitutes’ appearance in the 2015 FA Cup final, which Arsenal again won.

The same month, he scored against West Brom and would become the first player to win the Goal of the Season award in consecutive campaigns.

Sadly, for Wilshere, highs were usually followed by lows and he suffered a hairline crack in calf bone in August 2015 that would keep him out until the following April.

He joined Bournemouth on loan in a bid to get his career back on track and impressed there in his 29 appearances, but another injury suffered in the April would mean he was rehabbing throughout the summer.

He left Arsenal the following summer to join West Ham but his two years at the club were severely disrupted by injury lay-offs.

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He has been fit for nine months, however, and simply overlooked by David Moyes, which is why he is now looking for a new club.

Arsenal and West Ham fans, in particular, but football fans in general will wish him well.

A player whose career promised so much but has been ravaged by injury deserves much better fortune in the latter stages of his career than he has had in the first decade of it. 

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Soccer

Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes tipped to replace Harry Maguire as captain permanently

Manchester United will be captained by Bruno Fernandes this evening in their Champions League clash with PSG. That’s because Harry Maguire has not made the trip to Paris with an injury.

Fernandes will skipper the side for the first time and was surprised when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer announced it in his pre-match press conference.

He said: “My reaction was funny because I wasn’t expecting to be the captain [on Tuesday] of course.

“I found out in the press conference and it was funny because I wasn’t expecting that but I’m really happy.

“It’s an honour for me to be captain of such a big club and to be captain of the team.

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“You will have the armband but you need to be just the same and the leadership needs to be the same as before.

“I think everyone has his own way to be a leader and this [game] will be the same for me and the others. It will just be that I will have the armband on my arm.”

Former United assistant manager Rene Meulensteen believes Fernandes is the perfect character to be a captain.

He told talkSPORT: “Bruno is an excellent choice because since he’s come to the club, he has given United what they were lacking.

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“Some urgency, he plays with conviction, he plays with authority, he drives other players on.

“He’s a positive influence every time he steps on the pitch – and he’s not afraid to tell players when they don’t meet the standards.

“He’s got high standards about himself because you can see if he does miss a pass, he gets annoyed with himself and he will be the same with other players.

“Although he will say it, he’s not a negative person.

“He’s a very positive influence in the dressing room, players look up to him because he has proved to be such an important player for the team.”

Meulensteen thinks the Portuguese could take the role on in the future as well.

Asked if Fernandes could replace Maguire as permanent captain, he added: “For me, I can see that because he’s been very consistent.

“He plays every game, his performances are nine out of ten. He always has an impact on the game.

“You want to have players [where you can say], ‘he’s on the pitch, the captain’s on the pitch, he will carry us over the line.’”

United take on PSG tonight in the Champions League from 8pm and Express Sport will bring you all the action and reaction as it happens.

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MLB

The Latest: Browns will have Beckham vs. Steelers


The Latest on Week 6 in the NFL (all times EDT):

___

12 p.m.

Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is active and expected to be available when the surprising Cleveland Browns travel to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Beckham Jr. had his second negative COVID-19 test in 24 hours on Saturday, clearing him to rejoin his teammates. The receiver was kept away from Cleveland’s facility and didn’t practice for two days after feeling ill on Thursday and being sent home

The league has instructed teams to remove anyone showing symptoms similar to COVID-19 even if they are caused by a cold or the flu. The Browns are off to a 4-1 start and trying to earn their first win in Pittsburgh since 2003. The Steelers (4-0) are one of four undefeated teams remaining in the league.

Beckham has had a good start in his second season with the Browns, who acquired the star in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants. He has 21 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns and also had an electrifying 50-yard TD run that sealed a win in Dallas.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Racing

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces birth of second child, shares sweet story of sibling love

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now a dad times two.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer announced on his podcast Thursday that his wife, Amy, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a girl named Nicole Lorraine, on Monday.

Both names have a family connection, Earnhardt said: Nicole is Amy’s middle name and Lorraine is the middle name of Dale Jr.’s late mother. 

The couple’s first child, a girl named Isla Rose, was born in 2018. Dale Jr. shared a sweet story of how she bonded with her little sister after her parents brought Nicole home from the hospital.

“Nicole’s by the couch and we take Isla in there and (we’re) like, ‘Isla, there’s a new person in the house. Your little sister’s finally here. We’ve been telling you about it.’ And we walk her in there and she leans down and she’s like, ‘Ohhh, she’s so cute.’ She just says that right out of her mouth.

“And (Nicole) was in this little rocking bassinet thing and she’s like, ‘Can I rock her?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, just very gently.’ . . . She got down on her knees and [put] her chin on the edge of the bassinet and was just looking at her, and it was a great moment.”

Earnhardt said he will be in the NBC broadcast booth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Kansas even though his entire focus this week has been on the addition to his family.

“It’s been an awesome week of bliss and ignorance and living in our own little world,” Earnhardt said. “It’s time to get back to it. . . . Everybody’s great, Nicole’s great, Amy’s great. It’s been a seamless transition into the household and things are good.”

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MLB

Adam Gase: With Le'Veon Bell gone, La'Mical Perine is 'definitely going to get a bigger role'

Le'Veon Bell went from the cellar to the penthouse with his move from the New York Jets to the Kansas City Chiefs this week, but his departure leaves opportunity in the Gang Green backfield.

“The group of guys able to play in this game is a good mix of veterans and young players,” coach Adam Gase said Thursday of his backfield, via the team’s official website. “We want these young guys playing … the more experience they get the better.”

The Jets currently have three running backs on their roster, Frank Gore, rookie La'Mical Perine and Ty Johnson. Josh Adams is also on the practice squad.

While Gore has taken the lead-back role in games that Bell missed this season, Gase’s plan to play young players portends a bigger role for Perine.

The fourth-round pick has just 15 carries for 56 yards in four games and two catches for -1 yards. In the two games Bell played with the Jets this year, Perine did not take an offensive snap. He missed Week 1 due to an ankle injury and saw just two special teams reps in last week’s loss to Arizona.

“He doesn’t say a whole bunch,” Gase said of Perine. “He’s quiet. He’s in Frank’s hip pocket all the time. He loves the opportunity and wants to be involved in the game. Everyone wants to see it, we saw a lot of good stuff in camp before he got injured.

“Perine’s definitely going to get a bigger role. Frank, you’re not going to lean on him as heavy a load. Getting Perine really involved is going to be critical for us.”

At 37 years old Gore is who he is. He’ll burrow for positive yards but isn’t going to break long dashes. In 64 carries this season, his longest run went for 13 yards. Gore averaged 3.2 yards per carry with no TDs through the first five games.

Now the Jets need to find out what they have in the rookie.

“We don’t want to put too much on this kid, we need to figure out what he is,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He needs to go out and play. He has the talent to play on all three downs. He has good hands, good speed, he can help passing and running game. Like all young players, he needs to maximize his opportunity this week.”

Gore is the trusty vet who won’t make mistakes but giving Perine a shot makes sense for an 0-5 Jets squad staring at the top pick in the draft. At worst, the offense can’t be less effective with the fourth-rounder in the backfield. At best, the Florida product proves he can shoulder the load before next year’s latest reboot.

“It’s a challenge,” Perine said. “I feel like it’s another opportunity, another challenge to show these folks what I can do on the field. I’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity and do my thing. I’m here for a reason.”

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Sports News

Record-breaking Hollie Doyle bids for more Ascot glory on Champions Day

Hollie Doyle’s latest record-breaking season will reach a climax with five scheduled shots at Ascot glory on QIPCO British Champions Day.

In a year of significant milestones, Doyle enjoyed her first Royal Ascot success aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes and then went on to claim her first Group victory when Dame Malliot triumphed in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.

A debut appearance in a Group One contest followed aboard the same filly in Germany, before Doyle set another benchmark when breaking her own British record for winners in a calendar year for a female rider when notching her 117th success of 2020 at Kempton on Wednesday.

“I don’t usually set goals – but I actually walked out into the season having that particular goal to ride a Group winner at some point, so it was an excellent day,” she said.

The next logical target is a Group One success, of course, but Doyle is prepared to wait to become only the third female jockey to ever achieve that.

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“One day,” she said, when asked about the prospect.

“But I know how hard it is to come across a Group One horse, so I’ll be patient with that one.”

In August Doyle also became the first female jockey to win five races on the same card, completing her 899-1 five-timer at Windsor on mounts from five separate stables.

It came in a muted atmosphere, with racing taking place behind closed doors, and Doyle admits it took a while for the significance to sink in.

“Looking back on it now, I realise how big an achievement it was,” she said.

“At the time I probably didn’t. It is weird at the moment, riding with no crowds and no atmosphere, so that probably was why I didn’t really take it in that much.

“It was a great day, for five different trainers as well.”

Doyle’s talents have certainly been well advertised – and owner Imad Al Sagar, whose silks were carried by 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized, secured her services as his retained rider back in July, with the partnership already enjoying plenty of success.

“It was the last thing that I ever really expected to happen to me, to be honest – when it did I was really surprised and excited,” she said.

Doyle will partner one of Al Sagar’s horses, the Roger Charlton-trained Extra Elusive, in the Group One QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

“He’s one of my favourites,” she said of the gelding she steered to victory in both Windsor’s Winter Hill Stakes and Rose of Lancaster at Haydock before he was third in Newbury’s Legacy Cup – all Group Three contests.

“I was very lucky to get the leg-up on him – he was one of my first rides on my new retainer with Imad Al Sagar.

“For him to have gone on to win two Group Three races already, it’s been a great year for him, and he’s really turned a corner.

“We changed the tactics up, he ran OK last time at Newbury off the back of hard races he had at Windsor and Haydock. They were two hard races for him physically, so he’s had a nice break now – and Mr Charlton seems really happy with him.

“It’s a big ask, stepping up into Group One company, but he’s one that thrives on the soft ground.”

Doyle will also join forces with another familiar ally when she partners Ed Vaughan’s Dame Malliot in the Group One QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

“I love this filly – she’s always been an eyecatcher,” Doyle said.

“I won the Aphrodite Stakes last year on her and I thought she was going to go on to do bigger and better things, and that’s what she’s done.

“She was impressive at Newmarket, winning a Group Two on slow ground. We went over to Germany with her and ran her in a Group One, and she ran a big race – she just didn’t like the track, because it was quite sharp.

“I think she’ll absolutely love Ascot, she’s got form on soft ground – so it would be amazing if she could get her head in front.”

Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel supplies Doyle with another chance of a Group One triumph on the stellar card, taking his chance in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes after finishing second behind Dream Of Dreams in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.

“Usually he’s a grinder and can hit a bit of a flat spot, but he travelled the best he’s ever travelled at Haydock,” Doyle said of the gelding’s most recent performance.

“He thrives on soft ground, so we’d love to think he could reverse the form with Dream Of Dreams. But that’s not completely in his hands, because you’ve got One Master in there – who was impressive at Longchamp at the weekend -and Art Power.”

She is also set to ride Trueshan in the opening QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup and Solid Stone in the Balmoral Handicap which closes the card.

Currently sitting fourth in the Flat jockeys’ championship, Doyle is understated about her chances of eventually becoming the first ever female champion jockey in Britain.

After claiming her record-breaking Windsor five-timer, she was tipped to one day top the table by all-time great Frankie Dettori, but still remains focused on the present.

“Maybe one day, I’ve got a long way to go,” she said.

“I can improve my riding, but if I keep getting the rides and riding as many winners as I am, then I hope maybe one day I could be in contention and have a chance.

“I just hope it can encourage more people to get out there and realise it can be done. That’s what I’d like to prove.”

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Soccer

What Borussia Dortmund chiefs told Man Utd after board called Jadon Sancho transfer bluff

Manchester United were left red-faced when they tried to call Borussia Dortmund’s bluff on Jadon Sancho. The Red Devils made their move to sign the winger but were ultimately told by Dortmund that he was going nowhere, beyond the August 10 deadline.

United seemed destined to land the England international, who was eagerly awaiting the chance to move to Old Trafford this summer.

The opportunity never came though with United only bidding £90m for Sancho, some £18m below the £108m quotation.

The entire saga is said to have bemused Dortmund, who made their demands clear to United at the beginning of the transfer window.

According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, United were left shocked when they were told by Dortmund that they wouldn’t be changing their mind.

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He said on Ask Ornstein: “Dortmund set a deadline of early August, that then got pushed back to August 10.

“It came and went without any progress, so Dortmund said ‘it’s case closed, you missed your chance and he’s staying with us until at least 2021’.

“It was around that time that United contacted Dortmund and said ‘is this for real?’ and the kind of message back was ‘yeah, what else did you expect?’

“United could stand accused of misreading the situation or calling Dortmund’s buff unsuccessfully, not believing them.

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“I can kind of understand why they’ve done that, in previous times we’ve seen Dortmund say similar things publicly only to end up selling at the end of the window in the cases of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele.”

While the forward is unlikely to have solved all of United’s problems, it’s a signing that may have helped the team reach the next level.

The No 7 shirt was ready and waiting for Sancho but now belongs to 33-year-old Edinson Cavani.

Should Sancho’s name have been printed on the back of the famous jersey, shirt sales would have skyrocketed.

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United had two elements of the transfer agreed but failed to finalise a fee with Dortmund, the most important aspect of the deal.

Agents fees were finally agreed at the start of September while the player gave United the green light at the beginning of summer.

Sancho though, was not prepared to agitate for a move out of respect for the contract that he signed last year.

United will hope they still have a clear run on Sancho next year, despite growing belief that Liverpool could enter the fray.

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Soccer

'B' Teams idea rejected by Port Vale chair Carol Shanahan and Exeter president Julian Tagg

Port Vale chair Carol Shanahan has rejected the notion that some Premier League clubs could be allowed to field ‘B’ teams in the EFL.

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano mooted the idea this week after claiming that the EFL was not a sustainable business even before the coronavirus crisis.

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While Shanahan agreed that some co-operation should be developed between the leagues, she insisted this was not the way forward.

“I think he’s right that this is a good opportunity for the pyramid to help each other but that isn’t the way that we need help,” Shanahan told Sky Sports News.

“The clubs I am talking about are in Leagues One and Two, which seem to be the forgotten part of the elite arm of the football family.

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“We are completely different from the Championship, who get a lot of money from the Football League through parachute payments.

“I can see why there could be some reticence from the Premier League to help [Championship clubs] because they yo-yo back and forwards and take each other’s places.

“It’s completely different down in League One and League Two, where we don’t get money coming down at that same sort of rate.

Man City chief: The EFL is not sustainable

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12098304/efl-not-sustainable-and-should-introduce-b-teams-says-man-city-chief-ferran-soriano

“We don’t get media money, all our money comes through the gate. So by the time you take the fans away, you don’t have the income coming in.

“But the answer certainly isn’t to have ‘B’ teams, it’s to support the current structure as it is.”

Exeter City president Julian Tagg is also against the idea of B teams being introduced to the EFL and has defended the organisation’s handling of the pandemic.

“There has to be some solution here but I believe the people within the EFL certainly and Rick Parry and his team have worked hard in extremely difficult circumstances and have done incredibly well to get us to this point,” he said.

“It does need a reshape but that’s not the answer for me.

“The other thing that’s important here is that I don’t think the fans will like it.

“They’re the ones that make football, their opinion will be significant in this and I’m not sure that’s what they want to see, In fact I’m sure it’s not.”

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During the brief international break, there is still £250,000 up for grabs with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

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Tennis

Novak Djokovic hits another line judge in the face

Novak Djokovic admitted he suffered an “awkward moment of deja vu” after unintentionally hitting a ball which smashed into the head of a line judge at Roland Garros this morning.

World No. 1 Djokovic racked up his 35th win of 2020 and a place in the Paris quarter-finals for the 14th time with a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

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However, he had a heart-in-mouth moment when he stretched for a forehand in the first set and the ball flew off the frame of his racquet before spearing into the unsuspecting baseline judge sitting nearby.

The Serb went immediately to the official to check he was unhurt. The incident came just weeks after Djokovic was defaulted at the US Open in New York for swiping angrily at a ball which hit a female line judge, standing just behind him, in the throat.

That disqualification remains the only defeat Djokovic has suffered all year.

“My gosh, it was very awkward deja vu. I’m actually trying to find the linesperson and see if he’s OK because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him,” said Djokovic, who has now reached the French Open quarter-finals for an 11th straight year.

“I hope he’s fine. I mean, he definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way. But it was a hit because I was very close.

“Obviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this. It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I’ve been on the tour.

“I’ve seen it a lot when the ball ricochets from the racquet and the frame, hits someone in the stands, or someone that is close to you or a line umpire. Yeah, it was a very awkward situation.”

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Djokovic just sniped another line judge pic.twitter.com/QaEMWXNrBg

Djokovic, chasing a second title in Paris and 18th career grand slam, will face either Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta or unseeded Daniel Altmaier of Germany for a place in the semi-finals.

Carreno Busta was the player who benefited from Djokovic’s US Open fourth round disqualification.

Djokovic, who hit 44 winners past 15th-seeded Khachanov, has yet to drop a set in the tournament, losing just 25 games in four rounds.

“It was a tight match and I am happy to win in straight sets,” said the top seed, who has now reached 47 quarter-finals at the slams and is bidding to become the first man in half a century to win all four majors twice.

Djokovic has a 3-1 career edge over Carreno Busta, the 17th seed, and has never played Altmaier, the world No. 186, who came through qualifying.

Should he defeat the Spaniard, a quarter-finalist also in 2017, Altmaier would be the first qualifier in the last eight at Roland Garros since Marcelo Filippini in 1999.

Not all of Djokovic’s forehands go where he wants them to.Source:AFP

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Soccer

Borussia Dortmund backed to accept Man Utd transfer offer for Jadon Sancho on deadline day

Borussia Dortmund remain adamant that they will not accept an offer for Jadon Sancho this late in the transfer window, even if their £108million valuation is met. Manchester United will be working around the clock in the final few days of the transfer window to get deals over the line and they still could return for Sancho.

The Red Devils saw an offer of £90m rejected earlier in the week by Dortmund, with club chiefs bemused at United’s approach to negotiations.

Dortmund set a deadline of August 10 for any deal but United chose to ignore everything they were told by the German club.

Sporting director Michael Zorc made it clear yesterday that Sancho will not be joining United before the transfer window ends.

“Everything there is to tell on this matter from our end has already been said,” Zorc said on Friday. “And that won’t change over the next three days.”

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However, should United find an extra £18m and table an offer that satisfies Dortmund’s valuation of the player, there is a feeling that they could give in.

Gabriele Marcotti has claimed that Dortmund have enough attacking options at their disposal to cope if Sancho left and for that reason, United still have hope.

He said on the Gab and Juls Podcast: “I spoke to an intermediary I know and he’s got nothing to do with this and they reminded me of a basic truth of football.

“If Sancho moves for €120m or more between now and Monday, United will look stupid and Borussia Dortmund will look stupid.

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“So I was like, ‘Oh yeah that’s why it isn’t going to happen.’ He was like, ‘Yeah but Dortmund will have €120m and United will have Sancho.’

“Ultimately, if desperation sets in, if you’re Dortmund given the situation and the way the world is, if they get their €120m now, they’ve got enough alternatives and attacking players.

“They need Sancho in terms of quality but they don’t necessarily need Sancho in terms of bodies, they can spin it to they have [Giovanni] Reyna, [Jude] Bellingham, [Julian] Brandt, [Marco] Reus, [Thorgan] Hazard. A billion guys!

“So I don’t know. I say this on a speculative level rather than a reporting level because I’m not reporting this, but I think if they show up with the money, despite what Dortmund say, they’ll say: ‘Okay take him away’.”

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

Sancho wants to join United and his representatives reportedly told Dortmund that at the start of summer.

Personal terms will not be a problem while he has also provisionally agreed a five-year contract at Old Trafford.

So far, he has not agitated for a move and respects his Dortmund contract having only signed an extension last season.

But should United bid £108m before the deadline, that could change given that Dortmund agreed to let him go at that price.

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