The Hard Tackle brings to you a round-up of all the news regarding Premier League giants Manchester United.
Jaap Stam was an icon at Manchester United, and the Dutchman enjoyed many a memorable moment with the Red Devils during his three-year stint at Old Trafford. None more so than in 1999, when he won the famous treble under Sir Alex Ferguson.
So, it was no wonder that tongues were set wagging when Reading – managed by Stam himself – were drawn to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford. And fittingly, the tie was billed as the Return of Jaap Stam by Manchester United fans.
However, Stam has revealed that he does not welcome questions constantly asking him of his exit from Manchester United.
Stam told BBC Radio Berkshire: “I get sick of it, Fergie gets sick of it. United maybe get sick of it sometimes. I talk to the press and sometimes I get a question about what happened, again.
“You try to give a decent answer, but they always try to find a way of making it interesting. I’m not focusing on what happened when I was a player, or what the papers say.”
But Stam also said that he is looking forward to a return to the stadium where he enjoyed many moments to savour.
“It’s nice to go back. I love the club, I love the fans and I had a great time there. But this game is not about me, it’s about Reading facing Manchester United at Old Trafford.”
Stam was sold to Lazio in 2001, and he returns to Old Trafford almost 16 years later as Reading prepare to take on Manchester United on Saturday. While a returns is sweet for Stam, he can make it all the sweeter with a shock win over his former club.
Menwhile, if you are one of those Manchester United supporters who was getting excited by a possible return of club legend Patrice Evra, you have disappointment coming your way. As per the Daily Mail, Manchester United have no intention of bringing the ever popular Frenchman back to Old Trafford.
That is because United manager Jose Mourinho is willing to give English youngster Luke Shaw one last chance to prove himself once he has regained his fitness. Shaw has endured yet another frustrating season with Manchester United as he had been in and out of the team before injury concerns condemned him to the sidelines once again.
Shaw is currently working hard at regaining fitness, and it looks like he has got one final opportunity to stake a claim at establishing himself as the first choice left-back at Manchester United.
As for Evra, it looks like he won’t have a fairytale return to Old Trafford despite recent reports linking him with a move back to the club where he’s so popular with fans and staff alike.
In other transfer news, it looks like there are some complications in Manchester United’s bid to sign Benfica centre-back Victor Lindelof. Manchester Evening News have reported that the deal has been delayed because Benfica are negotiating Lindelof’s sell-on clause with his former club back in Sweden.
Swedish third-tier Vasteras are entitled to receive 20 per cent of Lindelof’s next transfer fee, plus there’s an outstanding payment of €250,000 which further complicates matters. Benfica are trying to get that fee reduced, but if they fail to do so, they have requested United to make up the difference when they make the payment for Lindelof’s transfer.
Lindelof has been a subject of constant speculation through recent months, with various reports linking him with a move to Manchester United in the January transfer windows. However, there have been some contradicting reports as well, that have claimed that Jose Mourinho has pulled the plug on the transfer of the Swede.
It’ll be interesting to see the direction in which this particular transfer saga turns to, with little clarity on an impending deal between the parties.
If Manchester United fail to link up with Lindelof in the coming month, there are a couple of other defenders who have now been rumoured to be close to a switch to Old Trafford.
Southampton captain Jose Fonte has been reported to be a target of Manchester United in recent weeks. The latest reports state that the Portuguese has handed in a transfer request to the Saints and could be a step closer to a move to the North West.
Finally, reports in England have stated that Manchester United have submitted a staggering £32.5 million bid for AS Roma centre-back Kostas Manolas, with Mourinho keen to bring the Greek defender to Old Trafford in the January transfer window.