Bulletin: A defeat on Tour, Bale linked and surprise praise for United


Manchester United suffered their first defeat of the pre-season with the 1-0 reverse against Barcelona in the FedEx Field. United trailed through a Neymar strike to end the 5 game pre-season Tour in the US with 4 victories.


Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho appeared relaxed even after a defeat against Barcelona in the International Champions Cup. In his post-match thoughts, Mourinho said: “The defeat is good. It’s very important to lose a match in pre-season. It would have been very bad for us to leave the US without a defeat with the teams we’ve played. We were good and in the second half we defended much better. It’s one thing to defend against Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar and another thing to defend against three good players.”


Manchester United, still frustrated in their attempts to sign Ivan Perisic are reportedly looking at alternatives in the left-wing area. Among the players being looked at are RB Leipzig’s Emil Forsberg and Anderlecht’s Leander Dendoncker. Mourinho is said to prefer a move for Forsberg though Leipzig are expected to demand around £40m move for the top assist getter in the Bundesliga. If United complete a move for Forsberg, he would join Mkhitaryan as consecutive top assist getters in the Bundesliga to join United. Dendoncker, 22, would be available at a cheaper £33m.


Manchester United and Ibrahimovic reportedly held talks with as the club look to resign the talismanic player after recovering from injury. While it is no news that Zlatan continues to train at Carrington as he steps up his recovery from the knee ligament injury he suffered, Mourinho is confident of his side resigning Zlatan and has put off signing a replacement for the departed Wayne Rooney because of his confidence. Ibrahimovic is reportedly ahead of schedule in his target to make a comeback to the football pitch.


Despite Mourinho categorically denying that United are in for Gareth Bale, events before and in the aftermath of United’s Tour match against Real Madrid suggest otherwise. After the ‘small talk’ and embrace of Bale and Mourinho in the tunnel pre-match, Zinedine Zidane has refused to move out a move away from Madrid for Bale. Madrid who are reportedly close to a huge £160m move for Kylian Mbappe are looking to raise funds for their world record move. Selling Gareth Bale has reportedly been looked as one of the ways to raise the funds required make the Mbappe transfer a reality.


Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde suggested that United have Champions League winning credentials. Valverde was quoted saying: “Obviously it hasn’t been well lately, but I mean they won the Europa League. ‘This year they are going to be in the Champions League. Their presence by itself is impressive. They impress. I think they are going to be a really hard team to beat. ‘For me, they are contenders to win and they are going to be hard to beat in the Premier League and the Champions League. I wouldn’t want to face them in the Champions League.’