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Al-Nassr ‘keen to sign £20m-rated Bailly from Man United’

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Saudi Arabia Pro League club, Al-Nassr FC, have reportedly registered their interest in Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, as the centre-back prepares to leave the 20-time English champions during this summer’s transfer window.

The 29-year-old made the move to Man United from Villarreal in 2016, and he has made 113 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions, with his most productive season at the club proving to be his first, when he featured on 38 occasions.

Bailly has struggled with various fitness issues in recent years, though, and he only featured seven times during the 2021-22 season before spending the 2022-23 campaign on loan at Marseille.

The Ivory Coast international made 23 appearances for Marseille last season, but he largely found it difficult to make his mark for the French outfit.

Bailly was left out of the Man United squad that travelled to the United States for their pre-season tour, with the defender not in the plans of Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag.

According to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Bailly will make a decision on his future ‘soon’, with Al-Nassr approaching him to discuss a switch to Saudi Arabia.

Romano claims that Al Ettifaq are also keen to bring him to Saudi Arabia, while Fulham are keeping a close eye on the centre-back’s situation.

Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth has also claimed that former Man United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Al-Nassr, has spoken to him about a move to Saudi Arabia.

“Interest from Saudi Arabia in Manchester United defender Eric Bailly. Talks ongoing with two clubs over three year deal worth £20m,” Sheth wrote on his Twitter account.

“Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to him direct to tell him about League and lifestyle. Bailly not on United’s US Tour. One year left on contract and one year option.”

Al-Nassr have already signed one player from Man United this summer, with Alex Telles completing a move to the Saudi Arabian outfit on Sunday.

Journalist Mohammed Hamdi has claimed that Al-Nassr are willing to pay £20m to sign Bailly, who has not taken to the field since playing the final 26 minutes of Marseille’s 1-0 loss to AC Ajaccio on June 3.

Man United have already moved two centre-backs on this summer, with Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones departing Old Trafford at the end of their contracts.

There remains speculation surrounding the future of Harry Maguire, but Ten Hag has said that he wants the England international to remain at Old Trafford for the 2023-24 campaign.

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European Leagues

Tella Helps Leverkusen Break Bayern’s Record After Win Against Mainz

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Nathan Tella was in action for Bayer Leverkusen who secured a hard fought 2-1 win against Mainz in the Bundesliga on Friday night.

Tella came on in the 83rd minute and helped Leverkusen hold on to their lead and claim the three points.

His Nigerian teammate Victor Boniface is still out with injury.

The win means Leverkusen stretched its lead to 11 points over champions Bayern Munich in the league table.

Also, Xabi Alonso’s men set a German record of 33 games unbeaten across all competitions.

Former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka fired Leverkusen into a third-minute lead, after letting fly from outside the penalty area for his first goal on his 31st appearance for the club.

But Dominik Kohr replied for the visitors with a header at the other end four minutes later.

In the 68th minute Leverkusen went 2-1 up thanks to Robert Andrich’s harmless-looking shot which Mainz keeper failed to hold.

With 10 minutes left Mainz were reduced to 10 men when Jessic Ngankam was sent off after a VAR check for a dangerous tackle on Xhaka.

Bayern Munich could reduce the 11-point gap to eight if they beat Leipzig on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 11 rounds of fixtures would remain after this weekend.

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If I score, I won’t celebrate it – says Ramos ahead of Real Madrid clash

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Sergio Ramos will return to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since he left Real Madrid in 2021 to join PSG, when he lines up for Sevilla on Sunday.

The veteran defender won five La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues in his 16-year spell at Real, scoring 101 goals in 671 appearances.

Ramos, back at boyhood club Sevilla, says he will not celebrate if he scores.

“I wouldn’t celebrate but if I happen to score and it was enough for us to win I would be delighted, those three points would be very good for us,” Ramos told the La Liga website.

Ramos is aware of the difficulty of the match for Sevilla against the league leaders, Real Madrid, who approach the game after drawing in Vallecas and having a week without matches.

“Real Madrid is always the favorite to win everything. They’re in a good moment, leading the league, and have players of extraordinary magnitude and quality. We know very well the ground we’re going to step on, and we’ll try in one way or another to have a good game there,” he said.

he recalled how close they were in the first leg at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. “We played Madrid head-to-head, we had chances to win. Kepa made a very good save from my header that would have given us the victory. When the team is compact, we’re all together, we play with good intensity, and we press high, we’re a guerrilla team.”

Ramos didn’t reveal his plans for next season, proud of the decision he made to return to Sevilla after his adventure at PSG.

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Pep Guardiola admits Kevin De Bruyne is not ’100 per cent’

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The Belgian international sat out City’s 1-0 win over Brentford on Tuesday as the 32-year-old had some niggles. Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, Guardiola revealed De Bruyne “did not feel comfortable” playing against the Bees, but he is very likely to be in the squad for the clash against the Cherries.

The Spaniard told reporters on Friday: “He’s [De Bruyne] good – not injured. He’s better. I don’t know if he is 100 per cent but we took a good decision to not take a risk, apart from the result, if the result was not good, people would ask why he didn’t play. He didn’t feel comfortable.

“We have training at 4pm [Friday]. The day after the game he didn’t train and yesterday everyone was off, but he trained by himself. Today [Friday] we will assess. I am sure he will travel.”

City are still in the hunt for a second-straight treble (Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League) despite appearing to be at a lower level to where they were at this point last season. For much of the campaign they have been without the influential midfielder due to injury but when he is fit he makes a huge difference. Therefore, managing his minutes is key.

After City take on Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth this weekend, Guardiola’s side travel to Luton Town in round five of the FA Cup on Tuesday. They then host rivals Manchester United on March 3 in the Premier League.

 

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