Manchester United cancel transfer plans; Alexandre Pato wanted by Chelsea and Liverpool; Tottenham have first option on Gareth Bale

All the latest transfer news and gossip on Friday 22 January 2016 as United and Chelsea make the headlines again

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The Independent Football

Manchester United have dramatically placed their transfer plans on hold as reports this morning suggest representatives of the club met with Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola. Current boss Louis van Gaal has faced increase scrutiny in recent weeks despite an upturn in form and the Dutchman’s future remains in doubt. According to the Daily Mirror, the Old Trafford giants fear signing players this January only for a new manager to sell them on again in the summer. 

Guardiola has announced he is to leave the Bavarian club in May and has signalled his intention to manage in the Premier League, with several sources reporting he has chosen Manchester City. The Red Devils, however, are joined by Chelsea, under the interim management of Guus Hiddink, in wanting to tempt the Spaniard away from the Etihad before any documentation is signed.

The agent of Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato has revealed the former AC Milan man has a choice of four clubs this month, including Chelsea and Liverpool. The Premier League pair are also in direct competition for Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira but Pato is seen as a more likely addition.

The 26-year-old is thought to be keen on a return to Europe with the Blues considered favourites to secure his signature before the deadline on February 1. Sporting Lisbon and Benfica are the other clubs hoping to wrap up a deal, according to the Brazilian’s agent, but the riches of English football are likely to lure him to either Stamford Bridge or Anfield.

The leak appears to confirm Gareth Bale’s transfer fee was a world record

Long-term United transfer target Gareth Bale has a clause in his contract stipulating former club Tottenham have the first option to sign the Welshman. If the La Liga side accepted a bid from any other Premier League club before June 30 2019, Spurs would then have 72 hours to match the offer, in which case Real would have to sell to the north Londoners. 

The clause was revealed in leaked documents this week with the theory Bale is the most expensive player in the world seemingly being confirmed. Madrid insist the transfer was completed for £70.38m, more than £3m less than what was paid for Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the leaked document suggests they parted with as much as £77.45m in several instalments. Speaking this week, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said: "I think if we have the option to sign him - why not? He's a great player and a player that can improve our squad."


Branislav Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanovic is set to sign a new one-year contract extension with Chelsea. The Serbian has suffered a mixed season so far but appears to be getting back to form under Hiddink. Ivanovic is said to be on £120,000-a-week at Stamford Bridge and, according to the Daily Express, will continue to be paid that amount as part of his new deal.  

United are considering ending their interest in Lazio star Felipe Anderson amid fears over the Brazil international’s form and price-tag. The 22-year-old has been the subject of ferocious interest across the last six months as Van Gaal’s men seek a flair player to appease supporters disgruntled with their recent dour brand of football. The Red Devils are just two points off fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League after picking up eight points in 12.

Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson is wanted by Manchester United

Stefano Pioli, the Lazio boss, has refused to clarify Anderson’s position at the Stadio Olimpico despite reports in Italy stating United have offered in the region of £35m. “Any answer I give will be interpreted,” he said. “All I know is the club has not told me anything, Felipe Anderson is working to find his best form. There’s no news, but I coach the squad and do not control transfers.”

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is expected to complete his prospective loan switch to Standard Liege in the coming days. The 34-year-old has endured a miserable spell at Old Trafford in the shadow of David De Gea. Valdes reportedly fell out with Van Gaal after the Dutchman claimed he refused to play a reserve fixture last year.

Writing on Instagram, the shot-stopper posted: “Thank you all for your support during these months of hard work for me, I will never forget! See you soon!”