Paulo Dybala: Man Utd end talks with Juventus striker over wage demands

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Paulo Dybala
Dybala made his international debut in 2015

Manchester United have ended talks with Paulo Dybala because of the Juventus striker’s wage demands.

United entered talks with the Argentine, 25, as part of a proposed swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku, 26.

However, they were dubious about whether Dybala wanted to join them and viewed his wage demands as excessive.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has targeted young, hungry players and United officials concluded further bids for Dybala would be a move away from that.

Dybala joined Juventus from Palermo in 2015 and scored 10 times for the Italian side last season, including the only goal in the first leg of the Champions League group match against United at Old Trafford in October.

Uncertainty remains over the future of Belgium international Lukaku, who joined the Red Devils from Everton for an initial £75m in July 2017 and scored 12 league goals last term.

Last month United rejected a 60m euro (£53.9m) bid from Juventus’ Serie A rivals Inter Milan for the forward.

But Solskjaer says he has “no doubt” France midfielder Paul Pogba – who has also been linked with a move – still wants to play for the club.

United have reached an agreement to sign England centre-back Harry Maguire from Leicester for £80m – a world record fee for a defender, with the transfer due to be finalised in the near future.

Conte ‘very hopeful’ over Lukaku

Inter boss Antonio Conte revealed he was still hopeful of signing Lukaku.

“We continue to work on it in the best possible way,” he said after his team’s pre-season friendly draw at Tottenham.

“I understand there are some gaps that need to be filled but at the moment I am very hopeful that this will happen.”

Analysis

The emergence of young players such as Mason Greenwood during pre-season, allied to the presence on Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez in the United squad means it is by no means certain a replacement will come in even if Lukaku does leave.

United are continuing to look at potential signings but have ruled out a move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes, despite being linked with him for much of the summer.

Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua was beaten for the first time in 23 professional bouts when Andy Ruiz Jr gained a shock win in June

Britain’s Anthony Joshua will face unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in Saudi Arabia on 7 December.

“Despite some long-overdue reforms on women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is currently in the grip of a sweeping human rights crackdown – with women’s rights activists, lawyers and members of the Shia minority community all being targeted,” Jakens added.

“There’s been no justice over the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen is carrying out indiscriminate attacks on homes, hospitals and market-places with horrific consequences for Yemeni civilians.

“As with other sporting stars going to Saudi Arabia, we’d call on Joshua to inform himself of the human rights situation and be prepared to speak out about Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record.”

Fight details released on Monday

The fight will be broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Joshua’s promoters, Matchroom Boxing, said a news conference would be held on Monday, 12 August when more details would be revealed.

One issue that has not yet been disclosed is the start time of the fight.

Saudi Arabia is three hours ahead of GMT, so while a midnight start in the Middle East in December would mean a 21:00 start in the UK, the fight would be taking place in early afternoon in Los Angeles and early evening in New York – times which could prove unpopular with fans in America paying to stream what will be the biggest fight in the sport this year.

Ruiz scored four knockdowns on his way to a seventh-round stoppage on what was Joshua’s much-publicised US debut on 1 June. The result ranked as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division, with Joshua a 1-25 favourite before the bout.

Since his win, Ruiz has questioned Joshua’s boxing skills, while Joshua has spoken of a belief in his ability to “right my wrongs”.

Analysis

Mike Costello, BBC Radio 5 live boxing correspondent

It was one of the greatest surprises in June and now we have a surprise of heavyweight proportions regarding the venue of Diriyah, on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh.

There’s been many a rumour in recent years about big fights heading to the Middle East but nothing on this scale has ever been finalised.

Last September, Callum Smith beat George Groves to lift the WBA super-middleweight title in Jeddah and, a month ago at same venue, Amir Khan fought a badly-overmatched Australian Billy Dib. On each occasion, the atmosphere was lively rather than raucous.

Already criticisms have been aired about the suitability of the venue for political and human rights reasons, as was the case in the run-up to last year’s football World Cup in Russia and the Olympic Games in Beijing just over a decade ago. Also, fans in the UK are complaining that they’ve been let down because of the cost and the logistics involved in getting there to watch.

Joshua is acutely aware of boxing history and has spoken in past about how he respects the way Muhammad Ali travelled as heavyweight champion, truly living up to the billing of world champion.

Ali boxed in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere; George Foreman fought for the heavyweight title in Venezuela and Jamaica.

And even though the belts no longer belong to Joshua, it could be that Saudi Arabia will become a defining venue in his career, remembered as the scene of his return to world champion status. The bookmakers certainly think so, installing Joshua as the 1-3 favourite, thereby contradicting the views of the many respected pundits who feel Ruiz will repeat his success.

But, no question where it takes place, it’s one of the most eagerly-awaited heavyweight fights in 30 years after the scale of that surprise.

Nacho Monreal: Arsenal defender joins Real Sociedad

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Nacho Monreal
Nacho Monreal won the FA Cup thee times after joining Arsenal in January 2013

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has joined La Liga side Real Sociedad on a two-year deal.

The Spain international, 33, has started all three of the Gunners’ Premier League games this season and captained the team against Burnley.

He made 250 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 10 goals, after joining the club from Malaga in January 2013.

Manager Unai Emery said on Thursday that the left-back could leave before the European transfer windows shut.

Monreal won three FA Cups during his time with Arsenal and helped them reach last season’s Europa League final.

He made his international debut in 2009, has won 22 caps and was a member of Spain’s 2018 World Cup squad.

Arsenal signed Kieran Tierney, 22, as his long-term replacement this month.

The former Celtic left-back is yet to make his Gunners debut and is not fit enough to be considered for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham.