Do you think the Frankie de Jong saga is over at Manchester United? Think again. The Sportzshala Insider’s Notebook has the latest version.

Jump on: Barcelona… in a white Real Madrid? | Lukaku and Potter ready for talks with Chelsea | Ronaldo is no longer the poster boy | An important decision of English football amid the crisis with the calendar | Strengthening the Etihad Stadium of Man City Stadium | La Liga clubs predicament related to fear clause

Manchester United are on the hunt for De Jong and want to fight Bellingham

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Sources told Sportzshala that Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong remains on Manchester United’s transfer wishlist, with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham also to be central to United’s transfer plans next summer.

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Despite strong interest from United, De Jong remained at Barcelona during the transfer window, saying he never wanted to leave the Spanish giants. But sources told Sportzshala that United manager Erik ten Hag is unfazed by the 25-year-old’s public stance and doesn’t rule out another bid next summer. There is still a feeling at Old Trafford that De Jong may leave Barcelona in the future and could be persuaded to move to Manchester where he will reunite with his former Ajax manager Ten Hag.

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United agreed on the scope of a deal with Barcelona over the summer, but talks stalled over United’s unwillingness to pay back deferred wages owed to De Jong.

– Insight: where should Bellingham go?

“I always wanted to stay at Barcelona, ​​so I always kept my cool in the summer. “I can’t reveal too many details. The club has its ideas and I have mine too. And sometimes they contradict each other. But in the end everything went well.”

Bellingham will be one of the most sought-after players in Europe next summer and Dortmund are likely to demand a hefty transfer fee for the England international, whose contract expires in 2025. The under-21 star roster back in April is enjoying a great start to the season and is expected to play a key role for England at the World Cup in Qatar.

United sources added that it is understood they will face stiff competition from Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid but will be in line for his signature as they showed interest in him during the his stay in the Birmingham Championship. Bellingham turned down offers from a number of Premier League clubs in 2020 and eventually signed for Dortmund for £22.5m – a world record for a 17-year-old.

United are not planning a major revamp of their squad in January and will instead wait until the summer to make further changes to the squad. The club recently posted a net loss of £115.5m for 2021-22 and an increase in net debt of £94.5m, with no major additions expected in the January window. — Rob Dawson

Barcelona in Real Madrid colors?

Barcelona are planning to ditch the Camp Nou in white next season. This decision caused a lot of controversy within the club. The color is closely associated with Real Madrid, especially in Spain, and there are people at the club who would rather not wear the same shade as theirs. Clasico rivals.

However, the decision was taken by the board of directors earlier this year after polls and reports showed that the white shirt of Barça would sell very well.

– Broadcasts on Sportzshala+: La Liga, Bundesliga, MLS and more (USA)

Barcelona first talked about the possibility of wearing white last year when it was revealed that one of the changing stripes this season would be white. In the end, a gray jersey with a red and blue cross was chosen, but fan reaction to the idea of ​​a white jersey was considered positive enough, along with polls, to introduce a white jersey for the 2023-2024 campaign. — Sam Marsden and Moses Llorence

Lukaku and Potter ready for talks with Chelsea

Sources told Sportzshala that Graham Potter has not closed the door on Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea career resurrection and is expected to be in talks with the striker at the end of the season.

Lukaku fell out of favor under Potter’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel and returned to Inter Milan on loan just a year after a €115m move from Serie A to Stamford Bridge. Sources have suggested that the 29-year-old is keen to stay at Inter permanently, but there is no option or obligation to sign him under the existing loan deal.

Potter is said to be open to discussing the situation with Lukaku if he is interested or if Inter decide not to make a permanent deal; they are in serious financial trouble and it remains to be seen if they can afford the Chelsea valuation.

Lukaku used to thrive playing with striker Lautaro Martinez at Inter, and Potter’s preferred 3-5-2 system at least gave him the opportunity to play alongside another striker.

Lukaku’s contract with Chelsea runs until 2026, so a second loan spell at Inter is theoretically possible, but the player’s transfer value will be further depreciated given he turns 30 next May. A permanent solution, one way or another, would be preferable for all parties, as Chelsea are expected to be aggressive again in the transfer market in January and beyond. — James Ollie

Ronaldo is no longer the symbol of Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal’s bid to win the World Cup when Qatar 2022 kicks off in two months, but in a sign of the Manchester United striker’s declining status on the pitch, sources have told Sportzshala he will not be one of the 32 stars to receive the award. huge presence in Doha during the tournament.

World Cup organizers in Qatar are decorating many skyscrapers in downtown Doha with 75-foot images of some of the players expected to impress national teams in November and December. But sources said Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer of all time with 117 goals, is not in plans to put his image on a skyscraper in Doha as Portugal is expected to be represented by one of the junior team members, Fernando Santos.

Negotiations with representatives and national associations over the image rights of some of the players are still ongoing, sources said. Neymar likely to be the face of Brazil in downtown Doha. The Paris Saint-Germain striker will join the players, including Harry Kane (England), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), Luka Modric (Croatia), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Alphonso Davies (Canada) and Qatari captain Hassan Al-Haydos, whose images already dominate the city’s skyline with their skyscraper posters.

Ronaldo may not be the only superstar name to miss out on being chosen for a poster. The name of the Argentine player has not yet been revealed, so Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may find himself in the unusual position of having to look at teammates and opponents. — Mark Ogden

English football faces major cup and match decisions

Can the Premier League be reduced to 18 teams? This is the scenario that English football is facing amid UEFA’s plan to expand European football from 2024 onwards, unless there is a major overhaul of domestic cup competitions.

Sportzshala has reviewed the match calendar for the 2024-25 season, and major European competitions will expand not only in size but also in duration. The Champions League (UCL), Europa League (UEL) and European Conference League (UECL) will be increased from 32 to 36 teams, with clubs in the UCL and UEL playing two extra matches. UEFA is also expanding the presence of European football by spreading matches over 10 weeks instead of six.

So English football has no choice but to upgrade its cup competitions, sources told Sportzshala, or face the last resort of shrinking the Premier League from 20 to 18 teams, as happened in France. Ligue 1 is in the process of relegating four teams and only promoting two this season.

Like the Premier League, both La Liga and Serie A will now have 20 teams each (the Bundesliga has always had 18), but English football is the only major league in Europe that is under additional pressure from secondary cups . France dropped the Coupe de la Ligue in 2020 in part to ease the burden on players.

English football is in a quandary: UEFA’s new program calls for two rounds of matches on the dates used for the EFL Cup, known as the Carabao Cup. The first games of the Europa League are due to take place when the third round of the Europa League Cup takes place on 24 September and the final round of the group stage of the Europa Conference League faces the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on 18 December.

The effect in January is more acute. The second leg of the Carabao semi-finals (January 21) and the full round of Premier League midweek games (January 28) will be wiped out by the last two rounds of the UEL and UECL. Something, therefore, must give.

The only viable solution to prevent further pressure elsewhere on the calendar appears to be to cancel FA Cup replays starting in the third round, opening up two mid-weeks in January and February to which League Cup semi-finals and Premier rounds could be rescheduled. leagues. forward in.

However, this does not solve all problems. Teams in the UEL and UECL are still locked out for those League Cup dates, while there is the added pressure of eight group games for clubs in the UCL and UEL. Playing under-21s, as Liverpool did in 2019 when their Club World Cup commitments clashed with the League Cup, may seem like the most viable solution, but it will only further devalue the competition.

Liverpool’s youngest team (average age: 19) lost 5-0 to Aston Villa in 2019, while Jurgen Klopp’s older players played in Qatar. — Dale Johnson

Manchester City’s bid for the Champions League final

Sources told Sportzshala that Manchester City are looking to increase the capacity of the Etihad Stadium to 60,000 in order to host the Champions League final. City Stadium has a capacity of 55,000 spectators, but there are plans to add another 5,000 fans. Reaching 60,000 will give Etihad the right to host UEFA finals in line with the guidelines of the European governing body.