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Hot Football Transfer Gossip: Man Utd ’closing in’ on Ibrahimovic and Rodriguez

Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirmed his imminent departure from Paris Saint-Germain yesterday in distinctively modest style, saying he “came like a...

Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirmed his imminent departure from Paris Saint-Germain yesterday in distinctively modest style, saying he “came like a king, left like a legend”, which doesn’t really make a great deal of sense if you think about it.

But presumably it means that he will be arriving at his next club as a legend, or does he have to start the process again as a king? Not sure, but anyway, it increasingly appears that his next club will be Manchester United.

The Telegraph says the Red Devils are “clear favourites” to sign the Swede and are “prepared to meet his demands”, which unsurprisingly are rather extravagant - £300,000 a week after tax being the latest figure suggested. But Zlatan’s dual status as a world-class striker and a free transfer means he is guaranteed to earn a fortune wherever he goes.Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool West Ham, Napoli and teams in China and the MLS are also said to be keen.

Could Ibrahimovic be joined at Old Trafford byJames Rodriguez? It depends. If you listen to theStar, which is never particularly advisable, then you’ll learn that the Colombian is “desperate” to seal a move to Manchester and Ed Woodward is desperate to buy him (or anyone, really).

But if you read the International Business Times, which to be fair you probably don’t, then you’ll be told that Real Madrid don’t want to let James go. Despite the player’s uninspiring form this season, “president Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane want to keep him and help him to rediscover his best form”. Which sounds unusually charitable for the Bernabeu.

Arsenal are said to be among the other teams interested in Rodriguez, but there’s fat chance of them affording him given the Standard’s revelation that the Gunners have just £54.1m to spend on new signings this summer. Presumably the “1” is in case they decide to offer just above a player’s release clause again, like they did so successfully when they tried to buy Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

In any case, Arsene Wenger has already apparently earmarked £33.8m of that cash for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka, but at least they’ll end up with more new outfield players than last summer.

After being told yesterday that Leicester were “losing the race” to sign Italian striker Gianluca Lapadula, Goal today informs us that the Foxes are “winning the race” the 26-year-old Pescara forward. So who knows.

Elsewhere, Paul Pogba is set to turn down Man City and Barcelona to stay at Juventus (Sun), Daryl Janmaat could be the first lucky player to leave Newcastle following their relegation (Newcastle Chronicle) and Liverpool target Piotr Zielinski has apparently indicated his willingness to move to Anfield by being pictured standing next to a man wearing a Reds shirt (Star). Subtle.

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