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TOP STORY: Manchester United circle for “next Ronaldo”

Gonçalo Guedes was scouted by Manchester United last weekend with the Benfica starlet, donned “the next Ronaldo,” being lined up for a move to Old Trafford next summer, according to the Mirror.

The Red Devils are tracking the 19-year-old, who has transformed himself from a wide man to a central attacking force for Rui Vitoria’s side this campaign.

Any move won’t be easy, however, as the Lisbon giants hold all the cards with five years to run on Guedes’ current deal. That said, with agent Jorge Mendes behind the scenes, a big-money move is not likely to be too far away.

Chelsea receive De Vrij blow

Lazio are close to tying centre-back Stefan De Vrij down to a new contract, according to Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero, which could end Chelsea’s interest in the Dutch international.

Antonio Conte was reported to be lining up the 24-year-old last summer in a bid to plug the gaps in his leaky defence, but the Biancocelesti warded off that interest with their exorbitant demands.

A new deal for De Vrij would see him commit to the Stadio Olimpico until 2021 with a release clause of €35 million that would likely make Chelsea look elsewhere for defensive recruits when the window re-opens.

Crystal Palace in audacious move for Brazilian starlet

Lucas Lima was the subject of a unlikely move to Crystal Palace last summer, with a deadline day deal falling through, but The Sun report that Alan Pardew could go back in for the 26-year-old playmaker.

One of the finest players in the Brasileirão, the Santos star is also of interest to Chinese Super League sides and admitted that a lucrative move, with wages thought to be worth €1m per month, could materialise.

“There’s a chance [of going to China], but I will analyse. I leave that aside because I’m having a good time at Santos,” said Lima.

Pardew is desperate for more craft in his midfield and sees the Brazilian, who has 12 caps for his country, as the ideal signing.

Real Madrid plan shock swoop for Barcelona’s Rakitic

If there’s one way to rile your eternal rivals, it’s displaying a persistent interest in their best players if only to provoke new, improved terms on their deal.

Real Madrid, alongside PSG and the two Manchester clubs were reportedly in for Neymar last summer, according to Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo, and now Los Merengues are ready to return this time for Ivan Rakitic.

The Croatian midfielder’s improbable move to the Santiago Bernabeu would see him link up to form a mouthwatering partnership with international colleague Luka Modric.

The signings of Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez are thought to be behind news of his potential availability and with Rakitic’s current deal having just two years left to run by next summer, Real could swoop in with an offer.

Tap-ins

– Luis Enrique’s side will look to fend off any interest from rivals in Marc-Andre ter Stegen by offering the German a new contract until 2021, according to German newspaper Bild.

Despite a calamitous performance in last weekend’s loss to Celta Vigo, Barça will increase his €2.86m wages to €5.6m with a buy-out clause raised to €100m.

– Manchester United have cooled interest in Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo, with the Mirror stating that Jose Mourinho is content with Luke Shaw and Daley Blind in that position.

The Red Devils could face competition for the former Barcelona starlet as Juventus, Valencia, Osasuna and Middlesbrough were also in attendance for Benfica’s game last weekend to cast eyes over a host of talented players.

Alex Iwobi is set to land yet another new contract, such is his progress with the Gunners, according to the Mirror.

Fresh from a new £25,000-per-week contract extension in April, Arsene Wenger is ready to sanction another deal after the Nigerian pushed his way into his starting line-up this season.