Manchester United should be deducted SIX points for making 10 changes against Leicester – Sinclair

Manchester United should be deducted SIX points for making 10 changes against Leicester, insists Trevor Sinclair as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘disrespectful’ selection alters race for the top four

  • Manchester United heavily rotated their squad to face Leicester on Tuesday
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes as they faced two games in 48 hours
  • Trevor Sinclair told talkSPORT that United should be punished for the changes
  • He suggested a six-point deduction as it affected the other top four contenders

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘disrespectful’ team selection against Leicester, in which he made 10 changes, should see Manchester United deducted six points, according to Trevor Sinclair.

With two matches in 48 hours, Solskjaer insisted he needed to heavily rotate his team and he made 10 alterations against Leicester from the side that beat Aston Villa on Sunday.

United were beaten 2-1 with the likes of Amad Diallo, Anthony Elanga and Brandon Williams in the line-up and victory for Leicester has seen them take control in the top four race – to the annoyance of West Ham and Liverpool.  

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been criticised for his team selection on Tuesday against Leicester

Defeat for United also handed Manchester City the Premier League but for Sinclair something must be done to punish United for their heavy rotation. 

‘Without being disrespectful to the players that played tonight, they made ten changes, this is their ‘B’ team,’ Sinclair told talkSPORT.

‘I think that’s disrespectful and it takes away from the top four race. 

Teenage starlet Anthony Elanga (right) was one of 10 changes made against Leicester

Teenage starlet Anthony Elanga (right) was one of 10 changes made against Leicester

‘The teams that are going to suffer from Man United’s lack of due diligence, the ones who could miss out on the top four, are Chelsea possibly, Liverpool, West Ham and Tottenham.

‘I think there needs to be a punishment for Man United. Three points isn’t enough because that doesn’t affect anything.

‘I honestly feel the way they put out this team, the way they didn’t safeguard their stadium, I think a six-point deduction should be given to Manchester United.’

More to follow.  

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Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Harry Maguire will be fit for Europa League final

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Harry Maguire will be fit for Europa League final after confirming he sustained ankle ligament damage against Villa… as Manchester United skipper dons protective boot while watching clash against Leicester from the stands

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have Harry Maguire for the Europa League final
  • The Manchester United captain picked up an ankle injury in the win over Villa
  • Maguire was seen wearing a protective boot at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening
  • The defender watched United take on Leicester in their Premier League clash 

Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire races race against the clock to be fit for club’s Europa League final after picking up an ankle injury against Aston Villa on Sunday.

However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have Maguire back for the Gdansk showpiece despite cameras showing the defender on crutches while wearing a protective boot after sustaining ankle ligament damage.

The 28-year-old was on the cusp of becoming the first outfield player in the club’s history to complete 72 consecutive Premier League matches until being forced off towards the end of Sunday’s 3-1 win at Villa Park.

Harry Maguire faces race to get fit for Manchester United’s Europa League final this month

Maguire was seen on crutches while wearing a protective boot after picking up an ankle injury

Maguire was seen on crutches while wearing a protective boot after picking up an ankle injury

Maguire missed his first top-flight match since joining United in 2019 on Tuesday when former club Leicester came to Old Trafford and was seen in the stands wearing the medical boot.

Solskjaer confirmed in his pre-match interview with MUTV that the centre back had avoided a fracture but faces a battle to get back for the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26.

‘Obviously we’ve had scans and the good news is there’s no fracture,’ the United boss said.

Maguire picked up the ankle injury during United's 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday

Maguire picked up the ankle injury during United’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday

The Manchester United centre half was injured in a challenge with Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi

The Manchester United centre half was injured in a challenge with Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi

‘(There is) ligament damage and hopefully we’ll see him again this season. Hopefully ready for the final.’

Maguire, who has been ever-present in the Premier League since joining United for £80million from Leicester in the summer of 2019, tweeted at the weekend: ‘Hoping the injury isn’t nothing serious and I’ll be back playing soon.’ 

Gareth Southgate will be sweating on Maguire’s fitness, with the England boss naming his Euro 2020 squad on May 25.

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Manchester United vs Leicester – Premier League: Live score, lineups and updates

Manchester United vs Leicester LIVE: Red Devils make TEN changes and hand a debut to Anthony Elanga in midst of fixture pile-up as Foxes look to take advantage in push to reach the Champions League

  • Man Utd starting XI: De Gea, Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Alex Telles, Van de Beek, Matic, Diallo, Mata, Elanga, Greenwood
  • Leicester starting XI: Schmeichel, Castagne, Fofana, Soyuncu, Albrighton, Ndidi, Tielemans, Thomas, Perez, Iheanacho, Vardy 
  • Manchester United are in middle of a hectic four games in eight days schedule
  • Leicester will hope to benefit from vulnerable Red Devils in bid for top four spot
  • Latest Premier League news, including fixtures and results  
  • Premier League table – as it stands 

Manchester United host Leicester City to get Tuesday night’s action underway as they battle their way through a schedule that sees them play four times in eight days.

Having faced Roma last Thursday and beaten Aston Villa on Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad now take on the Foxes before gearing up for another clash with Liverpool on Thursday.

The timing is ideal for United’s Champions League chasing opponents, with Leicester hoping to take advantage of a vulnerable Red Devils outfit to claim all three points at Old Trafford in the Premier League to strenghten their grip on a top four place.

Follow Sportsmail’s DAN RIPLEY for live EPL coverage of Manchester United vs Leicester, including scoreline, lineups and build-up for the 6pm BST kick-off. 

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has NO choice but to rotate Man United side ahead of Leicester clash

‘Don’t blame me when I have to make changes because I have to’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he has NO choice but to rotate his Man United side ahead of Leicester clash amid hectic run of three games in five days

  • Manchester United are in the midst of a hectic run in the Premier League
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side face three games in five days in the Premier League 
  • United face Leicester on Tuesday before taking on rivals Liverpool two days later
  • The Red Devils are trying to consolidate second place in the English top-flight 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists it’s unfair to blame him if he puts out a weakened team against Leicester at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

Having fielded a strong line-up at Aston Villa on Sunday, Solskjaer is expected to make wholesale changes against Leicester before recalling more of his first-choice players at home to Liverpool 48 hours later.

The issue has raised concerns over the integrity of the Premier League with Leicester and Liverpool among the clubs battling for a top-four spot.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side are in the middle of a hectic run of fixtures

However, Solskjaer believes he has no choice but to use all the resources at his disposal after United were handed a run of three games in five days by the Premier League straight after playing in the Europa League semi-final in Rome last Thursday.

‘Talking about integrity in the league and stuff, don’t blame me when I have to make changes because I have to,’ he said. ‘It’s not safe for them to play all four so I have to prioritise.

‘I wish I could have said “let’s go full out in all the games” but it’s impossible. That’s the hard bit for me, knowing if I do play this 11 on Tuesday and then again on Thursday it’s impossible. I run too much of a risk in injuring them.’

Solskjaer will wait until Tuesday before deciding on his team after he has assessed the players, but expects to include some youngsters in the squad.

After beating Aston Villa on Sunday, United face Leicester and Liverpool in space of 48 hours

After beating Aston Villa on Sunday, United face Leicester and Liverpool in space of 48 hours

Mason Greenwood is one United star that Solskjaer may look to protect against Leicester

Mason Greenwood is one United star that Solskjaer may look to protect against Leicester

‘They’re in contention, definitely,’ he added. ‘They’re in the first-team squad they’re training with us every day, so I would think that some of the young boys will get an appearance definitely.

‘If it’s coming on towards the end or it’s starting I don’t know because I don’t know how the players will be on Tuesday when we see them.

‘We will sit down with the sports scientists on Monday. We can have a theoretical team now but we’ll have to see how they react when they come in and then pick a team Tuesday afternoon.’

Mason Greenwood is one of the players Solskjaer may have to protect after the teenager played 90 minutes against Roma and more than an hour at Villa where he scored the second goal in a 3-1 win.

Harry Maguire will miss out against Leicester after twisting his ankle at Villa Park on Sunday

Harry Maguire will miss out against Leicester after twisting his ankle at Villa Park on Sunday

‘Thursday night he worked his socks off and then he’s going again and he’s tired,’ said Solskjaer. ‘His body is not really filled out yet and he might not be ready for all of these games, but he’s got something special.

‘The kid just turns the game around in one split second and the goal (at Villa) was excellent. I’m delighted that he’s got back to his goal scoring best.

‘I can say that Mason is learning all the time. He’s learning on the job which isn’t easy. He’s had to bear a lot of responsibility and he’s popped up with so many important goals for us.’

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Dean Smith slams ‘pathetic’ call to award Manchester United a penalty after challenge on Paul Pogba

Dean Smith slams ‘pathetic’ decision to award Manchester United a penalty after a challenge on Paul Pogba – with Aston Villa boss insisting he is ‘fed up’ of discussing Red Devils spot-kicks

  • Smith’s Villa side took the lead in the first half through winger Bertrand Traore 
  • United equalised via Bruno Fernandes after Chris Kavanagh awarded a penalty
  • The visitors went on to win 3-1, but Smith was again unhappy with the officials 

Dean Smith hit out at the ‘pathetic decision’ to award Manchester United a penalty for Douglas Luiz’s challenge on Paul Pogba at Villa Park on Sunday.

The same two players were involved in an incident that led to Bruno Fernandes scoring United’s winner from the spot at Old Trafford in January.

Fernandes also converted a penalty at Villa Park last season when he was fouled by Ezri Konsa.

Aston Villa’s Dean Smith has slammed the ‘pathetic’ decision to award a penalty to Paul Pogba

The Manchester United midfielder was adjudged to have been caught by Villa's Douglas Luiz

The Manchester United midfielder was adjudged to have been caught by Villa’s Douglas Luiz

Bruno Fernandes scored the spot-kick to equalise, and United went on to beat Smith's side 3-1

Bruno Fernandes scored the spot-kick to equalise, and United went on to beat Smith’s side 3-1

Former referee Mark Clattenburg: My verdict

Come off it Dean, it’s a clear penalty! 

The penalty was an absolute gift for Manchester United from Douglas Luiz. Paul Pogba had his back to the Aston Villa goal and was going nowhere. 

Yet Luiz committed his challenge from behind, right in front of referee Chris Kavanagh, and didn’t get the ball.

You could see from the reaction of the Villa players that they knew Luiz had made a mistake.

Pogba had been clever in getting his body between his opponent and the ball. The Frenchman then felt the tackle come into the back of him.

He went down, Kavanagh pointed to the spot and United had been gifted a route back into the game. 

And the Portuguese scored a spot kick for the third time against Villa on Sunday to make it 1-1.

Villa manager Smith felt Pogba went down far too easily again to sway referee Chris Kavanagh’s decision, which was confirmed by VAR.

‘I’m fed up with talking about penalty decisions against Man United,’ said Smith. ‘Paul Pogba tripped himself up at Old Trafford and it’s another soft pen today. Douglas Luiz shouldn’t have planted a foot or given him the opportunity to go down.

‘But it looked a pathetic decision to me. Was that enough for him to go down? No. But he goes down, similar at Old Trafford, similar last season here, and I said that before the game.

‘Everybody’s confused that Raheem Sterling can go through last night (for Manchester City against Chelsea), have four of five touches on his backside, go down and not get a penalty.

‘Then there’s one touch and we go down and it’s a penalty (for Pogba). The whole of the football world is confused at the moment.’

Smith also criticised the decision to show Villa striker Ollie Watkins a second yellow card for diving after he went down under goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s challenge late in the game.

‘There’s no way the referee can tell me that he’s convinced he (Watkins) hasn’t been touched,’ added the Villa manager. 

And the frustrated Villa boss (above) blasted the officials after the match for their decision

And the frustrated Villa boss (above) blasted the officials after the match for their decision

‘I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials at the moment and, more important, Stockley Park when they’re actually looking at it slowly. It looks like now he’s going to have to get hurt to win the penalty. 

‘He touches it past the goalkeeper. Is there enough contact for Ollie to go down? No. But like I said, there wasn’t enough for Pogba to go down.’

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he doesn’t expect Manchester City to slip up in the title race but was happy to see his team secure a Champions League place ahead of this week’s games against Leicester and Liverpool.

‘It’s a massive result,’ said Solskjaer. ‘It takes a little bit of the pressure away.’  

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Mason Greenwood rejoices in surpassing Wayne Rooney as Man United’s all-time top scoring teen

‘I’ll keep scoring so no-one else can break the record’: Mason Greenwood rejoices in surpassing Wayne Rooney to become Man United’s all-time top scoring teen and admits he wants to retain the honour forever

  • Wayne Rooney’s record as Man United’s highest scoring teen has been broken 
  • With his goal against Aston Villa Mason Greenwood has moved ahead of Rooney
  • Greenwood hit the second goal as United came from behind to take a 3-1 victory 
  • Youngster has pledged to score more so the record will always belong to him 

Mason Greenwood insists he wants to keep scoring goals in order to make it impossible for future generations to surpass his remarkable record.

Greenwood took centre stage as Manchester United pulled off a stunning comeback victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, scoring his side’s second goal which in turn broke a record held by an iconic name.

In hitting the back of the net, Greenwood surged past none other than Wayne Rooney in becoming the highest scoring teenage star in Manchester United’s illustrious history.

After hitting the net against Aston Villa, Mason Greenwood broke a special United record

Greenwood is now United's highest scoring teenager ever, surpassing legend Wayne Rooney

Greenwood is now United’s highest scoring teenager ever, surpassing legend Wayne Rooney

The goal marked number 16 for Greenwood, who will turn 20-years-old in October, since his debut for the club in 2018. 

Club legend Rooney had been United’s previous highest-scoring teenager with 15 goals but now Greenwood is determined to continue hitting the back of the net in order to shore up the record and make it all the more impressive.

Speaking to MUTV following the Villa win, Greenwood said: ‘It was a good goal. 

‘I just knew that he [Tyrone Mings] was coming tight to you in the box, so if you get a little movement then you can get half a yard. I finished it well, I’m happy with my goal today. 

Greenwood, who turns 20 in October, pledged to score more so his record will always stand

Greenwood, who turns 20 in October, pledged to score more so his record will always stand

‘Hopefully there are many more to come. I’ll try and keep scoring goals so no one else can come and break the record in the future! I’m happy scoring goals.’ 

Noting United’s tendency this season to go behind to opponents, Greenwood said: ‘We’ve got a little bit of a bad habit.

‘It’s not so bad if we come and get the three points; it’s just a wake up call when they score.

‘We know we can come back second half and get the three points. We need to work on it and not give little goals away in the first half so we don’t have to come back from behind. ‘

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Manchester United’s Harry Maguire is an injury doubt for Europa League final with a twisted ankle

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is an injury doubt for the Europa League final after suffering a twisted ankle in 3-1 win against Aston Villa in a huge blow for the Red Devils

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat ten-man Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday afternoon
  • Result means Manchester City have to wait before being crowned champions 
  • Maguire broke a run of playing every league minute since arriving in July 2019
  • The England centre half previously blasted the club’s ‘ridiculous’ fixture pile-up 

Harry Maguire could be out of the Europa League final after he limped out of the 2-1 win at Aston Villa with a twisted ankle.

The Manchester United skipper was hurt in a collision with Anwar El Ghazi and will have scans on Monday.

The injury broke Maguire’s run of playing every minute for United in the Premier League since joining from Leicester in the summer of 2019.

Harry Maguire could miss the Europa League final after picking up an injury against Aston Villa

The Manchester United centre half was injured in a challenge with Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi

The Manchester United centre half was injured in a challenge with Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi

Maguire, 28, initially tried to play on but went down again on the pitch and was eventually replaced by Ivorian Eric Bailly in the 78th minute. 

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that the England defender could be out for a ‘few weeks’ — raising fears over his place in the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26 in Gdansk, Poland.

‘We’ve got to check him,’ said Solskjaer. ‘It might be a few weeks, it might be a couple of days. Hopefully he won’t be too bad.’ 

Former Leicester centre half Maguire previously blasted the club’s ‘ridiculous’ fixture pile-up that sees them play three matches across just five days.

The 28-year-old had previously played every Premier League minute since signing in July 2019

The 28-year-old had previously played every Premier League minute since signing in July 2019

He told Manchester United’s website: ‘It’s going to be very tough. I don’t think it’s ever been done in Premier League history. I don’t know why it’s been done.

‘Three games in five days is just ridiculous. It’s tough when you have two games in three days over the Christmas period, as happens sometimes. To have three in five, I don’t know where that’s come from; I don’t know why they’ve decided on that.

‘To be available for selection, and the manager to show the faith in me to play me in every Premier League game since I’ve signed, is a proud achievement. But for sure, it’s going to be tough to play three games in five days.

But now manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears Maguire could be out for the next few weeks

But now manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears Maguire could be out for the next few weeks

‘It’s a proud record of mine and to be dealt that from our fixtures and our schedule is a tough one to take if it does come to that, that I do need a rest in one of the games.’

Had Maguire completed the full game against Aston Villa, it would have marked 72 consecutive Premier League matches without missing a minute – breaking former United defender Gary Pallister’s record of 71. 

The result means fierce rivals Manchester City cannot yet be officially crowned as Premier League champions, although that is expected to be a formality. 

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails Manchester United win ahead of Leicester and Liverpool games this week

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hails ‘massive, massive result’ for Manchester United after they fought back to beat Aston Villa… as he insists confidence is high among his players going into huge week with Leicester and Liverpool to play before next weekend

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his side after they came from behind to win 3-1
  • Aston Villa took the lead but Manchester United fought back to take three points
  • Victory kept confidence high ahead of matches with Leicester and Liverpool
  • United are now unbeaten in 25 matches away from home in the Premier League 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for his Manchester United side after they battled to a 3-1 over Aston Villa to keep the momentum going during a chaotic period of fixtures.

After overcoming Roma in the Europa League on Thursday, United extended their unbeaten run away from home in the Premier League to 25 matches with victory at Villa Park.

Solskjaer’s men now face Leicester on Tuesday before welcoming Liverpool to Old Trafford just 48 hours later, but the United boss was in upbeat mood looking ahead to the manic schedule.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Manchester United after their 3-1 comeback win over Aston Villa

Edinson Cavani sealed the win late on ahead of a manic week of fixtures for his side

Edinson Cavani sealed the win late on ahead of a manic week of fixtures for his side 

‘We can just go into the next one confident, go and enjoy it,’ Solskjaer told SkySports.

‘We know it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be a physical test, these next three days, but we’ve got to make the most of it. 

‘It’s always going to be difficult after you’ve been in Europe, in Rome, and didn’t come back until half four, five o’clock in the morning on Friday. 

‘[It was a] great reaction at half-time again even though first half, I felt we were the better team. We created more chances, but we couldn’t get the goal.’

This was the 10th time that United have conceded the first goal away from home in the league this season, and once again they went in behind at the break.

United once again conceded the first goal as Bertrand Traore put Villa ahead in the first half

United once again conceded the first goal as Bertrand Traore put Villa ahead in the first half

But goals from Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani ensured another comeback win to all but guarantee the club’s place in the top four.

United have now won 31 points from losing positions, and their manager refused to criticise his side for another slow start.

‘I can’t blame them,’ Solskjaer said. ‘The advantage of being fresh going into a game like this is quite high. It’s coincidence.

‘We could have scored the first goal once or twice before they scored. They scored from nothing, good goal by the way. 

‘I’m pleased with everyone. I know how hard it is at the end of a long, long season.’

But Mason Greenwood scored to put United in front and on their way to another comeback win

But Mason Greenwood scored to put United in front and on their way to another comeback win

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith expects home advantage to return when fans are back in the ground

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith expects home advantage to return when fans are back in the ground ahead of his side’s clash with Manchester United who are unbeaten away this campaign

  • Aston Villa have won more games away than at Villa Park so far this season 
  • Their opponents have gone the season unbeaten away from Old Trafford
  • Dean Smith expects home advantage to return when fans are in the grounds
  • He has also confirmed they hope to keep goalkeeper Tom Heaton next season 

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes the traditional concept of home advantage will return next season when fans are back in the stadium.

Villa have won only six times at their own ground this season compared to eight away victories and it’s a pattern repeated throughout the league with today’s opponents Manchester United unbeaten away despite losing four times at Old Trafford. Only three previous teams have been unbeaten away through a top-flight season – Preston (1889) and Arsenal (2002 and 2004).

‘This season has been like other. There is a neutrality of every venue,’ said Smith. ‘As much as we want to make Villa Park our home, without supporters in it’s not.

Aston Villa have won more games away than at Villa Park in the Premier League this season

Dean Smith says he expects home advantage will return when fans are back in the grounds

Dean Smith says he expects home advantage will return when fans are back in the grounds

‘It’s the same elsewhere. For example, I certainly believe Sheffield United have suffered an awful lot not having fans in their stadium. That has been seen across the board.

‘Once the fans are in, it’ll change. I have been there as a fan sucking the ball into the Holte End. I know how important it can be.’

Before this weekend’s fixtures there had been 126 away wins in the Premier League this season compared to 120 at home – the first time there has ever been that imbalance.

Smith will be hoping for better luck with VAR today than their last meeting against United when Bruno Fernandes scored the opening goal from the penalty spot after appearing to trip himself up when challenged by Ezri Konsa.

‘We have had two poor decisions go against us with United and I think they cost us results,’ he said. ‘In the last game, we’d just hit the post when they got the first goal from a very disputed penalty before they ended up battering us 3-0.’

Villa’s No2 goalkeeper Tom Heaton has been linked with a move back to United where he started his career but Smith confirmed his club are in talks to try and keep him.

Manchester United could become the first team since 2004 to go a season unbeaten away from home

Manchester United could become the first team since 2004 to go a season unbeaten away from home

‘Tom’s contract is up at the end of the season and our sporting director is dealing with that at the moment,’ said Smith.

‘I give my feelings to the board about the players and then they go and deal with that. 

‘Tom won’t want to be seen as a number two. It is a challenge we have at the club because we have two high-class goalkeepers. Emi Martinez also wants to play every game.’

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Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge ‘targeted by Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa’

Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge ‘targeted by Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa’ with in-demand star’s release clause ‘dropping to £35m’ after Blades’ top-flight relegation

  • A number of Premier League clubs are keen on Sheffield United’s Sander Berge 
  • Berge has caught the eye this season and his release clause stands at £35million 
  • Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa have all been tipped to attempts swoops soon 
  • United will struggle to keep Berge after his price dropped following relegation 

A host of Premier League clubs are eyeing up a swoop for highly-rated Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge, according to reports.

The 23-year-old has been absent through injury since the turn of the year but has managed to catch the eye – and his release clause now stands at £35million, a drop of £10m as a result of United’s relegation to the Championship.

Berge’s reasonable price tag, which has been revealed by Yorkshire Live, may spark a bidding war this summer with Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa among the teams who might make a move.

Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge’s release clause is £35m as a number of clubs circle

It was initially reported by Sky Sports on Friday that Berge, who returned to action last weekend after a four-month spell on the treatment table, is in demand. 

Mikel Arteta has been touted to reinforce his Arsenal squad during the transfer window with the midfield a particular area potentially identified for improvement.

Villa, meanwhile, have been labelled as ‘long-term suitors’ for Berge. Everton could also lodge an offer. 

Berge may attract a bidding war this summer and the midfielder looks set to exit Bramall Lane

Berge may attract a bidding war this summer and the midfielder looks set to exit Bramall Lane

It is likely United will struggle to keep Berge beyond this ill-fated campaign despite their wish to have a crack at immediate promotion with roughly the same team.

The Bramall Lane outfit will not be able to command an exorbitant figure for him, however, with the release clause leaving them vulnerable. 

Yorkshire Live also say that Berge has not actively pushed for a move away but his future, in comparison to some of his team-mates, is in doubt.

The versatile former Genk man, who is capable of playing all manner of midfield roles, arrived last January for £22m.

Mikel Arteta could swoop for Berge to strengthen his midfield at Arsenal

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton have also recently been touted to try and sign Berge

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta (left) and Everton’s Carlo Ancelotti (right) may both swoop for Berge

Berge was introduced off the bench in the chastening 4-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend but is now in line to make his first start after recovering from injury against Crystal Palace today.

Sky have claimed that Berge is a popular figure at the club and content there, but the Norway international believes his future lies away from the strugglers.

Also linked to Berge are, sensationally, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Berge caught the eye despite having been ruled out through injury since the turn of the year

Berge caught the eye despite having been ruled out through injury since the turn of the year

The two heavyweights are reportedly ready to make a surprise move for him, with City having identified him as a potential replacement for Fernandinho, according to Voetbal24 in Belgium.

City’s veteran captain, 35, may leave the Etihad when his deal runs down.

As for Liverpool, Eurosport say they are weighing up a switch for Berge as the club look to also add to their options in midfield.

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