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Man Utd’s Cavani, Martial set for return against AC Milan

Manchester United attackers Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial are expected to play in the Europa League last-16 return leg against AC Milan.

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Man Utd's Cavani, Martial set for return against AC Milan

Manchester United attackers Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial are expected to play in the Europa League last-16 return leg against AC Milan on Thursday, according to coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The pair missed United’s match against West Ham on Sunday, where they beat the Hammers 1-0 after Craig Dawson scored an own goal.

In a news conference, Solskjaer said:

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“It’s very likely Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial are fit, Donny van de Beek, hopefully as well.”

Man Utd's Cavani, Martial set for return against AC Milan
Image Credit: Getty Images

David De Gea, the team’s first-choice goalkeeper, has returned from paternity leave in Spain, and Paul Pogba will soon return from a thigh injury.

“Paul even might make the trip and David is back from isolation … So a stronger squad to travel with,” said Solskjaer.

“We need them back. We want to improve on last season. It’s a massive week for us.”

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Manchester United will play Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Sunday, following the AC Milan game.

Man Utd close in on Champions League return

Man Utd close in on Champions League return with West Ham win
(Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)

Manchester United strengthened their hold on a return to the Champions League next season with a 1-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday, thanks to Craig Dawson’s own goal.

United regained second place in the Premier League with the win, closing the gap on league leaders Man City to 14 points.

Despite having a match in hand on their closest rivals, the United are unlikely to catch Pep Guardiola’s side, but they do now have a nine-point lead over the Hammers in the race for Champions League spots.

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Former United manager David Moyes has struggled to win at Old Trafford in 15 tries. The Scot was left to regret an unnecessarily conservative approach before slipping behind at the start of the second half.

Lukasz Fabianski brilliantly turned Greenwood’s fierce left-footed shot into the post, demonstrating why the 35-year-old Pole was given a new one-year deal this week.

Manchester United appoint John Murtough as the club’s first football director

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Fabianski had little chance of stopping the game’s only goal when Dawson’s header from Bruno Fernandes’ corner flashed into his own net eight minutes into the second half.

After a full year without crowds at their 75,000-seat stadium, the hosts kept on for their fourth consecutive Premier League clean sheet to close in on the much-needed support of Champions League football next season.

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Rangers

Rangers fear major exit for ‘key’ player wanted by clubs abroad

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Rangers fear major exit for 'key' player wanted by clubs abroad
Image Credit: Getty Images

Scott Arfield has been a vital part of the Rangers team since joining in 2018, and his current form, especially after van Bronckhorst took charge, is nothing short of exemplary.

The 33-year old Scottish-Canadian’s display is on a high now, and he recently helped his side’s win against Livingston with his “unbelievable” (according to Richard Foster) 75th minute goal.

He is a must-keep, but according to transfermarkt, the reigning Scottish champions risk losing him and other senior team members, including Steven Davis and Allan McGregor, in the summer following contract expiry.

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The Mirror’s print edition reported that the Gers fear letting their No. 37 go in exchange for nothing, given that USA clubs have their sights set on the midfielder, and his contract is only months away from expiry.

Money included or not, Scott’s departure could be a big blow come next season since he now practically determines Rangers’ performance (the one time he didn’t play after Gerrard’s exit is the only time Rangers dropped points.)

Hopefully, Rangers will consider holding talks to fight for the former Huddersfield Town’s contract extension, and he (Scott) is willing to stay in Scotland and at Ibrox, otherwise the double loss in terms of money and talent could hugely affect the Gers next season.

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Formula 1

Hamilton and Mercedes give outgoing Bottas an exciting ‘little’ parting gift

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Hamilton and Mercedes give outgoing Bottas an exciting 'little' parting gift
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After replacing retired Nico Rosberg at Mercedes in 2017, Valterri Bottas has had a rather successful five seasons and though he didn’t manage any championship triumph, the Finn has a good number of wins to his name, most of which came in handy for the team.

Before the end of last season though, he was confirmed to race for Alfa Romeo onwards, while 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion, George Russell would leave Williams to form an all-British Mercedes team with seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton.

Before his departure, his previous family (Mercedes) went all out to give him a parting gift, and their choice isn’t what most of us would have thought.

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While they would have thought of anything else, they went for something that perhaps meant more for both sides, his first Mercedes winning car.

“They had a little surprise when I came to the factory on the last day,” said the 33-year old about the not so ‘little’ surprise. “…my first winning car in 2017,” revealed Bottas on his podcast.

The 2021 championships 2nd runners-up takes a step forward as a leader in his current team from his previous supportive role and Alfa Romeo will be counting on his experience with the current constructors’ champions to improve on their last season’s 9th place.

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Hopefully, having his first win’s car from his former team will push him towards a better performance.

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Liverpool FC

Liverpool win race for £50m Porto star

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Liverpool win race for £50m Porto star
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Liverpool are preparing a late £45 million bid for Porto striker Luis Diaz, who is also being pursued by Tottenham.

The Colombian winger was Jurgen Klopp’s first option for the summer transfer window, but due to Spurs’ significant interest, Liverpool have hastened their preparations.

Liverpool is thought to be proposing an initial £37 million, plus bonuses, which will only be activated if Diaz is a major success at Anfield.

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Tottenham has been in discussions with Porto over Diaz, reportedly willing to spend up to £46 million for the player.

Spurs are reportedly willing to pay £37.6 million upfront for Diaz, with an extra £8.4 million in performance-related add-ons, according to reports in Portugal.

Spurs have already appeared to miss out on Wolves attacker Adama Traore, who appears poised to return to Barca on loan, and missing out on Luiz would be another major blow this month.

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It is unclear whether Diaz will move to Anfield this month or wait till the end of the season. In 18 outings for his current club this season, he has managed to score 14 goals.

Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor:

“Obviously, it’s far from done and could easily come to nothing.

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“However, Liverpool view this as an excellent deal if it gets completed – very much close to a Diogo Jota-type fee. Also, it is far better value than the original €60m asking price.

“Diaz was Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for the summer, but they have brought those plans forward because it was clear if Liverpool didn’t act this window, the player would move on.

“This isn’t done and could yet collapse – the player is in Argentina with his national team, so it will be far from straightforward to complete the deal.

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“However, if it does get done, it’s a big coup for Julian Ward, who is to succeed sporting director Michael Edwards in the summer. It was a deal in which Ward lead for the first time, but it is fair to say he’s been supported strongly by Edwards who put together the strategy to secure the player this month.”

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