'Fresh challenge' could see Rooney leave Manchester United, says Phelan

The former Old Trafford assistant manager says the England international could be tempted to leave the Premier League champions this summer in pursuit of a new adventure

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan believes Wayne Rooney could leave the club in search of a new challenge.

The 27-year-old, who handed in a transfer request last season, is believed to be set for crunch talks with new boss David Moyes in the coming days, with the striker hoping to gain assurances about his role in the first-team.

Phelan, who left United following Moyes’ reshuffle of the backroom staff, is adamant there is no better place for Rooney to ply his trade than at Old Trafford, but admits he could seek a fresh challenge away from the club.

“Wayne is at the greatest club you can be at,” Phelan told BBC Radio 5 Live. “Why would you want to jeopardise that?

“Unless you want a fresh challenge and you feel that challenge isn’t being met at Manchester United.

“Every player is entitled to express a desire to want to move on. Any player can do that at any time.

“In Wayne’s case, in the first instance in 2010, he took a lot of advice on that and got steered towards making that call but the manager was terrific. He talked to him and asked why would he want to leave the club?

“The press conference Sir Alex gave was a bit of a tear-jerker and it was genuine. There was an element that he’d chased this boy and paid big money. He was the boy that could change United.”

Phelan expects the Red Devils to make a decision on Rooney’s future soon but admits he doesn’t know whether he will stay or go.

“Somewhere down the line there will be words said, there will be meetings and they will see if it’s still alive and worth going for or they’ll call time on it,” Phelan added.

“He’s come from a fresh-faced 17-year-old and has been under the spotlight for that time and he has delivered. He might have hit a blip in certain performances but he isn’t the first or last player to have done that.

“You have to nurse them through it and hopefully he responds to that. Sometimes you have to crack the whip with him. Wayne has responded as well as he feels he can do for United, and what will be will be – I haven’t got a clue.”

Agent urges Barcelona to make a move for Thiago Silva

The centre-back’s representative has stressed that the Catalans must take action if they are really interested in signing the Paris Saint-Germain star

Thiago Silva’s agent, Paulo Tonietto, has urged Barcelona to make a move for the Paris Saint-Germain defender sooner rather than later if they really want to strengthen their defence with the Brazil international.

The 28-year-old revealed earlier this week that Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova approached him after the club’s Champions League tie with PSG in April and his representative is eager to get the ball rolling.

“There’s a lot of talk that Tito likes him, but if that’s the case, someone should open talks,” Tonietto told RAC1.

“If you want to sign someone, you will not succeed in doing so by sitting at home watching television.”

Thiago Silva joined Paris Saint-Germain from AC Milan in the summer of 2012 and has since become a key figure at the Ligue 1 champions.

The defender’s contract with PSG runs until June 2017.

Liverpool revive Ince interest

The Merseysiders have made their first move for the England Under-21 international since January as they step up plans to add another wide player to the squad

By Wayne Veysey

Liverpool have re-entered the race to sign Tom Ince as their pursuit of Christian Atsu stalls, Goal can reveal.

The Merseysiders have registered their interest in the England Under-21 international once again and will notify the player later this month as to whether they will follow up by activating his £8 million release clause.

As reported by Goal, Cardiff City have already bid £8m for the Blackpool attacking midfielder, while Swansea City are also closely monitoring his situation.

It is understood that Liverpool have been in contact with the player’s camp for the first time since January amid fears that a deal to capture Porto winger Christian Atsu could collapse.

The Ghana international, 21, has been on the Reds’ radar as they continue an extensive summer recruitment programme that has already included the signings of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, defender Kolo Toure, attacking midfielder Luis Alberto and striker Iago Aspas.

Manager Brendan Rodgers wants to add further width and penetration to his attack and has now targeted another swoop for Ince.

The Merseysiders came close to signing Ince in January but could not agree a fee with Blackpool during what were understood to be “heated” negotiations with the Championship club, which were complicated by the 35 per cent sell-on clause in the deal that took Ince from Anfield to the Seasiders in August 2011.

Cardiff made their first formal move for Ince, with the player’s father, Paul, the former England and Manchester United midfielder who is his manager at Bloomfield Road, admitting that Blackpool had accepted a bid from the Premier League newcomers.

However, Malky Mackay’s men have not yet agreed personal terms with the youngster, opening up the possibility that he could still move elsewhere, and Goal understands that Ince’s preferred destination would be a return to Anfield.

The Liverpool academy graduate has blossomed at Bloomfield Road, scoring 18 league goals for the Championship club last season.

PSV: Strootman is going nowhere

The combative midfielder is continually being linked with a move to a bigger league, but his current club have stressed that he’s not for sale

PSV sporting director Marcel Brands has made it clear that the club have no intention of selling Kevin Strootman ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

The midfielder has long been linked with a move to Manchester United, while Napoli also made an enquiry for the 23-year-old this summer.

However, the English champions have turned their attentions to Thiago Alcantara instead, while a move to the San Paolo now seems out of the question as well following Brands’ latest comments.

“We do not want to lose Strootman this summer. He knows that he will stay at PSV for another season,” Brands told De Telegraaf.

Strootman is a product of the Sparta youth academy and also wore the Utrecht jersey before joining PSV in the summer of 2011. He has since developed into a key player at the Eindhoven side.

The midfielder’s contract with PSV runs until June 2016.

The Eredivisie side previously lost Jeremain Lens to Dynamo Kiev, Dries Martens to Napoli and Erik Pieters to Stoke City, while Ola Toivonen is in talks with Norwich City.

Fluminense play down Fred to Manchester City reports

The Brazilian side cool talk linking the striker with a move after his impressive display in Confederations Cup triumph, the forward needing “a really great offer” to be tempted

Fluminense have played down reports suggesting that Brazil striker Fred could move to Manchester City this summer.

With Carlos Tevez having left the Premier League for Juventus, Manuel Pellegrini is in the market for new blood up front, with Napoli striker Edinson Cavani the subject of an offer.

Fred is one of several names to be linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium due to his impressive display at the Confederations Cup, including two goals during Sunday’s 3-0 final win over Spain but Fluminense’s director of football, Rodrigo Caetano, insists that the 29-year-old is happy to stay.
“Fred is under contract with Fluminense, he is very happy at the club and we are very satisfied with him,” Caetano told ESPN Brazil.

The striker, who returned to his homeland from Ligue 1 side Lyon in 2009, would only have his head turned by “a really great offer”.

“I am doing great at Fluminense and I will only leave the club if there is a really great offer,” he declared.

The striker finished top goalscorer in the Brasileiro Serie A last season to help his side clinch their fourth title, netting 20 in 28 appearances.