Man Utd take starlet Ogo Obi on trial

The 16-year-old is highly-rated by Watford, who have already offered a three-year deal on top of a scholarship, but he will train at Carrington before weighing up his options

By Joyce

Watford starlet Ogo Obi has joined Manchester United on trial as the Premier League giants consider snapping up the talented teenager.

The 16-year-old is rated as one of the best players for his age in the country and Watford have been desperate for him to agree professional terms at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets rate Obi so highly they have offered him scholarship terms with a three-year deal attached.

Obi, though, is yet to decide where his long-term future lies and has readily accepted the chance to link up with United, after Watford agreed to let him train with the Red Devils.

Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have also expressed an interest in Obi, but United are in pole position.

Under the Elite Player Performance Plan, Watford would be due compensation should the player opt to join United or any other club.

Louis van Gaal’s side are also said to have taken highly-rated Portuguese duo Joao Filipe and Joao Virginia on trial from Benfica.

Both players are 15, Virginia is a goalkeeper and Filipe a forward who has been likened in some quarters to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barca confirm Mathieu bid in centre-back pursuit

Andoni Zubizarreta acknowledged that they have filed an offer for the Valencia player and insists that the club’s priority now is to sign a defender

Andoni Zubizarreta has confirmed that Barcelona have submitted an offer for Valencia centre-back Jeremy Mathieu as the club step up their centre-back pursuit.

Valencia are reported to want €20 million for the Frenchman, who at 30 years old would hardly represent a long-term solution to the void left by Carles Puyol’s exit but would patch up the defensive gaps somewhat.

With Luis Suarez, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo and Ivan Rakitic already in the bag this summer, the club’s sporting director stressed than Barca’s first priority now is to sign a central defender but conceded that many other top clubs are in the same boat.

“Valencia already know our offer and we want to maintain privacy in the negotiations,” Zubizarreta told reporters on Wednesday. “Of course we have other alternatives if this falls through.

“Hopefully by La Liga’s start we have that centre-back position covered. If we wanted a centre-back before now, we would have signed one.

“We want someone who can put in top performances for many years and that’s what we’re working on.

“Signing is a centre-back is an objective for 80-90 per cent of the major European clubs so it not only depends on what we want to do – the exception is David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain, that’s the only real major movement in this regard.”

Vidal won't be sold to Man Utd, says Marotta

The Juventus chief has insisted the Chile star will not leave the club in light of Louis van Gaal’s interest while unveiling new coach Massimiliano Allegri to the press

Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta has insisted Manchester United target Arturo Vidal is “not for sale”.

New Old Trafford manager Louis van Gaal has reignited his interest in bringing the Chile star to Old Trafford after initially being quoted a €50 million-plus-Nani fee.

Antonio Conte resigned as Juventus coach on Tuesday over reported displeasure with the Serie A champions’ transfer plans – including the potential sale of the 27-year-old.

But, following Massimiliano Allegri’s appointment at San Siro on Wednesday, Marotta has underlined Vidal’s importance to the squad.

“Vidal is not for sale, he is one of the most important players in the squad,” Marotta told reporters at Allegri’s unveiling. “Vidal is happy to be here.”

Vidal admitted earlier this week that he would “love to join one of the biggest club’s in the world” when questioned on United’s interest.

Besiktas confirm Ba signing

The striker has departed Chelsea after the arrival of Diego Costa saw him drop further down the pecking order, having scored just 14 goals in 18 months at Stamford Bridge

Demba Ba has completed his move from Chelsea to Besiktas, the Turkish club and player have confirmed.

Since moving to Stamford Bridge from Newcastle United in January 2013, the Senegal international has scored 14 goals in 51 games for the Blues.

The 29-year-old soon fell behind Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o in the pecking order, however, and the arrival of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid this summer has freed him to look for a new club.

Besiktas confirmed the move on with a statement on their website before Ba followed suit via his official Twitter page.

Demba Ba, Vodafone Arena’da Başkanımız Fikret Orman ile Buluştu

— Beşiktaş JK (@Besiktas) July 16, 2014

Vodafone Arena cok guzel, gel! @Besiktas

— Demba Ba (@dembabafoot) July 16, 2014

“I feel so happy because Besiktas fans interest me a lot and the construction of the new stadium impressed me,” Ba added. “I’m so excited to play for this club.

“I really want to play. I want to show my potential to everybody quickly.

“Besiktas is a big club and I want to be a part of this. The fans were  very warm to me when I arrived here. I hope our close relationship will go on.”

Eto’o has since left the club, while the future of Romelu Lukaku continues to be speculated upon after two season-long loan deals.

The Belgium international, who scored one goal at the World Cup, insists he will not settle for irregular first-team football this season and is open to leaving Chelsea permanently.

Atletico replace Courtois with Oblak

The Slovenian will fill the boots of departed Chelsea loanee who has been the main man for the club for three seasons, the club revealed on Wednesday

Atletico Madrid have confirmed the signing of Jan Oblak on a six-year deal in an attempt to fill the void left by Thibaut Courtois’ return to parent club Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho has publicly insisted that the Belgian shot-stopper will not be loaned out for a fourth successive season to the Vicente Calderon by the Blues and the signing of the Slovenian goalkeeper suggests that Diego Simeone is ready to move on.

The 21-year-old was part of Benfica’s treble-winning team last season, making 25 appearances between the sticks for Jorge Jesus’ men, and is reported to have set La Liga’s holders back a hefty €16 million.

“Atletico Madrid and Benfica have reached an agreement for the transfer of Jan Oblak to our club, pending medical examination and the physical signing of the contract by the player,” the club stated on their website .

“The Slovenian keeper will commit for the next six seasons.”

Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero is confident that Oblak – who has three senior Slovenia caps to date – has one of the brightest futures of any young shot-stopper on the planet.

“He is a goalkeeper with great quality and a great future, which will benefit us greatly,” he said.

“He is one of the goalkeepers with the best potential in the world and we are very happy with to have him. This is great news for our club.”

Oblak joins fellow new goalkeeping arrival Miguel Angel Moya in the scrap to fill Courtois’ boots for Atletico in 2014-15.