Premier League

Meulensteen leaves United

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Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:45:00

England Under-20s' World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread after a second-half effort from Tottenham's Harry Kane salvaged a 1-1 draw from their second group game against Chile.

Peter Taylor's men appeared to be heading for a defeat that would have been fatal to their hopes of reaching the knockout phase after Nicolas Castillo put the South Americans ahead from the penalty spot.

But Kane replied midway through the second half to secure another draw after Sunday's disappointing result against Iraq.

It means England, who have not won in 17 Finals matches in this competition, will now almost certainly need to break that horrendous sequence in their final match against Egypt in Bursa on Sunday to reach the last 16.

The Hoops accepted an offer from Southampton, reported to be in the region of £12million, although the player's agent claims the midfielder is not in talks with Saints.

Cardiff have also been linked with the highly-rated Kenyan, who appears increasingly unlikely to be a Celtic player next season.

Lennon said: "The fact that we have accepted a bid tells you that we feel that matches our valuation of the player.

"We don't know where we are with it at the minute, there seems to be a bit of a stand-off.

"We felt the money was right for us, a good business deal for the club. Whether it resurfaces again, I don't know."

Lennon was unhappy with comments made by Wanyama's representative, Ivan Modia, who told Sky Sports: "The player will not be forced into a corner to accept the Southampton deal, just because it is good for Celtic."

The Hoops boss said: "I'm unhappy because we have dealt with things as professionally as possible.

"What we have done is accepted a bid from Southampton, who are a very good club, a very progressive club.

"Personally, I think it would be a very good move for Victor in terms of his career going forward but there seems to be other bodies who want to block the deal.

"There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of days.

"We accepted a bid from Southampton and we've done nothing wrong in our eyes as always.

"The ball is firmly in the court of Victor's representatives.

"You don't know what's around the corner. I would imagine there would be other interested parties but we've had no confirmation from any other clubs yet."

Asked if he will be given cash from any sale to reinvest in his squad, Lennon said: "I've spoken to the board and those talks will obviously remain private but I know where I am with how to go forward and the signings I can make."

Celtic have already recruited Virgil van Dijk and Amido Balde and Lennon is keen to add another couple of new faces irrespective of whether Wanyama leaves or not.

He said: "Probably two but it's all hypothetical - if a good player comes up and he's in the price range and we think he will make us better."

One of those players could be French defender Steven Mouyokolo, who is on trial and could join Celtic on their pre-season tour of Germany.

Lennon said: "He has been here this week. We will have a bounce game behind closed doors on Saturday and get a good look at Steven then.

"If he comes through that okay, then we're hoping to progress that and take him to Germany.

"He's a player we have liked for quite a while and he's fitted in very well."

Meanwhile, Lennon remains hopeful that Anthony Stokes will put pen to paper on a new contract.

He said: "He rejected an early offer around May time but we are hoping we will get across the line with Anthony. He's a player we would like to keep."

Lennon was promoting a legends' charity match which will take place on September 8 to celebrate the career of former Hoops player Stiliyan Petrov, who announced his retirement last month as he continues his battle with leukaemia.

The Celtic boss said: "It's going to be a wonderful occasion.

"Stan is a very important part of the recent history of the club and was a great team-mate of mine.

"It's two great causes. Stiliyan's foundation and local charities will be benefiting from the game."

Lambert has already been busy in the transfer market, bringing in defenders Jores Okore and Antonio Luna, midfielders Leandro Bacuna and Aleksandar Tonev, plus Danish striker Nicklas Helenius.

The former Norwich boss was also keen to strengthen his goalkeeping ranks, and has returned to his old club to secure the signing of 20-year-old Steer, who will complete the move to Villa Park once his deal at Carrow Road expires.

The former England Under-19 cap will provide competition for Brad Guzan and Benji Siegrist. Shay Given is expected to leave the club this summer.

Lambert told the club website: "Bringing in Jed will add to the goalkeeping department and helps with everybody pushing one another, learning from one another and making everyone better and wanting to improve.

"You want competition for places throughout the team, which is something we didn't have last season."

The news had been widely expected following the exits of Mike Phelan and Eric Steele since David Moyes' appointment as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

It has been claimed in Holland that Meulensteen is considering an offer to link up with Guus Hiddink at super-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.

"I would like to thank Sir Alex Ferguson, the owners, all colleagues, players and fans who made my time at Manchester United very special and one I will never forget," said the Dutchman.

"I wish everyone at this great football club all the best."

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward added: "I'd like to thank Rene for his contribution to the club, particularly since he returned to Old Trafford in 2007.

"He has been first-team coach for five years and in that time he has given great assistance to Alex and Mike Phelan in keeping the team at the top of the game, not only in this country but in Europe as well.

"On behalf of everyone at United, I wish him well for the future."

With three of the most senior members of Ferguson's back-room team now gone, it is anticipated Moyes will bring in some new faces next week.

Of more interest though are the players he ends up working with as, once again, the odds on Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford have tumbled amid speculation that he will meet United officials next week.

It has been suggested for weeks now that United believe they can lure Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, where he left in 2009 for Real Madrid in a world record £80million deal.

And a report in Spanish paper El Pais today claimed a meeting would be taking place with United officials to see if there is any likelihood of a transfer being completed.

United have not commented on the report, although it is obvious a deal would be hugely complicated given apparent interest from Paris St Germain and supposed advice given to the former world player of the year to remain at Real Madrid for the final year of his contract.

New Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti presumably would prefer to keep Ronaldo as he begins the task of shaping the club following Jose Mourinho's exit.

However, Ancelotti is unlikely to have the final say if Ronaldo decides he wants to leave.

It merely adds to the air of uncertainty at United, with talks also likely between Moyes and Wayne Rooney next week, after the striker spends the weekend at Glastonbury.

PSG, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with the England forward at times this summer, whilst it has also been stated Moyes would prefer to keep the player he introduced to senior football whilst at Everton.

If that is Moyes' wish, it is unlikely to be fulfilled without some sort of clarification on the supposed transfer request Sir Alex Ferguson claimed Rooney had made at the end of last season.

It has now been established Rooney did not express any such desire, merely sought clarification about his status with Ferguson.

Yet any public statement to that effect by United would undermine the man who brought them 13 Premier League titles and whom left at the end of the season with his status as an all-time great beyond question.

The side issue involving Rooney is that both Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck spent much of last term operating out of position, whilst Javier Hernandez's first-team opportunities were also restricted.

If Rooney stays, at least one of that trio is bound to wonder whether they have any long-term future at United.

At least the picture won't be made even more complicated by the arrival of Edinson Cavani as United have privately distanced themselves from reports of an interest in the Napoli front-man.

They definitely are interested in Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara though and will be encouraged by reports from Spain that the Under-21 star has rejected the chance to remain at the Nou Camp, believing his limited first-team opportunities will affect his hopes of featuring in next summer's World Cup.

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