Manchester United will face one between CSKA Moscow, Lazio, Club Brugge, Monaco or Rapid Vienna in a two-legged tie Champions League playoff.
The complicated format of the Champions League means United enter the competition at the final playoff stage,which is split between the “champions” route – for teams who have won their national title – and “league” route, for those who haven’t.
The day before Angel Di Maria was unveiled as a Manchester United player, Louis Van Gaal’s side had been dealt a severe humiliation as they capitulated to a 4-0 defeat at MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
In more ways than one, that night brought the curtain down on the careers of a number of players United fans had grown accustomed to – tolerated in some cases – see in the starting XI over the few seasons that preceded the Dutchman’s arrival.
Man Utd transfer roundup: Di Maria and Rafael to leave
Here is the latest Manchester United transfer news and gossip.
Monday was dominated by two players who are set to leave Old Trafford in the coming days – Angel di Maria and Rafael.
Di Maria has been pictured in Doha ahead of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, while Lyon have confirmed Rafael will join on a four-year deal.
As for incomings, Ed Woodward has reportedly flown out to Barcelona to complete a deal for Spanish forward Pedro.
There were hopes that he would be joined by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos but a fresh report from Deportes claims that he will instead sign a new long-term deal with the Spanish club.
Meanwhile, PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has admitted that he could have played his last game for the Parisians.
It is an interestingly timed comment given Di Maria’s impending move to PSG and the fact that Louis van Gaal hinted he is in the “process” of signing a mystery player last month. Could he be coming to Old Trafford? Probably not, but one can dream!
Rafael is set to bring his eight-year career at Manchester United to an end as he is on the verge of completing a move to Olympique Lyon.
In a message posted on Twitter late this afternoon, the Brazilian has expressed his gratitude to the club and the fans for the support during his career.
“Since I signed with the club I lived incredible moments, after all were 8 years wearing the shirt of one of the biggest clubs of the world,” he wrote.
“Thank you ManUtd FC. I also want to thank all employees who always treated me with great affection and gave me greater attention…
“Thank you Sir Alex Ferguson for always believing in my work and for all the doors that you opened up to me. Now it’s a new path, a new challenge, God bless me!”
Rafael could have been United’s right-back for the next decade had he stayed fit but, sadly, after an excellent 2012-13 campaign, he managed only 29 Premier League appearances over the last two seasons.
PSG defender and Brazil captain Thiago Silva believes Angel Di Maria will make a step up once he formalises his move to the French champions.
The Argentine underwent a medical ahead of a proposed £44.3m transfer to the French capital and Thiago Silva welcomed his soon-to-be teammate by claiming the former Real Madrid man was moving to a bigger club.
Louis Van Gaal is convinced that Pedro will turn Manchester United into title contender, as the Spaniard would add pace and creativity to United’s options up-front.
With Angel Di Maria close to completing a switch to PSG, United are reportedly closing in on the Barcelona striker, as the United manager looks to bolster the options at his disposal in the final third of the pitch.
Roy Keane has claimed that Manchester United have returned to the approach they adopted in the late 1980s, which is not guaranteed to bring them any silverware this season.
The former United captain said Louis Van Gaal was playing a dangerous game by signing a host of players in the hope of them gelling together, adding United were unlikely to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Louis Van Gaal has told Manchester United to sell David De Gea before the end of the transfer window, as the Dutchman looks to put an end to the transfer saga.
The Spaniard has been a long-time target for Real Madrid but United have refused to sell him, even though De Gea has only 12 months left on his current deal and has made clear he’s not interested in signing a new contract at Old Trafford.