Manchester United monitoring Far East Covid cases ahead of pre-season announcement

Manchester United are looking into friendlies in Thailand and Europe ahead of making an announcement over their pre-season plans, as per ESPN.

They say that talks are still ongoing over plans to face bitter rivals Liverpool in Thailand, with a provisional date previously reported as being July 12.

United are tracking Covid cases in the Far East, with Shanghai going into lockdown yesterday (Monday).

The club are apparently not planning to go to mainland China and have already scrapped plans to play in Hong Kong this summer.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

United are looking to confirm a first overseas pre-season tour since 2019.

They were of course fixtures in the off-season plan before Covid hit.

Covid meant it was impossible to tour in 2020, with the 2019/20 campaign and the 2020/21 season flowing almost directly into each other.

It was not sensible to do so in 2021. Arsenal attempted to head to the US, and had to cancel at the last minute.

This summer United are among a handful of Premier League teams pushing ahead with a planned tour of the Far East, with full details yet to be confirmed.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

The report also says that plans are being made for friendlies in Europe on the approach to the season, as is traditional.

Last pre-season, United played Derby County, Queens Park Rangers, Brentford and Everton, with a clash with Preston called off due to Covid cases.

That meant that many players only got one outing under their belts after Euro 2020, via a quick training trip to Scotland.

In truth, less travelling time and more familiar surroundings are probably better from a purely sporting perspective, but tours have become a way that the club makes money commercially, as well as giving fans across the globe a chance to see their club in the flesh.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.