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Just three weeks into the 2016-17 Premier League season, things are looking positive for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.

Wins against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City mean that the Old Trafford club are joint league leaders alongside Chelsea and cross-town rivals Manchester City. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly have made stellar starts to their respective stints while fellow newcomer Henrikh Mkhitaryan has impressed the United faithful with a couple of lively cameos. Not only has competition for berths in the starting eleven risen exponentially, the intensity with which Mourinho has gone about building a dynasty of his own has also excited fans and pundits alike.

There have been a few blips on the way though, none more worrying than the current form of United’s No. 11, Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman enjoyed a wonderful debut campaign from a personal front under Louis van Gaal, scoring 17 goals in all competitions and playing an instrumental role in leading the club to its 12th FA Cup trophy. He was selected to represent France in the Euros on their own turf, although his appearances were limited in the tournament. While Martial may have put the disappointment of not playing as much as he would have liked behind him, his form for his English employers has declined drastically.

He started the season well, grabbing two assists in United’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality stadium but was ineffective against Southampton at Old Trafford five days later. Not only did he fail to exert his influence throughout the game, he also squandered a couple of reasonably simple opportunities and looked frustrated at several stages of the contest. He was hooked off after an hour against Hull City following yet another poor display and the consequences of these performances may yet be grave, given how fiercely competitive Mourinho’s squad has become.

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Deployed on the left hand side of an attacking trio, Martial was prolific last season for his ability to take on defenders and dribble past them in order to square the ball to his teammates in the box. He demonstrated those qualities to full effect in several games and became a massive threat for his opponents more often than not. That menace has been absent for the entirety of United’s last two Premier League outings and while this should not come across as a major concern to the supporters and the player himself, failure to improve in the weeks to come could prompt Mourinho to relegate him to the bench and instate Marcus Rashford or Memphis Depay in his position.

It must also be noted that Martial has had issues off the pitch with his ex-wife Samantha. Some reports suggest Mourinho has spoken to the Frenchman regarding this situation and has warned him to resolve it and not jeopardize his place in the team. This may seem trivial to a few but if it does hold true, the former Monaco sensation will have to sort out his personal life as soon as possible in order to reinvigorate his season.

Given how talented and confident the youngster is, though, it is fair to assume he will be back to his best sooner than later. With Martial set to feature for France in a friendly against Italy and a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Belarus, a spell away from the hubbub of the Premier League may just help him regain his focus and usher him towards the right direction. A change in environment and crowd can foster that and this early break from domestic action might bring out the best in the French attacker.

Should things go as planned, Martial will soon find the net for United and hopefully build on the foundation he set for himself last season. If not, the wrath of Mourinho may yet motivate him to work harder and deliver regularly for his club. Uncertain times ahead for the French international.

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Man United keen on landing Ligue 1 star for a fee of about £43million

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Moussa Dembele

Manchester United prepare £43 million bid for Moussa Dembele 

Manchester United are interested in Lyon striker Moussa Dembele (h/t Mirror)

According to Foot Mercato (h/t Mirror), United have identified the French striker as a target to replace the injured Marcus Rashford.

The 23-year old has enjoyed a stellar season for Lyon and has scored 15 goals and 1 assist in 28 appearances. (h/t Whoscored)

Dembele is expected to cost in the region of £43 and is also drawing interest from Chelsea.

The Red Devils had failed to replace the outgoing Romelu Lukaku in the summer and were extremely reliant on the young Rashford for goals.

Rashford has scored 19 goals and 5 assists this season. He is the club’s top scorer and the second top assist maker. United have lacked a cutting edge in the Englishman’s absence and had been playing through injury of late.

Solksjaer was forced to bring on the striker against Wolves which unfortunately led to worsening the extent of his injury.

Moussa Dembele

United currently lack a clinical player upfront. The result against Liverpool could have been different had Martial taken the chances afforded to him.

Lack of a plan?

United should have gone for a striker immediately after the signing of Lukaku. Rashford has had to play through injury and now finds himself out for 3 months.

The injury could also affect the youngster’s chances of making the England squad for the Euros. Rashford has made 201 appearances for United by the age of 22 and needs to be handled better to prevent him from burning out.

Prodigious youngsters such as Robbie Fowler and Micheal Own never got to reach the levels expected of them as they were burnt out and beset by injuries.

Dembele is an excellent player who will be an asset to United. But considering the position the club is in, it can be considered to be a step back for the Frenchman if he joins them.

The fact that the clubs has been linked to the player only after Rashford’s injury and not in spite of it reeks of a lack of long term planning.

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Dembele already has experience of playing in England for Fulham and Celtic. The 23-year old made 64 appearances for Fulham,with 2 of them coming in the English Premier League.

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Man Utd to look at alternatives after refusing to sign this £68.24m star

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Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United look at alternatives for Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United are looking at alternatives for Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes. (h/t Manchester Evening News)

Fernandes has been linked with a move to the Red Devils since last summer and appeared to be in a strong position to sign the player in the January transfer window.

But the club now seem to have backed out of a deal citing Sporting’s sudden increase in the player’s valuation to £68.24 million.

With the clubs appearing to be unable to agree on a fee, United are considering Leicester City’s James Maddison and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish as alternatives.

Bruno Fernandes

A better fit!

Both Maddison and Grealish have been critical to their team’s fortunes this season at different ends of the table. It can be argued that either of them would represent a better fit for the United midfield than Fernandes.

Maddison has been one of the Leicester’s stars as they push for Champions League qualification whereas Villa would be 4 points worse off at 19th if not for Grealish’s goals.

Both the players have experience of playing in the English top-flight and will not need a bedding-in period.

Fernandes does have better numbers than either of the player. But then Grealish and Maddison have performed at a higher level in the English Premier League.

Paying over the odds will not help United in the long term. It sets a precedent with other clubs likely to hold them for ransom.

More Manchester United News

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The 2-0 loss to Liverpool highlighted the gulf in quality that now exists between United and the Premier League elite.

A massive rebuild is required in the coming windows as the Red Devils look to close the gap to their arch-rivals. Rather than overspending on foreign players who present an element of risk, United can look at domestic alternatives. As Liverpool have shown of late, there is quality available if you are willing to look for it.

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Man United keen to reinforce midfield with this 24-year-old La Liga ace

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Manchester United are keen on signing Marcos Llorente

Manchester United are keen on reinforcing their midfield by signing Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente. (h/t Manchester Evening News)

The 24-year-old who plays for Atletico Madrid has impressed at the Wanda Metropolitano following his move from city rivals Real Madrid.

Llorente has made 17 appearances for Atletico this season , with a majority of them coming off the bench.(h/t Whoscored)

Marcos Llorente

Having started just 3 La Liga matches this season, a loan move to United could be of interest to both parties.

The Red Devils are currently short of players in midfield after the injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Llorente is an assured passer of the ball and can play in central midfield in both a defensive and a holding role.

He is also an aggressive ball winner and will add much-needed energy in the United midfield. At 6 feet tall, Llorente is also an imposing presence who can deal with the physical aspect of the Premier League.

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The Spaniard came through the Real Madrid academy and has made 22 appearances for the Los Blancos.

He was a part of the Real Madrid squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 2018.

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Man United veteran agrees to move to Serie A side for £1.3million in January

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United skipper Ashley Young agrees to move to Inter Milan

Inter Milan have agreed on the transfer of Manchester United captain Ashley Young for £1.3million in the January transfer window. (h/t Guardian)

The 34-year-old will undergo a medical on Friday prior to signing an 18-month deal with the Italian giants.

Young will join up with former United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez as Antonio Conte’s side aim to win their first Serie A in 10 years.

Ashley Young
Ashley Young

Antonio Conte has been a long term admirer of Young and even tried to sign him when he was at Chelsea. United were initially reluctant to sanction the player’s move in the middle of the season.

With the player keen on the switch and the prospect of losing him on a free in the summer seem to have convinced the United hierarchy to cash in on the veteran in the January transfer window.

Young joined United in the summer of 2011 and has gone on to make 261 appearances for the English giants.

The veteran, who started off as a winger has predominantly played at full-back for United the previous few seasons.

He took over as captain from Antonio Valencia at the beginning of this season

More Manchester United News

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United are 5th in the league, 5 points off Chelsea in fourth ahead of the match against arch-rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

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