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As Manchester United slumped to a defeat in Holland at the hands of Feyenoord, the knives were out for players such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. One player who was saved from this embarrassment was Wayne Rooney, not because he starred in the game, but he was left out of the squad.

The English attacker did not travel for this Europa League clash and it did seem to make sense. Rooney has not been at his best for a while now and playing him in a fixture that is not a priority was the right decision by Jose Mourinho. The problem is Rooney wasn’t all that great in the Manchester derby either and the Manchester United captain will possibly feature in the game against Watford.

The 30-year-old striker does have a couple of assists in the Premier League but that only masks the issues of playing him in the side. Rooney was a dynamic attacker early on in his career but as the years have gone by; the former Everton man has lost his pace and seems to be a bit of a misfit when playing as the striker.

Seeing this transpire, Louis van Gaal did the unthinkable and started playing Rooney in midfield which was met by scorn from many United supporters and pundits. Many stated that the service was just not there for the Englishman last season and his positioning in the midfield cut out his threat.

That was a valid point; after all, Rooney had played as a striker all throughout his career (barring a number of games where he played on the right under Sir Alex Ferguson). But the fact remained as he was not providing much to his side and even if he was pushed up into the attack, he didn’t always finish moves off.

Rooneyy1

Rooney’s numbers in the goal scoring department have also drastically fallen over the years. From scoring 34 goals in the 2011-12 season, he has only managed a highest of 19 which came in the 2013-14 season ever since.

Even last season, Rooney only popped up with 15 goals from 41 games and only 8 of those came in the Premier League. Agreed, he was not played in his natural position but Rooney wasn’t all that great linking up with the other players.

Rooney’s lack of pace also makes him vulnerable to losing out possession rather cheaply in midfield. The Englishman currently gets dispossessed 2.3 times a game in the Premier League and that number could get higher should he continue playing in this role.

It does seem like all Manchester United managers are trying to shoehorn the player when the better thing would be to keep him on the bench for games and use him as an impact sub.

It isn’t that Wayne Rooney’s days are over, far from it, but there has to be an understanding when a player is struggling for form and does not provide a lot to his team over 90 minutes. Rooney is a too big name to be completely left out of the Manchester United side but Jose Mourinho can at least take the big decision and drop him from the starting XI.

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Man United keen on signing 2 players on loan to replace Marcus Rashford

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Odion Ighalo

Manchester United keen to loan Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani

Manchester United are keen on signing Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani on loan to provide cover for the injured Marcus Rashford. (h/t Sky Sports)

Ighalo plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League while Slimani is currently on loan at Monaco from Leicester City.

Both Ighalo and Slimani have the experience of playing in the Premier League, having done so on 55 and 39 occasions respectively.

Ismael Slimani Manchester United
Slimani has impressed at Monaco

Both players have done well for their current clubs so far. Ighalo has scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai whereas Slimani has registered 7 goals and 7 assists in 14 appearances for Monaco.

Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are also interested in Slimani (h/t Daily Star).

Ighalo has a better record out of the two in the Premier League. With the Chinese Super League likely to be indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus epidemic gripping the nation, it remains to be seen if the player will be allowed to travel.

Low-key but effective?

The injury to Marcus Rashford has left United without a reliable striker upfront. United have played both Liverpool and Burnley since the striker’s injury and have failed to hit the net in both games.

Given the nature of the January transfer window, it makes sense for the club to pursue a loan deal for an established forward until the summer.

Ighalo and Slimani are in their 30s but both players are physically imposing and are capable of playing as a target man upfront.

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United are currently 5th in the table with 14 games left to go. We face Chelsea in the league in February, which will give us a chance to close the gap on a top-four spot.

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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.

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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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