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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

According to Liverpool Echo, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has aimed a sly dig at Liverpool by claiming that his side are better than any team other than Manchester City.

Mourinho has been criticised for his team’s style of play this season despite having a set of talented attackers at his disposal. Despite setting themselves up defensively on a number of occasions this season, United have held on to second place in the Premier League.

The Red Devils had briefly lost the second place on Saturday after Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace but regained it following their 2-0 victory over Swansea City at Old Trafford.

However, the Portuguese tactician has seen his United side get eliminated from the Champions League round of 16 at the hands of Sevilla, while Manchester City’s status as Premier League champions will be confirmed if they beat us at the Etihad Stadium next weekend.

Mourinho chose to ignore the fact that City could become champions next weekend with a victory, and opted to speak about the second-place, thereby attempting digs at Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The United boss believes that his side have been unfairly criticised on a number of occasions this term and claims that we are better than all teams except City.

“Next week? I’m not thinking yet about it,” Mourinho said after the Swansea game, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

“Manchester City is not important for me. What is important for me is that since the moment we left first position and went to ­second, we stayed there for the whole of the season.

“We deserved to be second, in spite of what you can say, the criticisms you make. You all say the third, fourth, fifth, sixth (placed teams) are better than us, but they’re not, because we have more points than them.

“We’re going to fight every match. Seven to go – we’re going to fight to try to finish second.

“We played very well, moved the ball well, we pressed them high, they were always far from our goal. We played very well.

“I think we have 10 more points than last season, ­something like that (it’s eight).

“We have more goals scored, less goals conceded, we finished sixth last season, so we’re going to try to finish second, so the season is not as bad as you try to make it out to be.”

It is true that Jose’s United have been unfairly criticised a number of times this season. Criticism has been constant but what matters is that we have been second-best in the league all season and let’s hope we finish the season placed 2nd.

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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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