It’s easy to forget at times for fans of the top clubs that there are sometimes good players behind the scenes at clubs.
Every club no matter how big or small will always have young and at times inexperienced players who need very simply to get time on the pitch and grow as a footballer.
At Manchester United of course, we have had a great history of loaning out players in order to get them some experience. Famously of course David Beckham who had already made his first team debut for us against Brighton in the League Cup back in 1992, was loaned out for a short time to our neighbours Preston in the 1994/95 season.
Beckham had a successful time at Deepdale and of course the following season became a first team regular as ‘Ferguson’s Fledglings’ went on – with the help of a few experienced pro’s like Eric Cantona – to win a league and cup double.
It’s been great to follow the progress of our top loanees in Danny Wellbeck,Federico Macheda, Mame Diouf and Tom Cleverley, to see how they’ve got on this year. Those players in particular could be the future of our football club and are in the eyes of our fans, the ‘next’ guys who our team will be built around.
I would like to focus on them individually and give an opinion on their prospects for next season and beyond.
Under our former club captain Steve Bruce at Sunderland, Wellbeck’s had a good season with his form surprisingly winning him an England cap against Ghana at Wembley. Playing regularly in the Premiership was always going to test Danny and after a slow start he found his feet before going on a brief scoring run. Sadly for Mackem fans, Danny’s season has been brought to a halt by injury problems but in 22 league games for them he scored 6 goals and led the line well.
At Sampdoria, Kiko perhaps hasn’t done as well as he’d have liked to only scoring once for the Genoanside with that goal coming in the Coppa Italia against Udinese. One goal may not look great, butSampdoria of late have been struggling in Serie A and are flirting with relegation and as a result he has not got alot of chances.
It’s been made more difficult for Kiko with the fact that the majority of his appearances have come from off the bench. But he’ll have learnt an awful lot whilst playing and that can only be a good thing for when he comes back to Old Trafford.
Diouf has done ok at our neighbours Blackburn scoring 6 times for Rovers in his stay so far. He started the season well scoring four goals early on, but after the departure of Sam Allardyce he has been more out of the team than in, so to speak. Still though Mame’s learnt alot this year about the toughness of the Premiership and will be better for it.
Lastly of course is Cleverley, who has earned heaps of priase at Wigan. His coach there Roberto Martinez has a good record with working with young players and Tom this year has more than carried on his form from his previous loan spells at Leicester City and Watford.
Wigan still may get relegated this year which could be a disappointing thing for Tom to be part of, but he is one of the first names on Martinez’s team sheet and that says alot for a young player playing in his first season in the Premiership.
So after rounding that up will those guys in question get a chance next season?
In terms of the three strikers mentioned, a lot depends on whether Michael Owen gets a new deal at the club. At the moment despite Michael being a complete professional and a great guy to have around the team, I can’t see for the life of me that he’ll be at Old Trafford next season. It’s not a fault on Owen, but his best days are behind him.
With that in mind, wouldn’t it make more sense to give those young strikers chances to see if they really can be United players who we can rely on in years to come. Despite being brought to the club’s attention by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer two years ago, I can’t really see Diouf having a real future at the club as with competition fierce it will be hard for him to get a look-in.
I would say that Danny probably lies just ahead of Kiko in the pecking order behind the regular strikers at the club, based on his experiences last season. The fact Danny can also play on the wing is also a good option for the side too.
However Kiko looks to be a real flair player and given a good pre-season I think he’ll do much better next season. We know he’s got an eye for goal as he’s proven with two stunning strikes against Aston Villa in the past, one of them coming this season of course.
For Cleverley it wouldn’t hurt to go out on loan again and learn even more what it’s like to be a Premiership footballer before of course he gets a chance to be part of our midfield on a regular basis.
He clearly has good passing skills and vision which he’s shown this season and someone like Owen Coyle perhaps would be interested in working with him.
After his success of working with guys like Jack Wilshere and most recently Danny Sturridge, going on loan to Bolton would in fact be a great option not just for Tom but for Danny and Kiko as well.
Here’s to their progress continuing next season.
By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87
Man United keen on signing 2 players on loan to replace Marcus Rashford
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 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.
Transfer blow for Man United as £13m difference could stop the deal for Portugese star
Bruno Fernandes transfer to Manchester United at the risk of collapse
The transfer of Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon is at the risk of collapse with Sporting Lisbon holding out for £55million, according to Portuguese station TVI24 (h/t Metro).
The 25-year-old midfielder has informed the Portuguese club of his wish to move to Old Trafford and has already agreed on personal terms with United. Sporting are unhappy with United’s opening offer of £42m, which is £13m short of the Portuguese club’s expectation.
United’s offer contains a number of add-on clauses that can eventually take the deal to £60million. Sporting, however, deem the conditions improbable and are seeking a greater fee upfront.
Sporting are unwilling to drop their asking price as United have failed to include a player in exchange as a part of the deal.
The Portuguese side were willing to accept a lower fee had a player been included. However, neither Andreas Pereira or Marcos Rojo were willing to move to the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
Fernandes played in the 2-0 loss to arch-rivals Benfica in what could be the player’s last match for Sporting.
The Portuguese club have demanded a minimum of £55.3million as a guaranteed payment. They also expect United to include bonuses that are more achievable.
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Sporting will have to pay 50% of the sell-on fee to Fernandes’ previous club Sampdoria and will look to get as much as they can from United.
Man Utd agree on contract terms with midfielder who could be signed for £51m
Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes. (h/t Sun)
The 25-year-old has played 25 times for Sporting this season and has scored 13 goals and 10 assists. (h/t Whoscored)
United were to make their first formal offer for the player. It is being reported now that the deal has already been agreed upon. (h/t Sun)
It’s claimed that Fernandes has been offered a deal nearing £100,000-a-week at United.
The signing of the Sporting skipper should provide the United midfield with numbers and an attacking impetus.
The midfielder has an £85million release clause in his contract but Old Trafford bosses have been working to drive the price down. The club were also open to offering two players to bring the price down. (h/t Sun)
Fernandes was part of the Portuguese squad that won the UEFA Nations League in 2019.
He has won 19 caps for the Portuguese national side and has scored 2 goals since making his debut in 2017.
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United next play Manchester City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Red Devils trail 3-1 from the first leg as they aim to get to their first final under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
Man United veteran snubs extension and demands immediate transfer
Ashley Young rejects one-year contract extension offer
Veteran star Ashley Young has rejected a one-year extension on his contract at Manchester United. (h/t Sky Sports)
The 34-year-old’s contract at United expires at the end of the season and the player looks likely to leave in the summer. Inter Milan are said to be interested in securing Young’s services (h/t Sky Sports).
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is keen to keep the player at Old Trafford. Young is one of the leaders in the United dressing room and has the versatility to play in multiple positions.
Antonio Conte has been a long term admirer of Young and even tried to sign him when he was at Chelsea. Conte is ready to offer the play an 18-month contract at Inter with a considerable pay rise.
Young joined United in the summer of 2011 and has gone on to make 261 appearances for the English giants.
He took over as captain from Antonio Valencia at the beginning of this season.
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Young is keen on moving to Inter immediately rather than waiting for the summer (h/t Daily Mail). He has been left angered by United’s refusal to sanction the deal in January.
United are in the midst of an injury crisis and losing Young would deal a harsh blow to whatever little chances we have this season.