Gameweek 7 drew to a close with Manchester United sitting pretty at the top of the table. Two points clear of neighbours Man City and having scored 9 goals in 4 games, United seemed to have finally gained some stability. They faced a tough trip to the Emirates where they hadn’t lost in their last four League appearances. Injuries and inconsistent performances by Valencia, meant it was Ashley Young who started at right back for Manchester United. Carrick and Schweinsteiger, who are normally each other’s replacements, started together in centre midfield, which meant that the game was over in the first 20 minutes. Arsenal blazed to a 3-0 lead and United looked like they hadn’t gotten off the bus. On another day, the Gunners might have got 5 or 6.
United’s two main problems during Van Gaal’s tenure have been their defensive frailties and the lack of firepower in front of goal. Their lack of pace in attacking areas just adds to the problems. Memphis and Martial were bought as part of the solution, however Memphis has been extremely poor so far. With Walcott starting up front and Sanchez close behind on the left, it was evident Arsenal’s pace was going to cause problems. Bastian Schweinsteiger has slowed down over the years due to various injuries and leaves too many gaps.
With Carrick, Basti and Schneiderlin the three players playing in defensive midfield, Schweinsteiger is the one who takes the initiative to drive forward. However in doing this, he often leaves the defence exposed. It makes it easy for a team with a pacey attack to exploit as Arsenal proved time and time again last weekend. The mid-fielders were outclassed and Mata and Memphis never fell-back to help out the full-backs.
Luke Shaw’s injury has proven to be a problem for United as he had made a terrific start to the season. Not only defending well, he provided a constant attacking threat running down the flanks. Darmian struggled against Sanchez and was eventually replaced by Valencia at half-time. The return of Phil Jones is great news for United as he can slot in alongside Smalling at centre back thus allowing Blind to play left-back.
One of United’s big signings of the summer was Memphis Depay. However, the Dutchman has failed to impress so far. Playing out on the left, he’s lacked creativity, imagination and confidence. Always trying to cut in from the left has made his game predictable and leads him to often lose the ball. The time might have come to drop him to the bench. Ashley Young has done a great of job so far whenever given the chance and it’s unfair to leave him out for the underwhelming Memphis.
Wayne Rooney has been the talisman of this club for many years, but he has been absolutely woeful so far. He’s been poor in front of goal and failed to make a mark so far. In his desire to be on the ball more, he’s often dropping way too deep. He seems to have developed a reluctance to shoot and every time he gets the ball on the edge of the area, he’s looking to pass it instead of having a go. Injury kept him out of England’s EURO qualifiers and it might be a blessing in disguise if he misses the trip to Everton.
Anthony Martial has been a major positive for United so far. He has good skill and is good with the ball at his feet which often leads to him leaving defenders behind. He uses his speed to make good runs behind the defenders often making something happen. There was a question over his physicality however, he has shown he’s strong enough for the English game. His hold up play has been brilliant so far with him receiving the ball many times with his back towards goal.
Assuming Rooney is unfit, this would be my team for the trip to Goodison.
De Gea. Darmian. Smalling. Jones. Blind. Carrick. Schneiderlin. Mata. Herrera. Young. Martial.
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.
Man United to enter head-to-head battle with Arsenal for this £19m-rated MLS wonder kid
United and Arsenal to fight it out for Atlanta United forward Ezequiel Barco
Manchester United and Arsenal are interested in the signature of MLS wonderkid Ezequiel Barco. (h/t Daily Star)
The 21-year-old winger, who plays for Atalanta United, has impressed since his move to the MLS from Independiente in 2018. Barco has made 59 appearances for Atalanta and has scored 9 goals and 9 assists. (h/t Whoscored)
He won the 2017 Copa Sudamericana with Independiente and scored in the second leg of the final through a penalty as the Argententians prevailed 3-2 over Flamengo.
Both Manchester United and Arsenal need midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window and Barco would be a good signing for either club.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer needs additions in the midfield with Paul Pogba and Scott Mctominay out injured. United also sold both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in the summer and failed to replace them. Barco can score and assist and be the creative spark that we need.
The 21-year-old has represented the Argentinian Under-20s, 9 times and has scored 2 goals. (h/t Whoscored)
Atlanta value Barco at around £19m, which would be a snip in today’s market.
With the likes of Inter Milan, Sporting Lison and AS Roma also interested in the player, United must move quickly to secure him if we want to avoid a bidding war.
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With the player’s contract running till 2022, Atalanta hold the aces in any negotiations