TRANSFER INS and OUTS of the SUMMER 2016 WINDOW

Pogba United

PLAUSIBLE TRANSFERS TO MAKE UNITED BETTER:

OUT: Juan Mata:
The obvious first choice out. Mourihno has made it clear multiple times that the small Spaniard is not beneficial to his style of play. Not much else to say, we have plenty of options at the number 10 (Herrera, Januzaj, Pereira, Rooney) that he is no longer needed and by selling will bring room for more youthful players to come through.

IN: Paul Pogba (Juventus):
Ok yes here is the long shot and the only long shot I will offer. Typically considered one of the few mistakes, most likely the biggest mistake, of the greatest manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson. Paul Pogba may take a world record bid to acquire but there is no doubt that he would be worth it. He is a world class player already at only 23 and still has room for improvement. He can be the next big name at United, and the heir to Rooney’s no.10 when he decides to hang up the boots. He is the perfect combination of skill, speed, size, and strength not to mention the screamers that are just as common as those Scholes used to hit. At any fee, Pogba is a great signing, and if bought, will complete our team and restore us to our rightful spot at the top of the table.

OUT: Marouane Fellaini:
A panic buy and the only thing to remind us of the awful time Moyes had at the club. Fellaini should have been shipped off 2 years ago. But alas he has not, and he must now go to clear up room in our squad. Evertonians still hold him in high regard, so I am sure they would snatch him back in a heart beat, and I would sell him in a heartbeat for a mere 15 million.

IN: Geoffrey Kondogbia (Inter):
Although after only one season with Inter, I think Kondogbia would be a realistic, quality target. He can provide great competition in the midfield and at only 23, may be able to establish himself as a great holding midfield piece for years to come. He plays a punishing style of play, throwing his 6 ft 2 in frame around. Dare I say is a great partner for Pogba if he ever returns with that French connection.

OUT: Antonio Valencia:
Unless Mourinho sees him as a midfielder once more, I do not see him staying. To be fair, he is not a right back and has adjusted better than anybody ever expected him to and with the options I think should be ahead of him, I don’t see a reason to keep him. Plus the next signing I am proposing is definitely ahead of him for me.

IN: Mattia Di Sciglio (Milan):
Now this one solely depends on how Mourinho feels about our current right back options. If he feels comfortable with how Valera and Darmian are, then there is no need for another right back. If he doesn’t, enter Di Sciglio. Good defensively, but still needing a little extra quality on his attacking end product, at only 23 there is room to improve. He and Varela can make a great rotation in his first year if neither can establish themselves immediately.

OUT: Daley Blind:
To be fair to Daley Blind I think he deserves a move away. He is quality enough to be a starter at top clubs, just not ours. He isn’t better than either of our top midfield options (Schmidfielders, Rooney, and Herrera), and is far too weak to play as a center back. No disrespect to Daley Blind, as he is a great footballer, but he just does not fit into the team anywhere.

IN: Youri Tielmans (Anderlecht):
Wow are the big clubs still trying to fight this one out. Amazing quality at only 19 he has been touted to replace about every great midfielder of the past decade. His small frame, 5ft 9 ½ in, means he will need to be partnered with a punishing style midfielder, see Kondogbia, but has never been an issue for those he has been compared to. For example just in the last year he has been compared to the like of Scholes, Iniesta, and Pirlo. Those are huge expectations, and think that if he is bought, he should be loaned back to Anderlecht for a year to finish development, but just to sign him up would be a huge accomplishment.

NOTE: These are my opinions as to who should be sold and signed realistically. Yes I could have put Ronaldo, Messi, Bale, Neymar, and the whole list of them but I prefer to keep realistic expectations although we are the biggest club and England and one of if not the biggest in the world.

CONFIRMED IN:

Eric Bertrand Bailly (Villareal):
Bailly is a 6 foot 1 imposing center back who isn’t afraid to go into a tackle strong. Although he has had some past disciplinary issues with yellow and red cards, he is a great defender and has amazing potential. I am sure many of you have see his mistake that lead to a Fernando Torres goal, but I assure you that is an outlier. This player is strong defensively, as shown by his impressive performances against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suarez, but still has room to improve with the ball at his feet and at reading the game.

Tahith Chong (Feyenoord):
Tahith Chong confirmed over his official Instagram that he is Old Trafford bound. The 16 year old attacking midfielder is comfortable with the ball at his feet and shows promising pace, especially for one who is not particularly finished growing. He can be a promising talent to compete with the likes of Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj, and Memphis Depay in a few years time.

Michael Carrick:
The club confirmed today that they have resigned Michael Carrick to a one year deal. Mourinho believes Carrick’s experience may prove vital to the team this season in their hopes to bring the title back to Manchester. Carrick (34) will not play nearly as much as he once did, but he will provide knowledge to the younger players, and occasionally go out and show his incredible vision and run the midfield like he can.

Manchester United Player Ratings-Post January Window

Man United Player Ratings

Here are my player ratings thus far in the 2015/16 seasons for United. Think I made a mistake? Comment below with what you think should be changed.

*Note: If a player is not on this list it has been determined that he has not played enough yet due to call ups or being injured*

Wayne Rooney:

Before 2016: 5: Although Wayne Rooney did not produce much, and many may disagree with this rating, he was still a vital part of the squad and attracted a lot of attention on the pitch.

After the New Year: 9: Wayne Rooney has been brilliant since the New Year. 7 goals in 7 with 2 assists, it is hard to see any issue with the way Wazza has been playing.

Antony Martial: 8

Martial has been a revelation in the side this year I have to give him a rating of 8. He has been consistently one of our best players this year going forward, and works hard defensively, for this reason I give him an 8

Juan Mata: 6

Juan Mata has had a particularly poor season by his standards, and has only recently started to improve his form. With not much to show he earns a 6.

Memphis Depay: 5

Man United Player Ratings
Дмитрий Голубовичsoccer.ru / CC BY-SA 3.0

The supposed attacking genius is having a similar struggle adapting to the premiership as Angel Di Maria had. He has shown glimpses of his quality and potential, but in the end he has been relatively poor all season long with a total of 5 goals.

Andreas Pereira: 7

Pereira when given the chance to play has been brilliant all year long. His lone goal, a brilliant free kick, gives us a glimpse of the potential he has.

Adnan Januzaj: 7

When given the chance, like Pereira, Januzaj has been shining. But also like Pereira, Januzaj typically is overlooked by van Gaal even recently since being recalled from loan.

Jesse Lingard: 7

Since becoming a first team regular, Jesse has faded in and out much like you would expect from somebody his age, but adds to the talented squad of youngsters for the future quite well.

Ashley Young: 6

Although not his fault it is quite obvious Young is not a fullback by trade, and is responsible for goals when he plays, such as Vardy’s record breaker earlier this year.

Antonio Valencia: 6

Before his injury he was played inconsistently and as a full back, not his natural position. His form dipped in and out while playing in place of Darmian.

Ander Herrera: 8

When Herrera has been played he has been brilliant. There is a reason that the Stretford End will sing his name time and time again. He has a chance to become one of United’s favorite players in recent memory and, as long as he is allowed to stay, will surely be so.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: 6

Bastian has been a good quality signing, for the price paid. Although he has been a good signing, he has not lived up to his world class past, and looks a little past his prime. Here’s to a few more years from the Deutscher Fußball Meister

Michael Carrick: 7

When Carrick plays, he shows his age but makes up for his lack of pace with his vision. He is never scared to play risky defense splitting balls, and is the rock of the team when played with a mobile partner in the midfield.

Morgan Schneiderlin: 7

Morgan has played very well, living up to the high expectations that were set for him before he completed his switch. Showing his physicality and ball playing ability, he works extremely well with anybody he is partnered with and continues to play well.

Marouane Fellaini: 3

This may be a little harsh but this is my opinion. Fellaini is not technically sound, his only use for the team is for winning aerial duels, which he only wins around 45% of those. For a man who is known as an aerial threat to only win 45% is terrible and if Fellaini wants to stay a United player he is going to have to change that.

Luke Shaw: 9

Before his freak injury it was indisputable that Shaw was one of if not our best player. His bombing runs forward paired with his impeccable defensive ability makes him the best left back in the premiership. Here’s to Luke coming back soon.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: 8

Filling in for both Shaw and Rojo, CBJ has played spectacularly. Even to the point that I personally have called for his switch to a holding midfielder so when Shaw gets back he still is in the team. His balls into the box from the left have been wonderful and he has paid dividends for the faith we have all instilled into him.

Matteo Darmian: 6

At the beginning of the year it looked as if Darmian was the best right back since the Nevilles. Since then his form has dropped off, paired with injuries and being tossed to the left side of the back four. Hopefully he can turn it around.

Guillermo Varela: 7

Oh how reminiscent. Varela looks much like Rafael Da Silva did his first few seasons. Varela is the exact type of fullback we need at United, and in my eyes needs to be first choice. Pair Varela and Shaw and you have to speedy full backs capable going forward and steady coming back.

Marcos Rojo: 5

A mediocre start ruined by injury, there isn’t a large sample to base Marcos’ play off of. The few games he has played in he has been relatively poor, especially for his standard.

Daley Blind: 6

Daley Blind is not a center-half. In the Premiership you need to have a physical prowess about you in order to play there. Blind is a wonderful holding mid, and a good left back as well, but it is unfair to him and to us United supporters.

Phil Jones: 6

Due to injury and being brought in and out of the squad, Phil Jones has not been able to patch together a run of playtime where he may establish his form. It’s not hard to see why he still is behind Blind in the pecking order.

Chris Smalling: 9

What a revelation we have seen from Smalling. He is fulfilling the world class potential Sir Alex saw in him. He has stepped out of the shadow of Rio and Nemanja and is now one of if not the best center backs in the premiership and maybe the world.

Paddy McNair: 5

Being played out of position and inconsistently McNair hasn’t had a chance to establish himself in the squad.

Sergio Romero: 6

A reliable back-up option didn’t look the most comfortable in net at the beginning of the season. De Gea has since taken over and Romero has been the first name on the substitutes sheet.

David De Gea: 9

The best goalkeeper in the league. The second if not best in the world. David has shown why he is widely considered for those two titles. Once he started playing he has been brilliant. It will be a shock if he doesn’t win our player of the year.

Louis Van Gaal Talked Out Of Quitting Yet Again

According to Jamie Jackson at The Guardian, Louis Van Gaal tried again (a third time reportedly) to resign his position as manager of Manchester United but was rebuffed by Ed Woodward. Woodward would like him to see out this season, at least, as he does not want to make a managerial change mid season. The meeting ended with Woodward asking Van Gaal to reconsider as he spoke with his family on his trip back to the Netherlands to celebrate his daughters birthday. Another meeting is planned for today for Woodward to receive Van Gaal’s answer.

The madness of this story is simple: if it is true and Van Gaal has tried to resign once, much less THREE times, we should allow him to move on. His resignation is his admittance that things aren’t working and it would be best for the club if he moves on. Woodward may be grasping at straws to try and keep the beleaguered manager for a few more months as the football only seems to get worse each time United take the pitch, but that is exactly what it appears he is doing. If there are other moves being made (ie., Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola) that cannot come to fruition until the summer, this would show how little confidence Woodward has in Ryan Giggs, the man originally slated to take over from Louis Van Gaal at the end of his contract.

Whatever is happening, Woodward and the club look like daft fools grasping at things that are not there.

 

Van Gaal’s Press Conference: Southampton

Van Gaal's Press Conference: Southampton

After last week’s 0-1 away win at Liverpool, United will be looking to continue 2016’s improved run of form. Before our next game against Southampton, some big topics were covered by Van Gaal in his weekly press conference.

Injuries

The first news to break early this afternoon was that Ashley Young has sustained a serious groin injury after the match with Liverpool, and will need to undergo major surgery that will keep him out for “a very long time”. During this season, Young featured early on at left and right wing, but, more importantly for us right now, has also featured at left back and right back, leaving us with only one first team player to play there – Darmian.

Van Gaal also confirmed that Phil Jones and Bastian Schweinsteiger are also set to miss our upcoming game against Southampton, while more positively, Adnan Januzaj is back to full fitness and is eligible to play.

Full-Back

As a result of Young’s injury, which leaves very few options at full back, Van Gaal was questioned whether he had left his squad too small this season. “No, that is not true, I think when you see how unlucky we have been in the full-back position. I have started with Valencia, Shaw, Rojo, Darmian and Young, sometimes, and they are all injured – only Darmian is now back.”

With only Darmian as a first team regular at full back, Van Gaal was subsequently asked about youth players filling that position comfortably for the rest of the season, to which he responded, “you have seen how I have used youngsters like Borthwick-Jackson and Varela who are doing great but the level of Manchester United is high. To give a high performance every week normally is very difficult for youngsters, which is why we have to look always in this transfer period for replacements.”

Transfers

Our full back positions need strengthening, and Van Gaal was asked about his likelihood of dipping into the transfer market in what remains of this month. “The difficulty is that we ask for a level and the clubs do not want to sell in this period and that is our problem. We are looking, but it is not so easy. Nobody can understand that because [they think] it is easy and it is not so.” From both these comments and the ones around our young full backs, it would not be surprising to see us exploring the market for another full back, but the question is whether we would be panic buying, overspending, or generally not getting the level of quality the summer transfer window offers.

Rooney

After Wayne Rooney’s recent form, Van Gaal was questioned on his influence on the team’s performances. “It is a fact that since Rooney is scoring we have won our games, or at least we draw against Newcastle United away. There is a parallel and I have said that always that he is not only important as a player but as a captain, so I am very happy with him.”

Liverpool

At half time during our 0-1 win over Liverpool, reports began to emerge of a very heated debate in the changing room in order to raise performance levels. Asked on Rooney’s part in that, Van Gaal said “not only Wayne Rooney is doing that, there are several players doing that and that is what I want because the players are self responsible and it is not only the manager which is why I have made this approach to the players. Responsibility for the result and commitment for the result is very important and that they are showing.”

Difficult Period

December 2015 culminated in one of our worst runs of form for 40 years and set new unwanted records for the club. Since the turn of the New Year, we have seen improvements in our record. Asked on whether the difficult period had come to an end, Van Gaal responded, “it is not interesting for me, it is only interesting for the players. The players play the game and have the resistance in the game, so I think the pressure is a little bit gone, but it would return if we lost against Southampton. It is always the same pressure for Manchester United – we have to win. Our fans are always expecting us to win, especially at home.”

Let’s hope we can do exactly that against Southampton, which you can catch at 3:00pm on Saturday 23rd January.

Guardiola Meets with Manchester United Leaders

News that will delight many of the fans of Manchester United hit news outlets late Thursday evening (depending on where you reside of course). L’Equipe Football journalist, Thierry Marchand tweeted this (it has been translated):

“Pep Guardiola met the leaders of Manchester United. The meeting took place last week in Paris at the Bristol Hotel.”

Guardiola and Bayern returned from their Winter Holiday training session on Wednesday and were back in training in Munich on Friday. This would have given him ample time to attend such a meeting in Paris, whether on Thursday or over the weekend.

Most reports place Guardiola firmly in Manchester, but in the blue half of the city. He has yet to sign a deal but seems to have some type of verbal agreement with Manchester City as, according to Spanish journalist, Guillem Balague, City has been “building for the past few years” to obtain Guardiola as their manager.

At this point it is anyone’s guess as to where Guardiola will end up next. Manchester United should do everything they can to pursue the best manager in the world, as should any club. Guardiola’s love for true footballing history should give Manchester United an advantage, even if they are entering the race for the best manager in the world a little late. Should Manchester United somehow scupper City’s great plan for Guardiola and sign the Spanish midfielder turned world class manager, it will go down as one of the greatest captures in recent memory in the footballing world.