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.

Stuck in the Middle (With You)

It is said that almost everything in life is cyclical. Just wait long enough and those out of style bell bottoms you’ve been hanging onto for 25 years could be the fashion statement of your company Christmas party this year (that Rosso Bianco Nero Jimmy Murphy Bobble Hat will never go out of style though). The cyclical nature of pop culture is easy to follow. The cyclical nature of football can be also.

January 1, 1972 and United were top of the table under new manager, Frank O’Farrell. The Irishman had replaced the retiring legend, Matt Busby in summer of 1971. The Red Devils were away to West Ham on the first day of the new year. A 3-0 defeat was the beginning of United losing 7 league matches on the trot. Despite being 10 points clear at the top at one point they would never recover from this slide. They finished 8th in league. George Best, Denis Law, and Bobby Charlton finished the season with 26, 13, and 12 goals respectively.

The slump that took United out of the title race at the beginning of 1972 continued to the end of the year. O’Farrell couldn’t come to grips with the excesses of George Best and dropped him. The hard nosed manager would lose 11 of his first 22 matches in the new season and was relieved of duties in late December, 1972. O’Farrell only spent 18 months in charge of Manchester United.

Fast forward to 2015. Does any of this ring a bell? It should.

Louis Van Gaal has somehow survived as Manchester United manager. Like O’Farrell, Van Gaal should have been relieved of duty in late December after only 18 months on the job. Like O’Farrell, Van Gaal had United top of the league only to see it slip away after a shockingly poor run of results. Like O’Farrell, the right thing for United to do then, as was the right thing to do in December, was to make a managerial change.

Midseason managerial changes can be a shockingly bad idea. But to see Chelsea now, compared to how they were at the beginning of the season, shows that changes mid-season can have the right effect on a team devoid of confidence.

This was the change United needed in December of 2015, just as it was needed in December of 1972. Due to rumoured board room squabbles and executives worried about their own skin as opposed to the club’s, the change did not happen. The maddening thing is, everyone knew a change was coming. Everyone. Results were poor. Team morale was non-existent. Footballing creativity and joy was no where to be found. And United were slipping. Champions League had gone. 1st place had slipped to 7th place in a few short weeks. Had this season not been the strangest for 20 years, United wouldn’t be in 5th place as they are now – they would be occupying 11th place.

Depending on what and who you believe a change is coming. It didn’t happen when it should have but it is going to happen. Jose Mourinho will be the next manager of Manchester United, supposedly. Gentlemen’s agreements, secret deals, houses already purchased, and new players already coming in lead one to believe that the change is coming.

So where does that leave us now? Stuck. Somewhat hopeful of a change in fortunes, a run of good luck and results, possibly even a top four position… But, like Stealers Wheel sang in 1972:

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

1972….2015. We’re stuck in the middle with Louis Van Gaal and there is still so much to play for.

I think I’ll just go to sleep, right here on the floor.

 

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.

 

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.

Are you Fellaini In or Fellaini Out? As exit rumours to AC Milan reignite

Fellaini stay or go?

According to reports Manchester United have driven up the asking price to at least £19million for flop Marouane Fellaini. For most supporters this can only be too good to be true as Fellaini has taken a lot of criticism from the fans for his poor displays this season.

How much longer will Fellaini last at United?
How much longer will Fellaini last at United?

In Sunday’s big derby Manchester United beat rivals Liverpool 1-0 to jump up to 5th and two points behind Tottenham in the Premier League table.

In a match that saw Liverpool dominate the bulk of the game with chance after chance, they failed to finish them, thanks to a man of the match winning performance from David De Gea, and a late strike from United captain Wayne Rooney 12 minutes from the end.

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In the build up to the winning goal it was a header from Marouane Fellaini that rattled the crossbar and ended up landing at Rooney’s feet which set up the goal.

An assist or another missed opportunity for the big man? By all means this was no assist from Fellaini. Yes, if it wasn’t for the header then the chance wouldn’t have fallen in that way. But the truth is that United were overrun for most of the game, central to that was Fellaini.

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From Scholes vs Gerrard to Fellaini vs Lucas supporters mocked on social media.

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Let’s not fool ourselves, Fellaini is no deep lining midfielder. Usually looking awkward and erratic is his style. The ability to chest the ball and bring it down is his biggest asset. But is this the United way? Is this what the supporters want to see week in week out? It’s simple, no. For a manager who is obsessed with ball possession, it’s quite hard to understand how Fellaini continues to start matches when keeping possession is not his best attribute.

For a player who appears to be taller than most, he lost an awful lot of arial battles on Sunday. And his awkward style can leave supporters panicking whenever he clutters into his opponents with rash challenges. Some may argue that he could’ve been sent off in numerous matches.

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As an Everton player Fellaini was a handful operating mainly in the number 10 position, his most effective position. At United Wayne Rooney, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira can all play in this position. Is Fellaini a better number 10 than those players? No. Is Fellaini the right fit for United in this midfield? No. So why does van Gaal continue to play him? Van Gaal could have opted for Herrera in the deep lining midfield role with Mata in the number 10 instead.

Hererra averages a higher passing accuracy and more defensive interceptions, but is the most likely of the two to be subbed or even dropped. While Pereira who was the stand out performer on the US Pre-season Tour cannot even get a look in. Van Gaal’s stubbornness could lead to United losing both players who could be the future of the club, just to accommodate a player who clearly should not have a future at the club.

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Something will have to give in the end. Fellaini is simply not a United player. His slow and misplacing passing style will only do more damage than good in the long run. If it is true that Milan are in for the big man then Untied should cut their losses and drop the asking price. So in other words it’s Fellaini Out for me.

Are Manchester United About To Miss Out On Felipe Anderson To A Rival?

Felipe Anderson
Felipe Anderson
Is this the end of Felipe Anderson to Manchester United?

As reports gather pace that Manchester United are set to complete a deal to sign Aleksander Dragovic from Dynamo Kiev, could they be about to miss out on a potential superstar yet again.

Since last summer Manchester United have been linked to signing 22 year old Lazio winger Felipe Anderson. The latest reports suggested that United were preparing to put together a £40 million package to sign the dynamic winger after a reported bid of £37.6 million had been rejected.

But since the 3-3 draw at Newcastle, transfer speculation of Anderson to United appears to have gone quiet, with new reports suggesting that Manchester United might face late competition from Bayern Munich.

“Oh no, not again” some United supporters may be thinking. Going back to players like Thiago Alcantara, Lucas Moura and Pedro who were all but signed transfer targets United managed to let slip due to stalling on deals. While some supporters maybe worried about Bayern’s interest, others are not entirely sold on the idea of bringing Felipe Anderson to Old Trafford, considering the poor season he has had for Lazio so far, opting for proven Premier League quality in Saido Mane and Riyad Mahrez instead.

But surely you would think that a player Bayern Munich are interested in signing would be a fantastic signing for United? You can only look at recent signings Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal who have both been outstanding in their first season at the club. At only 22 years of age, Anderson possess all the attributes United need in an attacking forward. Frightening pace to beat a player, fantastic dribbling ability and can strike the ball with either foot. Why would United let him go anywhere else if they have the chance to sign him. More importantly, the player wants to join United.

Felipe Anderson: Brazilians vs van Gaal

Inconsistent performances? At such a young age it is normal to have inconsistency in his performances, but with all the attributes Anderson has, and his direct playing style, there is great potential to turn him into a future world class talent.

The question is can Luis van Gaal get the best out of the Brazilian winger? That remains to be seen. The last thing any United supporter would want to see is a similar situation with Angel Di Maria. Who took the Premier League by storm in the first half of last season. But due to struggles with his private life and no matter what reports suggest, the manager, Di Maria was shipped off to PSG at the first opportunity. The system van Gaal set up contributed to Di Maria’s struggle to find the early season form that got the fans off their seats.

Van Gaal’s dislike for Brazilian players? Another suggestion while the deal might have gone cold could be van Gaal’s “dislike” for Brazilian players, as suggested by Rivaldo, Giovanni and former United fan favourite Rafael. All whom have worked under van Gaal and had fallen out with the Dutchman while working under him.

Although Manchester United’s Brazilian youngster Andreas Pereira came out against these accusations earlier on in the season, his defence of van Gaal has done little to cement a regular place in the first team. Many will point to Pereira’s outstanding performances on the pre-season tour as reason to give him a deserved run in the team. But has had to settle for a place on the bench. The FA Cup 3rd Round match at home to Sheffeild United seemed like the perfect opportunity to play Pereira from the start, especially after his star performance for the under 21’s, scoring a brace, one directly from a corner. But van Gaal opted for Marouane Fellaini as part of two holding midfielders to many supporters bemusement.

If the transfer of Felipe Anderson to United ignites again, and given freedom to express himself. There is no doubt he would turn out to be a fantastic signing. With players like Martial, Memphis and Hererra in attack and an addition of a World Class striker, the glory days could be back again.

Aleksander Dragovic to Manchester United?

A Risk Worth Taking

After a tumultuous month of December many fans called for the sacking of Louis Van Gaal. Manchester United were on their longest winless streak (8 matches) since the early 1960’s. United went from first place (for a brief period after defeating Sunderland 3-0) in the table to a possible 10th place if they lose at Liverpool Sunday. The fall from glory can only be compared to a pilot struck by enemy fire who has hit the eject button but cannot seem to find the pull string for the parachute to save the ground from consuming what is left of the prestige and aura that surrounded Manchester United after the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Many fans questioned the selection of Daley Blind in central defence to start the season for various reasons. Blind is not the strongest, fastest, or most physical defender in the world but he can do a job against teams with his keen sense of tactical awareness and a composure that most players couldn’t dream of. Now a half season into the Daley Blind experiment at central back you could argue he has been a success and an utter failure at the same time. Blind’s lack of physical nature and abilities have proven to be daunting for a defence that is already facing injury crisis with Marcos Rojo out, Phil Jones rarely fit for selection, and Luke Shaw gone for the entire season most likely. If we remember this central defence in the future it will merely be dubbed as the unit that replaced Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic (It could have been much worse had David De Gea transferred to Real Madrid).

With links to players around the world Manchester United is often used as a bargaining chip for players to increase wages at their current clubs (Sergio Ramos) or to sell papers for some journalists who claim to have the “inside source” to the next player United is signing. What is not a myth is that Manchester United could certainly use signings in a few positions to at least strengthen the current squad or risk missing out on yet another champions league campaign next season. Although it would be wonderful to sign the Neymar’s, Ronaldo’s, and Bale’s of the footballing world Ed Woodward and the board must do something, and fast, before the club misses out on yet another UCL campaign and the shot at drawing world class players gets even murkier.

Dragovic Or Blind?

The name of Aleksander Dragovic brings comfort to those who question Blind’s competence in the center of the United defence. It does not have the familiar ring of John Stones but Everton appear unlikely to sell Stones until summer, at the earliest. It goes without question that left back has been an issue also with the season long injury to Shaw and Rojo being ruled out for at least another month. The purchase of Dragovic could offer a stronger and more physical option to the central of defense and allow Blind to move into the left back position when needed.

Dragovic is a promising defender with superb marking and a good sense for intercepting errant passes. His height and physical nature could also allow David De Gea some peace of mind on set pieces and corner kicks where United have been abysmal all season. A partnership of Smalling and Dragovic could be very fruitful and although Dragovic is a bit of an unknown to most he is a risk that must be taken. United cannot afford to have a leaky defence in a time where goals come at snail’s pace under Louis Van Gaal. Dragovic also possesses the ball skills that Van Gaal desires from his central defenders with a decent touch on his passes also. Mainly, Dragovic can be the force in the back that has been missing since…. Rio and Nemanja. Now I am not saying Dragovic could be the next Vidic but he certainly has some of the traits that was found in the fearless Serbian most United fans adored and now seek in the current squad. Dragovic would be able to force teams who have been exposing Blind for his less than impressive physical stature and speed in the back to find different ways to attack this defence that so desperately needs an enforcer.

With a considerably small price tag compared to Stones this deal makes sense even if it is a short term solution to a problem that has been evident for awhile. Even with this purchase United would be able to pursue Stones in summer if that is what they desire. It is time to take action and make the purchase before it is too late.

Potential Man United Targets

Felipe Anderson: I have three words to describe the pursuit of Felipe Anderson. Not United quality. While Anderson is undoubtedly a skillful player, the amount of money being asked for him is outrageous, over €50 Million being rejected over the summer according to Lazio executives, especially when he will quite possibly become the next Angel Di Maria. Until LVG changes his style Anderson wont fit in to the XI nor be the quality that we would expect as supporters.

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Bale in a United kit is something we all wish to see, but this looks as close as it will get in the near future.

Gareth Bale: Oh no not again. Manchester United are still repeatedly targeting Gareth Bale with “a world record bid”. I see no truth to this rumor as Bale is in Zidane’s plans according to BBC Sport. Although Bale is the type of player United need, the odds of Real Madrid giving up one of their star men is slim to nil, and edited pictures are the only hope we have left of Bale to United being completed in the near future.

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Morata celebrates a goal

Alvaro Morata: So there is no basis to this yet, Morata is just the type of player that I would love to see United target. Young, strong, quick with the ball at his feet, and quite technically gifted the Juventus front man is the prime example of the type of player United should be targeting. He is projected on Transfermarkt to cost €23.5 Million but will end up costing United around €45 Million

Matthias Ginter: Ginter is a young centre-half currently plying his trade with Borussia Dortmund. The 21 year-old was brought with the 2014 World Cup winning Germany to Brazil, although he did not receive any time on the pitch.

Ginter playing for Germany
Ginter playing for Germany

He is a perfect partner to Chris Smalling and is still young enough to prove to be a good pairing for years to come. He is seen as the future of the Dortmund defense so his €10 Million projected value as given by Transfermarkt but will cost by my calculations about €25 Million with possible add ons.

 

 

Outgoing Transfers:

Ben Pearson: The now ex-Manchester United starlet has been sold to Preston North End for an undisclosed fee. This is a disappointing move, but one that in the end Pearson had to make for his sake.

Ben Pearson signs for Preston North End
Ben Pearson signs for Preston North End

He needed first team time in order to continue his development. As for an immediate impact this does not hurt Manchester United at all as the 21 year-old midfielder had never featured in the first team with United, although having a loan spell with Barnsley in which he earned 45 appearances.

Marouane Fellaini: The Manchester United big man,

Fellaini in action for United
Fellaini in action for United

midfielder converted defensive midfielder, converted number 10, converted striker has been tipped for a move away from Old Trafford. Many United supporters are excited to see this as Fellaini is a symbol of the boring play at United. The reported asking price is €32 Million a massive asking price for the big Belgian who is calculated to have a value of over €10 Million less by Transfermarkt.

5 Signings Manchester United Should Consider

Aymeric Laporte - Man Utd
  1. Sadio Mané: he has been linked to Manchester United a number of times in this window already, the main reason for which was his absence from the team against Norwich, down to him being late for a team meeting. This may show that he is not 100% committed to Southampton and so this for me is the most realistic of the next 4 transfers. Mané would bring pace, power and goals to the right wing, something we have been missing, especially since Mata has been farmed onto the right wing when he should be using his qualities in the middle as a number 10.  Mané can find a pass and has a brilliant cross, everyone knows about his goal exploits last and this season. He would represent decent value at around £30 million which could tempt Southampton to sell, especially if he wanted to leave and at 23 years old he still his best years in front of him.
  2. Zlatan Ibrahimović: personally my dream would be for Zlatan to don the colours of Manchester United. He would bring a swagger back to the team, a real target man who knows how to score. Yes, he is 34 but he is like a fine wine, gets better with age, pretty much guaranteed 20+ goals a season down to his incredible finishing. I think that he would be gettable. The French Ligue 1 is no challenge, PSG have pretty much won the league for god’s sake! He would be extremely cheap thanks to his age, but he’d bring maybe 2 seasons where he can help the team “Zlatan style”.
  3. Aymeric Laporte: A French centre back plying his trade with Bilbao in Spain. He is extremely good on the ball, is very strong and good in the air and is just 21 years of age. He would cost around £30-35 million, I reckon that would be decent value especially as John Stones would now cost about £50 million and Laporte is arguably the more refined player. Yes he would have to adapt to the premier league but when, or in this case if he did, him, Shaw, Smalling and Darmian could become as solid a back 4 as the premier league has witnessed for years.
  4. Yoshinori Muto: The relatively unheard of Japanese front man would cost around £15 million, with his age and ability he could be an absolute bargain. He’s 23 years old and plays for Mainz in the Bundesliga. In 16 appearances for Mainz he has scored 7 goals and has registered 2 assists, he is pacey, prolific and would be a very good striker to partner martial or to come off the bench as an impact player and at £15 million he would be worth taking the risk.
  5. Erik Durm: Is a 23-year-old German left back who plays for Dortmund. Durm can play on either flank, is good with either foot and is very good in defence or attack. This season he suffered an injury to his knee, which has kept him out for 6 weeks but earlier in the season he registered 4 assists and 1 goal, which for a left back in several appearances isn’t the worst stats you’ve ever heard. I think he’d be a perfect back up to Darmian or Shaw and at around £10-15 million he’d would be very good value.