Author Archives: Ian Foran

EFL & Below Show 2018/19 Season Review: Bury FC, Salford City, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic & Bolton Wanderers

This is the EFL and Below Show, your look at all the footballing action in Greater Manchester that doesn’t come from Old Trafford or the Etihad.

Niall McCaughan is joined by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson from the Football Manc Cave in this final episode of the season, taking a look back at the respective seasons of Bury, Salford, Oldham, Bolton, Rochdale and Stockport County.

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SOLSKJAER DEADLINE: Man Utd Need To Ship These 10 Out By Next Year

It’s well documented that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a massive rebuilding job on his hands at Old Trafford, with reports breaking that he has set a deadline of next year to complete the process of deadwood exiting the door.

It’s been six years since Man United last lifted the Premier League trophy, and in all reality, it could be another two to three years before they are competing again.

It’s been nothing more than papering over the cracks in recent transfer windows, as Ed Woodward has thrown sh*t at the wall, in the hope that something sticks.

However, Solskjaer seems to have a clear idea, and be up for the construction work to turn this great club around.

By next year, just under half the current first team could have been moved on for players that want to play for the club and show the same heart and desire the United fans are used to.

We take a look at eleven players that should be shown the door…

Lee Grant

The former Stoke City ‘keeper arrived on a free, and in all honesty, I have no idea why. Entering the late thirties and a GK of no real quality, he has to be a shoo-in to leave as soon as possible.

Phil Jones

The England defender has never really got the fans in his favour. He seems a liability and injury prone over his time at Old Trafford. A move on could reignite his career, much like Jonny Evans a few seasons ago.

Chris Smalling

Another defender who always creates a nervousness when he’s near the ball. Sometimes he can brilliant, but this is a very rare occurrence. Smalling is a squad player, and a backup, back up at best.

Matteo Darmian

How the Italian full-back is still at Man United is beyond most fans. Having seemingly been on the cusp of leaving each transfer window, he seems to have hung around the place and lurked in the shadows – nearly being a forgotten man.

Ashley Young

The converted winger is playing in a role that clearly doesn’t suit him. having been made to make the transition further back following a clear lack of transfer recruitment over previous seasons, Young has had to put up with a lot of stick of the fans. Having been a loyal servant, his time to leave is fast approaching.

Marcos Rojo

The Argentine defender is all action, however, he is also a massive liability. Always a certain yellow card when he’s on the pitch, Rojo may be renowned for his tough tackling style but he is not what United needs going forward.

Nemanja Matic

The ex-Chelsea player had been brought in by the former regime. Having impressed early doors, he has seemed to have slowed down even more over the seasons. With United looking for a fast-paced counter-attacking style, Matic doesn’t fit that bill at all.

Alexis Sanchez

An absolute flop, a move that never should have happened and has clearly damaged Sanchez’ high profile. The Chilean will be moved on, even it means United paying out to edge him out the door.

Romelu Lukaku

The striker has been hit and miss for most of his time at Old Trafford. When he’s on it, he’s brilliant, however, the other side is he can hit a barn door and looks like he doesn’t know what to do with a ball.

It seems a move to Italy is on for the Belgian, and it would be the right time.

James Wilson

The forgotten man, once an exciting prospect but following many a loan move it seems Wilson’s time at Man United is up. A move away will be the best all around.

Does Marcus Rojo Have a Future at Man Utd or Should Solskjaer Get Rid

When Louis Van Gaal signed Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon in 2016, after only hearing good things about the player. Many thought he would become a first-team centre half regular. However, unfortunately for the Red Devils, Marcos Rojo’s career has been nothing short of disappointing.

After being injury prone ever since joining the club, his career at Man United has been under speculation for the past couple of seasons now. However, to the surprise of most fans, Rojo stated during a conversation with Soljasker to El Dia “He said that I was in his plans, that I’m an important player and that he wanted me to return to full fitness, to be able to count on me in the first team.”

For United fans, this comes very unexpectedly. In a window where the deadwood looks surely ready to be cleared out, one would assume Rojo would be a part of this clear-out, having barely featured under Solskjaer last term.

With Man United linked to Ajax’s young and promising centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, you’d think that that would be the standard Solskjaer is looking for to finally replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand these many years later (A problem that should have been sorted a long time ago).

Not someone to the equivalent of the Phil Jones and Chris Smalling level. At 29 and unable to finish the 90 minutes in his mere six appearances last season, perhaps it’s time to get rid.

Solskjaer has some tough decisions to make, and the Argentine has to be one of them surely. In a new era for the Red Devils, players like Rojo have to be bumped off the wage bill along with others who are happy to sit around and collect at the end of the week.

Granted Rojo does leave everything on the pitch, but in most cases is a liability – Solskjaer can not afford that going into next season.

Man Utd fans, let us know your thoughts below…

Wigan Athletic Let Six Go Ahead of Next Season’s Shake-Up

The retained and released list have been flying around in recent weeks, and today Wigan have made their‘s public.

Darron Gibson, Callum McManaman, Shaun MacDonald, Jonas Olsson,
James Vaughan and Dan Lavercombe have all been released, while last seasons joint top scorer Nick Powell and back up goalkeeper Owen Evans have been offered contracts.

Paul Cook will look to build on last seasons final hurdle form, as Wigan survived relegation with some brilliant form. Unfortunately, they won’t have the promising Chelsea youngster Reece James in the ranks as he returns to his club alongside Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), Antonee Robinson (Everton), Beni Baningime (Everton) and Leon Clarke (Sheffield United) who all impressed last season.

Wigan fans, however, will be looking forward to striker Callum Lang returning after a great season with Oldham Athletic where he scored 13 goals in 42 games in League Two, alongside Leo Da Silva Lopes from his spell at Gillingham.

Looking to promote some youth into the team, the Tics have given professional contracts to Charlie Jolley, Kyle Joseph, Joe Gelhardt and Emeka Obi while talks are still ongoing with Adam Long, Scott Smith, Will McGuffie, Victor Maffeo, James Berry and Divin Baningime.

All in all, Wigan will be wanting to better last season’s 18th place finish, and if anything it showed that Wigan can mix it with the big boys when they need to after the results against Leeds and Norwich.

Realistically a solid mid-table finish would be ideal, as they look to make steady progress back into the Premier League over the coming years. With Paul Cook at the helm, they also have a great manager who can steer Wigan back to the good times once again.

Wigan fans what do you make of your retained/released list?

It’s The Battle of Manchester as Man United Tussle With Man City Over Right Back Joao Cancelo

In a transfer window that we see everyone and everything linked to the two Manchester clubs, the latest is Joao Cancelo, the Juventus right-back.

Following the retirement of Antonio Valencia, United need to strengthen in that area, albeit Valencia didn’t show up much in his final season. Solskjaer has only Diogo Dalot to pick from at present and, Juventus’ Cancelo maybe the answer to the first part of the defensive conundrum he faces.

However, neighbours Man City, who seem to not be shy in the full-back areas, are also linked. It could see a tug of war between the clubs, much like the Alexis Sanchez saga. Which the red side won, as they splashed the cash, although United will be hoping for a better return of investment this time around.

Having only spent one season at the Old Lady, and winning the Serie A title in the process, Juve’s new man in charge may let the Portuguese defender go upon his arrival. Especially if he was to look to last season, as he failed to impress Allegri enough to hold down a regular starting spot.

However, after a great start to life in Italy following a move from Valencia, he seemed to fall off in the second half of the season and started to fall out of favour.

The only factor that could play a key role in the Manchester battle, is that of former red Cristiano Ronaldo, who would surely have only good things to say about his time at Old Trafford to his teammate.

With a reported 53m price tag on his head, United could see that as a decent deal, especially in today’s market. They need to spend big and well in the transfer market this summer, and Canelo could be a great signing.

Man United fans, what are your thoughts on Cancelo, good solid signing, or would you prefer someone else?

’44 & Still Better Than Half The Squad’ ‘Beckham Could Easily Be Man United’s New RW’ Twitter Reacts To Treble 99 Reunion

Yesterday a lad from the Manchester United Academy made an impression on the pitch, you may have heard of him – David Beckham.

In a rematch of the 1999 Champions League final, Man United legends hosted Bayern Munich legends, 20 years on from United historic day. This match was a little more one-sided than the one back in May 1999, with the Red Devils running out 5-0 winners.

Goals from current United boss and the hero of the original tie Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke, Nicky Butt, Louis Saha and David Beckham sealed the victory.

It’s the latter that has gained the headline’s once again, with him showing that he can still ping a ball about like he used to do throughout his United career. After seeing the displays of Paul Scholes and Jaap Stam, United fans were left wondering what if they could get even half of this quality in their current team.

Beckham however played like he like he’s never been away and it left many Red Devils wondering if he could still do a job at Old Trafford…

‘De Ligt is a Smokescreen For Glenn Murray’ ‘More Chance of Signing Him on a Transfer Ban’ Man Utd Fans Are Not Having The De Ligt Rumours

Rumours are flying high this morning after promising Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt liked Rio Ferdinand’s Instagram post.

Yeah, you read that right, seemingly nowadays that means the transfer is signed, sealed and delivered. However, one of Europe’s most sought prospects has his pick of teams, reportedly Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich – so surely joining a Man United side, not in the Champions League would be a bizarre move for the Ajax Captain.

Having played 55 times across all competitions last season, and largely impressing, De Ligt is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. No doubt his agent will be throwing names into the hat to bump up the price, a rumoured 70m.

Has we have seen in previous transfers, many agents use United’s name to either gain a new well-paid contract for their player or engineer a bigger move away.

It’s unlikely De Ligt will choose the bright lights of Old Trafford and many Red Devils seem to agree…

Man Utd Fans Want Man City’s Sane – Twitter Reacts To Hoeness Statement

Following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of the season, Bayern Munich have turned their attention to Man City’s Leroy Sane.

They see Sane as a direct replacement for the wingers, and with the German currently being a contract rebel at the Etihad, the signs are looking good for the Bundesliga Champions.

Following an indifferent year for Sane, and seemingly out of favour in Pep Guardiola’s plan. With him preferring either Raheem Sterling or Bernando Silva, even Riyad Mahrez for most of the season, it seems all ways lead of out Manchester.

Having been one of Guardiola’s first signings from Schalke for 37m, it seems Bayern Munich want to spend no more than their record fee of 70m. Furthermore, the Citizens are reportedly looking in the region 90m and not looking to budge on that figure.

However, a few Man United fans have jumped on the Sane train, as they look to close the gap to their rivals, and getting a player of Sane’s quality would certainly improve Solskjaer’s squad.

Twitter seems to be a mixed bag of opinions on Sane, as we see below…

‘Selling Lukaku is a Bad Move’ ‘Cashing In Is a Great Move’ Man United Fans Split On Strikers Link Away

Romelu Lukaku has been strongly linked with a move to Inter Milan in recent days, as former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte looks to set to be in charge of the Serie A side next season.

After a great start to life at Old Trafford, many goal droughts, injuries and struggles have seen the Belgian strikers time decline over time. There was a purple patch during the early part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s caretaker time in charge when Lukaku was finding the net with ease.

Nevertheless, on the whole, it’s not really worked out for the former Everton man. He seems to have lost confidence in himself and looks a shadow of the striker he was at West Brom and Everton.

A move away from the Premier League may be a good move for Lukaku. Especially with the Euro’s coming up at the end of next season, he won’t want to be warming the bench again inside Old Trafford.

It seems Lukaku is a bit of a marmite player at Man United, fans want him to stay and go in even numbers.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it seems the Belgium’s time being a Red Devil may be nearing an end…

DOMINO EFFECT: Pogba Leaves and These 3 Players Are Welcomed in Through The Man United Doors

Much will be made of this season’s summer transfer window, Man United will seemingly be linked with anyone who may be slightly available. However, the outgoings may cause as many headlines as the incomings.

Paul Pogba will no doubt hog the headlines, with his, is he staying or is he going story line. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made no secret that he wants his business done early and preferably before the pre-season campaign starts. With the Red Devils looking to have a good start to the season following a dreadful end to the season in which United finished 6th.

A move to Real Madrid seems very much on the cards, amidst reports he is set to become the club captain at Old Trafford – Two very contrasting news stories.

However, if the Pogba to Real Madrid move happens, then the Norwegian boss will be looking to get some new fresh faces in through the doors as soon as possible.

We think these three bright young players would fit in nicely at Old Trafford…

Joao Felix

The Benfica striker is one of the hottest properties around at the minute. In only his first season in professional football, Felix bagged 14 goals and seven assists in his 20 games.

United need a consistent striker, and this 19-year-old may be the answer as Solskjaer looks to provide a bright future at Old Trafford.

We looked a little more in depth at Felix here

Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe has lit up Ligue 1 on the right wing this season for Lille. Solskjaer needs to create a balance within the team, and the right-wing role has been a troublesome spot to fill this year with no real recognised player in the first team squad.

Having scored 21 and provided 11 assists, Pepe is something United need and the fans would love to watch

Tanguy Ndombele

The defensive midfielder has been a person of interest to the blue side of Manchester already this summer, as they see Ndombele being a long term replacement for Ferdandinho.

Having lost Ander Herrera, and with Matic not getting any younger, Lyon’s defensive midfielder may be a good shout to bring in to provide much-needed cover for United defence.

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