Author Archives: Danny Brierley

Opinion: Poor season after poor season is set to continue for Man Utd next year – agree?

As a season ticket holder at Manchester United, I have reflected on the season that as just gone by, and like many other Manchester United fans I was greatly disappointed in what I witnessed.

To be honest I’ve witnessed poor season after poor season since 2013 when the great man Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down. I knew when Sir Alex Ferguson departed that there would be a transitional period at the club, but I never thought the decline would be this bad.

So why has it gone so wrong at Manchester United, and will they ever reach the heights of the Fergie era?

To be honest I’m looking forward to next season. To see what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can do once he’s had a full pre-season under his belt, with the squad and of course new signings.

This is the only worry I have about next season because the club has still not appointed a technical director of football. Which means Ed Woodward has full control of the transfers, and in my opinion, this is why Manchester United have failed season after season.

He’s an investment banker who hasn’t got a clue about football, which in turn will make it difficult for the manager. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets the transfers he wants and not who Ed Woodward wants, then I myself will be more positive about this coming season.

I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be the man to help bring the club back into Premier League contention if he gets the right signings to strengthen the squad. However, key players are rumoured to be departing such as Pogba and Lukaku.

I’d like Pogba to stay and build the squad around him, in my opinion, Pogba as endured a very difficult season and took most of the stick. To me, the whole squad should share the blame for the poor form. I don’t think Lukaku will be missed and can be replaced with current squad members such as Rashford and Martial.

I’m interested to see who Ole will bring in because let’s be honest, he needs 3-4 signings at least. I think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can, if he’s given the time, get Manchester United back to where they should be.

However, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Ole will be challenging for the Premier League title next season.

I’m predicting a 5th place finish in the league, a possible final in the Europa league and again a possible semi-final in both the FA Cup and league cup.

If Manchester United are going to win something next season, albeit a miracle, it’ll be the league cup. However, it’ll depend on the right signings and the signings Ole wants.

LOWDOWN: Who is Man Utd Target Ozan Kabak – Could Be a Vital Signing

As any good football fan will tell you, the foundations of any football team are the defence, and you don’t need to be an architect to see that the foundations or once for a better word the ‘defence’ at Old Trafford is crumbling.

In order to achieve a good rebuild and a strong sturdy team you’ve got to start from the ground up, and in terms of a football team that means starting with the defence, and in particular central defence. However, Ed Woodward needs to make sure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the wherewithal to achieve this. Many known defenders have been recently touted to partner Lindelof in the central defence, but I’d say few have heard of Ozan Kabak, and I’ll be honest I’m not one of the few.

The Express are reporting that Manchester United, as well as Tottenham and Arsenal, are all battling to try and seal a £13.2m transfer for the defender. The Turkish born defender started his career at Galatasaray youth academy at the tender age of 11 years old, he progressed through the academy and went on to make 14 first team appearances for the club, as recent as 18/19 season before the 19-year-old teenager sealed his move to the Stuttgart.

Stuttgart’s manager Markus Weinzierl’s has trust in the Ankara native and thrown him into the first team where he has played the full 90 minutes ever since, making him the youngest first-team player for Stuttgart. Kabak’s stats show that the young centre back averages an interception every 8 minutes, and has three goals to his name he also possesses an eye for goal when the opportunity arises.

Kabak as 50 youth international caps, and with having an impressive season under his belt he’s earned himself an international call up to the first team squad, but as yet to make his international first team debut. Kabak can read the game, which in my opinion is a good attribute to have as a defender, he senses danger quickly and possesses a quick turn of pace. It’s been mentioned that his playing style is likened to that of Sergio Ramos, and also as the same bite as the Spanish defender, having committed 15 fouls in his first 11 games for Stuttgart.

This tenacity and bite that Kabak shows is what Manchester United need in defence, a defender who isn’t shy of getting stuck in and take a firm grip in the game. Little is known about the Turkish teenage defender but for £13.2m he could be what Ole needs to strengthen the foundations of the Old Trafford outfit.

LOWDOWN: Is Sebastian Haller a Good Fit For Man Utd

With the recent appointment of Antonio Conte at Inter Milan, it’s no secret that the Italian is an admirer of Romelu Lukaku, Conte tried to sign the big Belgian when he was In charge of Chelsea.

However, Lukaku decided to ply his trade at Old Trafford and reconnect with old boss Jose Mourinho, who was then in charge at Manchester United. So it’s no surprise that Lukaku has recently been linked with a move to Inter Milan. If the Belgium striker decides to wave goodbye to Old Trafford and join forces with Conte, who does Ole Gunnar Solksjaer replace him with. Well, that man could be none other than Sebastian Haller.

Very little is known about Sebastian Haller, the 24-year-old Frankfurt striker provided a foil for his strike partner, and prolific goal scorer Luka Jovic. However, Haller as proof that he can also be a goal scorer himself with netting 15 goals in 23 Bundesliga starts. Haller chipped in with 20 goals and 9 assists in all competitions, his stock as sharply risen over the last year. Haller as previously attracted attention from other Premier League teams including Everton and, he nearly joined Norwich City back in 2016.

Haller can finish with both feet and nobody has had a hand in more goals than Eintracht Frankfurt’s Sebastien Haller this season. The big Frenchman has put significant wind beneath Eintracht Frankfurt wings, securing Frankfurt’s Europa League qualification ahead of Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim.

This is why the Manchester United scouts are keeping tabs on the Frenchman, and should Romelu Lukaku get the green light for a move to Inter Milan, Sebastian Haller could well be the man to replace the Belgian’s boots.

Man Utd Target James Maddison Will Be 60m Wasted – Agree?

Reports are emerging that Manchester United are in pole position to sign James Maddison. With The Independent reporting that United have made the 22-year-old their new priority, and it will cost United £60m to capture Maddison’s signature should he decided to depart the King Power this summer.

Since his move to Leicester City from Norwich City for £20m in 2018, he has since has gone on to have an impressive season with Leicester City, creating more goalscoring chances than any other player in the league, and forcing his way into Southgate’s England squad.

I can see that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants young talented British players at United, but I don’t think that Maddison is the answer. I also can’t help but think that Maddison is the fall back option to Jadon Sancho. With Sancho staying put in Germany, Ole has turned to Maddison, which to me is quite worrying, as United are in a major rebuilding process.

I know Maddison is a young British player and I’m not saying he isn’t talented but I just think he’ll be another Wilfred Zaha, who was a good player at Crystal Palace, but once he made that step up to Manchester United he was out of sorts.

I think Maddison will be the same, he’s a key player for Leicester but will he’ll be able to replicate his form at United and will he be a key player, I don’t think he will.

Ole needs talented players who can step up to the plate, in order for the rebuild to be successful, and I don’t think parting with £60m for James Maddison which, in my opinion, is extortionate for a player of his calibre is part of the answer. Ole should splash out £60m on other players that will make a difference to the team.

Man Utd fans who would you like to see come through the Old Trafford doors?

OPINION: Ed Woodward is the main cause, and some might say the sole cause of Man United’s problems

Since his premature departure from Manchester United in 2016, Louis Van Gaal has never hidden his frustration at being replaced by Jose Mourinho, and now he’s broken his silence and aimed a scathing attack at Ed Woodward.

Woodward has come in for some criticism again this season after Manchester United’s dreadful campaign, and the 67-year-old Van Gaal hasn’t held back on his attack.

Van Gaal has blamed United’s chief executive for United’s problems and says ‘he simply isn’t up for the job’. Van Gaal holds the managerial experience and as managed clubs including Ajax, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and the Netherlands international team.

The Dutchman has recently told German magazine 11 Freunde “At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that.” At Manchester United , on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker. 

It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective.”

As a Manchester United myself, I fully agree with what Louis Van Gaal as said. In my honest opinion, Ed Woodward is the main cause, and some might say the sole cause of Manchester United’s problems.

The manager has no input in recruiting players while Ed Woodward is in charge of that, he likes to be in control, and he’s running the football club like a business which is ruining the club. Just like Van Gaal said, it can’t be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially driven perspective.

The club needs a rebuild and in my opinion, that starts by getting rid of the investment banker Ed Woodward and, replacing him with someone who is a football person. But sadly I can’t see that happening while the Glaziers are at the helm.

Two Strikers Man Utd Need to Replace Inter Milan Transfer Target Lukaku

With the transfer window fully open, alongside the departures of Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia already confirmed, the rebuilding of his team will be at the forefront of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s mind.

Several transfer rumours have been doing the rounds, and one rumour that has surfaced again and again is the possible departure of Romelu Lukaku. Antonio Conte is a big admirer of the Belgian and tried to sign him when he was manager at Chelsea, Lukaku has made no secret of his interest to ply his trade in Seria A. So with Conte having just been appointed the new Inter Milan manager, it’s no surprise that Lukaku has been recently linked to the San Siro.

If these rumours turn out to be true, Solskjaer will need to replace the big Belgian, and I think Solskjaer should consider these two players as replacements, one being recently linked with Manchester United.

Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala is a gifted player, he can play as a forward, he can be deployed as the main striker, as a centre forward or as a supporting striker.

He’s elegant, quick, agile, with excellent technical ability Dybala is known for his dribbling skills, balance, and close control in limited spaces. He can beat opponents one and one and hold up the ball for teammates, with him being only 25 years old he’s a perfect replacement for Lukaku.

Luka Jovic

20-year-old Luka Jovic is one of the key players at Eintracht Frankfurt playing a phenomenal season so far. With having had an impressive season in the Bundesliga the young Serbian has aroused the interest of the European giants, including Barcelona and Liverpool.

Jovic likes to receive the ball on the ground and finish with his first touch. Jovic can utilise his pace to receive through balls from teammates, or he drops into space between opposition midfield and defence to receive and turn. In these situations, Jovic can take advantage of his dribbling ability to outplay opponents or to create gaps for a through pass by dragging out defenders.

With his good off-ball movement, Jovic is able to get rid of the opposition defenders. Often receiving the ball with an open body shape allows Jovic to finish with his first touch. He always knows the exact position of the goal, the Serbian is able to take precise shots even under pressure, this makes Jovic an extremely effective striker and dangerous in front of goal, all the attributes to easily fulfil the role of Lukaku.

LOWDOWN: Who Are Man Utd & Man City’s Representatives For The Lionesses This Summer

With the men’s football season over, it’s time to circle the June 7th in your diaries. As the Women’s World Cup kicks off in France when the hosts take on South Korea at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Two days later on the June 9th, Phil Neville’s courageous Lionesses take on Scotland in Nice, followed by Argentina (June 14, Le Havre), before facing Japan (June 19, Nice) as they bid to get out of Group D.

The Lionesses go into the tournament 4th favourites with the bookmakers, behind hosts France, USA and Germany. However, the Lionesses will still have fond memories of their terrific run in Canada four years ago, where they reached the semi-finals.

Now with the Lionesses squad consisting of Champions League and individual award winners, this time around there’s no reason why Phil Neville’s talented bunch can’t go all the way.

The Football Manc Cave take a look at the nine players of this talented squad, who represent the two Manchester clubs…

Karen Bardsley

This will be the 3rd World Cup for the Manchester City goalkeeper, as she represented the Lionesses as England’s number one in the 2011 and 2015 World Cup.

Having won every domestic honour with Manchester City the 34-year-old was named in FIFA’s All-Star Team in 2015 after putting in two players of the match performances. Born in California, Bardsley has family connections in Stockport and chose to represent England saying she related more to her English side of her background.

Alex Greenwood

The Manchester United left-back was the youngest member of the squad at World Cup 2015, this time Greenwood heads to her third major tournament on the back of a successful first season with newly formed Manchester United women.

The 25-year-old made the move across from Liverpool to Manchester United where she captained her side to the FA Championship title and earning promotion to the Women’s Super League. Greenwood is a natural leader with or without the armband, her attacking instinct and set-piece deliveries could be a huge asset to Neville and Co throughout the tournament.

Steph Houghton

Since her absence from the 2007 World Cup and 2009 Euros, where the Manchester City defender sustained injuries days before the tournaments.

Steph has now become an immovable force in the heart of the defence for both club and country. At the tender age of 31 and having 104 caps under her belt, Steph will captain England for the second time at her 3rd World Cup, having also played at two European Championships.

Having reached the centurion club of international caps, Steph helped and captained the Manchester City women team who lifted the FA Cup this season, can Steph lead the Lionesses to the World Cup trophy?

Demi Stokes

One of eight players in the squad with over 50 caps, Stokes makes Phil Neville’s 23 women squad for the first time since 2015, where she was overlooked by Mark Sampson.

Since signing for Manchester City in 2015, the full back, as with many of her Lionesses teammates, Stokes has won every domestic honour available to her, with Nick Cushing’s side. Having an FA cup winners medal for the 2018/2019 season, her team mates believe her to be the strongest member of the squad, not one to be messed with.

Abbie McManus

Having recently swapped the blue half of Manchester for the red half of Manchester, McManus made her England debut in 1st March 2018. Her route to the World Cup has been pretty difficult compared to that of her teammates.

Having not been involved in the younger national development groups like the majority of the Lionesses, McManus has worked her way up from the bottom.

Having been with Manchester City long before they turned professional in 2014, the now Manchester United defender caught the eye of Phil Neville, having put in a string of good performances early last year. Which earned her a place on the standby list for England’s 2018 SheBelievesCup. With two defenders withdrawing through injury, Abbie grabbed the opportunity with both hands and hasn’t looked back since.

Keira Walsh

With only 14 caps, not many players can say they’ve captained England at the age of 21. The Manchester City midfielder is seen in such high regard that Phil Neville handed Walsh the Captain’s armband in the 6-0 win over Kazakhstan back in September 2018, in only her 7th appearance for the senior team.

Kiera possesses incredible vision and a range of passing that can dictate a game, her assist for Beth Mead’s goal against Japan at the 2019 SheBelievesCup took eight opposition players out of the game, she is one of Neville’s greatest asset.

Jill Scott

One of the Lionesses centurions, the 32-year-old has got plenty of experience at the international level. Scott is a big personality in the dressing room and has been pulling on the England shirt for 13 years.

Like many of her teammates, Scott has won every available domestic honour with Manchester City and, is a player for the big international occasions. She scored a semi-final winner at the 2009 Euros and, most recently scored in the 3-0 win over Wales to secure England’s place at this year’s tournament.

Georgia Stanway

The youngest member of the squad, and with only six caps having made her senior England debut in November 2018, the Manchester City midfielder isn’t lacking in international experience.

The 20-year-old youngster helped England under 17’s reach the World Cup quarter-finals in 2016, and then went on to win bronze with the under ’20s in France two years later. She also captained the under 19’s to third place in the Euros.

The Manchester City midfielder made her full England debut against Austria back in November 2018 where she netted her first goal for the Lionesses at senior level. In 2013, Stanway queued for a photo with Steph Houghton at the FA cup final, six years later, they were teammates at City and lifting the FA Cup together at Wembley.

Ellen White

With Nikita Parris parting ways with Manchester City and joining Lyon, Ellen White has been brought in by Manchester City. The 30-year-old will be participating in her third World Cup, this prolific striker has endured a fantastic season having scored 21 goals in 26 league games for Birmingham this season, and as netted several important goals for her country in her nine-year international career so far.

White scored the last minute winner against the USA in 2017, and in doing so, inflicting the world champions to there first home defeat in 23 matches. White also scored a fantastic lobbed effort in the Lionesses win over eventual champions Japan back in 2011. With this dangerous striker in front of goal can the Lionesses go all the way and lift the World Cup?

LOWDOWN: Who is Manchester United Target Giovani Lo Celso?

As the transfer window rumours continue to rumble on, once again a player has been linked to Manchester United.

Reports are emerging that Manchester United could join Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for Real Betis midfielder, Giovani Lo Celso and that the bidding as opened up at £53m.

Who is Giovani Lo Celso and why is he generating so must interest?

The 23-year-old Argentinian midfielder initially joined Real Betis from Paris Saint Germain on loan last summer, with Real Betis paying Lo Celso’s transfer clause of £19.35m in April making the move permanent. Lo Celso as had an impressive season having made 46 appearances, scoring 16 goals and 6 assists, so it’s not surprising he’s caught the eye of some European clubs.

If you are an attacking midfielder from the city of Rosario in North Eastern Argentina and favour you’re left foot, you’re in good company. Superstars like Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria were both born in the city and the next man of the production line of creators is Giovani Lo Celso.

An ex-teammate of Angel Di Maria, Lo Celso came through the ranks at Rosario central and, is now aiming to emulate that of his ex-teammate Di Maria and international team-mate Messi, by becoming a household name in European football. The 23-year-old youngster shot to prominence very quickly. He made his first-team debut for Central in July 2015 and after 45 games and some very promising performances, this prompted PSG to part with £8.5m to sign the promising attacking midfielder in July 2016.

This move came only just one year after Lo Celso made his first-team debut for Rosario Central. After signing for PSG, Lo Celso had to wait three months before making his anticipated debut in a cup tie against US Avranches. Lo Celso added four Ligue 1 appearances and impressed with some stunning displays, highlighting his potential and quality.

Lo Celso is a complete midfielder who can play both wide areas and centrally. However, his best position is behind the striker as a number 10 or as one of the more attacking midfielders in a three-man central midfield. He boasts a good passing range, and Lo Celso combination play is superb. The midfielder is very adept at linking play both with short passes and longer ones which makes him the ideal midfielder.

Lo Celso is sublime in the final third, finding through passes to create chances and thereby also goals, he also boasts a good shot which makes him a threat from a distance if he’s given space outside the penalty area.

Another good feature of his game and a feature that is sought by in modern football is his ability to beat his opponents in midfield by dribbling. With his close control and acceleration, this makes Lo Celso a difficult player to defend against as he can break the defensive lines of the opposition either by passing or dribbling through them.

His technical ability with the ball, coupled with his calmness when in possession also sees him become very resistant to pressure as he remains calm and in charge of the situation. Lo Celso’s speed, acceleration, balance, intelligence and technical ability make him an attacking player with a close to complete skill set, and a complete midfielder.

Could an Improved Offer Tempt De Ligt To a Season Of Europa League at Man United

With the transfer window in full flow, it’s this time of year where managers start to put there transfer plans in action and prepare there a team for the new season ahead, and for one man, in particular, this will involve a total team rebuild.

After Manchester United’s disastrous season and missing out on Champions League football, the question is where does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer start. With only seven clean sheets last season, only three more than Burnley, Solskjaer needs to start with the leaky woeful defence.

One man who has been linked with Manchester United recently is Matthijs De Ligt. However, with Manchester United not competing in the Champions League, and instead are going to be competing in the Europa league will De Ligt be tempted to join the Red Devil’s.

To make matters worse for Solskjaer and Ed Woodward it’s rumoured that Barcelona are very interested in signing the young Dutch centre back.

With Manchester United only finishing sixth in the table and only offering Europa league football next season, and Barcelona showing a very keen interest – I’d say Matthijs De Ligt is destined for Barcelona!

How can Manchester United compete?

Word on the grapevine is that Manchester United are going to offer De Ligt £350,000 a week which will make him the third highest paid player at Manchester United behind Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, that’s if the two are still plying there trade at Old Trafford next season.

With this astronomical offer its rumoured that this offer as got De Ligt’s attention and, he’s keen to take up the offer with the opportunity to be the poster boy of Manchester United being a particular interest. To be involved in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s major rebuilding process also supposedly interests De Ligt.

Would De Ligt be willing to snub Barcelona and Champions League football to join the Red Devil’s, and be in the heart of defence in this historic team?

Only time will tell, however, Barcelona would be aware of any Manchester United offer. It’s whether they are will to match or refuse to budge on there offer, as to the destination of the Ajax Captain.

Solskjaer Sees Just How Big a Job He Has at Man United, After Dreadful End To The Season

Well, the Premier League season as finally come to a close, it was a nail-biting season for some fans, and it came down to the last game to decide who became Premier League champions.

However, if you’re a Manchester United fan, like myself there was nothing to celebrate, in fact, it was a dreadful season, to say the least. After witnessing an utter shambles in the last match of the season at Old Trafford against relegated Cardiff City, it’s clear to see that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a massive rebuilding job on his hands.

The team needs a massive clear out, there’s a lot of deadwood within that Manchester United team, from back to front, and there are players within the first team that aren’t quite good enough. The defence is shocking, three of the defenders who played in our last game were terrible, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young have simply not been good enough and Ole needs to move them on, recruiting a right back and a centre back to partner Victor Lindelof.

Then there’s the midfield…Paul Pogba gets a lot of stick off the fans which I’ve heard first hand myself. Yes, he’s been inconsistent but it’s not entirely his fault. In my opinion and many Manchester United fans will probably disagree with me, Pogba is a talent but he needs good players around him.

Unfortunately, with Ander Herrera leaving on a free, he hasn’t got good players around him, and I don’t feel Pogba can carry a team on his own.

Just look at our neighbours Manchester City, their midfield consists of four very good players. I want Pogba to stay put and for Ole to build the team around him, recruit one or two creative midfielders to help Pogba and to take the pressure off him.

Scott McTominay isn’t good enough to play in the first team, and Nemanja Matic is defensive, Fred and Andreas Pereira need to step up to the plate.  With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial upfront and the likes of Mason Greenwood coming through the ranks, if these three starts firing then the attack isn’t too bad, although I’d move Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez on and cash in on them.

The other factor is that the players aren’t fit enough to play the style of football Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his players to play. There looked burnt out, so first and foremost Ole needs to get the players fitness up to standards where they can maintain fast and attacking football.

Solskjaer will no doubt need to replace departing and departed players such as Herrera and possibly Juan Mata, with rumours circulating about Pogba’s future, Ole may need to replace him.

There’s no doubting that the job Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as got is a massive job, and from what I witnessed at Old Trafford on the final game of the season the rebuilding process is going to take three years. I’m just hoping that the hierarchy at Manchester United stick with Ole, and back him by not becoming a club where we sack are managers willy nilly.

Furthermore, I also worry with Ed Woodward in charge at the club, that Manchester United will never progress. The only way that will happen is if Ed Woodward is sacked, and again I can’t see that happening unless the Saudi Arabia royal family buy the club. Then maybe they will sack Ed Woodward… but one can only dream.

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