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Did Manchester United Do Enough Business in the Transfer Window?

Cast your mind back to April this year. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has just issued a public apology to the Manchester United fanbase following their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Everton. More than that, the manager also states that there is plenty of work to do during the summer transfer window, hinting at a complete re-build from the ground up.

That interview left many Man United fans thinking that there would be more than a few transfers to look forward to, both in and out of the club. Yet just three notable deals have been struck to bring in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and, most recently, Harry Maguire. As for the outgoings, Ander Herrera (one of United’s best players last season), Antonio Valencia and Romelu Lukaku were all moved on.

That said, it’s clear that a large part of Solskjaer’s focus now lies in the youth prospects that are gradually coming through the ranks. Could this investment in young talent pay off next season? Let’s take a look at the key areas of the United squad as they currently stand.

Defence

It’s fair to say the Man United defence was in a sorry state last year, with a whopping 54 goals conceded over the course of the season. The club has made significant strides in strengthening their backline, with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka coming in to replace Phil Jones or Chris Smalling and Ashley Young respectively.

Most fans will be fairly happy with these deals, not to mention the fact that goalkeeper David de Gea looks set to sign a new contract at the club over the coming weeks. Add in Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe to the mix and you’d have to say that a solid defensive unit could be formed out of those players.

Midfield

On paper, the middle of the park is perhaps the biggest area of concern for Manchester United next season. The departure of Ander Herrera to PSG is certainly a blow, and the board didn’t finance a move for a suitable replacement. Some fans still have confidence in the young talent of Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira to step up alongside Paul Pogba, yet the lack of depth in the squad remains a worry.

There were plenty of rumours flying around regarding potential moves for a centre-mid – particularly Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen – yet they were unable to get a deal done for either, which is probably of little surprise to Man United fans considering the number of top players they have been linked to over the past few seasons. However, their business has done enough to convince the bookies as they are fourth favourites at 11/10 in the football betting to finish in the top four outright markets.

Attack

The departure of Romelu Lukaku and the lack of a replacement means there should be plenty of opportunities for the group of young, talented attackers currently at the club. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will play important roles, that’s for sure, whereas up and comers such as Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Daniel James will each get their chance to shine in the first team. They have also have older stars to complement these youngsters: Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

Even so, despite the improvements that have been made over the summer, you’d have to say that the squad still has a fair few holes to fill before they can put a top-four finish beyond doubt. There are still question marks over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who will be keen to validate his new tactical approach and focus on youth as soon as possible. The first few months will be critical, let’s see how it all turns out!

If Man Utd play this 11, they will ease past Chelsea

Now that the transfer window has closed, The Football Manc Cave has predicted Manchester United’s starting line up for the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team start the season on Sunday the 11th of August and they’ll face Chelsea at 4.30pm.

The transfer window is now closed and one of the biggest talking points of the summer has been Harry Maguire. He’s joined Man United for a record-breaking fee. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has also joined the club and should have an impact on the squad going forward.

With that in mind, here’s the squad I’ve predicted…

Clearly, De Gea will open the line-up. Harry Maguire should then get his first start for the club to see how he’s blended in with the reds. Wan-Bissaka should also be started ahead of other options and be joined by Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling.

Despite Pogba’s future being questioned all summer, he’s ended up staying with the reds and should start this weekend with Scott McTominay accompanying him.

These two should then have the support of Rashford, Lingard and Daniel James. Martial should then be solo upfront. The formation could be changed, however, I do think this line up will be pretty similar to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will pick.

Having new signing start is a risk, however, it’s the first game of the season and a chance to see how these players have gelled together and how they’ll cope.

Man Utd’s Transfer window: Is Solskjaer doomed before the season starts?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United are doomed before the season has even started. Here is why.

Since landing the job on a permanent basis, Solskjaer has pledged to ‘rebuild’ this Man Utd squad. He also assured the fans that he ‘will be successful’ and will be ‘ruthless’ with his squad.

Despite these promises, very little has changed. Two players have exited, Ander Herrera (the club’s second-best midfielder) and Romelu Lukaku (the club’s most prolific goalscorer). Could these two really have been who Solskjaer meant when he said we ‘wouldn’t see’ some of these players again? Surely not.

There are both positives and negatives to come out of this transfer window. Naturally, we’ll start with the negatives…

Negatives

So, with the Reds losing a striker and a midfielder. Who have they brought in to replace them? Two defenders from lower clubs and a winger from Swansea. Fantastic business, no?

Given the benefit of the doubt, Solskjaer will likely not have purposely lied to the fans. More so, the board have once again let a manager down.

During the uproar of fan concern and protest against the ‘higher-ups’ in the clubs, we saw leaks about promising players such as Paulo Dybala, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen, all of which did not materialise.

As it stands, with ins and outs, Man Utd have a transfer window net spend of £70million. Man Utd needed to invest upwards of £200million to have a fighting chance at winning anything this season.

This is the biggest and richest club in English football with the weakest squad, fans have seen in well over 20 years. The same club that has promised a rebuild and success to the fans. Once again, let down.

Solskjaer has said that he would only want players who are keen to play for Man Utd, hence why deals with big players fell through. As Man Utd is ultimately a step-down from Juventus and even Tottenham, as of current circumstances.

However, last season Solskjaer also stated that big names are eager to join his team. Whilst their only acquisitions were players from Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Swansea City. Despite this, the signings made do look promising…

Positives

The introduction of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have turned a laughing stock of defence, into one of the most elite defences in the Premier League. To this, hats off.

Wan-Bissaka has proven in pre-season to be practically unbeatable and will be a huge upgrade from Ashley Young. Who despite his best efforts, is not cut out for challenging for titles.

With Harry Maguire, fans know what they’re getting. A solid, English, Premier League proven defender whose mistakes are few and far between. A huge upgrade on Eric Bailly, who is always injured. Phil Jones, who tends to forget which side he plays for. And Chris Smalling, who’s decent performances are one in ten.

Daniel James gives some insight into the future projections of Man Utd. The fact they have any at all will be good news for fans.

Overall?

Drastic. Football games are won and lost in the midfield. Manchester United have a Paul Pogba who doesn’t want to be there. Andreas Pereira who is set to be Man Utd’s next 27-year-old ‘youth prospect’ and Scott McTominay who is a fantastic footballer, but totally unproven in the red jersey. There is also Fred and Matic who practically do nothing but give the ball away.

It will be a tough season for Man Utd. But remember, it most likely isn’t the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is evident that he loves the club. The best-case scenario would be for the amazing youth talents to come through and show the rest how it’s done.

Fans will have to do their bit and support through thick and thin. As most of the Man Utd squad can’t be trusted to perform, the fans should remain consistently supportive throughout the season. If not for the club, then for every moment of glory that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given them in the years gone by.

Why Man Utd need Spurs ace deal done by the transfer deadline

Man Utd could spend big one last time in this transfer window, as Tottenham want a big fee if they’re selling Eriksen to a rival.

Solskjaer has been gifted a top defence in this transfer window with the additions of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. However, Man Utd’s midfield is nowhere near a title-challenging quality.

Reports of Real Madrid attempting a £27.6million plus James Rodriguez for Paul Pogba leave room to wonder if the Frenchman will leave this summer.

Manchester United’s midfield would be far too weak without Pogba, and he would have to be replaced.

Rumours of Man Utd’s interest in Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes made fans ecstatic at the thought of him playing next to Paul Pogba. Is Man Utd’s interest in Tottenham’s Eriksen to replace wantaway Pogba? Or does Solskjaer intend on having him next to Pogba as they fail to sign Bruno Fernandes?

Eriksen signed for Spurs from Ajax in 2013 for a fee of around £12million. A report from the Telegraph said Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy valued at Eriksen at £130million when English clubs enquired. But European clubs could snap him up for under £50million.

The Dane has been a consistent talent for Tottenham. Last season, he scored 8 and assisted 12 goals in the Premier League. The season before, he scored 10 and assisted 11 goals in the Premier League.

Deadly midfield duo

Having Paul Pogba next to Christian Eriksen would be a duo that could score and create 40 goals between them per Premier League season.

However, it could well be the case that Eriksen replaces Paul Pogba as the only proven midfield talent at Manchester United. So whether it be he partners up Paul Pogba to create one of the best midfield set up in the league or he replaces him, Man Utd would only benefit from signing him up.

Man Utd fans have been furious at the lack of squad rebuilding they felt they we promised before summer. But if they bring in Christian Eriksen or Bruno Fernandes, there would be little complaints. Man Utd would once again be one of the strongest outfits in the league.

Two of Man Utd’s best transfer deadline day signings, agree?

With the transfer deadline looming, here are two brilliant deadline day signings that will keep Man Utd fans hopeful until the final minutes of the window.

Man Utd has massively improved their squad this summer. With a £130million defensive overhaul of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, Man Utd have patched up two positions which have held them back for well over 5 years.

Also, Welsh winger Daniel James has proved to be a promising signing for the Reds, a £15million gem.

However, Man Utd fans are calling out for a midfielder. Without Paul Pogba, Man Utd’s best midfielder is the yet to be proven Scott McTominay. Due to the invisible performances of Fred and the inconsistency of quality in Andreas Pereira.

Paul Pogba could leave, get injured, refuse to play or completely lack in form. Which means Man Utd’s midfield would be outplayed by almost any team in the Premier League. They even struggled against Norway’s Kristiansund until Matic left the field and the World Cup-winning Frenchman came on.

So chin up Reds, we could still see this Man Utd team have a fighting chance of top four if they can bag a deadline day deal. Just like they did with these two…

Daley Blind

The Dutchman joined Man Utd on the deadline day of the summer ’14 transfer window. Whilst serving the club for four years, Daley Blind was incredibly underrated during his spell. Able to play full-back, centre-back and around central midfield, Blind saved Man Utd who faced several injuries throughout this period.

Costing the club around £15million from Ajax and returning for a similar fee, Blind was as versatile, hardworking professional who most fans would have loved to see still playing for Man Utd last season.

Wayne Rooney

Possibly the best signing Manchester United ever made. Rooney dedicated his career to Man Utd, through the ups and downs. Being one of the most prolific players to step out onto Old Trafford, it proves that deadline day transfers of this calibre can happen, and aren’t always ‘panic buys’.

Man Utd fans should keep faith that a deadline day transfer could come in to fix the midfield. Even if a player who isn’t at the top of your list arrives, support them. But if Man Utd don’t bring in a midfielder, they may as well kiss goodbye to Champions League football and say hello to a battle for 6th place against Leicester and Wolves.

Two things we have learnt from Man Utd’s preseason

Man Utd won every game of their pre-season, and have seen some success in the transfer window. What is Man Utd looking like going into the start of the season?

Although performances have been up and down during Man Utd’s preseason, they came away victorious on every occasion. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put his tactics and ethics in place as the Reds march on high up the field, defending from the front and working hard.

There are many obvious improvements when you compare the new Man Utd to the Man Utd of the last 6 years. The two that give Solskjaer the best chances of success are…

Man Utd have a much better squad this season

The addition of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has given Solskjaer a right-back who is Premier League winning quality. Last season for Crystal Palace and during pre-season for Man Utd, he consistently shows off his tackling, dribbling, defensive and attacking skills. Flawless. So far.

Daniel James is promising, adding pace, movement and creativity to the squad. With a more creative midfield behind him, the Welshman’s runs will be picked out more often. Then we can see how he handles putting it in the net.

Breaking news of Harry joining Man Utd gives Solskjaer one of the best defences in the league. Aaron Wan-Bisakka, best defensive right-back in the country. Harry Maguire, sought after by Man City. Victor Lindelof sought after by Barcelona. And Luke Shaw, Man Utd’s Player of the Season last season.

Someone needs to step up in front of goal

For all the wonderful, interchangeable, fluid and pleasing football, Solskjaer has given us the pleasure of watching, no one can actually score. Not consistently. In Man Utd’s 1-0 win over Kristiansund, the Reds failed to score with 33 shots, 12 on target. The goal came from a questionable penalty in the 92nd minute from Juan Mata.

The pre-season could have seen many more goals for Man Utd than it did. With all the talent they have, someone needs to score 25 goals for the Red Devils this season. Will we see the start of it against Chelsea? Who will it be?

What will become of Man Utd this season if no more transfers walk through the door?

Amid speculation of transfers, there is one probable outcome that tends to be glossed over. Could this Man Utd squad cope without anymore transfers this season?

It is no large secret that Man Utd’s board are frugal with their spending. Tending to only spend big money on ‘shirt-sellers’ who will recoup the money spend by shirt sales and brand offers. As opposed to bringing success on the pitch. Examples such as Di Maria, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.

Should Arsenal land Pepe, and with Aston Villa spending tonnes, both will have out-spent Man Utd in this summer transfer window. Both clubs are significantly less wealthy and arguably in less need of a rebuild than Man Utd.

Man Utd’s current squad is composed of two world-class players; David De Gea and Paul Pogba. The rest are either previously fantastic players who have lost their legs such as Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez. Or, promising but unproven youth players such as Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, Dan James etc.

Solskjaer’s ultimate goal is trophies, admitted by himself and his squad. However, the Man Utd squad in comparison to the squads of Man City and Liverpool is lacking in quality, immensely.

Man Utd’s current squad is on par with the likes of Everton, Wolves and Leicester. The professionalism, demands and fantastic coaching may be all that separates the clubs by around 10 points in the league table.

What could Man Utd be this season?

If the most common reports hold truth and are followed through, Man Utd’s squad quality could go from a 6th or 7th place position to a 2nd or 3rd.

With Harry Maguire bolstering the defence, Man Utd would have no big weaknesses at the back. With Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Paulo Dybala in and around the midfield and attack, the squad would be transformed.

Man Utd’s current squad have fantastic quality, but there is not enough depth in it. By allowing the current ‘fantastic’ players to be rotated with potential signings who are ‘world-class’ players, the structure of the squad would be able to match Man City and possibly even surpass Liverpool.

What if there are no more signings?

Despite Daniel James showing great potential and unbelievable athleticism, he is nowhere near a finished product. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, however, is one of the best right-backs in European football, a very good signing.

But with no more signings, there are not enough holes being patched. And Man Utd will find themselves outside of the top 4 once again, battling for 5th and 6th place with Arsenal, Leicester, Everton and Wolves.

Could these two players give Man United the edge in the race for a top-four finish?

Should Solskjaer get the best out of these two players, we could see Man Utd in the race for top 3 all season.

Pre-season has been full of mixed emotions for Man Utd fans. Despite promising signings in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, the overhaul and rebuild are yet to be evidenced.

However, with four games on tour for the Red Devils, they have come away with four incredible wins.

Man Utd’s new style of play, “Ole ball”, requires a high press, a fit team and intelligent link-up play. Making the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic almost useless. With regards to this, it will be the youth that carries Man Utd to success this season.

The Football Manc Cave introduces two Red Devils who will transform this Man Utd side and make this season compared to last season look like night and day…

Mason Greenwood

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that Greenwood has a fair chance of starting the campaign against Chelsea. Across youth levels last season, Greenwood had 28 appearances, with 29 goals and 12 assists. He also bagged two fantastic goals in this summer’s pre-season.

The 17-year-old is Man Utd through and through. It would be a pleasure to watch him grow as the club regains their spot at the top of English Football.

Alexis Sanchez

Despite being unimpressive for Man Utd since his arrival, Solskjaer may be an angel in disguise for the Chilean forward. One of Sanchez’s only redeeming qualities last season was his tenacity in pressing high up the pitch. Unfortunately, his teammates didn’t follow.

With the new style of play, Sanchez fits in perfectly. He is versatile across the front four positions, enjoys a high press and can pick out brilliant passes when his teammates can be bothered to make movements.

Special mentions

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been unbelievably crucial to Man Utd’s pre-season successes. He has increased the defensive stability ten-fold. Similar can be said for Scott McTominay, who is increasingly becoming a fan favourite. The Scotsman demonstrates professionalism, passion for the badge and absolutely runs the midfield when he’s on his A-game.

Two reasons why Man Utd’s Ed Woodward need to get these two over the line ASAP

Manchester United will push for more transfers in the remaining days of the transfer window.

Ed Woodward will remain in the UK in order to finalise deals that Man Utd have been in talks with over recent weeks, according to Evening Standard. This will be the first pre-season tour that Woodward has missed out on since being appointed in 2013.

This decision falls in line with Solskjaer’s recent press conference ahead of the game against Spurs in Shanghai. When asked about ongoing transfers, Ole responded with “It’s very important we get the right ones (transfers) in. So we can’t just, when you hit a hurdle, jump on a different path”.

According to reports, Man Utd are not seeing eye-to-eye with other clubs for the value of their players.

Leicester City is holding out for around 80million for their World Cup semi-finalist Harry Maguire, whilst Man Utd are offering £70million. Likewise, Newcastle expects £50million for Sean Longstaff as Man Utd are looking at offering below £30million.

It is clear that Woodward is intent on obtaining these players. There may be room to get Bruno Fernandes’ signature also but could depend on the future of other players like Paul Pogba.

The history of Man Utd’s transfer market activity shows a club that will pass up fantastic opportunities to save a few pennies.

However, this summer may be different, and here are two reasons for Woodward to get at least two more deals over the line as soon as possible…

Man Utd need the Champions League

For branding and sponsorship purposes, Man Utd have to be a Champions League club. When income is threatened, Woodward tends to pull his socks up. For example, Paul Pogba was brought into the club after Man Utd failed to get Champions League football.

This could mean that big transfers are yet to happen, the biggest being around £80million for Harry Maguire.

Man Utd’s poor defence against aerial threats was destructive to Solskjaer’s side last season. Evidence of history repeating itself has been seen in the current pre-season as Man Utd look shaky at the back, especially from set-pieces.

Harry Maguire in a red shirt would result in fewer goals at his own end, more goals at the other and a more pleasing and urgent transition from defence to attack.

Integration into squad

Aaron Wan-Bissaka recently brought in for £50million, looks like he’s been a Man Utd player for 5 years. According to StatmanDave on Twitter, Wan-Bissaka has statistics such as 100% crossing accuracy, 7 take-ons completed, 1 assist and 0 times dribbled past in pre-season so far.

Daniel James, although yet to show what potential he has, looks well-fitting for the squad on and off the pitch.

Woodward needs to bring in Solskjaer’s targets ASAP. This will give them more chance of getting used to Man Utd’s new tactics and approach ahead of their biggest season for many years.

These 3 things were clear following Man Utd’s win over Inter Milan

Manchester United beat Inter Milan 1-0 after 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s clinical finish and composure in front of goal.

Man Utd breezed past Inter Milan in what was meant to be their most challenging game of pre-season. In all fairness, it was. However, Inter Milan posed minimal threat to De Gea’s goal, having only 8 shots compared to Man Utd’s 21.

Solskjaer’s set up and tactics paid off as his side dominated throughout the game. On Thursday, his men will take on fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and is likely to be his biggest test of pre-season. Thankfully, Man Utd’s performance against Inter Milan leaves little to worry about ahead of this game.

Here are 3 things we learnt from Man Utd’s win over Inter Milan that leaves fans confident ahead of the rest of pre-season.

Exciting football

Solskjaer is clearly implementing a high pressing, fast-paced counter-attacking football team. It provides tonnes of excitement for fans who are accustom to Man Utd’s drab and expressionless ways of the past years. This new approach gives fans something to enjoy and a reason to be optimistic for Man Utd’s future.

Wan-Bissaka was a bargain

The games against Perth Glory and Leeds United gave fans an insight as to what kind of defensive genius Aaron Wan-Bissaka is. But his performance against Inter has made him a fan favourite already. He truly lived up to his nickname ‘The Spider’, as his long legs allowed him to make some unbelievable tackles. Wan-Bissaka ruined Inter Milan man Dalbert’s day as he refused to let him get the better of him.

Solskjaer’s preferred squad

In the first two pre-season games, Solskjaer opted for two completely different elevens per half. However, against Inter, the starting eleven remained until around 60 mins, with the rest having 30. The initial squad featured players such as Daniel James, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood. Although the inexperience of these players can be notable at times, they all put in a decent performance.

The featuring of Tuanzebe could be an indication that Man Utd will not be obtaining a centre-back in this transfer window, as he works to get the defender ready for the upcoming season.

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