Paul Ince gave his opinion on his former club, Man United this week. He told TalkSport that he thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will finish in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Some Man United fans may disagree with some of what the ex-midfielder had to say. However, I think most will appreciate that he didn’t hold back and spoke on behalf of the fans.
Ince raised his concerns over what is actually going on behind the scenes at Old Trafford. He wants to know what is going on the training ground. The interview allowed him to be honest and get a lot off his chest.
Ince compared the current Man United players to other Premier League giants. While he appreciates that the younger players at Old Trafford are talented and will take time to gel, he also has concerns.
If Frank Lampard’s youngsters at Chelsea are performing well, he doesn’t understand what’s going on with Solskjaer’s men. Liverpool is another team with two young centre backs and they’re coping fine too. Ince wants answers just like fans do.
Paul spoke about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s post-match interviews. The current manager always talks about how hard the team are working. However, Ince wants to know what they’re actually working on.
The lack of attack, shots and chances created are raising concerns. Fans are wondering what is going on inside training sessions and so is Paul.
The biggest thing he spoke about which I agree with massively was the fact that there’s no leader.
Past leaders at Old Trafford include Roy Keane, Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce. He claims that players like these who are natural-born leaders are a thing of the past.
He compared the current team to the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. The standard simply isn’t there. When players like David Beckham came to Old Trafford, he said that all the players would teach you what it was to actually be a Man United player.
Ince doesn’t think this new team have that capability. I think a lot of fans will appreciate that.
Instead of just criticising, he actually gave Solskjaer something to work on. That is finding a leader. However, it won’t solve all the problems, but it is a start.
Ince thinks players like Harry Maguire and Axel Tuanzebe need to be grown as leaders. Players like David De Gea have been with the club for around 10 years now but they don’t seem to be frustrated and they should be.
I am not a fan of Manchester United but I agree with every word Ince has said. There’s no main man on the pitch. These players should be angry and wanting more but fans don’t see it. Changes need to happen quickly.
Manchester United have always had magnificent goalkeepers. Peter Schmeichel, Edwin Van Der Sar and David De Gea to name a prolific three. More recently, Man Utd have produced a future star in Dean Henderson, as well as having the second-best second-goalie in the league, Sergio Romero…
So when Man Utd say they are interested in signing a goalkeeper, it usually means they are top quality.
In this case, it is Reading’s academy who have pulled through with producing a future start goalkeeper. Coniah Boyce-Clarke, a 16-year-old English goalkeeper, who met with Man Utd whilst playing against their under-23s at only 15 years old.
Ever since Man Utd have kept a close eye on this athletic young goalkeeper. And their eyes certainly lit up after seeing what he did for England’s under-17s.
Boyce-Clarke recently lifted the Syrenka Cup with England’s under-17s after beating the host, Poland, in a penalty shoot-out. Where the Man Utd target saved two penalties, effectively winning the team the tournament.
The Reading goalkeeper is a prominent fixture in their under-23s squad, demonstrating the confidence and maturity this youngster has.
Man Utd’s next first-team goalkeeper may well be the brilliant talent of Dean Henderson, currently gaining Premier League experience with Sheffield Utd.
The Reds could put Boyce-Clarke through a similar process, readying him for first-team football by the time he reaches 23 or 24. Preparing him for eight to ten years between the sticks at Old Trafford.
With current first-team goalie David De Gea stalling a contract renewal, we could see Dean Henderson feature for Man Utd sooner than expected. Should he be Man Utd’s first team goalkeeper until he reaches the age of 30, Boyce-Clarke would only be 24, and hopefully ready to take over Henderson.
David De Gea is currently stalling on a huge contract, leaving Man Utd considering options for his replacement. Their eyes have gone towards England international Jordan Pickford, but is there an ulterior motive behind this signing?
Man Utd fans are well-aware of David De Gea’s dedication to the club. For many years he kept the side afloat whilst making a name for himself as one of the world’s best between the sticks.
However, being such a talented player and a lucrative name in the industry, David De Gea will want to bag some big trophies before the end of his career. And most admit that this is unlikely with Man Utd.
De Gea’s new contract would make him the highest-paid goalkeeper, at £350,000 per week. But is stalling in case the Red Devils once again fail to achieve Champions League football, which would knock that wage down to £263,000 per week.
Despite Pickford being a great English talent, it is no insult to say he is leagues below the calibre of David De Gea.
Man Utd’s prize possession goalkeeper would leave the club on a free in summer, making the club lose out on a potential world-record fee for a goalkeeper.
Setting their sights on the Everton goalie may well be a money-saving ploy, as opposed to losing De Gea for free and replacing him with an equally priced goalkeeper.
This is not a shock to Man Utd fans, who regularly feel robbed when assessing net spends after the ins and outs of a transfer window.
On the other hand, Pickford gained 14 clean sheets in the Premier League last season and is a quality performer for his national side. With Man Utd’s improved defence, perhaps they can afford to have a slightly less astute keeper between the sticks at Old Trafford.
De Gea is currently in contract talks with Man Utd, looking at a whopping £350,000 per week wage. However, this will dramatically decrease to £263,000 per week should Man Utd fail to gain Champions League football for next season.
As it stands, Man Utd reaching Champions League football looks increasingly unlikely. Reaching Europa League football doesn’t even look certain.
In order to prepare for this worst-case scenario, Man Utd should be looking at these alternatives for David De Gea.
Henderson made a name for himself in the Championship last season with Sheffield Utd reaching a second place with the least amount of goals conceded. He has been re-loaned to Sheffield Utd to test his abilities in the Premier League.
The 22-year-old has only conceded one more than De Gea this season, both keepers having one clean sheet so far. But it is important to remember that Henderson has a lower quality defence in front of him for protection.
Should David De Gea make his move to Juve, Szczesny would ultimately become their second goalkeeper. In a market where world-class goalkeepers aren’t cheap or even available, Szczesny may be the most viable option to replace the Spaniard between the sticks.
Szczesny is a talented goalkeeper, who has Premier League experience with Arsenal. However, he is definitely a step down from De Gea. This means that Juventus would get the best goalkeeper in Europe for free, plus cash for their current goalkeeper. Once again, Man Utd’s business strategies are harming the future, history and integrity of the club.
Since Solskjaer’s arrival, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling have all departed for Italian clubs, Inter Milan, Parma and Roma respectively.
Man Utd’s current squad is a mismatch of previous manager’s signings, homegrown talents and new signings. But it looks as though Solskjaer is weeding out players that don’t fit his vision for the future of the club.
Although fans seem to be on board with Ole’s reshaping of the squad, losing these players to Juventus would be a huge blow to the side…
Despite regular injuries, Eric Bailly is a quick, fierce and competent defender, old-school with his challenges. If Juve is looking for a brilliant defender to step in as a squad player, Bailly is a great option.
However, for Man Utd, losing Bailly would not be such a good thing. Without Harry Maguire or Lindelof, Solskjaer’s next option is Axel Tuanzebe. Should the youngster struggle with first-team football, the only experienced defenders to step in are Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. Both have been under-performing for several seasons.
Matic featured almost every game under Jose Mourinho but has been dropped to the bench behind Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba.
His one appearance this season was as a substitution in an attempt to get a win against a defensive Southampton. It’s safe to say that he had no impact whatsoever.
Moving Matic out of the squad would allow for Fred to be given more opportunities to show what he can do, an in form Fred could change Man Utd’s midfield crisis.
David De Gea
The worst thing for Man Utd to happen is for the world’s best goalkeeper to walk out of the door for free.
Amid talks of a £350k per week contract, it is likely that the Spaniard is holding out to see if the Reds can achieve Champions League football. If they fail, De Gea’s wage will decrease to £263k per week.
In January, De Gea can enter negotiations with European clubs. With Man Utd’s poor form and poor squad, a top-four spot is a long shot. Meaning this could be De Gea’s last season at Old Trafford.
Ander Herrera recently departed Man Utd to PSG, for absolutely free. Herrera was a fan favourite at the club, being the second-best midfielder. His work-rate, passion and skill left him being sought after by Europe’s top clubs. They would surely have still seen an interest if they had to spend some cash for him. Transfermarkt suggests that the Spaniard’s current value stands at £22.5million. Had he left for even £15million, that could have gone some way to improve the squad for the current season
David De Gea finds himself in a similar situation. Being offered a new contract of £350,000 per week, it appears the great goalie is stalling in order to see whether Man Utd have a shot at Champions League football next season. Should they fail, De Gea’s weekly wage would decrease from £350,000 to £263,000.
With his one year extension triggered in summer, David De Gea could leave for free after this season. Should he be sold instead, he would most definitely bring in a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.
Why should Pogba be granted a move?
Pogba’s price falls the longer he reaches the end of his contract, in June 2021. With public knowledge that the Frenchman wants to leave, it gives Real Madrid the upper-hand in forcing a lower fee. Should they not find agreement and Pogba honours the full length of his contract, the Reds would be losing out on well over £100million.
Should the US owners have wanted at least £150million, he should have been some this summer. With only one year left after this season, the desperation to sell will drive a lower bargain for Zidane’s Madrid, his favoured destination.
Should Man Utd had the appropriate football staff to conduct such transfer negotiations, Pogba could have been sold for £150million this summer and had those funds turned into a brand new midfield for Solskjaer, solving almost every problem they currently have on the pitch.
Fans of the Reds are still waiting for confirmation that David De Gea will remain at the club for many years to come. But they could be waiting longer expected.
David De Gea’s contract would see the vice-captain goalkeeper receive £350,000 per week. Through social media, interactions with fans on on-pitch celebrations, it is evident that the Spaniard is in love with the club. So what is holding him back from signing the contract?
Man Utd has a 25% wage decrease when the squad fail to achieve Champions League football. Should the Reds fail to make the top four or to win the Europa League, his £350,000 per week would fall dramatically to £263,000.
De Gea is likely holding out until January where clubs can make formal offers to take him for free at the end of the season, as his one-year extension was triggered this summer.
Should Man Utd lose out on David De Gea, who can fill his boots between the sticks for the Reds?
Dean Henderson, 22, is a Man Utd player who returned to Sheffield United for a second loan spell this summer.
He made a name for himself in the Championship last season with the Blades as he helped the team gain promotion with 21 clean sheets. He proved himself enough to be selected for England’s under-21 2019 UEFA Euro Championship.
The Englishman has voiced his confidence in his ability to start for Man Utd. Solskjaer clearly believed in the youngster as they refused to sell him in summer but allowed him to be re-loaned to Sheffield United, the newcomers to the Premier League.
Should Henderson prove himself at a Premier League level this season, he could be in contention for first-team football with Man Utd next season.
Handanovic, 35, is Inter Milan’s 6 foot 3 goalkeeper who is one of the world’s best in his position.
With regards to the aforementioned Dean Henderson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer evidently favours the production of youth talent, meaning that Man Utd’s next long-serving goalkeeper may well come from within their own ranks.
At 35 years old, Handanovic could serve as a short term fix behind a very sturdy Man Utd defence in order to allow their youth to grow and be ready for first-team football.
Man Utd has eight contracts expiring at the end of the 19/20 campaign. One of which is David De Gea, who is rumoured to be extending his contract with the Reds. The Football Manc Cave have picked out two other players who must have their contracts renewed for the betterment of the club…
Man Utd is currently in the process of a ‘rebuild’. The team selections against Chelsea and Wolves saw last season’s regular starters either on the bench or sat at home. For example, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic, Ashley Young and Juan Mata. This demonstrates the inefficiencies of last seasons squad and how the Reds need to move on from the lacklustre side they have been in recent years.
Ashley Young could be an option as a rotation full-back. But with the likes of Diogo Dalot and Axel Tuanzebe able to perform in those positions, his services are likely to be unnecessary.
Nemanja Matic has the option for a further year, but his services should be ended if Man Utd can land a few decent midfielders in next summer’s transfer window, or January’s. Matic’s strengths do not align with the high-pressing, fast-paced and quick-thinking philosophies which Solskjaer is trying to instil into his squad.
Man Utd has several players who need moving on or having their contracts terminated. But which two contracts should Man Utd definitely extend and why?
This Dutch 21-year old is the type of player who doesn’t come by too often. He plays all across the backline as well as central defensive midfield. He has gained experience with Crystal Palace and Fulham on loan deals but was cursed with an injury last season.
Many ponder why this youngster isn’t in Man Utd’s first-team squad, especially with tremendous weaknesses in the central defensive midfield role.
If Fosu-Mensah can remain fit he would be a fantastic, versatile and talented squad player for the Reds.
Before Victor Lindelof became a fan favourite last season, most Man Utd fans agreed that Bailly was their best defender, when fit.
Bailly is perfect for Solskjaer’s Man Utd, he is good with the ball, only 25 years old and a very brave and committed defender. His ability to bring the ball out from the back is far beyond that of Chris Smalling’s and fairly superior to Phil Jones’, who both have crippling weaknesses in other areas.
With 7 senior defenders, Man Utd should offload Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, fetching the club around £50million. Leaving their best four defenders at Solskjaer’s discretion.
Bailly’s injuries have plagued his career with Man Utd so far. But a fully fit Eric Bailly could work well with both Maguire and Lindelof. Should they ever need a back three, Man Utd’s defence on paper would be impenetrable.
Should Man Utd’s medical team deem Bailly’s injury too serious, terminating his contract would be understandable.
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.
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.
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.
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!