Tag Archives: phil jones

Two reasons why Man Utd shouldn’t renew injury-prone defender’s contract

Man Utd is looking to renew the contract of an injured defender who contracts runs out next summer…

Although there have been obvious and exciting changes to Manchester United on the pitch, it appears the boardroom has stayed the same. According to reports, Man Utd want to extend Eric Bailly’s contract by triggering a 2-year extension.

The reason behind this is to ensure that the Ivorian defender doesn’t leave on a free transfer at the end of the current season.

This is insanely terrible business and management of the club, here are two reasons why…

Woodward never learns

Man Utd has been plagued with a ridiculous wage structure, Marcus Rashford earning more than Raheem Sterling says it all.

Bailly currently earns £120,000 a week, which will surely increase during negotiations of the contract extension. This means that Man Utd, once again, will not be able to sell the individual because they cannot match the player’s wages. We have seen this with Marcos Rojo failing to join Everton on deadline day.

In the coming years, Woodward will be trying to profit on a £30m transfer for Bailly from Villareal made in June 2016. With his high wages, his ever-increasing age and being very injury-prone, it is highly unlikely that any club would pay north for £30m or be willing to match or increase his wage.

7 is definitely a crowd

Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe are all senior centre-backs. This is far too many to establish defenders without pushing two or three players into the reserves.

Chris Smalling is far from a fan favourite. Phil Jones himself is injury prone but potentially more reliable than Eric Bailly.

It is great to have aggressive defenders who love a crunching tackle. But there are too many arguments as for why Eric Bailly should be let go from the club.

3 more players Man Utd need to shift before the Euro window closes

Man Utd should get rid of these three players before the season starts…

One saving grace to Man Utd’s summer transfer window could be the players they lose. In the European market, they can still purchase players from the Premier League until 2nd September. This has caused great confusion and speculation about the whereabouts of Paul Pogba.

Solskjaer has favoured the academy graduates of recent weeks, which proves that there is ‘dead wood’ within the squad.

There are some players in the Man Utd team who either deserve to be moved on or don’t deserve to stay. Here are the top three players that Man Utd should move on before the Premier League season really gets underway…

Phil Jones and/or Marcos Rojo

Chris Smalling is just about useful enough to be a rotation defender for Manchester United. The same cannot be said for Phil Jones or Marcos Rojo. As Axel Tuanzebe climbs the ranks and inches ahead of Smalling, Jones and Rojo in Solskjaer’s books, it’s time to move some defenders on.

Rojo was denied a move to Everton on deadline day. Could it be another defender who leaves, if any?

Nemanja Matic

Matic has been a fantastic Premier League player for both Chelsea and Man Utd. However, the Serbian’s stature and style is the polar opposite of what Solskjaer is trying to do.

Matic would be much better in a slower and more pragmatic league, such as Italy or the USA.

Tahith Chong or Angel Gomes

Hold your fire! I’m talking about a loan. These two fantastic young talents are good enough for first-team football, as seen in pre-season. Should Solskjaer’s squad have too much depth to see Chong or Gomes make a mark on the team this season, allowing them to gain some experience abroad could allow them to walk into first-team football next season.

Deserved: Two reasons why Man Utd are right to extend centre-backs stay

Swedish outlet Sportbladet reports new contract for Victor Lindelof, taking him to 2025 with Man Utd.

The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in Man Utd’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea was something Red Devils haven’t seen in years. Their defensive solidarity allows for the Reds to play the ball out from the back. The team can now attack with confidence as they trust the defensive barracks behind them.

Maguire signed a contract with Man Utd until 2025, with the option of extending a further year. Victor Lindelof, according to reports, is also being offered a contract until 2025. Coincidence? I think not.

The Football Manc Cave bring you 2 reasons why Victor Lindelof signing a new contract is essential to Man Utd’s future…

The perfect match

Maguire and Lindelof against Chelsea

Since Lindelof’s arrival at Man Utd, he has been playing alongside Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the majority of occasions. Two defenders who were completely dropped from the squad on the opening day this season.

Partnered with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof’s deficiency (aerial dominance) is covered.

Maguire acts as the rock of the defence, whilst Lindelof is slightly more nimble and can pull off last-ditch tackles and keep up with pacey attackers.

The way the newly wedded partners Maguire and Lindelof behaved, conducted and commanded the game against Chelsea was nothing short of outstanding. Solskjaer has landed himself one of the best defences in the league, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the mix.

Do one, Barca!

Reports over summer suggested Barcelona were interested in Victor Lindelof. Upon his arrival, the Swede struggled with the physicality of the Premier League. At this time, he would have been a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Lindelof’s quality suggests that he still is. However, the ‘Iceman’ has worked on his physicality, as well as aerial dominance and other areas he lacked in. This made him the first choice centre back for both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although the defender is not seen in the limelight, shouting and raving about his love for the club, his determination to improve himself and his weakness demonstrates that he is the perfect fit for Man Utd.

Making him all the more likely to see a renewed contract as a reward, and not as a hurdle in stepping up to a bigger European club.

Solskjaer has instilled a fighting team spirit. Soon, the squad will be drilled in winning everything, every time, just like the old days.

His management kept Paul Pogba committed to the club, so keeping Lindelof should be a breeze.

Man Utd can score goals but are one injury away from the inadequacy of last season – Agree?

The dark cloud over Old Trafford appears to be fading. What does Man Utd’s 4-0 thrashing over Lampard mean for the Red Devils as they march on?

No honest Man Utd or Chelsea fan can admit they saw that coming. Despite Chelsea having moments of showing how they can find themselves in dangerous areas, the attacks were always snuffed.

Man Utd and Chelsea are in similar situations, both have a much weaker squad than they have done in the years gone by, both feel they are underachieving and both are managed by a club legend.

This occasion was truly boys versus men. Man Utd allowed Chelsea the arrogance to try and bring the game to the Reds on their home turf, backfiring 4 goals from 5 shots on target. Which leads on to the first key thing we learned from Solskjaer’s 4-0 win…

Clinical United

Romelu Lukaku’s departure from the club left many fans scratching their heads. Where on Earth was Manchester United going to get their goals from?

If Man Utd had just beaten Norwich, Sheffield Utd or Newcastle 4-0, with respect to those clubs, there would still be concern about how Man Utd will cope this season.

However, in a campaign where Man Utd are fighting for 4th place with Chelsea and Arsenal, the Reds have already sent one of them to the bins. With a fairly given penalty buried by Rashford, he continued to show how much bottle he has.

A real number nine goal for Man Utd’s number nine. It saw Man Utd play it out to the wing, whipped in across goal from Pereira and met in front of the net by Anthony Martial to make it 2-0.

Merely seconds later, a beautiful pass behind the Chelsea defence came from a quiet Paul Pogba, controlled and slotted home by Marcus Rashford. Challenging Martial for his striker spot.

Finally, a dream debut for substitute Daniel James. As Pogba drove forward, the Welsh speedster caught up to him on his right-hand side, was played in and buried it home.

Basically, Man Utd can score goals this season.

Ole agrees! Team selection

Man Utd fans worldwide disagree on many things, to the abuse of players, to the ownership to how nice the new strip is. But one thing they all agree on is that Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Nemanja Matic are crucial to why Man Utd will fail this season.

Be it silly mistakes, lack of quality or inability to keep up with the new style of play; Solskjaer gave none of them game time today.

It is positive for fans to see their club moving forward, after falling behind for so many years. It appears the concerns of the fans are also the concerns of Solskjaer and all are on the same page with how this Man Utd team should look, behave and perform. Unfortunately, the Reds are merely and injury or two away from having an inadequate squad.

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.

Two qualities Maguire will finally bring to Man Utd’s backline

Harry Maguire has completed his long-awaited move to Old Trafford. Here is how one man from Sheffield can fix Manchester United.

Harry Maguire has become the world’s most expensive defender after joining Man Utd from Leicester for a reported fee of £80million.

Fans of the great Red Devils have been keen on bringing in a new defender for many years, particularly after the frequent injuries of Eric Bailly.

Maguire was in the spotlight during England’s 2018 World Cup in Russia. The centre-half pitched in with goals and assists in a competition which brought the nation together over the love of football, making a name for himself on the biggest stage.

Regardless of the huge price tag, public interviews and interactions with Harry Maguire show him to be a very humble and hard-working professional. Solskjaer has added a great character to his dressing-room. But what has he added to what we see on the pitch?

Ball playing centre-half

Manchester United struggle immensely with bringing the ball out from the back. The only top-quality defender in the side, Victor Lindelof, has begun to do this more often since the arrival of Solskjaer, to great effect.

However, pre-season taught us that Rojo, Smalling and Jones are incapable of playing from the back. Often running into trouble and losing the ball.

By having Harry Maguire in the squad, there will be two defenders able to carry the ball forward, preventing the fear of leaving a weakness alone at the back. Maguire completed 17 ‘take-ons’ last season. This is more than any other centre back in the Premier League.

So, not only is Maguire capable of bringing the ball into the midfield, he is one of the best at it.

Aerial wins

Solskjaer’s defence falls apart from set-pieces. They are completely lost when it comes to handling aerial threats in their own box.

This is where the ex-Leicester City man steps in. According to the following statistic from a football statistician who is frequently seen on MUTV, “Harry Maguire won 73% of his duels in the Premier League last season, Virgil van Dijk (76%) was the only CB with a better success rate (minimum 2000 minutes played).”

Therefore, David De Gea will have two fantastic defenders in front of him. Capable of dealing with a multitude of threats.

With Harry Maguire’s aerial abilities and desire to transition the ball into midfield, you can expect this Man Utd side to concede fewer and score more. A great signing for Manchester United.

Look forward to it Man Utd fans. How many stoppage-time headers will Maguire score this season?

2 strengths, 2 weakness that will get Man Utd a top-four finish in the league

Solskjaer’s rebuild of Manchester United looks promising as Man Utd win their first two games of pre-season.

Manchester United have begun their pre-season tour with two victories. The Reds beat Perth Glory 2-0 and then went on to crush Leeds United 4-0. Though being lower-tier clubs than Man Utd, fans saw glimpses of what Solskjaer is instilling into his squad.

The coaching staff have vigorously trained the boys, even having double sessions on several occasions.

Solskjaer will have a full pre-season under his belt, and it looks as though the Red Devils are on their way to being fully prepared for the 18/19 campaign.

Here are 2 strengths this Manchester United squad have that can place them in the top four…

High Intensity

The high pressing has been notable in the two pre-season games so far. This is something we haven’t seen for years. Previous managers took a defence-first approach which made pressing high up the field almost impossible for the players.

In the Premier League, a high level of intensity and constant pressure is a key ingredient to success.

Back on the saddle

Solskjaer has mentioned a rebuild on several occasions, and also revealed that each player will start with a clean slate. After a full break and a full pre-season, we could see a totally different Manchester United next season.

The disappointment of last season and the seasons before should spur the Reds on as their closest rivals both grabbed silverware at the end of last season.

Manchester United are far from having a world-class team who can be aiming for several trophies each season. The following weaknesses at Man Utd could destroy the dream of the reds having a great season for the first time in six years.

Defensive clown show

This could be entirely fixed by bringing in Harry Maguire. Manchester United need a solid defender who can protect the Reds from conceding as many set pieces as they have in recent years. The purchase of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has already massively improved the defence.

Chris Smalling struggles on the ball, and Phil Jones is extremely unreliable. Eric Bailly is prone to injury and Marcos Rojo is prone to red cards. Axel Tuanzebe may not yet be in contention to start for Man Utd. This leaves Man Utd with one reliable and high-quality defender; Victor Lindelof.

Slow negotiations

An unfortunate weakness with the Manchester United board. The Reds are terrible at securing transfers and a long time to negotiate with other clubs in order to spend as little money as possible.

This could mean that Man Utd don’t get the players they require to rebuild the Man Utd squad. Which would mean they are in for a very difficult season.

‘Are Man Utd fans seriously gloating about beating a Leeds Utd 11’

Manchester is buzzing, and so is Twitter after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd side beat Leeds United 4-0 in a friendly match in Perth, Australia.

Goals from Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial have left Manchester United fans ecstatic. The stunning performance compared to the slow and drab football of last season, was night and day.

Solskjaer’s high pressing team of exciting youngsters like Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Gomes, Chong and James made for quite the spectacle against Leeds United.

Young players are where the fan excitement is coming from so far. They have demonstrated energy, quality and professionalism in both pre-season games.

However, there are always opposing fans who can bring Man Utd down to Earth. Man Utd’s men have faced Australian League side Perth Glory and Championship side Leeds so far in pre-season.

The general feel in the Man Utd camp is that their performance so far has showed signs of significant improvement since last season. However, there are still steps that must be taken to see Man Utd not have a season like their last.

Solskjaer faces a much tougher opponent in Inter Milan on Saturday 20th July in Singapore.

Barcelona eyes up Man Utd centre back, 2 reasons why he has to stay

Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof finds himself on Barcelona’s radar this summer according to the Mundo Deportivo.

Nightmares are becoming reality for Manchester United fans. Hasan Cetinkaya, Victor Lindelof’s agent, said that “Lindelof is in the orbit of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club.”

Barcelona has recently signed Frenkie De Jong, who happens to be under the same agent as Lindelof. According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona has made several enquiries about Lindelof, being shown the ‘not for sale’ sign on each occasion.

The Man Utd centre-back partnership had been chopped and changed throughout the season, as both managers looked to find their best defensive set-up, both concluding that a better defender needs to be signed for the club.

In recent weeks, Manchester United have been linked with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, as the reds fight for a new, solid centre-half who they hoped would partner up with Lindelof.

However, it is highly suggested that the most likely outcome will be Harry Maguire to Manchester United, and Umtiti may see himself at PSG involving a swap deal for Neymar, Barca Blaugranes reports.

Most Manchester United would much rather see Lindelof remain at the club for many years. Here is why…

The only top quality centre back

Lindelof was by far the fan favourite defender last season. After scrutiny over the quality of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and the injury-prone Eric Bailly. The ‘Ice-Man’ Victor Lindelof showed great improvement throughout the campaign and shone under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho.

Lonely Lindelof needs a long-term partner

Manchester United fans were delighted to hear that Victor Lindelof would finally have a defensive partner who can competently guard David De Gea between the sticks. Unfortunately for them, Barcelona would be a huge upgrade on Manchester United. Should Lindelof push for a move away, and have Maguire step in to replace him, there would still be only one competent defender surrounded other defenders who are not fit to be challenging for titles in the top tier of English football.

Manchester United’s rebuild should be entirely based on an improved defence, something Jose Mourinho fought for since 2017.

Loan, Buy & Sell: Man Utd’s definitive transfer guide

What can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do with the remainder of this summer transfer window with Manchester United?

In a recent interview with MUTV, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated: “We have been good in the market so far and we’re still working on a case or two.

The Football Manc Cave are aware that Man United are currently chasing the signatures of Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Sean Longstaff, amongst others who appear low-priority.

However, Manchester United are in need of a huge overhaul in the squad, by preparing youth on loan, selling players who don’t fit the mould and bringing in players who do.

So, aside from the aforementioned three players who appear likely to sign for Solskjaer’s Red Devils. What other business can be done to provide Manchester United with a top 4 finish next season?

Loan

Axel Tuanzebe spent last season on loan to Aston Villa, where he helped clinch them a promotion amongst a stadium of fans singing his name. It is fair to say that this youngster should be given first-team football with the reds next season. However, there are a few players who could follow suit and return ready for first-team action.

Should Mason Greenwood not be part of next season’s plans, for whatever mind-boggling reason. He should be loaned to a Championship side to gain first-team experience in a highly competitive competition. Regarding the immense quality of Greenwood, compared to the lack of quality of Manchester United, he should not be loaned to a Premier League side as he could potentially carry them to a position higher than his parent club. The same could be said for the likes of James Garner and Angel Gomes who may not see much action in the upcoming campaign.

Sell

This would be music to Manchester United fan’s ears, a long list of players to get rid of as soon as possible. There is no animosity towards the individuals, other than the fact that they are simply not good enough to play for the most successful team in English football.

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic and Ashley Young have provided recent performances that show the world that they are not fit to be a part of a title-challenging team.

The likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, and Jesse Lingard have been in the spotlight for their off-field antics whilst providing barely a spark on the pitch last season.

These players should be left out of the Manchester United squad in order to preserve the quality and integrity of the club. With Jesse Lingard being a youth-product and an ambassador of the club, he may well deserve another chance to prove himself in the red shirt.

Buy

It isn’t a secret that Manchester United are fighting for Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, who would undoubtedly strengthen the creativity and solidarity of the team. However, an established right-winger and a more technically gifted striker could complete the rebuild of Solskjaer’s squad.

On the right-wing, Jadon Sancho would fit perfectly with his ability to cope with modern football as well as the culture of Manchester United. Where the right-winger has always been the type of character to get fans off their seats.

In terms of a striker, Manchester United need an intelligent, tactically aware, prolific finisher to stand up top and cause nightmares for the defence. Solskjaer should be looking at the likes of Arsenal’s Aubameyang or even ex-Chelsea man Diego Costa.

Should these goals be unattainable, Solskjaer could always stick on his boots and show the Man United forwards how it should be done.

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