Inaki Williams opens up about Man Utd contacting him regarding a move to Old Trafford, just before the striker signed a nine-year deal with Athletic Bilbao…
Man Utd missed out on yet another transfer, Inaki Williams. A forward who favours the right-wing, but can comfortably perform across the front three positions. This is very similar to Man Utd’s current set-up of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James.
The versatility of the 25-year-old striker fits well with Solskjaer’s desired mould. But the player’s loyalties to the club he calls home is what hindered the opportunity to sign him.
Is it a measurement of Man Utd’s downfall that they failed to attract a forward player who has never contributed to more than 17 goals in a single league campaign?
With rumours of Man Utd’s keen interest in 19-year-old Bundesliga superstar Jadon Sancho, perhaps it was for the best that Williams remained at Athletic Bilbao. As this may have disrupted Man Utd’s chances of sealing their best signing since Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, the speedy forward Inaki Williams could have served well as a rotational forward player. A role that Lukaku would not accept, hence his departure.
Should this of been the case, and Man Utd signed Williams before going on to sign Sancho, their forward firepower including Martial, Greenwood, James and Rashford would be absolutely terrifying. Certainly one of quickest forward line ups in European football.
Until Man Utd sign at least one midfielder and a right-winger, their squad is arguably on par with that of Leicester City’s. Making this season a very difficult one. But Solskjaer has assured the public that Man Utd are taking their time in signing the right players with the right mindset.
Man Utd fixed their defence in summer, with two fantastic transfers. But after the departure of Ander Herrera with no replacement, their midfield is looking like the bane of their bid for top four. If Man Utd want any chance of Champions League football next season, they must sign one of these three midfielders in January…
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s promise to rebuild the squad looked like a smokescreen due to the state of the squad after the summer transfer window. But after offloading many “non-fan favourites” to Italian clubs, things looked on the up once again. Now, reports are suggesting that Solskjaer and Woodward have met to discuss the reinvestment of the £75million sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan.
Perhaps the Man Utd board are beginning to take the club’s legacy seriously.
With funds available in January, and Man Utd in dire need of a new midfield, Solskjaer should target one of the following midfielders, if not all of them…
Man Utd might have to look over at their sixth place competitors Leicester City once again. Having already signed Harry Maguire from the club in summer.
Their attacking midfielder James Maddison created more chances than any other player in the Premier League last season. Which is exactly what Man Utd are lacking quality in.
Furthermore, the 22-year-old fits in with Solskjaer’s requirements of being young, hungry and clued up on English football.
Man Utd has no commanding midfielders. The 34-year old’s contract is up come to the end of the season and can replace Nemanja Matic as the experienced talent to run the midfield.
Despite being a senior player, and not exactly fit the mould of a typical Solskjaer target. Having one of the world’s best midfielders to help out for 18 months whilst the manager perfects the squad can cause little to no harm.
Man Utd scouts have been enjoying the watch of Benfica’s defensive midfield maestro Florentino Luis. Having a competent defensive midfielder is crucial to this Man Utd side as Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay does not excel under the pressure of this role.
Having a natural, young talent guarding the back four, will allow Pogba and McTominay to flourish in their preferred positions of an advanced box-to-box midfielder.
Was letting Lukaku leave the right option for Man Utd?
It appears that Lukaku is not happy unless he is part of a team who have high aspirations. However, upon joining Man Utd it was clear that the club was in no position to be fighting for big trophies. Furthermore, Lukaku would get nowhere near the two teams fighting for the Premier League; Man City and Liverpool.
This means that the Belgian knew he would not find success in English football, hence the move abroad.
Solskjaer’s new system involves high pressing and high intensity play, a stark contract to Inter Milan’s slow and pragmatic football. This is why the forward fits his new club much more than his previous club in Manchester.
Lukaku scored a typical Lukaku goal, a tap-in during a 4-0 win over Lecce for Inter Milan. But close inspection of the game demonstrates the issues in Lukaku’s game, his first touch, passing and out-of-the-box involvement is utterly abysmal. Not even Sunday league quality.
With recent business on Man Utd’s end, there is a reason to believe that Solskjaer is ridding the squad of players who don’t wish to be part of the story. Will this come back to bite him? With Martial’s injury likely to see him stay home as Man Utd face Southampton, it appears so.
Fernando Llorente is closing in on 200 career goals at the age of 34. The Spaniard has been rumoured to join Man Utd since deadline day, as he currently finds himself a free-agent.
With Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and as it stands, Alexis Sanchez, why would bringing in a 34-year-old striker be beneficial to Man Utd’s bid to get top four this season?
He certainly doesn’t fit the bill for the type of player that Solskjaer favours working with. However, without Romelu Lukaku the Reds find themselves without a target man. Standing at 6 foot 3, he could be the only forward capable of turning in headers from the elite crossers such as Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot that Man Utd have in their ranks.
Many fans worry that the introduction of a striker would steal game time away from Man Utd’s young prodigy Mason Greenwood. However, at 34 years of age and unlikely to sign a deal of more than one year with the club, Solskjaer will use him as the right tool for the right job. For example, 0-0 against a team with tall defenders with acres of space on the wings would allow the Reds to have a target to him from those positions.
With Romelu Lukaku departing for Inter Milan and Alexis Sanchez in talks with the exact same Italians, Solskjaer would only have three strikers at his disposal.
Man Utd’s board over summer lived up to the fans expectations by disappointing them massively by strengthening one area whilst weakening the other. Should Man Utd see Martial, Rashford, Greenwood or multiple at once receive injuries, there would be a huge cause for concern upfront.
As the transfer window is now shut, Man Utd’s two options are pulling youth into first-team football or signing a player without a club.
Manchester United went from having one of the worst defences in the top half of the league, to have one of the best defences in Europe after the Summer transfer window. In January, Solskjaer has to bolster his midfield and attack with rumours of Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez seeking departures from the club…
Rumours of Man Utd’s interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho circulated during the transfer window. The young English winger’s asking price is over £100million.
Sancho recently signed a £190,000 per week contract with the German side. This will allow his current side to be in a strong position during the inevitable transfer negotiations, that will ensure from the top European clubs over the coming twelve months. He was part of Man City’s youth set up before Dortmund swooped in and stole him for around £7million.
Bringing in a 19-year-old to help the country’s biggest club gain top four would often be dismissed as ridiculous. However, Sancho has proved to be one of the most exciting talents in world football…
Why does Man Utd want Jadon Sancho?
Man Utd is in desperate need of a right-winger. Their current set-up almost looks as though they have abandoned that area of the pitch. Requiring Aaron Wan-Bissaka to rush forward, added one more to the many responsibilities he already has.
Man Utd’s first two games in the Premier League showed vast improvements from last season. But the Reds are lacking creativity and intelligence in the final third, having only Juan Mata and Paul Pogba who fit the bill. Mata, who is too slow to impact a pressing side, and Pogba who doesn’t want to be there anymore.
Could Man Utd have their first English number 7 since Michael Owen come January? If they do, Champions League football may not be such a long shot for the side.
Reports have come out that Solskjaer wants to be rid of Alexis Sanchez, but is that the best move for Man Utd?
Alexis Sanchez has had a difficult time at Man Utd since arriving in the January 2018 transfer window. According to The Sun, Solskjaer has banished Sanchez from the first team, and will be playing with the reserves should he refuse a loan move, likely to be to Roma.
Last season, during a tough spell for Solskjaer at Man Utd, the Norwegian manager claimed that he will be ‘ruthless’ with his squad. This could be the result of rumoured and confirmed departures such as Romelu Lukaku, Marcos Rojo and Alexis Sanchez. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones being completely dropped from the squad against Chelsea was also a big statement from the manager.
However, players such as Smalling, Jones, Matic and Lukaku were wanted out of the squad due to either a lack of quality or being a misfit to Solskjaer’s plan.
With Alexis Sanchez, he doesn’t fall under any of those concerns…
Why should Man Utd keep Sanchez?
The Chilean is, on paper, one of the best players in world football. He came into a struggling and declining squad who were out of favour with their manager. Playing a very defensive and pragmatic style, Sanchez’s strengths of passing in behind the defence and being involved in close-controlled intricate play were made void.
With Solskjaer’s new system of high-pressing and counter-attacking football, it would allow Sanchez to shine. Sanchez is a hunter for the ball, even last season, he pressed high and chased possession endlessly.
At times we saw glimpses of the type of pass the Chilean can pull off, but lack of quality and movement also made this trait void.
Having such a highly regarded player in the squad who fits the new system should be given the same opportunity to prove himself as other players did during pre-season.
It appears Solskjaer favours the youth. Removing Romelu Lukaku has made space for Mason Greenwood on the bench. Would involving Sanchez remove his spot?
In a season where Man Utd have a large number of games (having Europa League football) and a lack of squad depth, perhaps keeping Sanchez for another year wouldn’t be so bad after all.
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!
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…
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…
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.
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.
Is Mario Mandzukic the right option for Man Utd to be spending their deadline day on? Here is what Twitter has to say…
Whilst one user sees sense in the last minute purchase of the striker…
Other’s aren’t so keen.
Mandzukic scored 9 goals and assisted 6 in 25 games during Serie A last season. With his physical presence, he could be a rotational striker for Man Utd successfully. Using the right tool for the right job.
However, this Man Utd fan would totally disagree…
Will the striker be a Man Utd player before the deadline? And if he does, how effective will he be for the side?