All posts by Diarmuid Gillingham

My name is Diarmuid Gillingham and I am nineteen years old. Despite the English Surname I'm from Ireland. That's right, I live about twenty minutes away from where Roy Keane grew up. It goes without saying I am a massive Manchester United fan. Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick are my favourite players at the club, which I think says more about how I feel the game should be played than I could write with twenty lines here. Football, photography and writing are my passions in life. So if you are curious to find out if my any good, you can contact me a number of ways.

LVG one of many recruitment mistakes

Let’s lay out some of the facts. Manchester United have picked up a mere 3 points from a possible 18 in their last 6 games. This includes no wins and only 3 goals. That poor form has led to Manchester United having their lowest points total in their  Premier League history. Ever lower than the famous David Moyes season. Even then the club was still in the Capital One Cup and into the last 16 of Europe. Neither claim can be made by Van Gaal and his men.

The poor results have left the Dutchman with a win ratio of less than 50%.  These games have not come against top sides. Leicester was the only side in that group with realistic Champions league ambitions. With all this in mind it would be very easy to point the finger at Van Gaal for everything. While he must take the blame for the boring style of football and questionable team selections. One problem has persisted at the club for many years now. It goes back as far as Sir Alex Ferguson. That problem is recruitment. What many fans may find shocking is that Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal are all to blame.

Van Gaal and his coaching staff look on.
Van Gaal and his coaching staff look on

The ironic twist to all this is that if Manchester United had done half as well over the last 5 years in the transfer market as they have in the commercial one the club would be walking away with the current Premier League title race. The poor judgment includes selling too many players, selling the wrong players, letting talented players leave for nothing, buying poorly and overspending. If you were to grade the clubs transfer activity since the day Paul Pogba walked out for nothing you would give them a D+ at best.

Sadly losing a talented youth product is not an isolated incident at the club any more. The poor judgement of players goes back as far as 2007 with Gerard Pique. The now World Cup and Champions league winner was sold for £6 million while Sir Alex decided Jonny Evans who moved to West Brom last summer was the better prospect. While in more recent times two former strikers who came up from the clubs academy have come back to haunt the club in the form of Josh King and Danny Welbeck. While few would argue King was a loss to the club many fans still feel disgruntled at the sale of England international Welbeck. While the club has brought in a younger striker in Martial, his goal return ratio so far would not back up the theory that Welbeck was surplus to requirements.

Welbeck scores the winner at Old Trafford
Welbeck scores the winner at Old Trafford

Before Manchester United fans could always argue that any player who left the club never achieved as much at their new club as Manchester United was achieving. This even includes the loss of big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Everywhere was a step down from Manchester United. This has changed in recent seasons, even if we look at the last two seasons  Former players Danny Welbeck, Patrice Evra, Rafael Da Silva, Angel Di Maria and Javier Hernandez are all at clubs that have reached the last 16 of the Champions league. There is now life after Manchester United and it’s very enjoyable for many. The club has let go of many players that are still capable of playing at the highest level, while not bringing in enough replacements. A problem made evident by the sheer lack of numbers in the squad.

The Mexican now has 17 goals in 14 games in Germany as Manchester United struggle for goals.
The Mexican now has 17 goals in 14 games in Germany as Manchester United struggle for goals.

The club has also bought poorly in recent years. While some players have been successes such as Ander Herrera and Morgan Schneiderlin the problem can be shown to its full extent with a few comparisons. In 2010 Manchester United signed Bebe for £7.4 million. Sir Alex Ferguson later admitted he had never seen the player play. Little wonder when he only signed his first professional contract a few weeks previous. Had Sir Alex seen Bebe play he surely would not have made the purchase. While mistakes happen, in recent weeks Manchester United have been linked with a multimillion pound move for Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriquez. In the same summer that Bebe went to Manchester United, Porto signed Rodriquez, for just £5 million despite the fact he scored 5 goals in 7 for Banfield in the Copa Libertadores which is the South American equivalent to the Champions League. It was almost like the club was determined to prove they were smarter than  everybody else by finding a gem nobody had heard about while ignoring a prospect attracting the attention of many of Europe’s leading powers.

The signings of Marouane Fellaini and Nick Powell a little closer to home come as the more obvious examples. In the summer that the club signed Marouane Fellaini for over £27 million, Tottenham bought Christian Eriksen another “Number 10” for just £11 million.  While Fellaini is used as a scapegoat by many United fans, Eriksen has gone onto be one of Tottenham’s leading men as they compete with Manchester United for a top 4 spot. Which player fits into the philosophy of the club more? Manchester United have also wasted millions on big names signings such as Di Maria, Falcao and Zaha.

Could Wilfred Zaha have provided more pace than Juan Mata out right this season?
Could Wilfred Zaha have provided more pace than Juan Mata out right this season?

As mentioned above the final example I will mention is of Nick Powell and Deli Ali. If any two young midfielders have made an impact in the football in recent years it has been these two. While it seemed like a good signing at the time, Nick Powell one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signings has failed to deliver. Problems with injuries on the pitch and discipline off it have meant that the one – time prodigy like so many others seems to have missed his chance. While on the other hand Ali has impressed consistently for Tottenham so much so he looks set to be a major part of England’s plans for the European Championships in France next summer. What makes it worse was that Manchester United could have signed Ali soon after Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford. The boy had a chance to impress and he did just that, dominating the Manchester United midfield as the MK Dons beat United 4-0 in the Capital One cup. The talented young man who would be scoring goals in the Premier League 12 months later, ripped United apart in front of their very eyes and yet they did nothing about it. A far cry from the days, when Manchester United made a move for Cristiano Ronaldo, just hours after he had impressed in a pre – season game. How no coach or player spoke up and said something similar about Ali is only a mystery. But in reality fans can say the same thing about many of the recruitment decisions at Old Trafford in recent times.

Who is Andreas Pereira?

Who is Andreas Pereira?

Who is Andreas Pereira

With players of the talent of Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and now Memphis Depay at the club it is hard to see where the little Brazilian would fit in at Manchester United. A club who’s spending has only begun this summer. Or at least that’s what many fans hope. Yet even with that spending if one player is going to make the step up from the Under 21 side to the first team this season it will be Andreas Pereira.

THE SEASON AHEAD FOR PEREIRA

The little Brazilian has had a long yet very successful campaign, in particular on an individual level for both club and country. He has received high praise including from teammate Marouane Fellaini who said “Andreas is a big talent. I think the club did everything to sign him up to a contract because a lot of teams wanted him. He has to continue like that, to work hard and to keep going and try to win his place.” The 19 year old played a massive role in helping the red devils win the under 21 league title. Playing a central role in terms of position and involvement. The playmaker also made his debut this season in the disappointing 4-0 defeat to the MK Dons. He made his premier league debut at Old Trafford against top four hopefuls Tottenham. For Brazil he helped them reach the under 20 world cup final. Scoring a wonderful individual goal in the final against Serbian teammate Vanja Milinkovic as Brazil lost 2-1 in the final. All of this has got Manchester United fans salivating like a dog waiting for his bone. It is an opportunity that the player himself is also looking forward too. He said this after signing a new contract this season. Ending fears he would leave to join former Manchester United players Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba at Juventus. “I am pleased to have signed my new contract,” the youngster told ManUtd.com. “I would like to thank the manager for giving me the opportunity to join the first-team squad. I made my Premier League debut against Tottenham Hotspur and to play at Old Trafford in front of so many fans was a dream come true.” If last season is anything to go by that “dream” will be become a reality on a regular basis.

PEREIRA’S STYLE OF PLAY

He is a very versatile play in terms of what position he can play. For the Manchester United under 21 side he played primarily centrally while for Brazil in the under 20 World Cup this summer he came in a lot from the left. While playing centrally he often drifts like a ghost out to both wings making him very difficult to mark. In this drifting he often drops deep giving him the opportunity to play killer passes often exploiting the space between centre and full back. When looking at young players you can’t help but compare them to already established players. When he drops deep he plays the offensive side of Michael Carrick’s game to great effect. He spreads the ball to either side of the pitch with ease and is willing to drop a few yards back to create the space to receive the ball. Periera seems to have little issue with taking one step back in order to take two forward.

You cannot ignore that goal in the under 20 world cup. If Lionel Messi had scored it he would be talking about it for weeks. The confidence to take on the first man, he desire to not go down after the first tackle, the bravery to push the ball forward and drive between the other defenders was simply a sight to behold. If that was not enough he turns back inside to curl a shot into the back of the net. A bit of a footballing master class fans often see in a deeper role. A role in which he seems to prefer. He is a very different player to anything Manchester United have at the moment. Personally if I had to compare him to anybody it would be Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Let’s just hope he is not as injury prone as the former Barcelona man.

Whatever happens next season for the Brazilian it is clear that he is a very talented footballer who would give the team a different type of threat. Unique threats can change a game as teams have to make special allowances to deal with it. Marouane Fellaini is a great example of that. Chelsea had to put Kurt Zouma in midfield to deal with the Belgian. With so many young players in the squad such as Luke Shaw, Paddy Mc Nair and James Wilson the boy will not look out of place on the senior game. Whether that is at the Theatre of Dreams or elsewhere on loan is another question. None the less he is ready to make an impact in the premier league and play his part in one of the greatest footballing stories ever told.

Manchester United Transfers – My Top 5

Manchester United Transfer News

Manchester United Transfers – My Top 5

Manchester United transfers are slim on the ground but the silly season of Manchester United transfer rumours started weeks ago. With the signing of Memphis Depay and the departure of Colombian striker Radamel Falcao we have some concrete deals to look at but with regards others? As I said it is the silly season. And I have a confession to make, the transfer window is not even open yet and already I am sick of it. Like so many football fans I am tired of the false hope that newspapers and social media gives us. But that is the list I am going to work off for this piece.

The other thing I find frustrating about the window and especially being a fan of this great club is that we are linked with everybody. Therefore very few fans actually sit down and think “Why would I want this right back over another?” and even if they do that we very seldom question how they will fit into a squad. We as fans just say if he’s a good player he will do great.

In my own opinion Manchester United need six new players if they are to compete with the new European champions F.C Barcelona. It’s not about buying the six best players available it’s about so much more. Louis Van Gaal will need to consider the incoming players personalities, the language they speak, do they have premier league experience and their ages just to name a few things. So here are the six players I would like to see at Manchester United next season. It is a mix of who I think might be available and out of that who the best options would be. I am doing this under the assumption that the following players will have left the club either on a permanent or temporarily basis. David De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jonny Evans, Anders Lindegaard, Javier Hernandez, Nick Powell, Nani, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard.

Hugo lloris

Many of us came to the conclusion that when Manchester United signed Victor Valdes it was a sign that David De Gea would be on his way to Real Madrid in the summer. As the days go by this looks more and more likely to happen. I can’t help but think Valdes was promised the number one shirt for the season coming. It is very difficult do judge Valdes even on his time at Barcelona as so often Barcelona won games so comfortably that the goalkeeper will often not have to make many saves of notice. One thing Lloris has going for him is that he has plenty of Premier League experience after three years in London. David De Gea has many positive attributes but one mark you could put against him is that he does not shout at his defence a lot. He does not command his box the same way Edwin Van Der Sar and Peter Schmeichel did. As Tottenham and France captain Lloris has such qualities in abundance. The only reason I have gone for Hugo over Lloris over Peter Cech is because I do not believe Cech will get off his line as quickly as his French counterpart. Something that is important in a side that often plays a highline the way United do.

Nathaniel Clyne

Currently Manchester United have a young side, too young if anything, but with player like Van Persie, Rooney, Di Maria, Valencia and Young all in their late 20’s at least as well as the players I would sign. The Manchester United team could become a lot older very quickly so I decided I had to axe one potential older signing and that was Dani Alves – now extended his contract at Barcelona so out of the picture anyway. The second option I’m going to put off the table is Dani Carvajal. This is because I don’t think it will work signing two La Liga defenders at once and expect them to adapt to the Premier League. This is part of the balance I referred to earlier. With that out of the way it became a straight fight between Clyne and Seamus Coleman. I have gone for Clyne because I believe he is the more defensively responsible defender. Which bodes well with the very attacking Shaw. Clyne is well able to attack but even at such a young age he does not forget his defensive duties. He is very consistent and you are always guaranteed a 7 out of 10 from him. Mind you if we do sign Coleman I would have zero complaints.

Nicolás Otamendi

A few weeks ago I knew very little about the player but after a bit of research and the unlikelihood of Matt Hummels signing for the red side of Manchester I do believe he would be our best bet. Even if he is a little pricy. I would also point out the majority of his experience is of the Portuguese league. The performances of Eliaquim Mangala at Manchester City should not fill me with confidence about Otamendi’s ability to adapt to the English game. Otamendi is being dubbed as the new Vidic. If that is the case let’s hope it does not take him a long time to adapt. On the other side the Argentine has being one of La Liga’s most consistent performers. Also the prospect of a partnership for both club and country with Markus Rojo will be an exciting prospect for everybody. I strongly believe this transfer will be a massive risk, but one worth taking.

Morgan Schneiderlin

I do believe that Morgan Schneiderlin is a must buy for Manchester United. At £25 million, the club will have a proven Premier League performer who is gradually working his way into the scene with the French national side. Since the World Cup he has played a part in the majority of his countries games. Schneiderlin will be able to slot into the role of Carrick seamlessly. He moves the ball very well in terms of accuracy and forward motion. He would be an upgrade on Blind who seems to have adapted to the Premier League better as a left back. I do believe Scheiderlin would fall into the category of squad player along with the likes of Valencia, Jones and the already mentioned Blind.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

The last two decisions I have to make will depend a lot on each other. A lot of this is to do with leadership qualities. Something in which Manchester United are lacking. Schweinsteiger is the obvious leader of the two players under question for me – I did consider Ilkay Gundogan. He also is a warrior, who leaves nothing off the pitch. Schweinsteiger also has a very close relationship with Louis Van Gaal. Like I said the other option I looked at was Ilkay Gundogan who is a more subtle and creative footballer. There is a false perception in the footballing world that Ilkay Gundogan has poor fitness levels but despite one horrific injury he has a very good appearance ratio for Dortmund. He is also the much younger option. Overall I would have to side with the Schweinsteiger party this summer.

Karim Benzema

I would prefer Thomas Muller for many reasons. He can play in many positions. Rooney would be left up front without any drama from the press and like Schweinsteiger has a very close relationship with Louis Van Gaal. He is a more winner with great self – belief. Sadly the chances of Bayern selling two players to United are very small. So I have sided with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. I do not believe Benzema is one of Europe’s most underrated strikers. He is the most underrated striker. Players such as Bale, Ronaldo and Rodriguez seem to steal the majority of the headlines. He is a very classy finisher and would add a much needed ruthlessness to the Manchester United forward line. A certain Angel Di Maria was often responsible for his goals in the Spanish capital and the possibility of seeing that partnership in the Premier League gets tails wagging to say the least.

Morgan Schneiderlin not the solution Manchester United

Morgan Schneiderlin Manchester United

Why Morgan Schneiderlin is not the solution at Manchester United

With Arsenal winning the FA Cup final the English football season has run it’s course. All of England’s footballing giants will have to sit back in envy as Juventus take on Barcelona in the Champions League final. This of course includes Manchester United. In my own opinion Louis Van Gaal achieved the bare minimum this season to avoid criticism. He achieved what he was hired for by reaching the top four while at the same time having to deal with a near cruel amount of injuries. On the other hand it has to be mentioned that the football was painful to watch at times. On top of this the short cup runs made the season a frustrating one for the Stretford End.

So often in football the solution to a problem is to throw money at it. Manchester United as a fan base and management brag the Red Devils are the biggest club in the world. To do this the club needs to be winning titles at both home and abroad. So where will those hard earned pounds be going this summer. In the last few days reports suggest that much of it will be spent on the Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, who is valued between £20 and £25 million pounds. The first question is, is he worth that much? The second, is he the quality Manchester United need to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea and Europe’s biggest clubs?

In a one line answer I would say yes but it depends how you look at it. Morgan Schneiderlin is easily worth this kind of money and we all know Manchester United have the money for a player who had a near 90 per cent pass rate in the Premier League. In January speaking on Sky Sports, Gary Neville said: ‘I think he (Schneiderlin) could play at any of the top clubs in the league, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal – he’s showed his quality this season. This was after Southampton beat Manchester United 0-1 at Old Trafford, with Dusan Tadic netting the winner. The French international has proved himself to be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. I do believe he could slot into the Carrick role perfectly. Statistics are not everything but in a season where Daly Blind has come into criticism for not passing the ball forward enough in the absence of Michael Carrick. Manchester United fans will be delighted to hear 76 per cent of his passes were forward moving.

Going back to that Gary Neville quote I would like to emphasize three words “in the league” The Premier League is the best league in the world and has the most quality as a whole. But recent seasons would suggest at the very top England’s team are not of the same quality as the rest of Europe. So is buying players from your own league which is weaker than Spain, Germany and arguably Italy, going to help you catch up? This is where my point seems a little contradictory but bare with me here till the end. The French national team is not blessed with many top class centre midfielders, yet Morgan has only played nine times for his country at senior level. I would argue with anybody to say he is in the top 5 defensive midfielders in the premier league. Like Carrick he is the modern ball playing holding midfielder. So if Louis Van Gaal decided to move for the man who started his career at RC Strasbourg I would welcome him with restrained optimism. He is not the player that will turn United into champions at home or abroad but what he will do is give depth to a squad that is crying out for it. However, if he is the only midfielder the club sign in the summer I would fear United would be left wanting in Europe as soon as the knockout stages began.

I do believe he would fit into the category of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini. They will be brilliant against the bottom 15 or 16 sides domestically but against the top teams they will look average. If Schneiderlin is to be a success at United, I strongly believe the club will also need to sign a centre midfielder with plenty of European experience. For example a Bastian Schweinsteiger or İlkay Gündoğan. At 33 it is unrealistic to expect Michael Carrick to play Chelsea on a Saturday and Real Madrid on the Tuesday when we get to the business end of the season. The club needs the highest of quality if it wishes to compete at home and abroad.
He picked up both the Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year awards at Southampton’s end of season awards in 2013. Despite this, if Morgan is going to get his wish of playing in a successful Champions league team he may have to accept that we will not be first choice at first. After a couple of years playing with Michael Carrick at United and Paul Pobga for France £25 million may look like a bargain in a couple of years times. That is of course if he continues to improve at the rate he has at Southampton.

So I’d welcome Morgan to United. He has the potential to become a valuable asset to the squad. United need something else as well though. Get to work Mr Woodward.

Real Madrid is no Family

Real Madrid is no family

Real Madrid is no Family

Family isn’t always where you’re from

I see every football club as a family. Some are bigger than others while others have more money. In every family you have those who never get a mention while others always seem to be the centre of attention. At any football club the players are the ones we hear the most about. Manchester United is no different. Every family has that member that stands out for their reckless and incompetent behaviour as everybody else looks on and wonders “how am I related to this moron.” At Manchester the title goes to Jonny Evans. Every family has a member that is extremely talented but wastes it one way or another. That award currently goes to Adnan Januzaj. Finally every family has that member who lets his success get to his head and leaves, as they think the grass is greener elsewhere. Sadly this concept may apply to Manchester United’s player of the season David De Ge.

I can hear it now “how wonderful is it that David is returning home to Madrid” I hate to break it to you Real Madrid fans David is already home. Home is a place where you will always be welcomed. This cannot be said for the Santiago Bernabéu where “fans” boo their heroes or next victims whichever way you like to look at it when their form drops. Cristiano Ronaldo has 225 goals in 200 games for the club and yet he is booed. Garth Bale who almost beat Barcelona on his own as Real Madrid lifted the Copa del Rey and played a massive role in helping Real Madrid to become the first side to win 10 European cups last season is also jeered. In my own view the worst of all is the situation Iker Casillas finds himself in. The club captain has spent his entire career in the Spanish capital. He made his champions league debut for the club in the year 2000 going on to lift many trophies of the club. Many of these as captain. Iker was made captain in 2010 after the departures of Raul and Guti. To say the goalkeeper is a club legend is an understatement, yet is also booed. It has to be said this is not the entire Madrid crowd. Last weekend as I watched Real batter Getafe 7-3 there was a battle of wills in the crowd. Half of them whistled, while the other half responded with awkward clapping every time he touched the ball. Madrid fans will argue he is not the keeper he was and I would agree, but sometimes there was little a goalkeeper can do. Especially in the case of Getafe’s first goal. The Madrid defence was slow to get out to Sergio Escudero as he shot from the edge of the box. With such defending it is little wonder why Real Madrid are conceding so many goals.

So why are the Madrid fans booing the goalkeeper and not the defenders that are almost giving up chances at will? I won’t pretend to be an expert on Spanish football because I’m not, but what I do know is about the galactico’s way of thinking that infects this year’s Champions League semi- finalists. Both the president Florentino Perez and the fans expect one galactico to arrive and one to leave every year. So what exactly is a galactico? My understanding of it is that it is a player that will sell shirts because they are a well renowned named. You could be arguably your national team’s best player in the case of David Beckham and Michael Owen, a former Barcelona player in the case of Luis Figo and the Brazilian Ronaldo. More recently winning the Ballon d’Or seems to signal a move to Real Madrid in the case of Ronaldo and Kaka. The latest trend in the best player in the Premier League in May somehow always seems to find himself at either Madrid or Barcelona. Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale just to name a couple.

This summer will be no different. The domestic season is over only a few days and already both Eden Hazard and David De Gea are tipped to join the Spanish giants. Sadly from a Manchester United perspective the De Gea deal looks a lot more likely to happen. Real Madrid are hungry for a new galactico and let’s face it they don’t care who they hurt to get it. Sadly this is nothing new, Real Madrid is a club that lacks compassion or at least all the time Mr Perez is around. Real Madrid was not always this way and I do think that’s important to say. I have heard many stories of how the club offered some of their players to Manchester United after the Munich air disaster. This respect for others has being lost through the years. Instead now players, other clubs and managers alike are treated with little to no respect. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are well known for tapping up players not only in public but the private eye. Who remembers how the Barcelona players put a Barcelona shirt on Cesc Fàbregas in front of thousands of people as the club tried to sign him from Arsenal in 2010?

At Real Madrid we also see this disrespect for others. Take last summer for example. It was never confirmed but there has been a lot of suggestions that the reason Angel Di Maria was sold was because he was “too ugly to play for Real Madrid”. Like I said it was never confirmed but I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest way if it was true. In the last few days Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by the club despite winning four trophies in two seasons. He had to deal with losing one of his best players in Di Maria for whatever reason but also he had to deal with losing the man that makes Madrid tick in Luca Modric for much of the season. For anybody who doesn’t know Modric to Real Madrid is what Michael Carrick is to Manchester United. You will be treated with little respect at Real Madrid as soon as your performances drop in the slightest, no matter how many trophies you win, how many goals you score or even if you are the club captain.

Which brings me back to Iker Casillas, he has given his entire career to the 32 times Spanish champions. Yet in the last few weeks if not months he has been booed and whistled at by his own fans. He is not just a Real Madrid legend he is a living legend of the national team. He has played 162 games for the national side winning two Euro Cups and a World Cup in the country’s most dominant period. On top of all that he is from Madrid and has never played for another club. Especially not their neighbours Atlético Madrid. There is simply no justifiable reason for the treatment he is receiving.

So why would David De Gea go there? You wonder if this is how the club treats a club legend how on earth will they treat a player who has played for their arch rivals and has proved nothing in comparison to Spain’s most capped player. Like Ronaldo before him, De Gea has the chance to stay at a club where he will always be loved and will become a club legend. I know in 15 years’ time when the dust of Ronaldo’s career is well and settled it will be his time at Old Trafford that will be looked back on the most. Like De Gea Old Trafford was where the boy became a man. Where raw talent became superstardom. Where hero’s were made not bought with money just for the sake of buying them.

I respect that may seem a little contradictory from a United’s fan at the moment with all the money spent. Despite all that look at the amount of youth the club gives a chance to compared to their Spanish counterparts. Dani Carvajal, Jese and Casillas are the only youth products in the first team. Casillas came through over 15 years ago. Jese can’t get a game and Carvajal was only resigned after a successful period in Germany. Even now he looks set to be replaced by the Brazilian Danilo who was recently signed for over 31 million euros. In the last 12 months players such as Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson and Andreas Pereira have all made their debuts. A far contrast indeed.

Thomas Müller – Everything you need to know

Thomas Muller - Everything you need to know

Thomas Müller – Everything you need to know

He is “impervious to pressure”, those were the words of World Cup winning Germany manager Joachim Löw as Germany prepared for their semi- final against Brazil last summer. It was along side Löw that Thomas Müller won Germany’s forth world cup. Not that that accomplishment was ever in doubt in this young man’s mind. Last July Henry Winter wrote a piece to show this exactly. “When Thomas Müller was invited by Germany’s kit designers to help create a new shirt, he picked up a felt-tip pen and approached the mannequin draped with the classic white top clean of all usual markings. Müller first drew in the three stars that signalled the number of World Cups won by Germany.Müller also inked a “?” in the place where the fourth would go. In Müller’s mind.” This signals a born winner in my eyes.

Born in Weilheimbut Müller  joined Bayern München at the age of 10, in the year 2000. In 2009 when Louis Van Gaal was appointed manager Müller’s career took off. He soon became a first team regular along with the likes of Philip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Along with these players Müller has become an integral part of the team for both club and country. He has scored an impressive 136 goals for club and 27 goals in a mere 63 games for Germany.

A fact Manchester United fans might also like to know is that Müller scored his first UEFA Champions League goal as Bayern beat  Manchester City 3–1 at the City of Manchester Stadium on 2 October 2013.

Müller is a born leader

In my eyes Thomas Müller is a player with a combination of work ethic, talent, goal scoring prowess and an ability to show up in big games that few can match. He is a born leader, and maybe just the help Wayne Rooney needs on the pitch. I feel sorry for Rooney at times. He appears to be the only leader in the side. In recent seasons United have had Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra Scholes, Neville and Van Der Saar. Now it just seems to be Rooney. I believe it’s incredibly unfair to have Rooney as the only obvious leader.  Yes Carrick and Van Persie fit in, but both have failed to play consistently all season. For all these reasons in my eyes anything under £40 million would have to be seen as a bargain for Müller.

And for those United fans who think this sensational signing is pie in the sky I offer this. Thomas was involved in two recent spats at Bayern. The first directly with manager Pep Guardiola against Barcelona  at the Camp Nou. Müller reaction came after he was substituted. A similar reaction occurred as he was substituted against Barcelona again in the return fixture. People often see this as a negative but personally I love to see it in a player. The player is desperate to stay on the pitch and win. What’s the problem? It shows fight and a genuine feeling for the cause. So with this in mind could things change in the summer?

Müller also recently made his admiration for Louis Van Gaal clear  when he said “Louis Van Gaal and I have a relationship that goes beyond which is normal between a player and coach.”

It was reported this week in the Metro that he would cost up to 45 million pounds. Considering Thomas Müller would be the perfect upgrade to 28 million pounds Fellaini, the question is. Why are so many United fans against the deal?

Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Memphis Depay signs for United

Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Yesterday both Manchester United and the player confirmed that Memphis Depay will become a Manchester United player this summer subject to a medical.  The fee for the young Dutch winger is believed to be about £25 million.  It will be the player’s first move and the early signs would suggest many United fans will hope that remains the case for many years to come.

He made his official debut on the 21st of September 2011. So he has been around the first team for just under four years. In that time he has become the main man at PSV as they marched to their first title since 2008. Coming in from the left hand side he managed an impressive 21 goals in 28 games.

Of course the Dutch league is not as high of standard as the English Premier League but when you considered combined Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Rademal Falcao only have 26 goals between them you cannot help but get excited about the clubs latest addition.

So what kind of player is Depay? From what I have seen of him in the Dutch league, I must say I am very impressed. Like Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and Manchester United winger Ashley Young he is a winger who plays on the wing of his weaker foot. This means cutting inside and shooting from distance is a large part of his game. Thankfully I am very glad to say he is able to shoot with great effect from distance.  A quality United have lacked since the departures of Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo. Like Ronaldo in his younger days he does sometimes overdo it on the wing with tricks and flicks trying to go down his left hand side, but I do feel this will come with time.

The player he reminds me of the most is Robben. The Ronaldo reference comes in terms of his confidence levels. This is something I believe all great teams need. Would Manchester United have achieved what they achieved without the cockiness that both Ronaldo and Eric Cantona processed? I remember listening to sky sports during the week and they talked about how when the main players at clubs press the opposition it makes the rest of the team raise their standards. This was in reference to Alexis Sanchez and Luis Suarez. I believe this applies to confidence too. If you have a player in a side that always has belief it will have a positive effect on his teammates.   I can say with great belief, Depay will not shy away from taking players on, even if he has a few bad games.

Depay is quick, direct, he has pace to burn and has more tricks than Dynamo. Not to mention his amazing goal scoring record from free kicks this season. Five goals directly from free kicks is impressive no matter where you go.

My only concern can be summed up in three words. Angel Di Maria. Like Depay, Di Maria has pace, he is direct and is decent from dead ball situations. But both Di Maria & Depay’s greatest strength is their ability to beat the defender. So why doesn’t Di Maria run at defenders the same way he did last season for Real Madrid? The answer is simple, Louis Van Gaal is near obsessed with possession. So why will Depay fair any different in this system?

Another potential worry is often when players come from abroad they struggle to adapt to a new culture, league and in this case system. Depay has had a somewhat free role at PSV in recent months. That will not be the case at United. So for me the worry is not whether Depay will adapt to the Premier league but whether Louis Van Gaal will play to his strengths?

Maybe it will be different for Depay as we know for sure that he is an LVG signing, which is not the case with both Falcao and Di Maria. If Depay is allowed to blossom like Robben then we have a real star on our hands. If he is suppressed in a system that doesn’t suit him like Di Maria then his future may not be so bright?

I guess it is something only time will tell.

By Diarmuid Gillingham