All posts by Paul Gardiner

Webmaster, Writer, Editor and Podcast host for The United Stand. An avid Manchester United supporter since I can remember.

GUEST BLOG: Edwin van der Sar – United’s safe hands

When Peter Schmeichel left Manchester United all the way back in 1999, Sir Alex Ferguson always knew it was always going to be a tough battle to find his successor. From the likes of Barthez, to Tim Howard, nobody it seemed was ready to finally step up and becomes United’s new number one goalkeeper. Then came, Edwin Van Der Sar.

His sheer presence alone made him such an intimidating keeper for the opposition, standing at a whopping 6 feet 6 inches in between the goalposts. It was clear right from the off that this is where van der Sar belonged and what was to follow was nothing short of sensational as United went on to rule not just European but World Football with van der Sar leading from the back.

However it wasn’t all plain sailing at the start, far from it in fact. With the club still looking to find a solid left back and a defensive partner for Rio Ferdinand, United found themselves shipping goals left right and centre. There was no stability or consistency at the back leaving van der Sar little else to do but pick the ball out of the back of the net. Throughout the first half of the 2005/06 campaign the club were falling seriously short on all fronts before the arrivals of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in the January transfer window, this would be where it all started.

The following season United looked a different animal, they meant business, with the club finally having a solid back 4 in place van der Sar looked more at home, more at ease, as the confidence started to come into his game. As the season wore on van der Sar played a significant role as the club won the Premier League Title back from rivals Chelsea. Moments from crucial saves against Fulham at Craven cottage to a decisive penalty save at the City of Manchester Stadium. The goalkeeper we had waited for to finally replace Peter Schmeichel was here.

The joys of last season were about to be piped up another level as United won not just the Premier League but went on to famously win the UEFA Champions League in Moscow against Chelsea with van der Sar saving the all important spot kick. When the big games came calling van der Sar didn’t go hiding. Without van der Sar in between the sticks there may have been no Double.

As mentioned above, the importance of having a solid defence is crucial if not just as crucial as the goalkeeper position. No matter how good of a goalkeeper you are if you haven’t got a top defence in front of you then you are in real trouble. Fortunately for van der Sar he had Vidic and Ferdinand. Both centre backs became vital for Edwin, it was evident at times if one were missing then things didn’t go as smoothly. Having all 3 of van der Sar, Vidic and Ferdinand fully fit and available week in week out was one of the reasons why United were able to go on to rule world football, they may not have got the headlines like Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney but they were just as important.

Nothing it seemed could go wrong for the Dutchman, he was in the form of his life whilst sitting at the peak of world football with Manchester United. He even went on to set a new clean sheet record going an outstanding 14 games without conceding a goal. It was almost like we had our very own Super Man in goal and his name was Edwin van der Sar.

Of course just like anything good it does have to come to an end eventually, as the club were brought back down to earth by Barcelona as they were defeated 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League final; the feeling of invincibility gone, so too had Ronaldo.

In no means am I saying United were poor after this, as lets be real they were still successful the following season after but in between 2006-2009 I felt United were right at the peak of World football and had arguably one of their greatest sides of all time, it was a special time.

After persuasion from Sir Alex Ferguson, van der Sar penned a new contract at the club in 2010 where he would then finish his career at Old Trafford at the end of the following season. The invincibility that hanged around the club may have gone but van der Sar’s form didn’t as he continued to impress again stepping up to the plate when it most mattered.

His final outing came in the UEFA Champions League final against the mighty Barcelona, where the club could do little else but stand back and applaud as they were defeated 3-1.

His time at the club may have come to an end but his legacy left at the club will live on.

By Alexander Robert Brian
Follow me on Twitter: @alex_brian92

Newcastle United 3-3 Man United | Match report

Newcastle and Man United share the points as six-goal thriller ends 3-3 at the Sports Direct Arena.

Most fans and pundits alike would have predicted this game to finish 0-0 but both teams showed great determination and fight to provide an entertaining goal feat.

It was Man United who drew first blood when Wayne Rooney put away a penalty in the 9th minute after Newcastle’s Mbemba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area by referee, Mike Dean.

United doubled their lead in the 38th minute with a goal from Jesse Lingard. Rooney found himself of the edge of the Newcastle box with no other United player around him. He held the ball up well, awaiting the run of Lingard behind him down the left. Rooney slipped the ball through to the youngster who slotted the ball through the keepers legs.

Newcastle fought back and a few minutes before half time managed to pull a goal back. Collocini played a looping ball over the top from deep, Mitrovic headed the ball down into Winjaldum’s path and he coolly volleyed the ball into the bottom right corner, giving de Gea no chance.

The Magpies came out fighting in the second half and in the 67th minute were awarded a penalty when Chris Smalling bundled Mitrovic to the ground. Mitrovic stepped up to take the penalty and slotted it home into the bottom right, sending de Gea the other way.

Now questions would be asked of Man United’s character and the questions were answered when in the 79th minute, Wayne Rooney scored a fantastic goal from outside the box. The move started with Memphis who ran at the Newcastle defence and cut in, bringing the ball onto his right foot. He found space to shoot but his shot was blocked and the loose ball rolled outside the box. Rooney was quickest to react hit a first time shot which curled up into the left hand corner.

But the drama didn’t stop there and Newcastle were not ready to give up. In the 90th minute, left back Dummett rifled home a long range left footed shot into the top corner to bring Newcastle level and prevent Man United from taking the three points.

Man United had chances earlier to see the game off. In the 56th minute, Martial played a square ball into the box from the right hand side finding Herrera on the penalty spot. Herrera, knowing Lingard was unmarked behind him, played the ball backwards. All Lingard had to do was beat the keeper but, instead he over hit his shot and put it over.

Fellaini also had a chance to seal the victory in the 84th minute. Memphis took the ball down the wing beating his defender. Gaining a yard he put in a perfectly hit and placed crossed right on Fellaini’s head in the 6 yard box, but the Belgian could not direct his header either side of the keeper.

The draw means that Man United again drop down to 6th in the league.

United slip to 6th after draw at Newcastle (Picture:
United slip to 6th after draw at Newcastle (Picture:

What did you think about the game? Are you happy with the teams performance? We would love to know your thoughts. Please, feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also watch the Newcastle V Man United match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Newcastle United Team Sheet

21 Elliot
22 Janmaat
18 Mbemba
02 Coloccini
03 Dummett
24 Tioté (Toney – 85′)
04 Colback (Gouffran – 81′)
07 Sissoko
05 Wijnaldum
17 Pérez (de Jong – 92′)
45 Mitrovic


10 de Jong
11 Gouffran
15 Lascelles
26 Darlow
31 Marveaux
36 Toney
42 Sterry

Man United Team Sheet

01 de Gea
18 Young
12 Smalling
17 Blind
36 Darmian
28 Schneiderlin
27 Fellaini
09 Martial
21 Herrera (Mata – 75′)
35 Lingard (Depay – 64′)
10 Rooney


07 Depay
08 Mata
20 Romero
33 McNair
43 Borthwick-Jackson
44 Pereira
47 Weir

Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez on brink of United move

UPDATE: According to Spanish journalist, Guillem Ballague, Manchester United have tabled a £15.3m for Saul Niguez but the player has no desire to leave Madrid and the club are not willing to sell. Source: Telegraph

It is understood that Manchester United have sent officials to Spain to begin negotiations for the transfer of Saul Niguez.

Saul has been identified as a long term replacement for Michael Carrick and could be brought to Old Trafford for £15million.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone promoted Saul Niguez to the first team this season and has played a big part in the teams success so far this season.

The midfielder has been capped for the Spanish under-21’s and has scored 5 times in 35 appearances for his club.

But with great talent comes great interest and United are to face competition from Arsenal and Liverpool for the star’s signature.

If you would like to read the full article on the Express website, please click here.

What do you think of United chasing the signature of another central midfielder? Would you prefer to see the clubs signing someone else? Let us know in the comments below.

Watch Saul in action below or by clicking here.

GUEST BLOG: Man Utd V Sheffield Utd – 5 things we learned

Manchester United Fans Are Tired

The ironic cheers encompass the feelings of Manchester United fans worldwide. Yet another abysmal performance was on display at Old Trafford. Performances as such have become commonplace. Commonplace at a ground that deserves to be seeing fast edge-of-your-seat football, trickery, momentum, and goals.

The amount of goal’s we’ve scored at Old Trafford is a number not even worth considering. The Theatre of Dreams has lost it’s magic, and honestly, it’s just not fair – for the ticket holders, those watching at home and everyone with vested interest in the club.

Rooney Must Be Replaced

Wayne Rooney has become a scapegoat at times this season. Luckily, his successful penalty against Sheffield United and goal last week against Swansea has been saving his skin. But once again we saw Rooney off the pace, once again we didn’t see the player that we are yearning for. Once can only imagine Rooney being a player with the killer instincts of the likes of Suarez, Lewandowski etc., taking a sound first touch and putting the ball away. But we don’t have a player like that in our skipper.

For Manchester United truly want to return to the pinnacle of English football, Wayne Rooney must be replaced. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, he’s provided valuable memories for the Old Trafford faithful, securing a place in our history. But for the last few seasons, Rooney has only provided sporadic moments of brilliance but it seems those moments have all dried up.

The player to replace Rooney might be Martial or even James Wilson in years to come, but right now, we must let them grow. Players such as Aubameyang, Lewandowski, and Harry Kane would all be forwards any fan would love to add – but, even if they were to come, they’re influence would only come in it’s entirety at the disposable of Wayne Rooney.

The Problem could be Van Gaal or it could be the players

Louis Van Gaal’s second season has been a farce to say the least. After over 18 months in charge and £250 million spent, Manchester United are still struggling to defeat teams such as Sheffield United – a theme we thought had been eradicated after the addition of players such Memphis and Schneiderlin. But, to be honest, Van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’ hasn’t really changed since last season. In fact, it’s probably been geared more towards what the fans want as subtleties in interviews have suggested. Yet. Our performances have grown worst. No being able to defeat Sheffield United at home is an absolute joke! So what’s the problem?

It could very well be our current squad of players. Last year, although we were substandard there was still a level of magic and good football. And one could argue this is because we had players such as Di Maria (Champions League Final MOTM), Robin Van Persie (20th League Title Hero), and Falcao (Formerly, A World Beater). Although these ‘Galacticos’ didn’t always provide, their very presence and inclusion led to some memorable moments and goal-scoring performances – all under Van Gaal’s philosophy. Those players have all been sold off… Van Gaal has loosened his philosophy and even admitted to the team producing bad performances… so perhaps, it’s the players that are holding us back.

Wayne Rooney can’t find his shooting boots even against Sheffield United; he is arguably holding us back. Juan Mata who’s supposed to be the future of the Spanish National Team can’t keep it ticking against a League 1 side, and is arguably holding us back from buying a fast, deadly winger. Memphis and Martial, two players with such promise yet so long to go are stopping us from going all out for players like James Rodriguez and Aubemeyang and are arguably HOLDING US BACK.


Ander Herrera once again showed why he should be in the team every week. He’s been a player fans have been crying out for, for the last two seasons under Van Gaal. His sporadic inclusions consistently justify the yearning for him to solidify his place in the weekly starting 11. Despite the slow performance from our side, Ander showed glimpses of ability, playing a through a few net balls into our forwards. Andre has the capability to be the heartbeat of our midfield for years to come.

Pulling strings, putting in tackles and performing for the crowd – that’s what we need from our midfielders, and hopefully, that’s what we’ll keep getting with Ander Herrera.

Being in Cups may be a good thing

Yes, it’s scrutinizing that once again we probably won’t be in the title race and also that we’ve been knocked out the Champions league. However, one could argue that being in the FA Cup/Europa League is a blessing in disguise. Such competitions will enable us to play against lesser opposition, allowing us to give a full 90 minutes to our Red Devils of tomorrow – our youth. Or perhaps we could just do what we did against Sheffield United and start a mixture of youth, the regular starters and the experienced. With top four or top three undoubtedly our main targets, playing our strongest squad in the League will be crucial to our success. And although we all might want to see the youth tearing it up in the League Cristiano-esque, maybe they just aren’t ready yet.

By Tyler Owusu

Man United 1-0 Sheffield United | Match report

Man United scrape a narrow victory thanks to a late Wayne Rooney penalty against League One side Sheffield United in the FA Cup third round.

Man United played hosts to Sheffield United who currently sit 9th in League one. Many would be forgiven for thinking that this game would be entertaining for the fans based on United’s last two performances where they looked to be finding their attacking threat once again. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, United appeared to have taken two steps back, returning to the dull, conserved, sideways football we had become so familiar with.

During the first half Man United only managed three attempts on goal with two of them coming from set pieces. They dominated the possession but posed no attacking threat and created very little in the way of chances. Even half chances. In fact, the players themselves looked extremely frustrated; almost like they weren’t sure what the game plan was. The fans could see this and they made their voices heard with groans and jeers echoing around the stadium – something that is becoming commonplace at Old Trafford.

The second half saw the introduction of Memphis and Lingard on the hour mark. This was Lingard’s first game since returning from injury.

Since their inclusion into the game, there were more attempts at goal, be it only 6, with one of them being the winning penalty.

The best chances came in the late stages of the game with the first falling to Anthony Martial in the 87th minute. A corner came in and a defensive header fell to the Frenchman on the edge of the six-yard box. He struck a left-footed half volley but Sheffield United defender, Brayford, reacted quickly to block the shot.

United boss Louis van Gaal cuts a frustrated figure as his side struggle against Sheffield United (Picture:
United boss Louis van Gaal cuts a frustrated figure as his side struggle against Sheffield United (Picture:

Three minutes later, Memphis picked up the ball on the left wing and cut in onto his right foot. Once in a more central position, finding a yard of space, he hit a right-footed shot which narrowly missed the left hand post.

In the 93rd minute, Memphis again found himself running at the defenders and into the box but was taken down by a rash challenge by Sheffield United’s, Hammond. The defender came sliding in with his studs up and caught Memphis on the shin. A penalty was awarded. Wayne Rooney stepped up and buried the ball into the bottom left corner, sending the keeper the other way.

Louis van Gaal will certainly be breathing a sigh of relief as his job hangs by a thread. And a replay away from home is something else he will be pleased to avoid.

You have to feel sorry for Sheffield United who defended very well throughout the whole game.

What did you think about the game? Are you happy with the teams performance? Do you feel the team deserved the victory? We would love to know your thoughts. Please, feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also watch the Man United V Swansea match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Man United Team Sheet

01 de Gea
36 Darmian
12 Smalling
17 Blind
43 Borthwick-Jackson
27 Fellaini (Pereira – 78′)
31 Schweinsteiger
08 Mata (Depay – 60′)
21 Herrera (Lingard – 60′)
09 Martial
10 Rooney


07 Depay
20 Romero
30 Varela
33 McNair
35 Lingard
44 Pereira
48 Keane

Sheffield United Team Sheet

25 Long
05 Brayford
34 Edgar
15 Collins
19 McEveley (Reed – 78′)
08 Coutts
35 Hammond
06 Basham
17 Woolford
18 Sammon (Done – 91′)
10 Sharp (Flynn – 64′)


01 Howard
07 Flynn
11 Baxter
14 Done
20 Campbell-Ryce
22 Reed
29 Adams

GUEST BLOG: Park Ji Sung, United’s unsung hero

When Sir Alex Ferguson brought South Korean midfielder Park Ji Sung in from PSV back in 2005, you could have forgiven Sir Alex for having his doubts about the then South Korean talent actually making the grade at Old Trafford. However those doubts were quickly squashed, as Park went on to become one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever signings, going on to spend 7 glorious years at the Theatre of Dreams, before finally joining QPR Back in 2012.

He may not technically have been the greatest footballer to have ever graced the Old Trafford turf, far from it in fact, but one thing he did have in his locker was work rate. No matter whether it was the 1st minute or the last, Park just never stopped running, giving every last breath he had left in the tank for the team, this would become his forte.

When the big games came round, Park Ji Sung became one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team sheet. This was merited as he went on to start 2 European Cup Finals in 2009 and 2011 against Barcelona keeping the likes of Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov out of the starting eleven. His work rate and desire to never give in became a key part of United’s success on the pitch between 2007-2011. Yes the attacking talent was fascinating to watch, but Park’s role in the side was just as important.

I myself, admittedly, didn’t realise at the time, just how important Park was to this United side and only really realised how crucial he was when he left. I never really understood his role properly and instead wanted to see more attacking options on the pitch. I remember thinking “Oh why he is playing, why is Berbatov or Nani not playing, I don’t want Park on!” I couldn’t have been proven more wrong if I tried, as United won 4 leagues in 5 seasons and made it to 3 European Cup Finals between 2007-2011 and reached the peak of World Football. He was in the side for a reason.

With Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and the likes on board, it would always be hard to grab the headlines, but Park Ji Sung’s consistent displays didn’t go unnoticed among the United faithful as he quickly become something of a fan favourite. It was particularly more impressive as it was fairly early when he became a fan favourite. Usually it takes time for the United faithful to be won over by a player, but with Park they made an exception.

As he entered his final season at Old Trafford (2011/2012) it became clear his days at the club may be coming to an end. His appearance’s in the first team became really just cameos as the season wore on. It seemed Sir Alex Ferguson was opting for a more youthful look to his Midfield with Tom Cleverley becoming more of a first team regular leaving Park on the Substitutes bench.

His time at the theatre of dreams had come to an end. However his legacy at Manchester United would not be tarnished, or for that matter, be forgotten by the United faithful. His mark at United had already been made.

By Alexander Robert Brian
Follow me on Twitter: @alex_brian92

GUEST BLOG: Short & sweet but still a treat – Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson will no doubt by best remembered among many, for his days at Scottish Giants, Celtic and rightly so; he was nothing short of sensational. However it would be his mere 3 month stay at Manchester United where I would finally get to the chance to see Henrik Larsson up close and on a regular basis. I wasn’t disappointed.

Nowadays its almost like a common occurrence for a striker to score 40 plus goals a season, its not even talked about, Ronaldo, Messi, have done it for years since 2008, but back then it was a different story. Despite playing in an admittedly poorer league, his goal scoring became legendary throughout the world of football (which eventually led to Barcelona taking him on board). Scoring 50 goals plus a season didn’t really happen very often and when Larsson netted 53 goals in the 2000/2001 campaign it became worldwide news, he wasn’t human, he was a goal scoring machine!

Rumours of a move to United had been whispered throughout the club as the club couldn’t count on Louis Saha playing week in week out. He finally got his move to Old Trafford in a shock loan deal on 1st January 2007. It didn’t take long for Larsson to feel at home, as he went on to score on his debut in an FA Cup encounter against Aston Villa with a trademark finish into the top right hand corner. You could clearly see how prolific of a forward he once as, he hadn’t lost that touch, some are just born with it I guess and Larsson was one of those. He followed up that goal, with a neat finish against Watford at Old Trafford before rounding things off against Lille in the UEFA Champions League scoring the winner with a sublime header into the bottom right hand corner. However his best goal for the club arguably came against Portsmouth in the FA Cup as he steamed home a beautiful volley only for it to be ruled out for offside.

What stood out for me was his finishing, Bar Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he was the most lethal out and out goal scorer I have ever seen play at United, he was that good. When he got a chance, you would have bet your house on him scoring.

Its only a crying shame that he didn’t stay for longer, one can only wonder if he did, United may have been successful on all 3 fronts that season, it was more than possible. He made his final appearance for the club in an FA Cup encounter against Middlesbrough, before finally waving goodbye to the United Faithful.

He may have only been at the club a mere 3 months but boy did he make an impact, it was an honour Henrik.

By Alexander Robert Brian
Follow me on Twitter: @alex_brian92

GUEST BLOG: Diego Simeone a possible successor to LVG

Atletico Madrid Manager Diego Simeone is currently being linked with Manchester United if Louis Van Gaal gets the sack. This man is arguably one of the greatest managers in Europe. His win rate as a coach is 55.1%, his draws being 22.3% and his losses only 22.6%.

He usually plays a 4-4-2 formation which Alex Ferguson has used back in the day when he was managing the Red Devils. However do not get your hopes up yet because the Argentinian man has been linked with the likes of Chelsea as well, who are performing shockingly in the Premier League this season. In my opinion I would love to see Diego at this club turning things around and playing attacking football which we would love to watch again.

Another interesting fact is that Diego Simone has never managed a team in the Premier League and if he comes to Manchester United and starts his English management career there I think he would win a lot of trophies and sign key players. Manchester United really do need a new manager because most United fans are sick and tired of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy. In my opinion I think Diego Simeone is a much better manager than van Gaal even if van Gaal has won a champions league and Simone hasn’t.

We have also been linked with Antoine Greizmann so this could possibly mean if Diego Simeone comes to Manchester United he could indeed bring the French goal scorer along with him as the Red Devils could do with a striker right now. Other key players at Atletico Madrid such as Diego Godin who we have been linked with in the past could come to old Trafford and also a Spanish youngster named Oliver Torres who has been labeled as the next Xavi Hernandez.

Tell me what you think in the comments below!

By Shakhai
Follow me on Twitter: @Shakhai

GUEST BLOG: Moura? Lacazette? Possible future targets

Believe it or not, Louis Van Gaal has a solid reputation amongst the footballing world. This transpires into a great advantage for Manchester United. Whether you like the man or not, you can’t deny that he has done very well to attract players of the highest quality to our club. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been the most recent example of this theory and even the rather naïve signing of Angel Di Maria last season.

Could you imagine David Moyes attracting this calibre of talent? Whilst it is one of the few positives that one can draw from our manager, it is a very important one as well as one which may prove to be very useful during the foreseeable future.

With the January transfer window upon us, it is customary that Manchester United should have very ambitious targets. The Daily Mail have valued our transfer budget at £100 million plus (obviously the largest in the Premier League). Surely, that’s enough to solve the problems of any club. In my opinion the two main positions that need to be strengthened are the right-wing and striker roles. Additionally, money could be spent on a new left-back with both Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw injured or even a new centre-back in order to add stability to the back four. This is a detailed list of the players that I think we should be targeting in January.

Lucas Moura – PSG (£40 million)

The Brazilian international is the perfect solution to our right-wing problem. He offers pace to burn and some phenomenal skill to accompany it. Ever since the arrival of Angel Di Maria to the French side, Moura has been sidelined which has led to him being unhappy at the club in recent months. However, his price tag is quite large and questions must be asked about whether he will shine under Van Gaal’s philosophy. At only 23 years of age, he already has over 30 international caps and has played 90 games for PSG scoring a total of 56 goals for club and country. He looks the perfect combination of youth and experience and will add a lot of flair to the current United side. However, it may be difficult to attract a player of Moura’s calibre from a team still competing in the Champions League to one which is not.

Felipe Anderson – Lazio (£35 million)

Perhaps a more realistic January target, Felipe Anderson is also a Brazilian winger who can play anywhere across the front three. He will also solve the right-wing problem as well as provide depth in the final third. At the age of only 22, he may turn out to be a very solid long term investment. Much like Moura, he offers vast speed in attack as well as great creativity on the flanks. This transfer is more likely to happen as Lazio are too out of the Champions League, but once again questions must be asked about whether Anderson will blossom under LVG’s style of play.

Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon (£45 million)

The Frenchman is a prolific goalscorer having scored over 55 goals in Ligue 1 and will be the perfect striker for Manchester United. He could either be playing alone in the centre forward position or even partner Anthony Martial in a 4-1-3-2 formation. Despite the fact that Lyon are also out of the Champions League, if this deal were to go ahead it will most likely be during the Summer transfer window.

Many other players could also address our lack of depth in the striker role. The likes of Yoshinori Muto and Ayoze Perez have also been heavily linked with Manchester United but their ability is questionable.

Ryan Bertrand – Southampton (£15 million)

The English left-back could be a very good buy for United this January especially after the injuries of both Rojo and Shaw. He offers speed in his position and is Premier League proven. Should the role be strengthened, it’s hard to look past Bertrand as a very suitable target.

By Simon Pavlov
Follow me on Twitter: @Simon0208

GUEST BLOG: Possible striker transfer targets

Written on December 7th, 2015.

It’s been a very boring start for Manchester United this season. LVG’s men have only managed three goals in United’s last six home games, four of those games infamously ending 0-0. It can be argued that the disposal of players like Van Persie, Di Maria and Chicarito Hernandez, who himself has scored 11 goals in his last 10 games for Bayern Leverkusen has led to the reds struggles up front this season. On the other hand, the Red Devils defence this season has been a massive positive especially with Chris Smalling breaking out as one of the world’s best centre-backs. Mike Smalling has also been combining well at the back with ball playing defender, Daley Blind. But when the attack is as poor as it has been, it is hard to have an all round good team performance. But almost halfway through the season United still seem to be lacking that flair the red devils used to bring to the pitch.

The Devils have been lacking a strong, fast and most importantly, a clinical finisher in the heart of attack that possesses composure, physicality and confidence when on the ball. Although Martial possesses all those qualities, at 20, United shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on such a young player who recently arrived from AS Monaco for a fee around £36 million. The majority of our attackers, lack confidence which is seriously hurting our chances of keeping up with Leicester, Arsenal and City. According to ‘Sky Sports’ LVG has been given a whopping £200 million to spend this coming January transfer window. Although, from other reports, it is said to be unlikely he will dip into that budget to bring fresh players into United this January.

Here, we look at players that could bring entertainment and goals back to Old Trafford:

1. Harry Kane – Spurs

A player that hasn’t struggled to find the net this season after a storming debut season last year, scoring 31 goals in 51 games. This season Kane has already started well scoring 10 goals in 19 games. The 22 year old English international, used to the Barclays Premier League and is rated one of the best young talents in the world and reportedly has been looking for a way out of Spurs in pursuit of Champions League football, a factor that United could offer him. He is a fine talent that will only get better in time and would surely be more of a consistent choice than Wayne Rooney.

2. Romelu Lukaku – Everton – Potential Fee: £40 – £60 million

After being in the shadow or his “hero”, Didier Drogba, Romelu Lukaku has become his own player after moving to Everton. Lukaku posses great strength in and around the box and being 6’2, He’s also a massive aerial threat. Having spoken about his desire to play Champions League again, Lukaku would definitely be open to a move to Old Trafford. And Lukaku’s tally of 13 league goals is five better than United forwards Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay combined. And after scoring against Leicester last week Lukaku became only the 9th player to score in seven consecutive Premier League games.

3. Arjen Robben – Bayern – Potential Fee: £25 – £50 million

Quite a bit older than, the two players we’ve just mention, Arjen Robben (31 years old), unlike Kane and Lukaku would bring a wealth of experience and much more quality to United’s performances. It has recently been reported that Robben wants to leave Bayern Munich having struggled for a starting role in Guardiola’s side since returning from injury. United have been linked with a deal, and after reports that Robben has agreed to move to Old Trafford, we say the Red Devils are prepared to offer £49.7m to do business. With United fans desperate to see attack with pace, Robben is definitely one to offer that.

4. Alexandre Pato – Potential Fee: £5 – £20 million

A player who tipped to be a world beater, Alexandre Pato, who in the summer revealed Manchester United had made a later offer for him. Ferreira told Globo Esporte “At the moment there are only enquiries, But if a club comes in with an offer of €25m (18.5m), we will let him go, otherwise he will return in January. “Louis van Gaal may be forced to make signings this time around if his team don’t start playing with more fluency. After scoring 15 goals and assisting nine in 2015, Pato is now being linked with a move back to Europe, and would prove a great option for United’s attack.

5. Antoine Griezmann – Potential Fee: £57.3 million

Griezmann has already netted 12 times in 21 games for Atletico, and can play left and right winger for United as well as forward, a position in which United lack great depth in. The highly-rated playmaker has a £57.3m release clause at Atletico which Van Gaal is eager to meet. It has been reported that Antoine is a big supporter of Manchester United and would be willing to move to the Red Devils in January.

By Deji Bada
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