Chong set to sign for United

With the 2015/16 season drawing ever closer to its conclusion we can expect to see a sudden rise in transfer rumours once again. And the subject of this particular transfer rumour is Feyenoord wonderkid Tahith Chong.

It has been reported by the Daily Mail that talks are at an advanced stage and a deal is expected to be completed for the 16 year old in the coming days.

United are said to have seen off competition from other Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea for Chong’s signature.

Feyenoord did try their best to keep hold of the youngster but the emergence of United’s youth players such as Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson appears to have given some encouragement to Chong.

Tahith Chong’s favoured position is on the left wing where he plays most of his football, but he can also play anywhere across the attacking front line, making him the type of versatile player Louis Van Gaal prefers.

As there has been no word about this transfer from either club, we should take this rumour lightly as we have seen reports like this on many occasions and nothing has come of it, leaving us all bitterly disappointed!

Watch Chong in action below:

Pereira OUT | Mane & Forster IN

Another day, another transfer mill around Manchester United.

The Express along with a number of Spanish outlets are reporting that Andreas Pereira is in talks with Spanish outfit Malaga about a move in the summer while United would look to bring in Southampton duo Sadio Mane and goal keeper Fraser Forster, the latter amid fears of David De Gea leaving Old Trafford.

For any United fan, the potential departure of Andreas Pereira is a difficult but realistic pill we may have to swallow.
The Brazilian was undoubtedly the best performer on the U.S. pre-season tour, putting in a number of good performances, including against current Champions league holders Barcelona, and was looking like having a break-out season in the first team.

Unfortunately, things have not panned out that way. Pereira has again been forced to be a constant shining light in the u 21’s while awaiting another chance to push his case for a start in the top side. After scoring a free-kick against Middlesborough in the Capital One Cup, again, Pereira pushed his case for first-team action.

As this article is written, the attacking midfielder is still awaiting a starting birth in the Premier League. Pereira even expressed a desire to go out on loan, but Van Gaal turned down the option.

With reports suggesting Louis Van Gaal could stay for yet another season, the unfortunate departure of Andreas Pereira seems likely. You cannot blame the player for becoming disillusioned with life at Old Trafford, especially considering the number of injuries and other young players who have been given an opportunity to shine, while Pereira sat on the periphery of the team.

Here’s hoping this is simply a rumour-mill, or the Red Devils can prepare themselves for the possibility of Paul Pogba case 2.0.

Mane would be a great addition to the side, but I do not see how a winger compliments the departure of an attacking midfielder. Regardless of whether this is true or not, there’s no debating Peirera has been badly mistreated.

The other concern amongst United fans is what feels like the inevitable departure of Spanish international David De Gea. The classy goal-keeper was a fax-machine away from becoming a Real Madrid player and considering his heroics this season, it is worrying to think where United would currently be positioned without him in-goal.
Forster is a very solid goal-keeper but he is not the calibre of Manchester United. If the Red Devils are unable to keep hold of the Spaniard, they should seek Stoke’s Jack Butland who has proven he is capable of world-class saves himself this season.

All the rumour and innuendo reaffirms the need for stability and leadership at Old Trafford. A Director of Football is a necessity if United are going to begin to get any fluency about their future ambitions, otherwise we risk falling further behind than we already are.

Over to you, Ed – please sort it out.

Your Aussie Correspondent,

Larry – The United Stand

More empty rumours as Dutch paper claims Van Gaal will stay?

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf have suggested that United boss Louis van Gaal has been assured that he will remain in charge beyond this season.

It’s reported that the Dutchman will also be granted spending money in the region of £80m with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku a prime target, and he will not come cheap.

As with 90% of reports, or rumours out there, we should take them all with a pinch of salt. Especially this one.

For a start, this news comes off the back of reports that Van Gaal has had a big say in the China tour preparations and that Jose Mourinho is considering Valencia as another option; so the timing would be right for an article like this to surface. Reports like these tend to get published in batches, if you will.

Van Gaal & Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has been heavily linked to United job despite reports LVG is safe.

For example, as soon as Jose Mourinho was sacked he was immediately linked with the United job. Shortly after there were rumours about big money contracts being ‘pre-agreed’ between him and United. Then as soon as United put a couple of good results together we saw news that Van Gaal would be staying and following those reports we saw news coming out of Jose considering other options. You see the pattern, right? The same is happening here. News comes out that Van Gaal is involved in tour prep and then shortly after… this.

One important thing to note about all these rumours is that all the information comes from “sources” who can never be named. Or if they can be named, they can’t be backed up with any quotes. It’s all, highly likely, false rumours.

Lukaku has been identified as a prime target for United (Picture: foxsports.com)
Lukaku has been identified as a prime target for United (Picture: foxsports.com)

Aside from that, United will need at least double the amount suggested to turn them into title contenders again. £80m would buy them one player with a bit of change or two average players (when considering the inflating transfer fees) at best. There are several positions in which United need to strengthen and £80m just wouldn’t be enough.

So I strongly believe this is yet another rumour we can brush aside and not get worked up about.

John O’Shea United’s Mr Versatile

For any side to be successful you need a balance, yes you need your goal scorers, yes you need a solid backline, yes you need a top draw midfield, but you also need that one player in your squad who you can always rely on when called upon to come in and do a job for the team regardless of what position on the field he may be playing in, and in John O ‘Shea he was a very own.

In a career that spanned 12 years at the theatre of dreams, O’Shea won everything there was to win in the game. Five Premier League titles, One UEFA Champions League, Three League cups, One FA Cup, a bundle of Charity shields and a FIFA Club World Cup rounded off a mighty impressive medal collection for the Irishman.

He may not have been the best player we have ever seen grace the Old Trafford turf far from it in fact, but he was always there when we needed him. It didn’t what position on the field Sir Alex asked Sheasy to play he just got on with his role and did a job for the side, even Goalkeeper!

He made his competitive debut for the club all the way back in 1999 in a 3-0 League Cup defeat to Aston Villa , before then going off to have loan spells at Bournemouth and Royal Antwerp. It wouldn’t be till the start of the 2002/03 campaign where the Irishman would really establish himself in the Manchester United side.

Throughout his break through campaign, O’Shea’s versatility became evident to the united faithful as the Irishman featured in a variety of positions including, both left and right back, centre back and even centre midfield. His consistent solid performances earned O’Shea a whopping 52 appearances in all competitions as United hunted down Arsenal to win Premier League title number eight. However arguably the standout moment for O’Shea came against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals, where Sheasy famously nutmegged then Real Madrid legend Luis Figo! It rounded off what was a marvellous debut season for the Irishman.

Despite the club’s struggles on the field during the following campaign (2003/04) O’Shea remained a consistent and solid figure in the Manchester United side. He even managed to open up his goal scoring account for the reds, scoring a neat header against Wolves in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. It may not quite have hit the height of his first proper debut season, but it was still an impressive season on a personal level for O’Shea, as he rounded off the campaign by lifting the FA Cup in Cardiff, helping United defeat Millwall 3-0.

Indifferent displays throughout the following 2 campaign’s (2004/05, 2005/06) led to whispers of a possible move away from Old Trafford for Irishman, with Newcastle and the likes been linked with a move. Critics from sections of the United faithful and media were been aimed at the Irishman following his admittedly below par performance’s. This would prove a pivotal moment in O’Shea’s Old Trafford career. Would he stay and prove the doubters wrong or would he take the easy way out and move to a lower Premier League club. The answer would be of course to stay and prove the doubters wrong and boy did he do just that!

It can be argued that there were a number of decisive moments that played it’s part in United winning the Premier League title in 2007. From Cristiano Ronaldo’s last minute winner at Fulham to Louis Saha’s all-important winner at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers. However if we had to choose one moment that stood head and shoulders above the rest it would have to be Sheasy’s last minute winner at Anfield. Having seen Ronaldo’s free kick parried by Pepe Reina, O’Shea pounced in the penalty and placed the ball into the top of the goal giving United all 3 points. The League may not have been officially confirmed that day, but it was as good as ours and we knew it. O’Shea’s contribution to United that season was undeniable; as the Irishman went on to make a whopping 49 appearances in all competitions. Yes Ronaldo and the likes may have gotten the headlines and rightly so in a way, but it was versatile players like O’Shea who almost went unnoticed. Without them we were not the same side and I doubt would have been as successful without them.

What was to follow in the 2007/08 campaign was beyond the stuff even dreams are made of, as the club went on to win not just the Premier League Title but the UEFA Champions League. Again much the like the previous campaign when called upon when it mattered most, O’Shea came in and did his job for the side even if it meant him playing up front! His efforts on the field were rewarded in November 2007, as O’Shea extended his contract at the club to 2012 and was even given the captain’s armband for the first time against Coventry City in a League Cup clash at Old Trafford.

The following year may not have quite hit the heights of the previous campaign for the club, but for O’Shea on a personal level it almost certainly did, as the Irishman made an astonishing 54 appearances in all competition’s, beating his personal best of 52 appearances set back in 2002/03. His impressive displays led to Sir Alex Ferguson handing Sheasy a starting place both the European Cup final against Barcelona and League Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. However arguably the standout moment for O’Shea came in the European Cup semi final 1st leg against the old enemy Arsenal at Old Trafford, where O’Shea emphatically drilled the ball home past Almunia and into the back of the net handing United the advantage ahead of the 2nd leg.

As we headed into the Irishman’s final few years at Old Trafford, O’Shea’s game time on the field for United became unfortunately less and less. Having suffered a blood clot in the leg in January 2010 it forced the Irishman to miss much of the remainder of the 2009/10 campaign. Despite returning from injury later that year, it was clear to see O’Shea’s days at the theatre of dreams were looking numbered; he just didn’t seem the same player any more.

His time at Old Trafford was officially brought to an end on the 7th July 2011, where it was announced O’Shea had signed a four year contract with Sunderland. He may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, he may not even be remembered by some of the united faithful in years to come, but his contribution still should never go unnoticed.

Still Marching On | Martial goal keeps top 4 hopes alive

They’re up against it, but don’t tell Manchester United they can’t do it. United kept their top 4 chance continuing with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Everton thanks to a clinical finish from Anthony Martial, his 13th goal this campaign.

The first half was what has become the norm at old Trafford: dour, slow football lacking any penetration or pace. United do try hard; but their intent is unidentifiable. Are they trying to press? Are they trying to counter? I don’t see a plan and that is a concern for manager Louis Van Gaal.

The difference in the 2nd half was 18 year old Timothy Fosu-Mensah. The Dutchman provided the assist for Martial’s finish and made a vital clearance when Lukaku was bound on goal. If you don’t know it yet, remember the name: Timothy Fosu-Mensah is an immense talent. His best position is in central midfield and hopefully we get to see him there in future.

Herrera’s inclusion also provided an increased tempo and flair when he replaced Michael Carrick in the 52nd minute. The combination of Carrick and Schneiderlin is one that should be used to a minimum as both players together causes similarity and static pace in the midfield. With what is available, Herrera and Schneiderlin should start every week from here on out. Let Schneiderlin protect the defence and play out while allowing the Spaniard to weave and creative in an advanced role. Ander has shown his creativity and aggression can lift us to the top 4 as he did last season. Van Gaal needs to trust him to repeat last season’s performances.

Without doubt, Daley Blind was Man of the match, reading the game well and keeping alleged United target Romelu Lukaku fairly quiet for most of the game.

The confusion in the team is the constant alternation between Juan Mata, a specialist no. 10 and Jesse Lingard. For all of Lingard’s efforts and the sporadic denting run, he has not shown a reason why he should be commanding of this position in the team over a Spanish international.
Adding further confusion to this point: If you’re going to play Lingard there, then why not Andreas Peirera? I ensure you, of all the talented youngsters we have at the club, Peirera is one of the best. I sincerely hope he gets much-needed first team game time next season otherwise, another club will.

It doesn’t get any easier for the men from Old Trafford: they face Tottenham up next where a win will be difficult to attain. If Manchester United can earn a point at the very least, it keeps them on track for the coveted Champions league place.

It was scrappy, it was ugly, but it’s another 3 points. May the Reds keep marching On On On!

Your Aussie Correspondent,

Larry – The United Stand

Blog | Sir Alex was right | Tour prep does not mean LVG will stay

Despite the international break, there was still plenty of news circulating around Manchester United. Such as United considering Pochettino and Mourinho agreeing a deal with Valencia should he not be employed by United.

The pick of the bunch for me though, was news relating to comments made by former United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, regarding Louis van Gaal.

On March 31st, The Manchester Evening News had put out an article claiming that Sir Alex had defended van Gaal and called for ‘patience’.

This post went out on Twitter and caused quite a stir among the United faithful. See some responses the news other sources below:

Others considered Sir Alex’s words before posting their tweet:

I opened up Twitter that day while at work and all I saw on my timeline were United fans slating Fergie. Some being quite nasty. At first I thought “what the hell is going on?” I didn’t think for one second that he would come out and publicly defend Louis van Gaal. Not in so many words, at least. So I opened the article by MEN and read it for myself. Here is what they quote Ferguson as saying:

“It is dead easy to be critical,

“You have to be realistic about some things – the number of injuries he has had: Phil Jones has played only seven games this season, Ashley Young, (Antonio) Valencia, (Luke) Shaw, these are big losses.

“The other aspect which is always easy to forget there are also five new players in their first season at United, and two are young players in (Anthony) Martial and Memphis (Depay) and their promise is good.

“You have to have some patience being a Manchester United fan and they have shown that over the years; in Matt Busby’s time, in my time.

“For 150 years of history it is worth having a couple of years on the quiet side of success because they will always come back and come back strong.”

Now when I read the article all I took from it is that he has stated a few facts. Yes there are injuries to players who are important. Ashley Young being one of them. He has been excellent over the last couple of seasons. And yes there are new players who are young and settling in. He also, and rightly so says that patience is needed from time to time, like himself and Sir Matt Busby were afforded.

What he didn’t say is that Louis van Gaal should be afforded MORE time than he has already been given. He also didn’t say that he is ‘defending’ Louis van Gaal.

I am confident that in his head he is thinking that we should be in a much better position than we are given the time and money Louis van Gaal has had. I’m not claiming to know what Fergie is thinking, I just seriously believe he also thinks we should be in a much better position that we are. We see Ferguson many times in the stands shaking his head, looking discontented and at times yawning! So you can’t tell me that he is backing or defending LVG.

In the interview, he is being recorded and he is representing the club. He simply cannot come out and criticise van Gaal and say that he thinks the club need to change manager. Imagine the frenzy that would create within the club and how embarrassing it would be for the club.

Sir Alex Ferguson was recently interviewed by Sky Sports (Picture: skysports.com)
Sir Alex Ferguson was recently interviewed by Sky Sports (Picture: skysports.com)

I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe people have read far too much into this and the reason for that is the headline that was used by various media outlets – “Sir Alex Ferguson defends Manchester United manager Van Gaal”. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people didn’t even read the article and instead reacted to the headline alone. Imagine the headline had read something like, “Sir Alex Ferguson says it’s not uncommon for United to have a quiet spell”; if it did, you can bet your bottom dollar we would not have seen the same reaction, or abuse aimed at Fergie.

Moving on from the Sir Alex comments, another big topic of discussion was the news from the Daily Mail that Louis van Gaal has a huge part in planning the pre-season China tour in the summer. This also sparked a reaction on Twitter with many people worried that it would mean Van Gaal is set to see out his contract. See a couple of responses to the news below:

I think it’s a little naive to think that Louis van Gaal will be staying because he is involved in preparations for the China tour. You could argue that it was the headline and word “lifeline” being used that got people worried.

As far as I am aware, it’s normal for the manager to be involved in pre-season tour preparation, so it does not surprise me to hear that he is involved. No one knows what his situation at the club is. No one knows if he will be in charge next season. It’s most likely going to depend on how he finishes the season with the main aim being Champions League qualification. For all we know, the decision may already be made.

United will face Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund during their China tour (Picture: theguardian.com)
United will face Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund during their China tour (Picture: theguardian.com)

One we can be sure of though is that if we finish the season poorly and don’t make the top four, the fact he was involved in tour preparations will not be enough to save his job. To think it is enough would be ludicrous. Let’s just hope that Ed Woodward doesn’t think like that!

Angel Di Maria and Louis Van Gaal Exchange Verbal Blows

Last week, Angel Di Maria opened up on his time with Manchester United, and it didn’t make for pretty watching for Louis Van Gaal. Speaking to the BBC, Di Maria claimed that his ill-fated spell at Manchester United came to an end for an array of reasons.

“I started a game in a position, and then the next one I would be in another.”

“I scored goals playing in one position, and then suddenly the next game I was picked to play in a different position.”

“It’s more that they didn’t let me settle properly than I couldn’t settle. I left a team that was out of the European competition and far away from being champions of the Premier League. I don’t think it was my fault or the fault of my teammates.”

The Argentine then added that he left the club “not only to be happy, but to win things.”

In his weekly press conference, Louis Van Gaal retaliated in a manner similar to that when he verbally attacked Paul Scholes for criticising him and his team.

“I have never seen players who look at themselves, who look to the way they have performed here, and that is always the fault of the manager.”

“So he is one of the players who are in the row of players who have no self-criticism. Unfortunately, it is also my life as a manager. It is always like that.”

The aftermath on social media was pretty critical towards Di Maria. I, however, decided to mull his comments over. Was he, after all, so wrong in what he said? He was played out of position. During his time at Manchester United, he operated as a winger, an attacking midfielder, a number 10, a playmaker and a striker.

His form at United was erratic, of that there can be no mistake. His first couple of months were electric, as he was played in his favoured position, and he thrived. He will remembered for his breathtaking goal against Leicester City, probably more so than the fact Leicester actually won the game 5-3. As the season progressed, injuries and break-ins caused his form to suffer, but he was continually played out of position, Van Gaal using his hefty price tag as an excuse that he has to deliver wherever he plays.

And that is nonsense. Let’s use Rio Ferdinand as an example here. He cost £30 million when he joined United from Leeds in 2002, but would he have realistically have been expected to perform in a position that he was not familiar with? Of course not.

Then there is the Argentine’s comments about moving to France to win trophies. This was a comment that angered many a Manchester United fan. As for me, I totally got what he was saying. If this season has shown us anything, it is that the club are miles away from winning the Premier League. When Manchester United are struggling to make top four, not least challenging for the title, in a league where Leicester City are the frontrunners followed by Tottenham Hotspur, serious questions need to be asked.

“Winning trophies in France doesn’t count” was one Tweet I saw. Again, nonsense. Why doesn’t it? Because it’s France? Because Paris Saint Germain are the only team capable of winning Ligue 1? Let me ask you this, does that same rule apply to Germany? Bayern Munich will this season win their fourth successive Bundesliga title. Same as PSG this year. Are French teams competitive in Europe? As a whole, no. Perhaps they are in Germany, but the domestic competition is almost a non-event, just like in France.

Had he, for example, headed to Greece and joined Olympiakos I could understand the criticism. At Olympiakos he would win endless trophies. Afterall, they have won 17 of the last 19 Greek Super Leagues. However, they are miles away from competing outside of Greece. PSG, in comparison, as a complete squad, ooze class. They have knocked Chelsea, England’s current champions, out of the Champions League in each of the past two seasons. It is completely possible that they will continue that run in the upcoming quarter-final tie against Manchester City. This is a team that contains genuine world class players. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura, Marco Verratti. The list is almost endless. By comparison, he left a Manchester United side that Marouane Fellaini is almost the first name on the team sheet.

And Di Maria has thrived since. His form at PSG has been what United fans only saw glimpses of. 14 goals and 13 assists. He was a world class player when he joined Old Trafford, and he is a world class player now in Paris.

Angel Di Maria didn’t fail Manchester United. Manchester United failed him. Louis Van Gaal has been quick to try to shift the blame back to the player but it once again exposes his frailties. He took a player who was Man of the Match in the Champions League final as Real Madrid recorded their tenth European title, and turned him into a player who struggled against Yeovil.

It used to be said that no player could recover from leaving Manchester United, that their career was only downhill from there. Di Maria has proved the contrary, and, for me, that is down to Louis Van Gaal and his ego.

United to seek advice before pursuing Pochettino

Manchester United will seek advice from “influential people” before entering into talks with Tottenham Hotspur over snapping up manager Mauricio Pochettino.

According to the Express, United executive vice chairman is thought to have earmarked Pochettino as a candidate to replace current head coach Louis Van Gaal this summer.

Since taking over Tottenham back in May 2014, Pochettino has been a revelation at the club and has this season taken Spurs to the brink of a first league title since the 1960’s.

Jose Mourinho still remains the favourite to take over the Old Trafford hot seat, but Ed Woodward wants contingency plans in place in case that move turns sour.

It is thought Woodward is determined to take his time this time round in order to get the right  having failed with his first two managerial appointments in David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.

Are Valencia Set To Ruin United’s Plans?

Last night Valencia sacked Manchester United legend Gary Neville and immediately turned their sights to Jose Mourinho, according to several media reports.

The deal between Manchester United and Jose Mourinho has long been thought of as all-but-complete for some time now but with Valencia keen to act swiftly following Neville’s dismissal, the former Real Madrid manager could be tempted by the immediate availability and guarantees that the Spanish club could offer, despite an alleged pre-contract between United and Mourinho thought to be in place.

It is thought that last season’s Premier League winning manager would prefer to be at Old Trafford next season but with United still clinging on to Louis Van Gaal, a return to La Liga could very much be on the cards. However, it is worth noting that Mourinho did appear to rule out a return to Spain in February this year after claiming that the competition amongst the top clubs was poor.

“I always say that I need competition and I need competition every week and in Spain, I was at an amazing club but I had four matches a year: Barcelona v Real Madrid, Real Madrid v Barcelona and after that we’d win 4-0, 5-0, 4-1, 6-1.

It was difficult to win because two monsters are together, but it was easy to win matches. Difficult to win the league because you are competing against another team that also win and win and win like you do, so in the end, I was champion in Spain with 100 points and I lost a league in Spain with 91 points.

In England, you can win the leagues with 75 points, maybe less, so I needed competition.”

Mourinho is still odds-on with the bookies to be in charge at Old Trafford come August, although he is now 8/1 to be in charge at Valencia at the beginning of next season.

Mourinho to be given £250m budget with £50m to go on one player

Since Jose Mourinho departed Chelsea in December last year he has been heavily linked to take the United hot seat in the summer and now reports in the Daily Express suggest that he will be given a whopping £250m to spend in order to get United back to their best.

In the same report it is also suggested that should Mourinho become the next United manager, he will be looking to part with £50m of that budget on Benfica starlet Renato Sanches.

Benfica, however, would demand around £47m for the wonderkid’s signature with at least £30m paid up front.

It’s no secret that United have been scouting Sanches in recent months as it has been reported several times in the media.

It is also claimed that United’s scouts were present to see Sanches come off the bench to help Portugal beat Belgium 2-1 on Tuesday night.

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