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Pogba Unhappy at Manchester United!

Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United and is contemplating his future after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, according to many reports this morning.

Pogba’s issues allegedly lie around being forced to play in a midfield two and the lack of freedom he now has due to Sanchez being given a free role ahead of him. There’s also mention of Pogba being disgruntled because he feels the team should be built round him and not Sanchez.

Of course the likelihood is that all, or most, of the above is paper talk. Any chance the press get to undermine Manchester United and Jose Mourinho they’ll take it and this Pogba story certainly has that feel to it.

Pogba does operate better on the left side of a midfield three but the fact is Manchester United don’t currently have the players to fit that system. Matic and Pogba are head an shoulders United’s best two midfield options at the moment and until Mourinho strengthens his midfield in the summer Pogba will have to do his bit for the team and work in a midfield two. He certainly has the attributes to do it and as a player who’s been handed the captaincy on occasion this season, he needs to take on that leadership responsibility and work for the team not himself.

As for Alexis Sanchez’s arrival. Pogba will know bringing Sanchez to Manchester United massively increases his chances of playing in a successful side and displaying his true talent. There’s a world of difference in passing the ball and working with Sanchez than there is with a Lingard or Fellaini and Pogba won’t be petty enough to let wages and vanity get in the way of that.

Sanchez is a player with a winning mentality who visibly puts 100% in to every game and that’s been evidenced in the games he’s played for United so far. If Pogba is looking for ways to improve his current poor form a quick look at how Sanchez applies himself every game and keeps his head up even when things are going wrong wouldn’t be a bad start for Pogba.

These players need to remember, it’s not about the name on the back of the shirt, it’s about the badge on the front.

Get More on the Pogba Situation here

Mourinho Pressure Increases After Champions League Nightmare

The pressure on Jose Mourinho to bring a more entertaining brand of football to Manchester United has increased dramatically over the last few days, despite Mourinho’s Man United not even playing.

Impressive results from Tottenham against Turin, Man City against Basel and Liverpool vs Porto, wouldn’t normally be anything more than a minor annoyance to Manchester United fans. However, the method in which those three sides obtained those results has left many Man United fans frustrated. Seeing your rivals win is one thing, seeing them win and playing infinitely better than your side is another.

The reality is, like last season, Manchester United have hit the business end of the season and the football has suddenly become lethargic, slow and results orientated. There has been glimpses of fast flowing football under Mourinho this season but all that seems a distant memory as Mourinho bunkers down to grind out the results in the way only Mourinho can.

As stated above, this should not come as a surprise to those who have monitored Jose Mourinho’s career. More progressive football up until Christmas traditionally makes way for a defensive focused second half of the season where Mourinho looks to conserve energy and grind out those one nil wins. Exactly the same thing happened in the second half of the season Mourinho’s Chelsea won the league and it’s happened numerous times throughout his illustrious career.

The question is can Manchester United fans stomach that sort of playing style when their big rivals Liverpool and Man City are playing such an entertaining and fast brand of football? The answer is an emphatic no!

It’s one thing to be grinding out boring results when you’re challenging for the Premier League title but when you’re 16 points adrift of the scintillating football Man City are playing Mourinho’s dogged football becomes even more irritating. Can he change it? Yes. Will he change it? Probably not. One of Mourinho’s great strengths and weaknesses is his stubbornness in the face of popular opinion. And in the past it was the success he had by going against the grain that afforded him the well earned title of “The Special One”. But in recent times those controversial decisions have gone a little wayward but the stubbornness remains.

Manchester United fans may well demand more entertaining football, the press may continue to undermine Mourinho and say his brand of football belongs in the past, the pressure may increase on Mourinho. But he won’t change. Because Mourinho is the man who motivates himself by proving people wrong.

Can he do it? If the results improve and he wins more trophies he can.

Whatever happens it’s going to be an interesting few months between now and May finding out.

Mauro Icardi to Manchester United?

Mauro Icardi could sign for Manchester United this summer according to the Guardian.

Inter Milan are desperately trying to pin Icardi down to a new contract but fear the spending power of a Manchester United or Real Madrid could be too much for Icardi to resist. Added in to that Icardi also has a 90 million Euro release clause that comes in to play in July. When that clause was originally set it was seen as massively prohibitive to any club who came looking at Icardi. But with prices escalating as they have over the last 18 months, 90 million Euro for one of the world’s best forwards would be a bargain.

Turning 25 in the next few days, Icardi is at the peak of his powers and is about to enter his prime years.  Already this season he has 18 goals in 24 games and his speed, intelligence and tenacity would be a perfect fit for the Premier League.

Icardi’s wife acts as his agent but the Guardian report that Mino Raiola, the agent who has brought Zlatan, Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Lukaku to Manchester United in the last 18 months alone, is looking to broker the deal. If that is the case then Icardi could be wearing a United shirt sooner than anyone expected.

Fellaini to Leave Manchester United This Summer?

Marouane Fellaini has agreed to join Besiktas this summer according to reports from Turkey. The BBC Gossip page reports that “Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has agreed a deal to join Besiktas at the end of the season. The Belgium international, 30, is out of contract at the end of the season and could leave on a free transfer.”

Whether Fellaini’s departure would be celebrated by Manchester United fans remains to be seen? Fellaini was David Moyes first signing and to many fans Fellaini is seen as a symbol of what Manchester United have become since the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson – slow, unimaginative, and ultimately not good enough for a side that should be winning titles.

Regardless of what United fans think though, Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Fellaini – Not once in his tenure has Fellaini been the victim of one of Mourinho’s famous outbursts – and Mourinho will take Fellaini’s departure hard. Which in itself makes Fellaini’s leaving even more remarkable. To walk away from the biggest club in the world with a manager that’s spent months begging you to stay is quite a statement.

So why would Fellaini leave United? Well maybe that was his plan all along? If rumours are to believed an offer of a new contract has been on the table for months and Mourinho has been eager for Fellaini to sign. But at 30 years of age and out of contract the financial packages on offer to Fellaini from abroad are probably way more than United can offer.

If he does go it will be a huge kick in the teeth for Mourinho. For Fellaini to turn his back on Mourinho and United for money abroad after Mourinho has gone against many fans wishes and begged Fellaini to stay will be a big defeat for Jose.

Mourinho Wants Toby Alderweireld Deal

Manchester United want Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld according to latest reports. But is Alderweireld what United really need?

A tall, strong, combatitive centre back who is good on the ball is exactly what United need and Toby Alderweireld certainly fits that billing and more. Arguably the best centre back in the Premier League currently it would be a very naive Manchester United fan to say they’d be happier with Jones, Smalling and Lindelof. Plus the prospect of an Eric Bailly and Alderweireld centre back pairing has the look of something that could easily develop in to the next Bruce and Pallister or Ferdinand and Vidic.

But there is a big downside to any Alderweireld deal that makes it highly unlikely to happen.

For one, Spurs have been reluctant to do any business with Manchester United since they sold us Berbatov nearly ten years ago. Admittedly at some point that stance will have to change but as of now it’s a big obstacle.

More important is Alderweireld’s contract situation. His contract expires in the summer of 2019, however it does have a year extension option for Tottenham that would take the deal to 2020, two and a half years away. Interestingly there is a rumoured clause in the contract that allows Alderweireld to leave Tottenham in the summer of 2019 if an offer of 25 million comes in though. And 25 million for a player of his quality is a huge bargain.

The issue United have is two fold. To secure that bargain they’d have to wait 18 months. 18 months is too long in football. So there only other option is to try and deal with Spurs this summer. Which for the reasons stated above would be extremely difficult. Liverpool paying 75 million for Van Dijk won’t have helped the situation either so if United want Alderweireld they’ll be lucky to get any change out of 80 million. And here’s the killer. Alderweireld is 29 next month. As good as he is, is he really worth 80 million at 29? And if United wait 18 months to get him for 25 million he’ll be 30.

It’s an interesting one and I certainly wouldn’t rule out Toby Alderweireld signing for Manchester United. But when all the above is taken in to account it may not be the best deal for United right now.

Tahith Chong Debut Against Huddersfield?

Tahith Chong, a name Manchester United fans may not have heard of a few months ago, is suddenly the man, or boy, many fans want to be the next youth player given a run out for the first team. With Huddersfield up next in the cup, is it the perfect time for Chong to be given his chance?

For someone so young – Chong only turned 18 in December – Tahith Chong is already making up for lost time. A serious knee injury kept him out for most of 2017 so it’s credit to him and his talent that we’re only two months in to 2018 and he’s already banging on the door of the first team.

Fast, skillful and a competent finisher, Chong has the look of accomplished United wingers from years gone by. Ryan Giggs is an obvious comparison and Chong does possess that ability to glide along with the ball at speed and beat a man. But for anyone who’s seen Chong and old clips of George Best in his younger days there’s definitely a resemblance in the way Chong keeps the ball close, can ride a tackle, and never looks in any trouble despite the number of players around him.

Of course comparing an 18 year old youth player to one of the world’s “Best” ever players is at this stage fanciful. Chong’s first challenge is to force his way in to Jose Mourinho’s plans before he can even begin to think about how good he can be.

So how close to a first team call up is Chong and is he likely to be involved against Huddersfield?

In answer to the first question, he should be very close. He’s recently featured and performed well for the U23’s, which is effectively the reserves, and with Mourinho monitoring those performances a first team call up should be imminent. However, I’d be very surprised if Mourinho calls him up any time soon. Mourinho isn’t Sir Alex Ferguson. If he was then Chong would be involved against Huddersfield. Sir Alex was never shy in promoting youth, especially young talented flair players, and Chong fits that particular statement like a glove.

Mourinho is different though. His record with bringing through youth, despite his protestations, isn’t good. He’s also already stated that he wants to bring through one youth player a season and this season it’s McTominay. Others have been given a few minutes here and there but Mourinho doesn’t appear to be the sort of manager that would consider Chong’s involvement any time in the next month or so a priority.

The more realistic hope for Chong is that the first team find some sort of consistent form between now and April and tie up Champions League football so that Mourinho has the option of blooding some youth in the remaining dead rubber league games. But with the way United are playing at the moment it could be be that every game counts between now and the end of the season. Which is likely to mean no debut for Chong any time soon.

Mourinho Too Harsh on Pogba and Martial

Manchester United fans felt Jose Mourinho was too harsh on Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial after the win over Huddersfield.

Mourinho decided to drop Pogba and Martial amongst others for the Huddersfield game after the disappointing Wembley loss to Tottenham on Wednesday night. And whilst many Manchester United fans felt the dropping of Phil Jones and Ashley Young was justified, leaving out Pogba and Martial was seen as a step too far and led to some unhappy opinions outside the ground after the game.

See what the fans outside Old Trafford had to say here

Man United In Advanced Talks For Kluivert

Manchester United are in advanced talks to sign Justin Kluivert from Ajax in a 10 million pound deal according to reports.

Kluivert, who only turns 19 in May, was part of the Ajax squad that faced Manchester United in the Europa League final last year, and is a player Jose Mourinho is long said to have admired. Playing off his favoured left side, Kluivert is considered one of the best up and coming talents in European football and with his contract up next year Manchester United could be well placed to pick up a bargain. Especially when Manchester United’s favourite agent Mino Raiola is also Kluivert’s agent.

So how would Kluivert fit in at Manchester United? At just under five foot eight Kluivert isn’t the biggest, but he has blistering pace and loves to dribble. In Premier League terms his style isn’t dissimilar to an Eden Hazard when he’s in full flow, but to suggest he’s on that level yet would be jumping the gun. Caution should always be taken when hyping up young players from any league and Manchester United will know only too well that a superstar in the making from the Dutch league isn’t a guaranteed ticket to success in the Premier League. Memphis Depay anyone?

Whether United truly are in for Kluivert remains to be seen. But with his contract up in just over a year, Mourinho an admirer, and Mino Raiola his agent, there’s already a number of positives in Manchester United’s favour.

Mourinho Reveals Summer Transfer Targets

Jose Mourinho has indicated he will sign two midfielders this summer, as he looks to strengthen an area that currently looks bereft of ideas and cohesion.

With Michael Carrick retiring Mourinho already knew he’d need to bring in at least one midfield replacement this summer. However, with Marouane Fellaini yet to sign a new contract and free to leave in the summer that would force Mourinho in to making two midfielder signings.

With Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay Mourinho’s only midfield options if Carrick and Fellaini leave, it’s not hard to see why United will need strengthen. Even with Fellaini and Carrick Manchester United currently look decidedly lightweight in the midfield, and many United fans feel that Mourinho should already have been prioritising the midfield area regardless of departures.

With the January transfer window shut Mourinho will have to wait until the summer to remedy the issue and that at least gives him a few months to assess his options and scout the possibilities.

So who might be on Mourinho’s scouting list? Milinković-Savić of Lazio, Jorginho of Napoli, Seri of Nice, and Fabinho of Monaco are four names that instantly spring to mind and with the current state of Manchester United’s midfield any two from that four would certainly improve Mourinho’s options. Although it shouldn’t be forgotten that Mourinho likes players who are established in the premier league and there are some suggestions that he’ll go back for Eric Dier from Tottenham if as many expect, Tottenham fail to qualify for the Champions League and a mass exodus ensues.

Mourinho Hands Klopp Manager of the Month

Jose Mourinho was nailed on to be January’s manager of the month. Premier League wins over Everton, Stoke and Burnley meant that a draw or better against Spurs would have guaranteed Mourinho a first manager of the month award of the season and broken his big rival Pep Guardiola’s unprecedented four in a row winning streak.

And whilst Guardiola is still highly unlikely to win the award for January, Mourinho’s tactical nightmare at Spurs looks to have handed the award to another rival in Jurgen Klopp.

Of all the premier league managers Klopp, Mourinho and Guardiola have the best record in January with three wins and one loss. However, with Guardiola’s one loss coming against Liverpool that surely counts Guardiola out as a contender? To give the award to Pep over a manager who beat him would be extremely dubious. So with Guardiola out of the running it’s a straight race between Mourinho and Klopp.

Klopp’s record reads wins over Burnley away, City home, Huddersfield away and then a loss to Swansea away with 9 goals scored and 5 conceded.
Mourinho’s record reads wins over Everton away, Stoke home, Burnley away and then a loss to Spurs away with 6 goals scored and 2 conceded.

When analysing the above a fair conclusion would be that Mourinho should still be awarded his first manager of the month award for the season. United and Liverpool mirrored each other’s results against Burnley and when you look at the fixtures United’s are definitely the tougher run of games with a more even spread of goals that highlight a strong defence and decent attack. Liverpool have scored more goals but with five goals conceded the stats show a side that is very imbalanced.

Don’t expect logic or fairness to win out when the award is handed out tomorrow though. The focus the Premier League panel will undoubtedly put on Liverpool beating City and ending their unbeaten run will not be ignored and will ultimately hand Klopp the award.

It’s an extremely close call but Mourinho only has himself to blame. A perfect January was destroyed by some suspect tactical decisions against Spurs that United should have comfortably expected at least a draw from. Oh well, there’s always next month.