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5 Surprise Midfield Signings for Manchester United

5 Surprise Midfield Signings for Manchester United

It is imperative that Manchester United have to invest in the midfield in order to challenge for a title next season. Amid links to midfielders such as Toni Kroos, Sergej Milinkovic Savic, and Fred, what are some of the other options Manchester United have? Here’s five midfielders that would surprise Manchester United fans, but aid us in our title quest next season.

5. Julian Draxler

 

Age 24
Club PSG
Contract Ends 2021
Height 6’ 2”

 

 

 

Draxler has featured in an ultimately disappointing PSG side this season, playing alongside the likes of Verratti, Mbappe and Neymar, yet failing to win the big prizes the club set out to win. With Neymar and possibly Verratti likely to force a move, Draxler may also be looking to find a way out of the French club this season. Capable of playing on the wing or in midfield, Draxler would be perfect for Manchester United. He’s a top class player who can score, create and add flair to our attack. Draxler will also be 25 in September, the perfect age for our squad. In addition, PSG will have to pay 180 million euros to AS Monaco in order to keep Kylian Mbappe, and they will certainly look to get any money they can to avoid breaking FFP rules. If Manchester United act fast enough, they could sign him for a reasonable price. While we have been tentatively linked to him in the past, this is a player Manchester United could very well sign this season

4. Lucas Torreira

 

Age 22
Club Sampdoria
Contract Ends 2022
Height 5’ 6”

This young Uruguayan midfielder has done exceptionally well for Sampdoria in Serie A this season. A center-defensive midfielder who is similar to Michael Carrick, Torreira excels at transitioning the ball quickly from back to front, using his incredible passing range and astute reading of the game to transition the ball into the final third. Torreira would be an ideal addition to our midfield, as he could rotate with Matic or play in a midfield three with Pogba, giving him license to go forward while also contributing offensively with playmaking from deep. However, he is only 22, and with Mourinho growing impatient with the likes of Rashford and Martial, there is no evidence he will sign such a young player. He’s also contracted until 2022, which would make him fairly expensive for such a young player. But Torreira will almost certainly be snapped up by a bigger club this season, and there is no reason Manchester United shouldn’t be at the front of that cue.

3.Adrien Rabiot

Age 23
Club PSG
Contract Ends 2019
Height 6’ 3”



A talented but somewhat inconsistent midfielder, Frenchman Adrien Rabiot has had a mixed season for PSG. Standing at 6 foot 3, his physicality combined with his technical ability make him a uniquely talented player. His passing, creativity and physicality are all things that Manchester United could benefit from if he were to sign. His contract is up in a years time, so he could be signed for a cheap price in Manchester United act fast enough. As previously mentioned, PSG will be looking to offload players to balance their massive spending of the last few season. While he has struggled for consistency and would be a risk, Rabiot is a player who under the right guidance, could be a great signing for the Red Devils.

 

2.Max Meyer

Age 22
Club FC Schalke 04
Contract Ends 2018
Height 5’ 8”

FC Schalke have had a terrific season in the Bundesliga, finishing second to Bayern Munich and ahead of Borussia Dortmund. At the heart of this campaign has been Max Meyer. He’s creative, skillful and above all, has played for a team that plays similar to Manchester United in some aspects. Schalke defend deep and do not rely on pressing, and try to counter attack often. With a similar defending style at United, Meyer could quite easily adapt to Mourinho’s system and help the team become better on the break. His contract ends this summer, meaning any club could sign him for free. He has been heavily linked to Liverpool, but Manchester United should not sleep on this hot German prospect. 

1.James Rodriguez

 

Age 26
Club FC Bayern Munich (Loan from Real Madrid)
Contract Ends 2019 (Loan)
Height 5’ 11”

James Rodriguez would be an unbelievable midfield signing for various reasons. He’s a huge brand worldwide, and would be the perfect player to acquire the number 10 shirt. He’s also a player who doesn’t need much development, and could come straight into the team and make an impact. He’s a leader, not the same kind of leader as Roy Keane, but someone who has passion and leads by example. But above all that, his attributes as a player make him one of the best midfielders in the world. He can play in a midfield two, a midfield three or as an attacking midfielder. His passing range, decision making, vision, skill and crossing make him one of the most complete midfielders in Europe. Additionally, Rodriguez’s dead-ball delivery is exceptional, and with the amount of height we have in our team, he could unlock a whole new dimension to Manchester United’s attack. While he is still on loan at Bayern, the club are still unsure whether to keep him or not. And if Manchester United act quickly, we could have a player that could have a tremendous impact on our title challenge next season.

 

By: Vishnu Anandraj

 

How Manchester United Could Lineup Next Season

Manchester United have undoubtedly had a perplexing season. Jose Mourinho has factually made progression, but has failed to play attractive football and pose a title challenge to Manchester City. These problems come from a lack of identity in the way Manchester United play. Heading into next season, it is vital Manchester United develop a set formation and a set way of playing.

Throughout the season, Jose Mourinho has mainly employed two different formations: the 4-3-3 and the 4-2-3-1, although he has experimented with variants of a 3-4-1-2. Here we see the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-3.

 

Consistency in performance level and the quality of football have been lacking with these two formations. This stems from a multitude of different issues.

For one, this both these systems use very little width. Mata, Sanchez and Lingard are all wingers who like to cut inside, playing in central areas regardless of where they start.

Martial and Rashford have started periodically throughout the season, but neither provide natural sources of width on the left and their strengths do not necessarily lie in their ability to cross the ball.

Moreover, our full backs are aged ex-wingers who are on the decline and need to be replaced.

Another problem with both systems is how our two best outfield players, Pogba and Sanchez, constantly get in each other’s way on the left side of the pitch. With Sanchez showing a lack of discipline on the left hand side, Pogba is forced to go deep or go wide in order to make an impact.

Therefore, it’s crucial that we implement a system that can get the best out of Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez while also providing us width.

If we analyze the history of Jose Mourinho, he has predominantly used two formations in is career. He used a 4-2-3-1, which we have already seen at Manchester United, and a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield.

This is the formation that Mourinho used to conquer Europe with Porto, dominate England with Chelsea in his first tenure and with the treble with Inter. While he is an incredibly adaptable manager and used formations such as the 4-3-3 and the 4-2-3-1 at times, his staple was this 4-4-2 diamond.

In this picture, three changes have been made to the starting eleven: Andreas Pereira in midfield, Alex Sandro at left back and Timothy Fosu-Mensah at right back.

This formation, while not currently used in the Premier League, could give Manchester United several advantages.

One, it enables Pogba to play on the left side of a midfield three, giving him licence to make runs forward.

It also enables Sanchez to play centrally, the position most United fans think he should play.

Moreover, Martial and Rashford can play in their preferred position: as a central forward.

However, the one glaring problem with this formation is that is uses minimal width.

And with so many players who are good in the air; Lukaku, Rashford and Pogba to name a few, width and natural crosses are crucial and could unlock a whole new dimension to Manchester United’s attack.

 

 

 

But upon further analysis, we can see how this system can provide Manchester United with the width it needs.

In this picture, we can see how United can attack in possession using the 4-4-2 diamond.

With Lukaku leading the line and occupying the center backs, Martial can drift into the wide and half spaces on the left.

Sanchez can play more centrally and Pogba plays more advanced, and most importantly, Sandro can bomb forward and give us natural width on the left.

However, this causes an imbalance, as the attack is mainly focused on the left.

Therefore, Andreas Pereira will have to perform an unorthodox role in this system, occupying the wide spaces on the right when starting in midfield.

While this could be a midfield signing who can cross, such as Toni Kroos, the important thing is having some source of natural width on the right.

Fosu Mensah or an aged Antonio Valencia playing at right back is not a good source of width, and therefore, a midfielder needs to provide with in this system.

 

 

In addition, Nemanja Matic and Fosu Mensah will perform a crucial role in this system. With Sandro bursting forwards, teams can break fast through the expose left side. This would cause Matic to play more towards the left.

This leaves no players in the center circle area, leaving United somewhat exposed.

This poses a possible problem for this system, but, Fosu Mensah and Antonio Valencia are capable of playing as a defensive midfielder and could easily step into the midfield.

While the addition of Sandro and a midfielder to the lineup would aid in United’s success, the investment in a right back who can go forward could be the solution to United’s problems.

In this scenario, Herrera would play the same role as Matic, covering his full back while still remaining somewhat central.

With two sources of natural width in Sandro and Meunier, this system can be the answer for Manchester United’s identity crisis.

We can get the best out of our top class players while making use of the height of our team with two players who can cross the ball.

Additionally, signings such as Milinkovic Savic and Fabinho could easily be implemented in this system.

Other players in the squad like Lingard, Mata and Mctominay could also be used in this system quite easily.

This formation would take time to implement, as it is quite technical and the players are probably not used to it.

We would also need to invest in another central forward, which we are currently not linked with.

It’s also entirely possible that Mourinho will not believe this can work in the modern Premier League and will stick with a 4-3-3, which could work very well.

But judging from Mourinho’s past and the players we have at United, don’t be surprised if this is the system Mourinho uses to lead Manchester United to a Premier League title.

 

By: Vishnu Anandraj

 

Why Ander Herrera is Man United’s Forgotten Man

Voted Manchester United’s player of the year last season, the fall from grace of Ander Herrera this season has been one that some Man United fans have found hard to fathom? Herrera has endured a mixed career at United, criminally underused by Van Gaal, to first name on the sheet for Mourinho last season, to forgotten man this season. So what’s gone wrong with Herrera? And why is he suddenly such a divisive figure amongst United fans?

The big positive with Herrera is he gets the importance of wearing a Manchester United shirt. In a sentence he gets what Manchester United is all about. Passion, intensity, drive and an appetite to win and play fast football. Herrera at his best is quick across the ground, hard in to the tackle, and has an eye for a defence splitting pass from deep. Not to mention a very good cross when he finds himself out wide on the right. Reading that back, he’s exactly what Manchester United currently need to complete a balanced midfield three with Pogba and Matic.

Jose Mourinho has been reluctant to use Herrera this season though. An ever present last season many predicted that the arrival of Matic would see United move to a more dynamic midfield three, with Pogba free to express his game on the left hand side, Matic holding things centrally from deep, and Herrera the tenacious box to box midfielder on the right with a bit of everything to his game. It’s a combination, that sat here in mid February with Mourinho’s midfield a laughing stock, makes total sense. The question is why has Mourinho ignored it for six months? Or more to the point, why has he ignored Herrera?

Amazingly, Herrera didn’t make his first Premier league start until mid September. Benched throughout the start of the campaign in August, Herrera went from Mourinho’s most trusted player to a bit part bench player. Mourinho wanted to utilise the now exposed and defunct 4231 formation and Matic and Pogba were the 2 Mourinho wanted to use. By the time Mourinho did turn to Herrera it was evident to everyone that Herrera was no longer the player of last season. The dynamism had given way to sluggishness and an odd reluctance to play a forward pass. In short Ander Herrera was no longer the player United fans loved.

With that came the usual, but somewhat unexpected and shortsighted, criticism of Herrera. “Sell him” “He’s useless” were just some of the comments flying around the United fan community, and a player that only a few short months ago had been fundamental to United’s season was suddenly on the scrapheap.

The question still remains why? What has caused Herrera to go from that exciting wears his heart on the sleeve player to one that looks lost on a football pitch? When you look back over the season, even when Pogba was out injured Mourinho regularly opted for Fellaini over Herrera. Limited Fellaini over Herrera who at his best optimises what United should be about! With Mourinho ignoring Herrera’s talents so consistently there can only be one conclusion. Over the summer something happened between Mourinho and Herrera that destroyed their great relationship of last season.

Some say Herrera wanted a move and Mourinho refused it. Others say it’s because Herrera won’t commit to a long term contract and is running it down so he can go for nothing. Both points would lean towards Mourinho being right and refusing to use a player who isn’t committed to the club. The only issue with that is that whenever Herrera has played for United it’s very clear that he loves the place and is totally committed. So what else could be the issue? Could it be as simple as Mourinho decided he wanted to go down a different direction? That he didn’t like the speed and dynamism of Herrera’s midfield play and he wanted taller more simple players like Matic and Fellaini in there? His selections over the season and introduction of another of those types of players in McTominay would add credence to that theory.

Whatever the reason, Herrera is no longer the player he was and that’s a big shame for Manchester United. A midfield three of Pogba, Matic and Herrera at his best would provide United with the perfect balance as they approach the most important part of their season.

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

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.

Anthony Martial’s Future in Doubt Again!

Anthony Martial’s future at Manchester United has been thrown in to doubt again by Jose Mourinho’s recent actions.

Arguably Manchester United’s player of the season, Martial has excelled on the left hand side of United’s attack providing numerous goals and assists that like Burnley a couple of weeks ago, have turned out to be match winning contributions. However, with the signing of Alexis Sanchez, Martial immediately found himself shoved out to the right hand side against Tottenham, to allow Sanchez to take up his position on the left hand side of the attack.

What message that sends to Martial’s confidence only time will tell, especially when he’s worked tirelessly this season to impress a publicly sceptical Mourinho and delivered the goods.
Martial was back on the left hand side for the second half against Spurs, with Alexis Sanchez moving in the number ten position. But it again it raises the question of how much does Jose Mourinho truly trust and rate Anthony Martial?

It’s been a bumpy ride for Martial over the last eighteen months under Jose with Mourinho constantly criticising Martial whilst championing the more limited talents of Fellaini, Lingard and Rashford. Anthony Martial is without question one of the most exciting young forwards in world football and a firm fan favourite with the majority of Manchester United fans. But Mourinho doesn’t appear to share that excitement for Martial and ultimately it’s Mourinho who will dictate Martial’s Manchester United future.

Signing Alexis Sanchez was a huge statement by the club. But even signing a player of Sanchez’s calibre would be viewed as a waste of time by most fans if that signing was made to replace Martial, who was already established as United’s player of the season elect. Sanchez is required in one of United’s weaker attacking positions as either a right sided attacker or a number ten. But maybe Mourinho has other plans? And those plans may not involve Anthony Martial? Much to the frustration of many Manchester United fans.

Get Manchester United vs Tottenham Fan Reaction on our YouTube Channel here

Ross Barkley Perfect For Manchester United

Ross Barkley would be perfect for Manchester United. Not the words you’ll here from the majority of Manchester United fans, but listen carefully and more and more fans are starting to think Barkley could be exactly what United need.

Barkley is one of those players that seems to have been around forever. But at only 23 years of age that’s another string to Barkley’s bow that could benefit a club like United who have been caught woefully short of midfielders this last few weeks. Plenty of Premier League experience, creative, fast, strong, Barkley ticks many boxes in the search for a midfielder who can come to Old Trafford and offer some much needed squad depth and exuberance. He’s also played with Lukaku and has an understanding of what Lukaku likes in relation to crossing and through balls.

Add in to the above that Barkley’s a free agent in May and the question has to be why aren’t Mourinho and United all over this deal? Tottenham and Chelsea are both very keen so it’s not like Barkley isn’t admired by other big clubs.

The issue lies in Barkley’s inconsistency and a question mark over whether he has the scope to improve. There’s no question that on his day Barkley can be the shining light on the pitch, the issue is there’s been too many games for Everton where that light has gone missing. Mourinho was an admirer of Barkley from his Chelsea days but as with Renato Sanches we’ve already seen that Mourinho’s admiration for a player can come full circle in less than twelve months if he sees traits he doesn’t like. But with Pochettino interested, it’s fair to say that Barkley with the right management can take that next step and become one of the league’s best performing attacking midfielders.

The question is will Manchester United put their hat in the ring for Barkley? Personally I think they should. Especially with all the rumours that United don’t actually have that much money to spend. A player of Barkley’s potential for free is a no brainer.


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Southampton vs Manchester United LINEUP Revealed

Manchester United face a trip to Southampton this weekend, where three points would almost ensure they go in to the international break at least joint top with Crystal Palace to come to Old Trafford next weekend.

So how will Jose Mourinho lineup against Southampton, and how big a challenge will the Saints be? Southampton have found goals hard to come by this season but at the other end they’ve got one of the meanest defences in the league. Should United be weary of this particular trip down south or is it simply a case of if the Manchester United of the last few weeks turn up three points are given?

Join us for our Southampton vs Manchester United Preview show, where we give you the lineup Mourinho will most likely pick against Southampton and go through the tactics Southampton will employ and how United can take advantage of them and bring the points home. Click here and get involved.

Anthony Martial set to finally secure a regular starting spot?

When Jose Mourinho became manager of Manchester United, many predicted that Anthony Martial would flourish under his guidance. However, after a stunning first season which saw the French striker score 11 league goals and a last-minute winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, Martial has struggled to become a regular starter for Mourinho.

There seemed to be more indication that the 21 year old wouldn’t be in Jose’s plans when he was left out of the starting line-up on United’s first game of the Premier League season. With Manchester United 2-0 up thanks Lukaku’s debut brace, Martial was subbed on. The young forward just had little over ten minutes to try and impress Mourinho, but he only needed eight. Played through by Mkhitaryan, Martial slotted the ball past Hart. Then, a few moments later, Martial provides an assist for Pogba’s goal.

Over the course of pre-season the player has finally been showing signs of consistency. The only way he can truly show Jose that he can help build towards Premier League glory for United, is if he is picked to start by Mourinho. This is the only way that he can now prove he can provide quality consistently.

If Manchester United’s Frenchman can provide consistency on the pitch, along with other players, then United should have a real chance of securing the Premier League title this season. Fans will be hoping the forward will start the Swansea game this weekend and that he has impressed Mourinho with his latest chance.

Do you think Martial can replicate his debut season for Manchester United? Will he be a regular starter throughout the season? Leave you thoughts in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!

 

Manchester United Players to Blame – The Goldbridge Blog

“We mustn’t lose to Chelsea” was the last sentence from my last blog. Unfortunately Chelsea didn’t just beat Manchester United at the weekend, they annihilated us. I’ve heard some United fans saying the score didn’t reflect the stats and if David Luiz gets a red for his challenge on Fellaini then it’s a different story…. Well if Robert was my mums brother he’d be my uncle. And don’t get me started on stats. For those of you who’ve had the misfortune of playing me online at FIFA you’ll often here me moaning in defeat, “this has not been a four nil game and I’ve deserved something out of it” Well trust me. United’s loss to Chelsea was not one of those scenarios.

Like the derby against City United were very lucky to go in at half time with the score they did. Two nil to Chelsea flattered us and I don’t think anyone would have argued if Chelsea had scored at least one more. We were outclassed, out thought and most surprising and humiliating of all for us fans, outfought. One hundred per cent effort and concentration should be an absolute given for any player fortunate enough to wear a Manchester United shirt. The fact that is now an attribute we desperately require is a sad and damning indication of just how bad United’s current plight is.

Do I blame the manager? No. Do I blame the players? Yes. David Moyes was always the wrong choice as a Manchester United manager and I’ll never entertain any discussion that maybe he wasn’t that bad. To be frank it was like leaving KFC in charge of your chickens. Moyes arrogantly destroyed the structure of the club by dismissing all of the successful backroom staff and then put a cherry on top of the rubble that was the United empire by buying Fellaini – the one purchase that strangely enough is still undermining everything we try to do on the pitch three years later.

Then came Van Gaal. Arrogance and idiocy are a lethal cocktail but Louis had the mix down to a tea. Clueless in his efforts to impress a slow and methodical European style of football on to the fast paced Premier League, Van Gaal drowned in his own nonsense. However, his legacy, like that of Moyes, is one that is damaging the club today. Signings such as Di Maria, Rojo, Darmian, Schneiderlin, Memphis and others have at best been flops and at worst have enabled the club to fall perilously behind our rivals.

Jose Mourinho picks the team and I can’t defend selections such as Fellaini but when you scratch the surface of the problem at United the obvious issue every time is the players.

As a squad it’s not good enough. Like a beached whale, United’s playing squad is bloated, out of it’s depth and going nowhere fast. Yes it would be easy to single out a Fellaini, Rooney or Memphis and lay the blame on individuals, but I think we’re past that. United’s problem is a far greater one and like most major issues in life, it’s a culmination of a number of things.

One, we’ve bought consistently badly over the last three years. The financial cost is sickening but the damage all these signings have had on the club is the weight that’s sinking us. Our squad is top heavy with failed signings. All of us could name five, some of us can comfortably go higher. To have that many failed players taking up squad places, stealing oxygen at United is criminal and it’s a legacy Jose has had to inherit. Add in to that the so called “senior pros” who have presided over the disaster that has been the last three years at Old Trafford and the restoration process moves from difficult to daunting. Rooney, Young, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Carrick, all senior pros at the club, all on big wages, all part of the last three years of failure and all for differing reasons part of the problem.

So when fans start looking for someone to blame, and after three years blame is the right word, it’s the players where the buck has to stop. Over half our squad is not good enough and that is the job Jose Mourinho faces. There’s no quick fix. It’s going to be a long process. But to blame him for the failings of the last three years is wrong.

How long will it take? How long is a piece of string? The easy solution for Mourinho was to come in, sell half the squad and bring in his own half. But when has that happened in football? This isn’t FIFA, it’s real life. It’s going to take time, maybe two or three transfer windows. But have no illusions, the players have let us down. They earn thousands of pounds a day to live the dream at our club and they are abusing it.

By Mark Goldbridge