Those of you that follow me (not many I know) will know that I have been very much in the ‘Mourinho-In’ camp for some time. Whilst many, including our very own Mark Goldbridge, have pitched up tents over in the ‘out’ camp, I have remained across in my field, like an old man at Glastonbury a week after the festival has finished. Continue reading What is going on??
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
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
Manchester United enjoyed a successful pre-season over the course of July and the beginning of August. They managed to claim six wins out of seven despite coming up against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City. More importantly though, they managed to create good chances and finish them off (including an excellent counter-attack against Sampdoria).
One of the main problems last season was killing teams off. This problem seems to have been sorted though with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku. The extra years experience that Rashford has gained also looks to be paying off as he looked sharp throughout the summer and will hopefully contribute more goals this term. Furthermore, the signing of Nemanja Matic makes players like Pogba and Mkhitaryan more confident knowing that they have defensive cover. This allows them to get further up the pitch.
With one problem solved, what else do Manchester United need to do to lift the league title? Well, while a marquee signing such as Gareth Bale would certainly help them towards success, balance down the left hand side of the pitch is crucial. This is what sparked Mourinho’s interest in Inter’s Ivan Perisic. However, as the transfer window rumbles on, chances of Manchester United getting their key target are fading. Therefore, United may need to look elsewhere for a player capable of filling the left wing-back role. Someone like Alex Sandro, perhaps?
Apart from the need of balance, United look to be heading into the new season feeling fairly confident and looking a lot more dangerous. There is also reason to believe that United are more prepared than their biggest Premier League rivals this term. If we look at Liverpool’s pre-season preparation, then yes, they may have won a trophy, but are they stronger than last season? While they have made the same amount of signings as Manchester United, the signings aren’t quite on the same level. Furthermore, if Coutinho does leave for Barcelona then they will be significantly weaker than last year.
Additionally, Arsenal have signed Lacazette, a striker that previously played in the top French division, Ligue 1. The former Lyon player will also need time to adjust to the demands and physicality of the Premier League. Then, there’s Chelsea, who will need to juggle Champions League and Premier League this term, and there are question marks over whether their squad has the depth to handle both. Tottenham Hotspur are also slightly weaker than last season. This is due to the loss of Kyle Walker to Manchester City and the fact that they haven’t made any signings as of yet. Then, lastly, there’s Manchester city who have spent huge money on trying to fix their defence. Whether this has worked remains to be seen, but all signings will need time to get onto the same level as one another.
So compared to Manchester United’s rivals, they are not as far away from Premier League glory as some may think.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Manchester United can return to Premier League glory this year? Share your opinion in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic jokingly said he would “break his legs” to agent Mino Raiola if he let Pogba sign for anyone but Man Utd in the summer. Despite rumoured interest from rivals such as Man City and Real Madrid, the deal to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford was eventually agreed at a world-record fee of around £87m.
“Zlatan told me, ‘Do not transfer Pogba elsewhere or I will break your legs’,” Raiola told Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.nl.
Raiola, agent of fellow United new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, also had claimed previously he was unhappy at boss Jose Mourinho’s usage of his world record player arguing that he was sitting too deep.
However, the France international was much more effective playing in a more advanced role in Utd’s first half blitz of Leicester City on Saturday.
Pogba was at the forefront of most of United’s good attacking play, scoring a header, and was rewarded with man of the match after a display that reminded many United fans how potent and influential he can be.
Pogba had made a quiet start to his Utd career despite having an impressive debut at home to Southampton. Many believe he is best utilized in a more attacking role and his performances have been hindered by Wayne Rooney’s inevitable inclusion.
However, with captain Rooney dropped on Saturday in the 4-1 victory over Leicester, this means Pogba may be allowed to roam freely more often, and be allowed to show why United broke the world-record fee for him.
The Frenchman sealed his world record breaking move to united earlier this week and has shown his enthusiasm for returning to his former club since leaving for Serie A back in 2012. Mourinho is clearly delighted with fourth major acquisition since taking charge and has defended any criticism over the size of the fee.
Speaking exclusively to ManUtd.com, The Portuguese said:
“I know the discussion, I understand that. Sometimes in football things can happen and clubs can break records, but this is only possible at clubs like Manchester United.
“When I heard some of the comments and heard some of the managers criticising that, I don’t think they will ever have this problem, because to have this problem, you need to be at one of the top clubs in the world, so at Manchester United it can happen.
“Pogba is a very young player, an unbelievable midfield player with such physicality, agility, co-ordination, skill, he has everything. What he has to learn now is how to play with us because I always say that in football you can be a super player, like he is, but a team is a team and you need to learn how to play in a team, and the team needs to learn how to play with you.
“We need to get the best out of him and this will be a process, so if he needs protection I am here to protect. I know some people think that he arrives here and now, and the first time he touches the ball, he scores, but I am here to protect him and give him the best conditions to be what we think he is going to be, which is a football player for Man United, a reference for this club, so I am happy.”
When asked if Pogba seems happy to be back in Manchester, Mourinho replied:
“I can feel that when I speak with him for the first time. I am feeling now when I see him at the training ground with people he knows since he was a kid. He doesn’t look like a star.
“He looks like a kid who is back to his old school and is finding people that he cares about and people that love him a lot. So I believe that, after a couple of days, he will feel like he never left the club. So I think at adaption level, he is not a new player – he is just a kid back home again.”
Tweets, Instagram posts, countless paper articles and a mere sum of $100M have gotten Manchester United Paul Pogba back through the doors at Old Trafford.
In the past three seasons, United have spent excess amounts of funds on players such as Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Anthony Martial; the latter being the only successful purchase. The big spending promised so much but achieved so little.
But this season is different.
Which position should Pogba play?
Whatever country you live in; whatever team you support; every pub you walk into, Paul Pogba and Manchester United are the words after every pint. Now, the challenge for the Manchester United manager is where to utilise his Marquee signing.
There is no doubt Paul Pogba is a central midfielder. History in the Premier league will show a dominant midfielder can play a large role to success. Paul Scholes was a great for Manchester United, but every Red Devils fan will tell you we have been missing ‘something’ since the departure of Roy Keane.
A midfielder to run through a defence; to pick out a pass to break a compressed defence; the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and lead your team to triumph; this is the challenge that is presented to Paul Pogba.
The success of Manchester City’s recent accolades can be attributed to Yaya Toure being hailed as the lynchpin that allowed Aguero, Silva and co. to have a confidence to be ready whenever a ball was there to be taken, because Yaya Toure is a winner.
It is now Paul Pogba’s time to return the favour to our ‘noisy neighbours’.
Pogba is the complete midfielder
Paul Pogba can provide United with the unpredictability that was seriously lacking under Louis Van Gaal as he has the ability to not only pick out a pass but is capable of scoring a goal out of nothing.
Of any midfielder in Serie A last season, the 23 year-old led the way with 12 goals and 10 assists respectively. For a player who did not require a high level of work rate, these are phenomenal numbers.
The speed of the Premier league will entice Pogba’s athletic ability to be exposed to the United faithful. His pace and strength will provide a constant threat and figure for the Reds; a figure missing for over 10 years.
There have been suggestions that Pogba can be operated in a no.10 position; however, why would you want to nullify a player so physically imposing, simply to score goals?
The Frenchman is the complete midfielder. As majestic as he is in the final third, he will be the presence in midfield when teams try to run through the Red Devil’s wall.
We finally got our man, and he might just win us the league.
We all know that Mourinho is aware of certain issues that our current squad suffers. These problems have caused him to dive head first into the transfer window yet trying not to ruin our reputation of promoting the youth.
We all know that as a club we are interested in pulling back one of our former youth products in Paul Pogba. As we are spending such a big fee on one central midfielder it is likely that Mourinho will chose a current squad member to partner alongside him; yes there are many possibilities but I would like to make note of the more realistic options.
I think it is only fair to take into account that most United fans would prefer Pogba to play in the number 10 role, but given our current squad, the likes of Rooney, Mkhitaryan and Mata would be the most likely favourites to take this role.
This therefore makes it seem wiser to stick Pogba behind the attackers and act as a more box-to-box midfielder, but not being too scared to express himself every now and then when it comes to banging in goals from outside the box!
I have lined up 5 candidates to take on this role and they will be mentioned chronologically in squad numbers.
Straight away we can’t ignore the fact that he is a club legend, he is no Roy Keane or Paul Scholes in the midfield, but you have to credit him with what he has offered us for the past years at the club.
As I am sure you’ve gathered I do like Carrick, however does this mean he deserves to start? Quite simply, no. Many of you will disagree on me with this one but it is my opinion.
I love Carrick, he really is the beating heart of the locker room, but you can’t ignore the fact that he is on the decline (no disrespect intended).
This means that we need to find a way to shift him out of the starting line-up as soon as we can – he is incapable of controlling the midfield how he used to so we need to look deeper into our squad to find a suitable replacement; which I feel Van Gaal failed to achieve.
Just to make it clear. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want him to start; I believe Pogba could learn a lot from him, but I don’t think we can afford to start him as regularly like last season.
What’s there to say? I don’t think anyone dislikes the guy, he’s always eager to get up the pitch and create chances and score goals.
The trouble is that Herrera will struggle to find a place next to Pogba as they play very similar roles; if Pogba was at the number 10 spot then I’d have him in behind without hesitation. However, it isn’t quite that simple.
I am confident that we won’t offload him this summer as he can be a vital squad player for that midfield role, but Pogba will not budge for him no matter the circumstance.
Herrera was restrained by Van Gaal for a long time and is unlucky that we need a world class midfielder in our squad – I strongly believe that if he was given the proper chances under Van Gaal’s reign then Mourniho wouldn’t be looking to purchase a new player.
I hate his style of play! and his attitude on the pitch! He is not and won’t ever be a true Man Utd player! Glad I was able to get that out of my system.
Anyway, he is still a shocking player yet he’s still given game time. Mourinho might believe that Fellaini can be a useful tool for his midfield, with his height and excellent chest control of the ball; besides that though he offers nothing to the squad.
His involvement in the team thus so far under Mourinho could possibly mean a few things. One could be that he is being given game time to attract interest from other clubs. Another could be that Mourinho is just testing what he has available.
Although it seems the most likely is that Mourinho is actually considering keeping him as most likely a squad player – which saddens us all.
Realistically though, I think Mourinho will struggle to get him out even if he wanted to, due to the amount of money paid for him in the first place, the lack of skill he has and the simple fact that this could be the last big club Fellaini gets to play for, so he might insist to stay.
Ultimately though he is far from being the player we need to partner Pogba.
Unfortunately given last year’s circumstances, Schneiderlin was held back a considerable amount at Old Trafford. Beforehand he was sensational for Southampton which is why he was one of our best signings at the time.
It’s clear that the two would probably fit alongside each other perfectly like Yin and Yang. Both having their own individual roles but not being able to perform without the other’s effort. I think they will make the perfect duo and it helps that they share the same nationality.
However I am going to lay in a slight twist. Given the current size of our squad, we need to sell certain people and I think that Schneiderlin won’t be able to perform the same with this much competition, which is why I think he should go out on loan to a strong mid-table Premier League team, unless Mourinho can guarantee him decent game time.
One of the all time greats of the game, in my opinion he is the perfect choice to be Pogba’s partner in crime.
Schweinsteiger is clearly still capable of pulling off superb performances as shown for Germany this summer. He is a true leader on and off the pitch.
Yes, we are all aware that he is on the decline and gets injured a lot; however he is getting older and something we lack is experience in our squad, which he can deliver.
He wasn’t actually that bad last season before he got injured, also when you take into account that he was playing under Van Gaal.
Mourinho is apparently treating him like he’s a burden according to reports, but he’s more like a gift. He deserves so much more at United which I think most will agree on.
He wouldn’t be a permanent solution to finding a partner for Pogba, but he should certainly be at the top of Mourinho’s list in my opinion.
Thank You for reading. I just wanted to open people’s eyes to viewpoints they may not have considered previously.
Please feel free to leave a comment below in the comment section.
By Evan Beviss
On Friday 27th May, the curtain was finally drawn on an era of stale, nostalgic and underwhelming football. For Friday, 27th May, was the day Jose Mourinho was announced in the media as manager of Manchester United. I take a look at how this appointment and various other goings-on at United give us all plenty of reason to be excited for the new season.
Jose Mourinho will bring back the fear factor
It’s no secret that under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the football frustrated, bored and divided the fans. That last point is an important one. A once ‘united’ fan base had become inwardly hostile. Fighting among United fans on social media became commonplace. All, as a result of what was happening (or not) on the pitch and in the dugout.
Hopefully that time has come and passed with the appointment of “The Special One”. I strongly believe that having arguably the best manager in world football at the biggest football club in the world is a match made in heaven. Jose was made for this job.
In the few weeks that he has been in charge we have already seen lots of changes made; particularly with recruitment. And since his arrival, social media platforms such as Twitter seem a lot more civilised!
Jose has plenty of experience managing at top and has a fantastic CV boasting an impressive trophy collection. He is a no nonsense manager and will no doubt have United back to winning ways in no time. He will make the Theatre of Dreams a fortress once again.
New signings provide a morale boost for fans
Speaking of recruitment. Jose wasted no time in bringing in new faces. His first acquisition was centre back Eric Bailly, signed from Villareal. With Daley Blind – a midfielder by nature – filling a void in the centre of United’s defence during Van Gaal’s tenure, it’s no surprise that this position was the first to be filled.
That’s not to take anything away from Daley Blind. He did a fantastic job but United are light in that department and it was crucial that a natural centre back was recruited.
Eric Bailly’s biggest traits are his strength and great recovery pace. His rapidly growing talent was also noticed by the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and PSG who were all interested in securing his services.
Following Eric Bailly into Old Trafford was the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Quite possibly footballs biggest, worst kept transfer secret in recent history! Rumours had been circling for weeks maybe even months regarding his arrival and were further fueled by the silence of all parties involved. Zlatan’s huge grin and lack of denial when asked about a move to United was surely the confirmation we all were looking for!
Not much else needs to be said about Zlatan other than we simply cannot wait to see him pull on a United shirt and wreak havoc in our oppositions defences!
The most recent signing is attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He impressed for Dortmund in the Bundesliga last season scoring 11 goals and creating 82 chances which included 15 assists. Most of his goals and assists last season came from playing as a right winger and this is a position United so desperately needed to fill.
Louis van Gaal spent in excess of £250m on players during his time as Manchester United manager yet an overwhelming majority of his signings failed to live up to their own AND the fans’ standards.
Arguably, the biggest flop of them all is Memphis Depay. He talked the talk but could not walk the walk. We saw flashes of brilliance from him but when you play for Manchester United, consistency is expected.
Matteo Darmian is another Van Gaal purchase who couldn’t quite reach the level many expected. The Italian right back had a fantastic pre-season with United in the states and it looked as though Rafael Da Silva would quickly be forgotten. However, Darmian’s form declined quickly and he never really got going.
Surprise signing Bastian Schweinsteiger was for me, going to be our best signing of last summer. I watched him play for Germany in the 2014 World Cup and I remember thinking, “This guy is a warrior. I would love him at United”. When he signed I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to see him play. He had the odd good game but didn’t look like he was up to the job physically. Injuries did not help his cause.
Finally, one of the Premier League’s best central midfielders in the previous two seasons; Morgan Schneiderlin. For me, Morgan was hit and miss for the majority of the season. He was good defensively for the most part, making some important tackles and interceptions, but his ball distribution left a lot to be desired.
Now, I don’t want any of the above mentioned players to leave United this summer. All of them are talented footballers.
Take Memphis, Darmian and Schweinsteiger. Each of these players have attacking responsibilities in each of their positions. Memphis an attacking winger; Darmian a right back who likes to get forward with pace and Schweinsteiger, a box-to-box midfielder who is not afraid to get in amongst the goals.
Each of these players were playing in a very rigid system under Louis van Gaal and were somewhat restricted in their play. Under a new manger in Jose Mourinho, the shackles will be off, players will be allowed to express themselves and hopefully, we’ll see the players they were when at their previous clubs. For this reason we should be excited by these players again.
Youth players WILL feature under Mourinho
One big argument the Jose Mourinho naysayers were using as a reason NOT to employ him, was that he does not give youth a chance. This is 100% myth. Totally untrue. You only have to do a quick Google search to discover a plethora of top class footballers who were given their chance as youngsters by Mourinho.
During his first press conference, the new United boss defended his youth policy and rightly so. He also hinted at Rashford and Ibrahimovic playing together and he also made it clear that he understands the club and it’s history and knows exactly what the club AND fans expect of him. This will include giving youth a chance.
A few names have already been dropped as potential breakthrough players this coming season such as, Axel Tuanzebe and Tyrell Warren.
So I am confident that we will see this proud Manchester United tradition continue.
Is a title charge out of the question?
With the arrival of Ibrahimovic, Bailly, Mkhitaryan and possibly Pogba, United look to have plugged a lot of the gaps that plagued the team in recent seasons. So with that in mind coupled with having a winner in Jose Mourinho as our manager, dare we dream of a title charge in his first season? Stranger things have happened. Look at Leicester City.
Manchester United have begun negotiations within the last 48 hours for French international Paul Pogba, according to Sky Sports, which is believed to be for a world record fee.
Jose Mourinho is keen to make the Juventus midfielder his fourth addition of the summer, and with Pogba’s agent being Mino Raiola, who United have successfully had neogitations with twice already this summer, there is a growing confidence at Old Trafford that the deal could be done.
The Juventus star may not be interested in a move back to Old Trafford
However, Juventus have made it clear to United that Pogba is not for sale, despite a £100m offer may being too tempting to turn down. It is still unclear whether the France international, who left United in 2012 on a free transfer, would be interested in a return to his former club. There is no doubting United’s desire to bring their former player to Old Trafford, and they certaintly have the funds to to pull what would be the world’s largest transfer ever off.
Real Madrid still confident in signing Pogba
Real Madrid are the main threats to United in the chase for the Juve midfielder and have also held talks with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola. Raiola has been quoted previously as saying that a move to the Bernabeu would be a good move for his client as it will be key in his clients ambition to win the Balon’dor. Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez are still confident the midfielder wants to move to the club, however United may offer the money for Pogba that Real can not compete with.
What do you think of the potential signing of Paul Pogba? Would he be a good addition to the side, even for a world record fee? Leave a comment down below.