In front of a pretty massive crowd for a friendly fixture, which saw 55,000+ fans turning up for the friendly, Manchester United put four goals past Kiko Casilla at Optus Stadium. Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial found their names on the score sheet.
The Norweigan manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, once again named two different eleven for each half. In total, OGS played 23 players against the English Championship side.
The match against Leeds United started with high pressing from Manchester United. The Old Trafford based outfit seemed to gain the lead in the second minute itself. However, the decisive pass from Victor Lindelof was slammed to the post from Marcus Rashford, denying the goal for Manchester United.
Mason Greenwood Makes An Impression
However, it did not take much time for Manchester United to sneak in a goal. A brilliant link-up play from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Paul Pogba led to the first goal. A low cross from the new fullback was picked up by Mason Greenwood and was slammed past the keeper in the 17th minute.
However, after the first goal, Leeds United played an excellent passage of football, but failed to find the back of the net. On the other hand, Sergio Romero stopped many shots fired by the Leeds United players. The six-yard shot from Harisson went pegging as it went just wide of the post.
The missed opportunities of the Yorkshire based outfit was made accountable as Scott McTominay found Marcus Rashford, who recently signed a contract extension, on the break just before the half-hour mark. McTominay played a beautiful ball in the midfield to Rashford, who dummied Berardi to slot the ball past the goalkeeper.
Just before the halftime, Leeds United defence was caught sleeping once again. This time, it was the turn for Daniel James to hit the woodwork. Rashford’s pass found James at the corner of the box, but the Welshman couldn’t put the ball past Kiko Casilla.
At half time, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 11 changes to the line-up and fielded a completely different eleven. But the move didn’t affect the tempo of the game too much.
It was indeed an excellent performance from the Old Trafford based outfit. And, it was an unique opportunity for the fans of both the teams to enjoy the fixture. The club is looking in good shape and two signings (a defender and a midfielder) can make United a strong team.
Manchester United First Half Playing Eleven Against Leeds United
Sergio Romero, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford
Manchester United Second Half Playing Eleven Against Leeds United
Joel Pereira, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Axel Tuanzebe, Ashley Young, Andreas Pereira, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Nemanja Matic, Tahith Chong, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial.
Is it that no one understands his curious talent ? Is it that the current and previous managers have been using him in the wrong system, surrounded by the wrong players ?
Is he not appreciated or encouraged enough ?
Well, the bottom line is you can look at all the angles, but the picture doesn’t become any clearer. Pogba is the archetypal modern player, bigger than the club and bigger than the game. Someone who was born to star in a team full of equally precocious talent, such as the Galacticos.
This is of course the image that Pogba has made for himself. He seems disinterested, difficult, demanding and dysfunctional and if Alex Ferguson couldn’t bring out the best in the young Frenchman, then its unlikely that even Klopp or Guardiola could do any better.
He arrived at Old Trafford in 2009 and by 2011 he was sold on to Juventus at the age of 19 for £1m. The move was inevitable and Ferguson was his usual prickly and mischievous self when he said of the midfielder’s departure:
“Pogba signed for Juventus a long time ago as far as we’re aware, It’s a bit disappointing because I don’t think he showed us any respect at all. To be honest, if they carry on that way, I’m quite happy that he’s away, from me, anyway.”
In private, Ferguson is said to be even more forthright referring to the player’s ego and his laziness, so if you are looking to solve the Pogba puzzle, look no further than the man himself.
Pogba is a talent, no denying that but he turns it on and off like a tap. It’s based on the importance of his own profile and the stage involved at the time.
Egotistically, Pogba has no interest in playing Wolves or Brighton, he wants to show off against Barcelona or Bayern Munich every week, anything else is beneath his chiselled chops.
Mourinho, who made the mistake of bringing back the untameable player, was considered to be one the top three managers on the planet at the time, but he failed to coax out his talent and clashed repeatedly with the player.
He should have noted Ferguson’s relief when he sold the Frenchman and there is no doubt that the pair spoke at length about his return over a glass of red.
During which time, Fergie would have bruised the Special One’s ears with tales of his lack-lustre performances and petulant behaviour.
He definitely might have mentioned how his relationship with Pogba became toxic when the Frenchman appointed Mino Raiola as his agent. Ferguson showed contempt for agents in genera,l but he liked Raiola even less, referring to him as a “shit bag”.
Pogba is primed to leave, he pottered around Old Trafford last season offering nothing, playing well within himself and below the expected standards.
Not even the introduction of Solskjær could lift his mediocre performances and Ferguson has probably already whispered in the current manager’s ear, suggesting he should jettison the problem for as much as he can get, as quickly as he can.
Has Pogba been mismanaged ? No, of course not but he is in danger of becoming unmanageable.
Man Utd football club has not been so lucky this past season. The 2018/19 season has been full of misery. It is clear that things have not been going so well for them whether it be their transfer mistakes or management, especially after sacking the former manager, Jose Mourinho, last December.
By the end of the season, they were already 32 points behind the champions, Man City. In overall, they emerged at position six, which really affected them and their fans. But, what could have gone wrong in this team that did not scoop up any trophies last season?
According to some of the players, the change of a manager in the middle of a season was a bad decision from the directors. Although Mourinho had his flipside, he should have been tamed, especially because he has been a great manager for other EPL teams in the past.
However, there is nothing wrong with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is the current manager. But, he needed time to settle in and understand the football club, which really wasted time for the team.
Learning from Their Mistakes
Man Utd seem to have already learned from their numerous mistakes that saw them trailing behind even teams that have not performed so well in the past. This has prompted Solskjaer to make numerous transfers to boost the team’s performance.
According to him, the team also needs thorough pre-training, which requires advice from the experts. Therefore, the players are expected to hit the gym and probably check out some helpful and legit enhancement gear from reputable steroid sellers like 120 kgs. As of now, team members are about to start their pre-training from July 1st i.e. today to get ready for the 2019/2020 season.
Ready to Make More Mistakes?
However, there is room for concern that Man Utd could be heading to make another mistake. Currently, Solskjaer has already started making transfer deals. The club is negotiating to sign new players.
However, other reports suggest that United is not willing to offer higher fees to entice these excellent players to join them. Therefore, there is this fear that they might not get these crucial players to boost their squad. Unless the managers and directors make wise decisions, the team could experience more misery this coming season.
Nevertheless, Leicester City has already told United that they will not sell Harry Maguire for anything less than £80m, let alone £40m that Man Utd is offering. This could prove to be a terrible blow to the team’s future.
Marcus Rashford has signed an eye-watering four-year contract extension with Manchester United with the option to extend for a further year, the club have confirmed.
It seemed certain that Rashford would stay at United, having been born and raised as a red and graduating from the club’s academy. However, his future had been up in the air for a while as he continued to stall over a new deal.
Several news outlets even linked him with a sensational move to Real Madrid, but that scenario faded out of the picture when Eden Hazard joined them at the start of the window. Barcelona also showed interest in the youngster as a potential long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.
Determined to keep him, United decided to offer him a stunning new contract that has seen his wages rise to a jaw dropping figure of around £200,000 a week. According to certain reports in the English press, Rashford’s stunning new deal could even rise to £300,000 in weekly wages should he fulfill the requirements for a number of incentives.
Still only 21, the Englishman has a bright future ahead of him and has continued to get better with every passing season. His form did tail off towards the end of last year, but he is said to have been playing despite carrying an injury.
Overall, he finished the season with 13 goals and 9 assists in 43 appearances. It is a pretty meager return for a striker, and thus the news of his new contract has been met with mixed emotions among the Old Trafford faithful. However, the youngster is ‘one of their own’ and they will hope to see the best of him in the upcoming season.
“Manchester United has been everything in my life since I arrived here at the age of seven. This club has shaped me, both as a player and as a person, so it is such a privilege every time I get the opportunity to wear the shirt.”
“I want to thank Ole and his staff for everything they have done for me; they are the perfect group of coaches to learn from as I continue my development and look to push on to the next level. “I will be giving everything I have to help get this club back to where it belongs and deliver the success that our fans deserve.”
“Marcus is one of the most talented English players of his generation. He is an outstanding player; blessed with natural pace and energy. Marcus is a shining example of the talent that our Academy produces and his upbringing means that he truly understands what it means to play for Manchester United.”
“Despite being only 21 years old, Marcus already has great experience. He has a fantastic future ahead of him with the club and I am delighted that he has signed a new contract.“
Manchester United are considering a sensational swoop for Aston Villa star John McGinn, according to reports in the English press.
McGinn is a midfielder who is known for his incredible work ethic, stamina and aggression. He only signed for Villa last summer, but his impact was nothing short of instant. He started all but five games in the Championship last season, picking up a decent 7 goals and 10 assists in 43 appearances. He became a firm fan favourite in no time at all and capped off a superb season by scoring the winning goal in Villa’s play-off final win over Derby County that sealed their return to the Premier League.
While many consider Jack Grealish to be Villa’s superstar and their best player, it was in fact McGinn, who did the dirty work playing behind him, who picked up the individual awards at the end of the season. He won both the players’ player and fans’ player of the season, and the widespread recognition of his talent is evident.
According to The Sun, United have made ‘background checks’ on McGinn and are considering the possibility of a move for the 24-year-old. Solskjaer is said to be appeased by the reports he has heard about the midfielder so far. United are in need of a player of his mould, who would be willing to cover every blade of grass to retain possession of the ball and support the attacking players in front of him.
Villa adore McGinn and are determined to tie him down to a new contract as they seek to hold on to their best players and avoid dropping back down to the Championship. Should he be sold this summer, it is likely to be for a huge price.
The Sun believe the price tag is likely to be around £50 million, which is quite a profit considering he only arrived from Scottish side Hibernian last summer for £2.75 million.
United have splashed closed to £80 million already this summer, signing the likes of Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Ahead of the new season, their immediate focus has now shifted to signing a midfielder and a center-back. Bruno Fernandes has been linked with a move and so has Adrien Rabiot. McGinn is a spanner in the works but it would suit the theme of Solskjaer’s summer so far – securing the signature of young, British talent.
Manchester United have withdrawn themselves from the race to sign Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, according to reports.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set a target for Ed Woodward to bolster United’s ranks in every area of the pitch this summer. So far, the club have managed to bring in Daniel James from Swansea, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to be announced imminently. A couple of other targets remain on their radar but with pre-season training starting in two days, they need to move quick.
Signing a new center-back was one of United’s main priorities going into this transfer market. Despite the club snapping up Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly over the last three windows, the pair have had mixed seasons since their move to Old Trafford. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have somehow stood the test of time and perplexed the entire United fan base when they signed new five year contracts with the club last season.
Jose Mourinho was desperate to sign a new center-back last season, but the board refused to back his demands. In hindsight, they should have listened to him. Then again, they never really have done anything that would be more beneficial to the club rather than themselves.
United have been after Harry Maguire since last summer. That could have been the perfect time to sign him as Leicester seemed more reasonable. Manchester City wanted him for a while as well. However, he is well beyond anyone’s reach now.
The Foxes are eager to pull off a shock once more and qualify for Europe again. They have lofty ambitions and signing Brendan Rodgers last season was testament to their desire to fight for more than just a mid-table finish. With that in mind, it wouldn’t make sense for them to let go of their best players.
Maguire is viewed as one of their best, and so it is understandable that they are doing everything in their power to hold on to him. United, being the behemoth they are when it comes to money, would under normal circumstances be willing to meet a player’s valuation if he was someone they really needed.
However, according to reports, Leicester are demanding a scarcely believable amount of £100 million for him.
No club, no matter how rich they are, would be willing to pay that much for Maguire. Obviously, United have pulled out of the race for him since then and are now focusing on other targets as they try to win back their Champions League spot next season.
“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well…I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge.”
With a big question mark over the potential of the Red Devils to compete for major honors in the English top-flight and European leagues, Paul Pogba is pushing for a move away from Old Trafford. Also, the player has shown his interest to feature alongside his idol, Zinedine Zidane. However, few reports suggest that Pogba wants to move back to Turin where he developed as a World-class midfielder.
If Paul Pogba is pushing for a move away from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, Ed Woodward and the board should sign the potentially equivalent midfielders available in the market. Here are few replacements for Paul Pogba, if he leaves England this summer.
The 22-year-old midfielder is a like-a-like replacement for Paul Pogba. He likes to play in the left side of the midfield, but not too wide. He is a strong dribbler of the ball and ensures he remains calm in most of the serious situations.
In Ligue 1, the French midfielder has a pass percentage of 89.2% which is higher than Pogba’s 85.2% in the Premier League. Also, the player has a solitary goal and seven assists in Ligue 1. If Manchester United loses out Paul, Tanguy Ndombele will be a good signing for Old Trafford based outfit.
4) Adrien Rabiot
There is only one similarity between Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba. They both are French internationals. Apart from that, there is no similarity which can compel Manchester United to sign the PSG player.
However, Adrien Rabiot is more of a calm and composed player compared to Paul Pogba. Rabiot is not a player who makes the run into the opposition boxes or score the goals. But, he is a player who can withhold and can act as a lynchpin between attack and defense. Because of this ability, he is more used as holding midfielder or deep-lying playmaker.
In the summer of 2018/19, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was an in-demand player, targeted by many European giants. Savic was linked and rumored with a move to Manchester United and Chelsea. However, Savic’s form dipped and none of the deals materialized for the player. Moreover, the Serbia International signed a long-term agreement with Lazio, which hampered his move to the biggest of European clubs.
The 24-year-old midfielder is a strong dribbler of the ball who can give a pass, take a pass from a distance and even produce a goal for the club. With these abilities, the Serbian has scored five goals for Lazio in Serie A. Also, he is directly involved in 3 other goals for Simeone Inzaghi’s side.
If Manchester United sell Paul Pogba then, they can quickly meet the demanding price of Lazio for the midfielder who can easily play in any side of the midfield.
2) Nabil Fekir
Ever since the departure of the legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have lacked the creativity in the final third. If Paul Pogba was signed to resolve this, Manchester United should try to vie the signature of Nabil Fekir if the Frenchman leaves this summer.
The 25-year-old Lyon playmaker operates as an attacking midfielder for the French outfit along with former United player, Memphis Depay and current Real Madrid player, Mariano Diaz. In 24 appearances in 2018/19, Fekir raked up nine goals and assisted seven times. Also, he possesses the pass percentage of 88.1 in the UEFA Champions League.
Fekir is an excellent player in the middle of the park. The player has exceptional ball-playing abilities apart from controlling the ball. He is an excellent reader of the game and delivers from set-pieces as well. Also, he can operate from the right wing, which is a headache for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Youri Tielemans lost his confidence at AS Monaco. To regain his conviction, he was loaned to English Premier League side, Leicester City. During his spell at Midlands, the Belgian scored three goals and notched up five assists in 13 games. With his professionalism on the field, Tielemans has caught the attention of PL biggies.
The Belgian is a box-to-box midfielder and possesses the fine ability to withhold the attack in midfield. The player can also take a shot from the distance which is currently missing at the Theatre of Dreams. Also, he likes to play long balls. In the Premier League, Tielemans has 3.4 long balls per game. Moreover, he has a passing accuracy of 85% and 1.2 key passes per game.
Manchester United have announced the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka on a five-year contract, with the option to extend a further year.
United have been desperate to seal a move for Wan-Bissaka since the start of the transfer window. The club were in need of a new right-back, with Ashley Young well past his best. Diogo Dalot signed for the club last season but was still raw and starting to settle in. Next season should be very interesting, with the young Portuguese starlet having firm competition for a place in the starting eleven.
Talks with Wan-Bissaka had been going on for months. Initially, the issue was down to the two clubs failing to agree over the fee for him. However, that issue got wrapped up quickly and everything seemed finalized. What held the deal up for so long though, was the fact that United still have a sell on clause in Crystal Palace’s contract with Wilfried Zaha.
Palace were eager to have that removed but United held firm and the two haggled over it for a while before Palace eventually gave up. Wan-Bissaka eventually put pen to paper for United and has signed for £45 million+an additional £5m in appearance-based add-ons. Palace have also inserted a 10% sell on clause if United sell him for more than £50m million in the future.
Speaking in his first interview for the club, Wan-Bissaka spoke of his immense pride at being able to join one of the biggest clubs in the world. He said:
“It’s an unbelievable feeling and an honour to call myself a Manchester United player and something I know that only a small number of players have the privilege to say.
“I can’t wait to get going and integrated into the squad. I will have a short break now after the European Championships but I’m looking forward to starting training with the manager and my new team-mates on the pre-season tour.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “Aaron is one of the best upcoming defenders in the Premier League. He has the right work ethic, talent and mentality to play for Manchester United and he fits exactly the type of player that we are looking to bring into the squad to help us improve and push on further.
“Aaron is a young, hungry player and eager to learn and that’s important at his age. I am delighted he has signed with us and we look forward to continuing his tremendous development so far.”
Everyone knows that Paul Pogba wants to leave for Real Madrid. On the other hand, Los Blancos do have the money to sign the Frenchman.
However, instead of shelling out the money for the player directly, Real Madrid tries to create uncertainty in the minds of the player and exploit the readiness of Pogba to move away from Old Trafford. They use their media to bring in the player’s attention by telling that “he’s sick of Manchester United,”“he loves Zidane” etc., etc…
There is no doubt that the 26-year-old midfielder is a star player. He is a talented and brilliant midfielder. On his day, he can destroy any line-up and defense almost single-handedly. He can create fantastic chances and also, has the knack of scoring goals from outside the box and from set-pieces. This is the prime reason why he got a place in the PFA Team of the Year 2018/19 mostly dominated by Manchester City and Liverpool players.
However, after the PSG turnaround, Manchester United did very little to achieve the CL spot. The angry Stretford End fans taunted Paul on his inconsistency against the relegated sides. This has worsened the situation for the player as he feels he is not loved at Old Trafford. On the same issue, Patrice Evra gave his opinion by stating,
“I think [Pogba] will leave, because you need to feel the love when you play somewhere, you need to be committed. If Paul decides to stay another year and then leave, or stay another few years, maybe the fans will love him because he is committed”
On the other hand, Manchester United fans love the players who wear their heart on their sleeves. When the player was announced, he didn’t even mention that he plays for one of the best clubs in Europe.
He has said, “Proud to represent @adidasfootball across the world!”. But, not Manchester United, not till date.
Nevertheless, Manuncians like a player saying ‘Proud to represent Manchester United’. The fans love the players who give everything to the club. But, they don’t feel the same with the French star.
They don’t sing songs for the player. The inconsistency is not for one match, but a string of disappointing performances.
Real Madrid have already spent on Hazard, Jovic and a few more players. Barcelona doesn’t want to shell out so much money. Though PSG have the chances of breaking the bank, but they have their own share of problems in the form of Fair Play Regulations. In this particular situation, Ed Woodward cannot expect a bidding war for the French midfielder.
It’s high time for the player to stand behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is trusting the player blindly and support him with all his skills and talent. Solskjaer is a man on a mission and Pogba should definitely help the cause of rebuilding the club.
Paul Pogba has his arguments. The player’s agent has his set of arguments and the same with Solskjaer. If the petty clashes among the player, his agent, the manager and the club goes on and on, at the end, it will be the club which will struggle.
Its high time for Manchester United to make a decision on Paul Pogba. Should they let one of the best talents in the world leave or convince him to stay at Old Trafford?