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Today we will be pausing our season ending reviews for 2018-19 and we will speak a bit more about the current transfer window and what Manchester United are doing on the market. There are some news regarding Man United targets, but also Paul Pogba, that will help us get a rounder picture on the club’s business so far.

Maguire Wants To Leave Leicester

Manchester United are getting closer to signing Harry Maguire from Leicester City. Reports from Monday reveal that Maguire has told Leicester management and players he wants to pursue a move to Man United or Man City, if the valuation is met. John Percy from The Telegraph revealed that today, also reporting Leicester expect Maguire to remain professional if a move does not materialize before the transfer window.

However, the asking price is right now too high. United are quoted to want to go as far as 80 million pounds, while Leicester apparently rate Maguire at 90 million pounds. Both sums would make the 26-year-old the most expensive defender in the history of football, but would that be worth it?

The fact is that Man United need a centre-back and they need one badly. Maguire would improve the Devils’ defence and that is what is necessary. Still, the fact that Man United have decided to only go for talented British players in the transfer market has made other English clubs aware of it and trying to extort crazy sums of money. It is a similar case with Sean Longstaff – and we will be talking about that in a minute – where clubs know that the pool of players United could sign is much smaller than with other clubs. That is why Man City have cooled their interest in Maguire and are not considering him seriously for such a bloated transfer fee.

Real Madrid Cool Interest In Pogba

These are not really news in a usual way, but rather lack of. And that should be good news for Man United, as it looks like Paul Pogba could easily stay at the club for another year. According to The Guardian, Man Untied have received no bids for the World Cup-winning Frenchman, as Real Madrid’s interest in the midfielder apparently cools down.

This could be down to a couple of reasons, a combination of Man United’s clear stance on Pogba’s future, sending messages of the player 100 per cent staying at the club, and the fact that Real Madrid have already done a lot of business in the market. For landing Paul Pogba they would need even much more than the reported 100 million they have paid for Eden Hazard and in order to get that much money, offloading a handful of players would be necessary.

Newcastle Unrealistic About Longstaff Fee

And the last, but not the least, the latest news about potential Sean Longstaff move are that Man United still have not made an official bid for the midfielder, but the Devils would reportedly want to pay 20 million pounds for him. In this market, that would be an okay price, even though Longstaff only played eight times for Newcastle in the Premier League.

On the other hand, Newcastle want 50 million pounds for him, which is objectively ridiculous fee and something Man United will not pay. Still, the interest is there…

The post Man United Getting Closer To Maguire, No Offers For Pogba And Longstaff News appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 11: Sergio Romero of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Europa League, semi final second leg match, between Manchester United and Celta Vigo at Old Trafford on May 11, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images) Appearances across all competitions

Luke Shaw: He made 40 appearances in all competitions this last season, being one of the Man United players with the most time spent on pitch. Shaw played 29 Premier League matches, which accumulated him 2592 minutes, whilst he also added eight Champions League matches and three FA Cup matches. With over 3500 minutes on the pitch, this was a very reassuring season for Luke Shaw, not only because he was Man United’s most consistent performer across the campaign, but also because he finally got to have a really good season with a lot of time spent on the pitch. After so many injuries in the past, this was what he needed and it is nice that he also got the chance to score once – on the opening day of Premier League season – and add five assists.

Sergio Romero: Well, Sergio did not get much playing time this season, as it was expected. He did not get the chance to feature in the Premier League, but he played six matches in all competitions – four in FA Cup, one in Champions League and one in League Cup. He conceded six goals altogether and had two clean-sheets.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

Luke Shaw: He definitely played above expectations. Not that we did not know Luke Shaw could play at a very high level, but this time he managed to do that across the whole season and perform as Man United’s player of the season. It was not something you would describe world-class week in-week out, but he was putting good performances from August to May and that is something that definitely deserves praise.

Sergio Romero: I think the fair decision here would be – neither below, nor above expectations. This was, simply put, something we expected of Romero when the season started. He was getting opportunities in cup competitions and missing out on Premier League matches. He did just fine in those games he was in goal and that was it.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Luke Shaw: Yes, Luke Shaw will be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season and he will be – again – one of the players with the most minutes on the pitch. He will be one of the most important players, not only because of his potential to grow in the next 12 months, but also because of the fact there will not be many other options at left-back. Ashley Young could be one of them, but it is easy to say that is not an ideal solution for a potential problem.

Sergio Romero: Probably. There are still no indications that Sergio Romero will try and find a new club where he could finally play regularly and become the number one goalkeeper in his team, but for now, it looks like the Argentine will be staying. He obviously did not get to play much, but it is expected that him and David De Gea will continue being the best goalkeeping partnership in the Premier League.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Sergio Romero And Luke Shaw appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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Ander Herrera has left the club. After five years spent at Manchester United, the Spanish midfielder will no longer wear the famous red jersey, as his contract with the club has expired. Herrera decided to let the contract run out and sign a deal with Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent, making his salary and signing-on bonus much larger than he could have got at Old Trafford.

In a way this was expected. Herrera will be 30 in about a month and this was his final opportunity for the biggest contract of his career. As we have seen with players like Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey, it makes sense for footballers looking for new challenges to wait for their contract to end and then cherry pick their next destination, with a much bigger salary as a big plus in that decision making. Herrera gave his all to Manchester United in the previous five years and this was his chance for something new.

The fact that not many Man United fans hold it against him for leaving the club in this situation tells a story of how respected he was at Old Trafford. He was giving his all in every game, as it was also the case during his lasts season at the club. Herrera did ask for a much improved contract – at least according to some sources – where he would have been paid on par with Sanchez. And that too made sense – he had all the leverage, with PSG knocking on his door with a big envelope.

It was ultimately Man United that have let this happen, after failing to renew his contract earlier and that was that.

Appearances across all competitions

Herrera made 28 appearances for Man United in the last season. He played 22 times in the Premier League, starting 16 of them. He played three times in FA Cup, twice in Champions League and once in League Cup. With just 1887 minutes throughout the season, he was not close to being the most used player in the squad, but at the time of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival, he became much more important for the way United played.

Funnily enough, Herrera scored twice in Premier League and also added three assists, but all of these goal contributions came in December 2018.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

Herrera played a little bit above expectations, mostly because of his run of games after Solskjaer’s arrival, that was at a very high level. When he was playing in a double pivot in central midfield, Herrera was able to bring energy and work rate to a team that was continuously missing it. However, as the season was getting closer to an end, he was deteriorating as much as his teammates, especially with his situation with the contract and possible PSG move.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

No, Ander Herrera will not be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. Herrera joined PSG, while Man United will now need to find new solutions in central midfield.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Ander Herrera appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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When Diogo Dalot joined Manchester United in the summer of 2018 from Porto, it was seen as one for the future. It was 1 July when it was announced Dalot will be joining the Devils in a deal worth €22m and no one expected of him to make a huge impact on the team right in his first season. Man United were paying for a 19-year-old full-back with plenty of potential to develop in the years to come and settling in at such a big club takes time.

But then, after his solid debut against Young Boys away in the Champions League, Man United fans for the first time had the chance to see the man in a competitive match, showing the qualities that he was brought in for. At 19, he was still looking a bit raw, as he will in matches to come, but it was an overall good season for the young Portuguese full-back.

He was used at right-back and left-back, at right wingback and left wingback. His deliveries have made fans crave for seeing Dalot play more often, as Man United finally got someone able to create dangerous chances from the flank. In this coming season, he will be expected to continue his growth.

Appearances across all competitions

Diogo Dalot made 25 appearances for Manchester United in his debut season at the club. Sixteen of them were in Premier League, although he started 12 of them, amounting to 1015 minutes in the league. The total time spent on the pitch was around 1700 minutes, which is decent for a first season at a bigger club, especially for a player of his age.

Dalot also played four times in the Champions League, including the comeback against Paris St-Germain and two matches against Barcelona. He added two FA Cup matches and one in League Cup. The Portuguese also had three assists across the season, against Brighton and Southampton in the league and against Derby County in EFL Cup.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

I think it is fair to say he played above expectations, due to several factors. First of all, the season was mostly grim for all Man United fans and in such circumstances, it is a bit easier to catch the eyes of fans. Also, it is probably fair to assume not many have expected Dalot to play as much as he did, particularly in the latter stages of the season.

It is definitely the case that Man United fans will now expect more of him, especially in that ‘battle’ with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the place at right-back, which could see him improve in his second season.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Yes, Diogo Dalot will be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. He is one of the players expected to stay for much longer at the club and if he continues developing in the right manner, he could grow into a very interesting player. His contract runs until June 2023 and that gives good enough answer to this question.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Diogo Dalot appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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This past season was not a good one for most of Manchester United players and that is the case with Ashley Young as well. The Englishman was team’s captain and had some poor days and some decent showings, but in general, in the eyes of internet fans and Twitter followers, he became the embodiment of everything that is bad at Man United – although that is probably not fair to Young.

A player that has always been measured in everything he does and says and a player that is constantly giving his all for Man United has been held as a reason for laughter, simply because he is not the player he used to be. Simply put, Young’s ability has decreased, he is these days playing in plenty of positions that are not natural to him, surrounded by players not ready to push themselves to the limits.

So, with all that in mind, it is fair to say his performances on the pitch are not what they used to be and he should probably not expect to play as much as he did this season, especially considering he turned 34 two days ago.

Appearances across all competitions

Young made 41 appearances in four different competitions last season. Thirty of them came in Premier League, where he was a starter in 28 out of 38 possible matches. With 2569 league minutes spent on the pitch, only four Man United players have had more game time – David De Gea, Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelöf and Luke Shaw. That tells a lot about his importance on the pitch, as both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found in him a leader that can be their right-hand during the game.

He also made seven appearances in Champions League, three in FA Cup and one in EFL Cup. Both of his goals this season came in the Premier League, first one against Fulham in early December and second one against Crystal Palace in late February.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

It depends on what your expectations were of him, but in general, Young was below what was expected of him. As Man United captain, he was supposed to lead this time with great performances too, not just his attitude, but he is simply unable to do that these days. That may not be his fault either, it is just a reality. Not everything was bad with him, though, but it is obvious Young did not have the capacity to offer more in this mostly dysfunctional team.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Yes, Ashley Young will be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. He signed his latest contract extension in February, which means he will now be staying at the club until at least the end of this season. Whether he will be offered another one-year deal is a big question, but in 2019-20, he will be expected to be a big influence in the dressing room. On the pitch, however, probably less so.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Ashley Young appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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The 2018-19 season was not an easy one for Fred. The Brazilian midfielder joined Manchester United for a deal reportedly around 50 million pounds and moved after years spent in Ukraine, playing for Shakhtar Donetsk, to now start competing in the Premier League.

His start was not promising much and at one point during the season, he looked completely lost at new surroundings, making many wonder why Man United not only paid that much money for him, but why they even wanted to sign him anyway in the first place.

But in the end, Fred slightly improved his image at the club, although not even closely enough. The second season at Old Trafford will be crucial for him if he is to ever have any future at this club. Settling in in England and much tougher league is now over and Fred will have to show why the club insisted on signing him.

Appearances across all competitions

So, during 2018-19 season, Fred made 25 appearances in all competitions. In Premier League,  there were 17 of those, 13 starts and four substitute appearances. Champions League brought him six appearances, three of those coming in the latter stages of the competition. He added one appearances in both domestic cup competitions, amounting to a total of 1593 minutes in his first season at the club. That is exactly 17.7 full 90-minute matches and that is simply not enough for a first season at the club, especially when we know what kind of performances he was putting in.

His first goal for Man United – and only so far – came early into the season, in a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, while he also added one assist in Premier League, again against Wolves, but this time in a 2-1 loss.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

It is quite easy to say Fred performed way below expectations, especially when he came as by far the most expensive signing of Man United. His price tag is something that makes people look at him in a different way than he would have been if he was signed for half of those 50 million pounds. But Man United did pay for him that much and he must be evaluated accordingly.

Did Man United overpay for him? Definitely, and that could continue being the burden for him, but Fred will have a good opportunity to offer much better performances in his second season at the club. Fred often looked lost on the pitch, making too many mistakes in possession and also positionally, but now after a new full pre-season he must become one of Man United’s most reliable players.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Yes, Fred will be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season and will be expected to drastically improve. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his manager this time, he could be given a greater opportunity in terms of responsibility on the pitch. Whatever might be the case in the end, this season will be looked at to make a definitive decision of whether Fred was a failure at Man United or his transfer was a good piece of business.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Fred appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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Yesterday we spoke about Lee Grant and Jesse Lingard and today we turn our attention to other two players. Andreas Pereira and Marcos Rojo come next, in a nice South American mix of Brazil and Argentina.

Considering that neither of the two players made a huge impact last season, nor had some great amount of playing time, we decided to merge them into the same story.

Appearances across all competitions

Andreas Pereira made 23 appearances across four competitions, 15 of those coming in Premier League and four in Champions League. However, with 951 minutes spent on the pitch, Pereira averaged less than a half-time per appearance, mostly due to often coming on as a substitute.

However, one match last season was particularly good one for Pereira. The Brazilian scored and assisted in Man United’s 3-2 win over Southampton in a thrilling match. Those are the only goal contributions from Pereira last season, but overall he did not offer much. He was mostly used as a backup to the first team, getting chances bit by bit. The fact that Pereira never started two consecutive Premier League matches shows just how little impact he made on the team and where he stood in the pecking order. With midfielders like Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Fred and Nemanja Matic in the team, he was never the first choice in central midfield, whilst further up the pitch there were also Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and others. Even Scott McTominay had far more impact on this team than him, something that was certainly not expected when the last season started.

On the other hand, Marcos Rojo played even less than Pereira. Between the constant injuries and poor performances on the pitch, it was no wonder that the Argentine defender made just six appearances. Five of them came in Premier League and one in the Champions League, while he also played twice in Premier League 2. In the six appearances for the first team, his playing time amounted to 256 minutes.

Did they perform above or below the expectations?

It is safe to say that Marcos Rojo played below his expectations, even though they were not high anyway. For Pereira would be a tougher task to say what were the expectations for him, but obviously, he did not fulfil them either. At 23, he is stagnating and still far from the starting XI at Man United. It looks like he is still not ready to offer what Man Untied need at this point and it is a big question nowadays what is his ‘ceiling’.

Will they be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

It remains to be seen, at least for Marcos Rojo. Man United are reportedly ready to sell him for 25 million pounds, but it is an understatement saying such asking price is too high. It is hard to believe anyone would pay that and if Devils really want to sell Rojo, they will have to lower their asking price.

On the other hand, Andreas Pereira signed his last contract extension in March and it runs until June 2023. With Man United severely lacking in numbers in midfield positions, Pereira is expected to stay at Old Trafford, though the playing time for him is not guaranteed.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Andreas Pereira And Marcos Rojo appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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After Chris Smalling, we have decided to have two players in today’s season ending player review. The reason for that is quite simple, one of them is Lee Grant who was close to not even making his Manchester United debut previous season. The other one is Jesse Lingard, the 26-year-old who was expected to finally reach his peak.

Talking about Lee Grant’s season is quite simple – as much as the last summer’s transfer was a shocking one, equally his (lack of) playing time was expected. He did not feature, as David De Gea and Sergio Romero are basically the best goalkeeping pairing of the Premier League and no one really expected him to play at all. On the other hand, Lingard was expected to build on his 2017-18 season, during which he showed improvements, especially midway through the season.

The attacking midfielder enjoyed some great performances during that period and now, approaching his peak years, it was expected that he would make another step up.

Appearances across all competitions

But ultimately, that did not happen. Lingard did not feature as much as some might have expected, making 36 appearances across four competitions. In his 27 matches in Premier League, Lingard scored four goals and added three assists and he managed to only add one FA Cup goal and one League Cup assist. But the minutes played tell a much more refined image of how much Lingard actually played.

His six appearances in Champions League amounted to 296 minutes, just over three full matches played. This highlights well that Lingard was never in the first plan, he was mostly rotated and tried in several different positions. His place in the starting XI was never warranted.

As for Lee Grant, that is quite simply. He played only 20 minutes in the entire season, in the League Cup match against Derby County. That match Man United did not win and Grant was simply not in the running for the place in starting lineup.

Did they perform above or below the expectations?

It is quite easy to conclude that Lingard played below his expectations during last season. With four goals and three assists in Premier League he was around his expected goals and expected assists numbers. However, the fact those underlying metrics were so low, tells the story of Lingard’s poor attacking involvement. Sure, his movements of the ball can be useful and his energy is often higher than that of the most of his teammates, but when things need to be produced, Lingard is simply not there.

With just 1.72 shots per 90 that is nicely illustrated and according to Understat, Lingard had only five good chances, per xG. Four of those five he converted, while the others mostly came from poor positioning and tough situations.

From Grant, on the other hand, nothing was truly expected.

Will they be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Yes, both players are expected to be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. Grant will most probably continue being the third goalkeeper, as he is a domestic player, which is useful for European competitions. Lingard, however, is even expected to start negotiating a new contract with the club in the near future.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Lee Grant and Jesse Lingard appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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“This is my ninth season with the club and I am delighted to be continuing my progression with this team. It is a real honour to play for Manchester United and we are all now concentrating on the busy schedule of games throughout the festive period”, said Chris Smalling midway through December 2018, just after he signed the latest contract extension with the Devils. His new deal meant he was to stay at Old Trafford until June 2022, after coming to Manchester from Fulham all the way back in 2010.

Now, after the season ended, we are here to review everything he did at Manchester United during 2018-19 season.

Appearances across all competitions

There were rumours of Smalling potentially leaving the side before the start of the last season. As one would expect, these emerged due to differences with Jose Mourinho. However, the Portuguese and then-United manager dismissed those claims quickly. Smalling has responded to that trust with some fine performances. However, across the whole season, not many fans were happy with his displays and many of them were vocally against Smalling signing a new contract.

Nevertheless, despite what some parts of Man United fandom might think, Smalling still played a big chunk of the campaign – 24 Premier League appearances, all of them starts, and eight matches in Champions League and two in the FA Cup. A total of 34 matches had seen Smalling spend over 3000 minutes on the pitch, scoring one goal in the process, in a 2-1 win over Watford back in September. The centre-back had a foot injury which had seen him sidelined during December and January. It did not make his season easy, especially as Man United played their best football during that time.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

The answer to this question depends on what were the expectations. Jose Mourinho desperately wanted new centre-back reinforcements last summer, not believing totally to the four centre-backs he had at disposal at the time. Looking from that perspective, it would not be a stretch saying this was what we expected. Smalling’s season was a really good one, but no one really expected it to be, as we all knew his limitations.

The problem here would be that Smalling is probably best suited to be the third or fourth centre-back, but so often during the season he was starting.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

Yes, Chris Smalling will be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. We basically knew the answer to this question from mid-December, when Smalling signed a new contract extension. His performances from last season are not really going to bring in any offers from other clubs and Smalling will be one of the centre-backs Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to choose from. How big of a role he gets would depend on who will make the squad once the season starts, considering the rumours about Harry Maguire joining Man United.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Chris Smalling appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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“I am loving my time at this club. From the day I joined I have been made to feel part of the United family and I have been incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the warmth and love of our fans, who continue to amaze me with their support. This club is all about winning trophies and I am sure the next piece of silverware is not that far away”, Anthony Martial said this January, after putting pen to paper, on a five-year deal that has ended all speculations of whether the French winger will stay at Old Trafford for much longer.

It was during the best days of the season for Man United fans, before performances went from great to poor once again and now, it is not a question of whether the player will stay, but rather – can he be the man to lead Man United to silverware?

Appearances across all competitions

Anthony Martial made a total of 38 appearances for Manchester United in 2018-19 season. He was not the most consistent in Premier League, with 18 starts and nine substitution appearances, while also adding eight matches in Champions League, two in FA Cup and one in League Cup. In all of those matches, Martial scored 12 goals and added two assists to go with it. With just 12 goal contributions, it is fair to say this was not his best season at Man United.

It was not even the best in goalscoring terms, not even in Premier League. He did reach double digits with 10 goals, but that was a goal shy of his debut season in English domestic league.

Did he perform above or below the expectations?

To make things worse, underlying metrics are suggesting Martial even overperformed his performances in the current season. His 10 goals in the league were decent, but amounting just 7.5 in expected goals shows that he was even a bit lucky to score that many goals. One of them came from a penalty and one was from long range – one of his numerous shots he was making from wide left, instead of getting into better positions to try and give himself a better chance of converting chances.

Yesterday we wrote about Rashford not making enough shots, averaging 3.2 per 90, but Martial is visibly worse in that regard. A winger that makes just 2.15 shots per 90 is not that great, especially when the player is not creating much for his teammates either.

Will he be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?

The same as with Rashford, this is the easiest question to answer. Martial will be a part of Manchester United during the 2019-20, which the recently signed contract confirms. The Frenchman is considered one of those players Man United could build the team around. For that to happen, his attitude must improve, as his blistering form made a huge turn to poor performances once he signed the new contract.

He must become a player able to both score and assist more than he has ever in his career before. At 23 and with space to grow as a player, such improvements should be expected.

The post 2018-19 Season Ending Player Review: Anthony Martial appeared first on Stretty Rant.

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