Manchester United look set to test Athletic Bilbao’s resolve in January with an offer for 20-year-old defender Aymeric Laporte, who’s also on Arsenal and Chelsea’s radar.
According to reports in some of today’s newspapers, United have moved ahead of their rivals in the chase for the young centre-back after contacting Athletic via intermediaries – here’s hoping they weren’t the same who tried to finalise the deal for Ander Herrera in the summer of 2013 – as Louis Van Gaal looks to bolster his defensive options.
Juan Mata has claimed that David Moyes failed at Manchester United because he was unlucky and that the Scotsman’s work ethic will see him succeed at Real Sociedad.
Having been fired in April after just 10 months at Old Trafford, Moyes was today unveiled as the new Real Sociedad boss, after signing a 18-month deal with the Basque outfit, currently 15th in La Liga.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed that Angel Di Maria is prone to “lose control” at times, insisting the Argentinian has a tendency to misplace passes.
“People should think twice before saying that James can fill Di María’s boots because they’re very different players. Di María could take matches by storm with his energy, but he also used to lose control sometimes, misplacing important passes,” Ancelotti said.
Louis Van Gaal is not planning any January signings, unless one of his main targets becomes available, according to reports that will come to a surprise to many, who expected the Dutchman to splash money again this winter.
Having spent over £150m in the summer, Van Gaal was expected to use the January transfer window to shore up United’s shaky defence, but the Guardian today suggests that the Dutchman is unlikely to spend money in two months, choosing instead to focus on next summer.
Louis Van Gaal is determined to sign Ron Vlaar in January as he attempts to solve the defensive crisis that has crippled Manchester United since the start of the season.
With Jonny Evans having only just returned to training, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo out injured and Chris Smalling suspended after his brainless sending off in the derby, United only have two centre-backs available, but Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair are too raw to be relied upon for a whole season.
Gary Neville has defended Robin Van Persie’s performances, saying that the Dutchman’s poor start to the campaign was down to a lack of help from his teammates, who must do more to help him.
Van Persie has scored three times in nine Premier League games and has come under criticism for looking uninterested and for not being as sharp in front of goal as he was during the World Cup in Brazil and Neville admitted the former Arsenal captain was beginning to be under pressure.
Mondays are nobody’s idea of fun, mondays after losing the derby even less so.
The fact that United have developed a losing habit against City – yesterday’s was United’s sixth defeat in the last seven meetings against City – doesn’t make the result easier to accept either and looking for positives could seem a petulant exercise, though United do have a case for some optimism.
There is no rest for the wicked. There is even less rest for the cardiovascular systems of those who support Manchester United, it seems. Having negotiated a deserved draw against Chelsea on Sunday, irking many an ABUs in the process after United fans took the liberty of celebrating a last minute equaliser, Louis Van Gaal’s troops make the short journey across town to face the defending champions.
The prospect of United traveling to the Etihad as underdogs would have seemed sheer lunacy until a few seasons ago but it’s now widely accepted, given City have won two of the last three titles and put eight goals past United in the last three meetings, winning every single one of them.