Feb 14 2017

Marcus Rashford frustrated under Mourinho, stalls on Manchester United deal

Matt Hughes, who is a reputed journalist, has an exclusive story on Marcus Rashford published in today’s edition of The Times.

Update on Rashford’s contract:

Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford, is reportedly frustrated at the lack of regular game time he has had this season. He is concerned whether he will ever be given an extended run in the first team. This is the main reason why he is withholding his signature on a new contract.

More grievances against Mourinho

Rashford feels that he has gone backwards this season. He enjoyed a spectacular start to his career last year, earning a late call-up to Roy Hodgson’s squad for the European Championships.

This season, he has scored three Premier League goals, but none of them has come since September. Furthermore, he has been used primarily in wide positions by Mourinho.

Present situation

Rashford signed a new contract only five months back that will keep him at the club till 2020. He is in no rush to sign a new deal. His first priority is to get regular games under his belt, and wants to shape a good career at Old Trafford.

United are not willing to sell him under any condition. The club demonstrated their desire to keep him after they rejected approaches from West Ham United and Seville to sign him on loan last month.

Before going into further argument, let us check what Mourinho said recently about Rashford:

I’m always happy with Marcus’s contribution. He’s one of these players that, when he is on the pitch, he tries. When he’s on the pitch, he gives you always something.

He’s not any more the surprise kid, he’s a player that everybody respects, that everybody knows, that everybody knows the qualities and it’s normal that he’s in this period of transition where he’s still a kid but he’s not any more the new kid in town.

He says that he is learning so much, even in tactical meetings, even in training sessions. He’s learning so much, so I think his future will be brilliant.

Judging by our manager’s comment, it seems Mourinho rates him highly. The 19-year-old has made 17 starts in all competitions, which shows that he is an integral part of Mourinho’s plans. Hardly a lack of opportunity!

On the flip side, it is not easy for any natural goalscorer to play out wide every week. Rashford is a wonderful young talent, but he is hardly going to develop, unless he plays in his natural position.


Feb 13 2017

Manchester United News Roundup: Zlatan’s pep talk, Martial’s next goal worth £8.5m and more

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played a key role in steering Manchester United back into the race for Champions League qualification with 15 goals so far this season. The 35-year-old has lifted the mood at Old Trafford, but his impact at the Manchester club goes beyond just scoring goals.

He is proving an equally important asset for United off the pitch as he is on it. Being a charismatic figure and an experienced player, he leaves a strong influence on United’s younger players. He has become something of a mentor and gives valuable advice to the players.

For example, take Anthony Martial. The Frenchman has struggled to get regular games under Jose Mourinho and has often received harsh criticism publicly from his manager. Earlier this season he looked unsettled and was even linked with a move away from Old Trafford in the January transfer window.

Marcus Rashford had impressed on the left wing in United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City, and he was expected to start against Watford. Mourinho had other plans. He introduced Martial and challenged him to deliver. The youngster did deliver.

According to reports from the Times, Ibra offered Martial advice and helped him settle down his nerves during their breakfast at the Lowry Hotel on match-day mornings and at Carrington.

Ibrahimovic said, as quoted by the Times:

When we eat breakfast, he [Martial] sits beside me and we talk. It’s a good atmosphere, the guys are very professional. Positive vibes.

Martial scored his third goal in six matches as United strolled past Watford 2-0, playing some wonderful free flowing football.

Monaco to receive £8.5m for Martial’s next goal 

Staying with Martial, the Frenchman’s next United goal is set to cost the club £8.5m. The 21-year-old joined United for £42.5m during the summer of 2015. Monaco had inserted several clauses into his contract and one of them is close to being activated.

The French giants are due to receive £8.5m once Martial nets his 25th goal for the Red Devils. The Frenchman scored his 24th goal at the club last week in United’s 2-0 win over Watford. The win meant United are the first club to reach 2000 points since the start of the Premier League in 1992.

Antonio Valencia: Mourinho wanted to sign me at Real Madrid 

Valencia has revealed recently that Mourinho tried to sign him for Real Madrid. The Ecuadorian is enjoying a fine season at United, and has nailed down the right-back position for himself. Mourinho recently has insisted that Valencia is the best right-back in the world.


Feb 11 2017

Jose Mourinho comments on De Gea’s future, summer transfer plans and more

Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, is confident that Real Madrid will not sign David de Gea by keeping him in the dark. The reason is that he and Florentino Pérez, the Spanish club’s president, are ‘big friends’.

Earlier this week, Spanish newspaper, Marca, reported that Real Madrid would be looking to sign De Gea next summer. De Gea was close to joining Los Blancos in the 2015 summer transfer window, and had it been not for Madrid’s idiotic transfer approach on the deadline day, the Spaniard would have had claimed his maiden Champions League trophy by now.

Madrid are unwilling to make that same mistake again, and this time they are prepared to pay whatever-it-takes (read as €65m) to lure the Spaniard to the Bernabeu. Since then, De Gea has gone on record to say that he is happy at United. Juan Mata has gone on record to beat the same drum. Pérez said “someone is messing around there with De Gea”. And now it’s the turn of our manager to comment on the matter.

Isn’t it getting silly? When ‘ignore’ should have been the best one-word answer, somehow, everyone is making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Mourinho said, as quoted by the Guardian:

On relationship with Perez: 

With Mr Pérez and his right arm José Ángel Sánchez [director general], they are some of the people in football that I can say I did not work for them and then it is over. I can say that we are friends forever, big friends. I like them a lot. Friends speak, friends are open, friends are honest.

So if at the end of the season I want one of their players or they want one of our players we will not do it through the press. We are going to exchange messages. We will be very direct. So they are one of the clubs that I am not worried about at all.

Whether De Gea will stay beyond the summer:

I have nothing to say because I am not going to speak about hypothetical things. The only thing that is real is that he is my player, I am happy with him, I know that he is happy with me and there is nothing else, absolutely nothing else.

Mourinho also assured everyone that Swede striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will sign a new contract extension at United. He will be out of contract at the end of the season, but United still hold an option to extend this for another 12 months.

I’m totally convinced he is going to stay. He came with the intention to stay two years but in the minds of everyone the first year is going better than every expectation. He knows we are going to try again to improve next season and try to share with him in a fantastic way probably the last year of his career at the highest level.

So I’m convinced that he’s staying, he’s adapted to the club, to the situation, I don’t see any problem with his family. I give him the possibility of an extra day off to go to Sweden, he doesn’t want this ever, so I’m totally convinced he is going to stay.

Mourinho on Marcus Rashford:

He is still a kid but not the new kid in town any more. Next season will be very, very good for Marcus because this season he is getting experience at this level of responsibility of being a professional player at a club like Manchester United.

He said something the other day that made me really happy – that he is learning so much in the technical meetings and training sessions so I think his future will be brilliant. His present is good and we need him.

Finally, on his summer transfer plans:

The former Chelsea manager has admitted that United have a small market to operate on in the transfer window, and that he would target a maximum of four players.

Independent of the numbers, can you spend 1, 10 or 100 million, it’s also the philosophy – we prefer to bring two three or four players, players that feel an idea, a football we try to play, that can improve our squad. We are not interested in signing six or seven or sell six or seven. We are not going to play this game.

We are stable, so we think our market in the summer will be soft, will be natural – some players to leave, some players to come but in a very natural way so I think the word Ed used was a good one. You work with the players and you know the players better – even in relation to this everything is balanced, I’m not negatively surprised with anyone, I didn’t have an incredible impact with some player. So everything is balanced and I think our summer will be quite small.

Mourinho’s press conference round up: Ibra will sign a new contract. No need to worry about Rashford. The lad is doing just fine. Next summer, we’re going to catch the big fishes again in the transfer market. And finally, United are not selling De Gea. Period. He doesn’t want to leave. However, never trust Madrid – there is many a slip between the cup and the lip!


Feb 10 2017

Manchester United’s debt rises by 27% after Brexit impact on the pound

Manchester United have announced a record profit for any quarter in their history, on Thursday. The Red Devils returned to the top of the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time since 2005 last month, and are on course to achieve record revenues this fiscal year despite their absence from the Champions League.

The total revenue earned for the fiscal second quarter, ending 31 December 2016, was £157.9m. It is an improvement of 18% on the same period in 2015. It only goes to show how good United have been operating on the commercial front.

The only glitch amidst this financial success is that their net debt rising by 27.1% due to the post-Brexit collapse of the pound. The club’s net debt has spiralled to £409.3m.

The improvement in form under José Mourinho has seen matchday earnings rising by 27% to £38.6m. The broadcasting revenue was up by 40.8% for the quarter to £52.5m. If United can maintain this figure, which is likely to happen, they will achieve the target of making record revenues of between £530m and £540m in the period from July 2016 to the end of June 2017.

Ed Woodward, the club’s Executive vice-chairman, has vowed to back Mourinho in the summer transfer market, as United are aiming to return among the European elites. He has confirmed that significant addition will be made to the United’s squad in the summer without making wholesale changes.

Woodward said, as quoted by the Times:

Are we happy with the roster at this point? Yes. I think there’s a happiness from the manager at this point, as you can tell in all his recent interviews.

In terms of where we are as a squad, I think there is always going to be continual improvement. I think we’re in that kind of environment now compared to where we were two or three years ago, where perhaps a little bit more churn was required from a playing squad perspective.

Interestingly, United have listed Bastian Schweinsteiger as a club asset worth £4.8m. Only four months back, United declared in their first-quarter financial figures that they had written his value off after Mourinho exiled him from the first-team squad. However, United are intent on selling the German midfielder in the summer.

On the transfer front, United will not entertain any attempt from Real Madrid to sign David De Gea. Madrid are thought to be considering making an offer in the region of €65m to lure the Spaniard to Bernabeu, but United are unwilling to sell.

Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, who has a release clause of £85.5m, is at the top of Mourinho’s shopping list. Victor Lindelöf, the Benfica defender, and the Monaco midfielder, Tiemoué Bakayoko, are other major targets for United.


Dec 25 2016

Everton send fan a Ross Barkley shirt with Manchester United’s badge on it

Tag: Manchester United News @ 2:35 pm

Everton send fan a Ross Barkley shirt with Manchester United’s badge on it

One Everton fan got a bit of a surprise when he was given a Ross Barkley shirt ordered from the official store as there was a Manchester United badge printed on the bottom of it.

That’s some top trolling from Everton there to do that. To be fair, I’ll take Barkley off Everton’s hands – he can be included in any deal which sees Morgan Schneiderlin or Memphis Depay heads in the other direction.

And to prove it wasn’t a prank, the lad even uploaded a video showing it wasn’t even a sticker!


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Nov 25 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: This is what I really think about Wayne Rooney at Man United

Tag: Manchester United News @ 9:30 pm

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: This is what I really think about Wayne Rooney at Man United


Zlatan Ibrahimovic has heaped praise on Wayne Rooney, labelling the 31-year-old as a fantastic person and a perfect player.

The captain impressed Manchester United fans with a commanding performance against Feyenoord on Thursday night, picking up a goal and an assist to wrap up a convincing 4-0 win.

Rooney’s goal – a cooly taken chip in the 35th minute – secured the Englishman’s place as Man United’s all-time leading European goalscorer.

Ibrahimovic, speaking after the game, was quick to shower praise on the 31-year-old.

“First of all as a person he is fantastic. I have [had] the luck to get to know him as a person,” he said.

“As a player, there are no words to say about him because he is the perfect player.

“Everyone knows what he can do and what he has done so I am happy for him that he broke the record.

“When you are a person like that, people are interested and want to know everything. I don’t know what happened – I didn’t even ask him because it’s not important for me.”

Rooney’s performance against Feyenoord was evocative of a happier time in the Englishman’s career. He was faster, more clinical, more energetic, and angry. Angry in the old-fashioned Rooney way, where pent up fury would manifest itself through a rip-roaring performance, as opposed to the current form of angry Rooney, which essentially consists of him shouting expletives at the referee.

The captain clearly felt as if he had a point to prove. This game, you could tell, was significant. Whether such a change of attitude came as a result of recent tabloid noise surrounding his drunken antics is unknown. The prospect of being within touching distance of history – both with the European goalscoring record and all-time goalscoring record – could have also been a motivating factor.

Either way, United fans will hope to see this Rooney more often this season.


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Oct 26 2016

Ander Herrera explains why Man United performed so well in the second half

Tag: Manchester United News @ 10:40 pm

Ander Herrera explains why Man United performed so well in the second half


Ander Herrera has revealed what changed for Manchester United in the second-half against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

Jose Mourinho’s side claimed a 1-0 victory over Pep Guardiola’s squad as Juan Mata found the only goal of the game at Old Trafford.

The Spaniard was pressing high to win the ball inside Man City’s box and opened up the chance for Mata in the second-half.

Speaking after the game, Herrera explained that Mata’s goal allowed players to remain calm.

“In the first-half it’s always tough as no one wants to lose and there’s tension,” he said.

“In the second-half we were more calm and with Mata scoring the goal it was easier, it’s for the fans and we lost the last derby they were disappointed but now they can be proud.”

Man United looked like a completely different team in the second-half as Luke Shaw came back, despite getting continuously ripped by Jesus Navas in the first-half, a new solid player.

Fans were left furious with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first 45 minutes and Jamie Carragher even labelled it as the big Swede’s worst half of his entire career, but he also came back and held the ball up incredibly well.

What clicked it all into place? A Mourinho prep talk perhaps? We’ll never know but whatever did happen seriously changed the outcome of the game as United were terrible throughout the first-half.


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Sep 26 2016

Antonie Griezmann opens up on Atletico Madrid future amid Man United interest

Tag: Manchester United News @ 9:30 pm

Antonie Griezmann opens up on Atletico Madrid future amid Man United interest


French striker Antoine Griezmann has pledged his allegiance to Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone amid speculation surrounding a potential move to Manchester United next summer.

Griezmann’s decision to part ways with his agent, electing instead to represent himself, served as a possible sign of the 25-year-old’s desire to seek a move away from the Vicente Calderon.

It was also reported by French paper L’Equipe that it was “only a matter of time” before Griezmann comes to Old Trafford.

However the Frenchman, speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, made it clear he is happy at Atletico, as long as Simeone remains at the club.

“I am very good at Atleti, with my team-mates, I see that we can achieve important things,” Griezmann said.

“With Simeone I am learning so much. Right now, I do not think about anything other than Atleti. The aim is to continue with Atleti and to see the new stadium.

“I was afraid of Simeone leaving this summer – I need to continue learning from him. I called him and he reassured me. I need to work with Simeone, I need to learn from him and Atleti needs it too.”

Griezmann’s future in Spain appears to hinge on how long Simeone – manager since 2011 – stays at the Vicente Calderon. Atletico’s sturdy, almost tribal approach to scalping results stems from the Argentine’s warrior-like persona, and one imagines that his departure will signal a quick decline in potency.

And despite Simeone’s reassuring words to fans and players concerned about his potential departure, speculation surrounding his future continues to loom, meaning that Griezmann – a tricky, effervescent presence at No.9 – could find himself wearing a United short at some point in the near future.


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