Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga has caught the eye of Manchester United, according to reports.

The 17-year-old has taken Ligue 1 by storm at such a young age, already making 11 league appearances for Rennes so far this season in central midfield.

Angola-born Camavinga has recently gained French citizenship and only turned 17 today where he started for Rennes against Amiens.

And L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) claims that ‘obviously’ Manchester United are part of the chasing pack in the hunt for Camavinga’s signature, with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona also mentioned.

The report adds that he is rated between €20m and €30m but that could increase depending on how he progresses during the rest of the campaign.

At such a young age, Camavinga’s representatives are relaxed about the teenager’s future and unlikely to try and force a move away from the French side.

And that could lead to a drawn out process with Camavinga unlikely to want to sit on the bench somewhere else.

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

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Liverpool v Man City is meaningless
So it’s knickers in a twist time once again. A big media build up to an, in isolation, insignificant match. Of course each set of fans want to win, and each is a bit giddy because their teams are the current best but still it’s all bollocks really.

Liverpool will be leading no matter want. Irrespective of the result Liverpool will be leading by 3, 6 or 9 points.

City are good enough to overturn even 9 points. Make no mistake this City team will not be daunted by a 9 point gap. Spurred on by it probably.

Whoever wins it’s takes nothing away from the quality of the other team! Both are class and all the superlatives are valid.

Both managers know. This is just one match and that is what they will be focussing their teams on.

That’s said. We all will be taking sides, we will be giddy at the start and we all hope to see an attacking spectacle and goals.

Even though we know it’s meaningless, we set that aside because we love football it’s a great distraction from life’s general bull…
Chris (Mauritius 9 points Baby!)

 

Pancake City
I wrote in recently questioning how City (and Liverpool) can keep their mojo going after three intense-as-only-Guardiola-can-make-them seasons.  Well, last night’s game was a good example of what I was trying to get at.  Eleven super-talented players on the pitch but not a hungry, dynamic team and epitomised perfectly by the first goal, I think.  Great quality but seemingly almost clockwork in its execution.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but City look, not quite drab, but flat.  Players giving the ball away cheaply and the likes of HRH King Kev making some very poor passes.  Basic errors that were, largely, unforced.  I don’t know, they seem not to be as focussed as we have come to expect and I do wonder if the effort of achieving 198 points (and the consequent silverware that went with it) over the last two seasons isn’t taking its toll?  Pep put out a far stronger team than I expected (I thought for sure that he would have rested Fernandinho and Sterling for example) and yet still they couldn’t quite get the job done.

I’m also worried that Pep, in pre and post-match interviews, has been making repeated references to ‘our problems’ or ‘the problems we have’ by which he means injuries.  I stand to be corrected but I don’t recall him doing that before.  Sunday’s game was always going to be a challenge and, personally, I expect it to be a super-cagey affair but who knows?  Maybe the importance of the occasion will galvanise the players into upping their game.

I do hope so because we a clearly missing some zip or zest.  Either way I expect to be watching that game from behind the back of the sofa.
Mark (Sorry Clownio.  But when Kyle Walker makes more saves in goal than you did, it’s time to say goodbye).  MCFC

 

Enjoying our time in the sun
Chris, Croydon. I’ve lived through the highs of supporting Liverpool as a youngster and also the rollercoaster ups and downs since hitting teenhood into the present day. I take nothing for granted and am regularly bricking it whenever we play – particularly recently. Mentality monsters we might be, but having supported Liverpool for so long, it’s ingrained into me that something could and might easily go wrong at some point.

I am enjoying our moment in the sun for as long as possible, and with the possible exception of Man Utd (sorry!), the only times I want teams to lose is a) when they play us and b) if they are in direct competition with us.

So no chips here pal. I’m not sure there’s a direct correlation between being a tw*t and being a Liverpool fan. But there probably is a correlation between a traditionally big and successful club in the mire providing an easy platform for rival fans to have a poke and a laugh. Suggest you make new friends/acquaintances.

Cheers,
Somerset Dave

 

Pancake CityI felt like I needed to write in to defend Mason Mount (I think/hope you’ll get a few of these off of Chelsea fans?) after Ed asked what he provided to this team.

In your own mail, you listed 3 things he can do to the 2 things you believe he’s weak at.  Doesn’t that tell you something?  He has very intelligent link up with his fellow attackers and his drive and energy are crucial to how we play.  It is more than enough for us right now and, don’t forget, he is only 20 years old, the fact he we are having a debate as to whether he is a starter for this Chelsea team is a huge testament to him!

“Drive and energy” are kind of intangibles but if you want some cold, hard facts then he averages nearly 3 shots and 2 key passes (15th in the league by the way) a game.  He is vital to one of our styles and is flourishing under Frank.  Should he be playing every week?  No, arguably nobody should, but anyway our midfield is drenched in quality and he can easily be rotated to maintain sharpness and fitness.
BlueLuke – CFC

 

No mind games, just football
I believe the comment about Mane diving from Guardiola was out of character of him. Especially with regards to liverpool I believe there is a mutual respect and even gentleman’s agreement between the manager and players to keep the talking on the pitch. It seems Guariola’s quick reversal and compliments of Mane and Liverpool since that proves this and is a refreshing change to previous rivalries.  I forone really enjoy this rivalry without the Mourinho, Wenger, Ferguson mind games of yesteryear.  Have we ever had this combined rivalry and respect before?
David (have a feeling a comfortable win for City) Morris

 

Football music
I wholeheartedly agree with Mikey CFC on the music Real Madrid play every time they score a goal. It annoys the shit out of me.
It goes something like this for those of you lucky enough never to have heard it:
‘Ohh laay, oh laaay, oh laaaay, oh laaaaaay, oh oh laaaay, oh laaay, oh oh laay’.
I feel sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo who had to put up with that din 451 times, and hundreds of other times when he’s team mates scored a goal. Just celebrate and get on with it.

There is no competition, it’s hands down the worst.
Kireca

 

In response to Mikey, Cfc’s question about bad goal celebration music I remember when Rangers player Bob Malcolm scored what was a very rare goal for him at Ibrox it was met by the Spongebob Squarepants theme song being blared over the sound system.

As far as I could tell it wasn’t a nickname and was never referenced anywhere before or after. It was just that his name was Bob.
Duncan, Bradford

 

Hi,

Just writing in response to Mikey’s understandable mail re goal music.

I think the vast majority of people would say that goal music is completely unnecessary. I can’t see how it enhances the moment – if you need to hear rhythmic chords when your team bangs one in the onion bag to get excited then football is not really the sport for you (try WWE).

The one caveat to this is the introduction of VAR which makes me think that there would be a level of entertainment from having the ‘Countdown’ theme tune played when a decision is pending (if only their decisions took just 30 seconds !)

Regards,
Sparky LFC

 

What should Messi do?
In the article you linked in Mediawatch today on ESPN, Graham Hunter asks the reader to put themselves in Messi’s shoes and imagine what you’d do with your future and whether you’d stay at Barcelona.

To me, the answer is “I’d donate some or my salary back to the club conditionally, so that they could sign the players I want to be competitive and win the trophies I want to win.”

This isn’t something I’d suggest about almost any other player in the world – despite the fact that they could all afford it. The thing is, most players’ wages and influence don’t hamstring their clubs and limit their ability to afford reinforcements to such an extent, AND most players aren’t making so much money from endorsements that they could literally afford to play for their club for free, with no material impact to them or their family. Adidas pays Messi a fortune, and Messi gets other endorsements too.

I don’t judge Messi for not doing so, and he probably has doubts about how effectively the club would use that money, but the salary he gets from Barcelona is outsized and probably doesn’t leave enough for the club to invest sufficiently to attract the calibre of reinforcements he himself wants.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

Top ten prolific scorers
I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of watching Aguero (and his Argentina colleagues) in every single 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup Canada match they played. He (and they) were absolutely dominant, and now I’ve had the misfortune of seeing him score 173 goals for Manchester City. I really don’t like that he’s still this bloody good 12 years on.
Dickon – LFC – Ottawa

 

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Winners

Manchester City
Another 3-0 win in Kharkiv, but this was a far more important victory than a year ago. City did not play with any great style, or at least only did so in short bursts, but what mattered is that they showed their teeth.

People like it when City lose and, back home, the defeat to Norwich is still a punchline. The schadenfreude has evidently tweaked Pep Guardiola, too, and he was irritated enough to call back to the media’s heckling of him during his first season. A little strange; it has been more than three years.

But that just underlines how important this was. To get off to a good start in the Champions League, of course, because that’s always useful, but also to change the conversation. With that in mind, this was precisely the right moment for City to effortlessly dominate a side on their own pitch and remind everyone of their power.

And what a terrific performance from Fernandinho. Yes, Guardiola can afford to be a bit experimental with his centre-backs, but don’t underestimate the challenge of occupying an unfamiliar position at this level of the game.

 

Valencia
Our early winners. despite the chaos.

 

Erling Haaland
How much fun was that to watch? Haaland had scored three hat-tricks in the Austrian Bundesliga already this season, but for most of us this was a first glimpse. He’s a spectacle, in the true, ‘who the f**k is that?’ sense? By all accounts he possesses a slightly alternative personality away from the game (Google the story about the Champions League anthem) and he seems very off-beat in front of the press. On the pitch, though, he plays like a PG monster from a child’s nightmare.

He shouldn’t be able to move like that. Does that make sense? He’s too big, he’s too square and he has that ever-so-slightly crouched posture when runs which makes it looks like he’s swimming. So: a vast body with disproportionate limbs and a big, friendly looking face. If he was chasing you, you’d definitely run away.

Soon, he’ll take up residence in the gossip columns. He’ll be seized by the have-a-go analysts and lavished by the kind of hyperbole that will make it impossible for him to surprise us ever again. For now, though, he’s just a big, goofy teenager doing amazing things at the summit of the game.

And he also looks like he could eat Roy Keane for breakfast, which his dad probably doesn’t hate.

 

Jesse Marsch
The only shame of Haaland’s hat-trick was that it overshadowed his manager’s own accomplishment. On Tuesday night, Jesse Marsch became the first American to coach a team in the Champions League. By half-time, after a staggering 45 minutes and with a 5-1 lead, he knew he was about to become the first American to win in the Champions League too.

It’s quite a story. Five years ago, Marsch was coaching at Princeton University, and even then just as an assistant. He did spend three years in charge of the New York Red Bulls and, obviously, has benefited from the club’s network and pathways, but this has still been jet-powered rise. And a challenge, too. When he was appointed by Salzburg, the home fans hung a banner behind one of the goals in protest. A couple of months later, his team have won their first seven league games of the season, a division record, and currently boast a goal-difference of +28.

Add six more goals and three Champions League to that growing CV.

 

Mats Hummels
What a performance. That Barcelona forward line obviously isn’t what it was, but Hummels was outstanding in that goalless draw and clearly the game’s best player.

Which might be of interest to Jogi Loew, who forcefully retired Hummels from international duty at the age of just 30. You suspect that it wasn’t an entirely sporting decision, because Hummels is no wallflower, but it doesn’t look like a particularly smart one, either – particularly given how poorly Germany defended in that recent lost to Holland.

It’s not just that Hummels remains an excellent player, it’s that he comprises the balance of attributes that Loew seems to need at the centre of his defence. On this evidence, none of those abilities are on the wane yet.

 

Adrian
Just for his save, because if he never makes another appearance in the Champions League, which he probably won’t, then that’s quite a memory to take away.

It was fortuitous, because when a cross is hung up to the back post like that, there’s only so much a goalkeeper can do. The coaching instruction is presumably for him to just put himself in position to hopefully be hit by the ball – the Schmeichel starfish technique, for instance, which was actually a very passive position.

But this wasn’t just that; Adrian wasn’t just hit by the ball. Dries Merten’s technique was perfect; it was a really well-struck shot and, no matter how many times you watch, it still seems unlikely that – 1) Adrian will be able to hang in the air long enough to make the save and 2) have the necessary finger strength to gain proper purchase on the ball.

Let’s not rank it. Who cares how it measures against other excellent saves? This was just brilliant, brilliant goalkeeping.

 

Losers

Tottenham
Back to where they were, then, because everything that was good about Spurs at the weekend dissipated during the flight to Greece. They played with no pace, no accuracy or control and, most concerningly, without any authority over the game even after finding themselves two goals ahead.

That’s one of the anomalies about Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino. No matter how long this group stays together and what they experience, they never seem to acquire the ability to properly protect leads. Sometimes that can be excused on account of the opposition or scenario. More often, though, it can be traced back to inexplicable errors which, really, have no justification.

As they didn’t on Wednesday, when Christian Eriksen’s cheap turnover and Jan Vertonghen’s rash challenge allowed Mathieu Valbuena to equalise from the penalty spot.

Just calling it ‘Spursy’ is irritating, because it implies that the players have no responsibility and that, ultimately, the club’s flawed DNA can always just be used as an excuse. It’s not a curse, it’s just rubbish defending and Tottenham are guilty of it far too often.

“It’s not about tactics or quality players but the level of fight. You need to match the opponent in aggressivity, excitement, motivation. That is the first demand – you need to work. It’s not only the responsibility of one person; it’s everyone’s responsibility.”

Mauricio Pochettino is correct in his diagnosis, but so what? Five years in and his team are still kicking themselves in the balls on a semi-regular basis. This is why they haven’t won anything. It’s not the absence of some elusive fortitude, it’s because – for all their very real, very substantial improvements – they remain a fundamentally sloppy football team, prone to wavering concentration and poor decisions. They can still be brilliant to watch and their fans rightly love them for that, but how precise are they? How much detail lies behind Pochettino’s approach?

Those aren’t rhetorical questions, it’s genuinely difficult to know the answers.

Let’s not lose sight of a bigger picture: it wasn’t important that Tottenham won in Greece, it was just essential that they didn’t lose. But that not withstanding, this was still a dreadful performance which will have to be their worst of the campaign if they’re to do anything of note in the Champions League this season.

 

Christian Eriksen
And that’s why nobody bought him. He’s regularly (and correctly) identified as the side’s most important component, but he still takes far too many games off to be worth the kind of fee that Daniel Levy was asking for.

It’s not intentional, Eriksen is far from lazy, he just doesn’t possess the mental appetite for the game that very best players all share. He doesn’t have the slightly sociopathic quality that instructs that sort of drive and that’s probably why, unfortunately, he’s prone to making the same mistakes so often.

Think back to the Champions League quarter-final last season and the pass he gave away in the build up to Raheem Sterling’s disallowed goal. How does a player not learn from that kind of mistake? How is that, four months later, he can find himself in a similar situation, leave the ball hopelessly unprotected, and then fail to react properly when it’s stolen from him?

 

Liverpool
No, it shouldn’t have been a penalty but, yes, Liverpool still deserved to lose.

More here on a sloppy first night which has made a simple group much harder than it should have been.

 

Chelsea
There isn’t much point in doing game-by-game analysis of Frank Lampard, because we know he’s still learning and we knew that these kind of games would be a feature of this season. No, the defeat to Valencia wasn’t good, but it didn’t feature any new concerns or present problems with Chelsea that hadn’t already been diagnosed.

One thing though: get those set-pieces sorted. Rodrigo scored from one and Kevin Gameiro might have scored from another. Liverpool aren’t Tony Pulis’s Stoke City,

  

Antonio Conte in Europe
Conte can’t really do European football. Last time we saw him, his Chelsea side were being dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona at the Round of 16 stage in 2017. True, he was likely preoccupied by that redundancy-baiting sulk at the time, but his Serie A-dominating Juventus side were hardly a European power either, exiting meekly to Bayern Munich in 2013 and, more embarrassingly, in the group stage a year later.

Stranger still, Juventus went all the way to the final the very next year, in Max Allegri’s first season in charge.

So there’s a something here and, as a result, familiarity in seeing Conte’s Inter, who are currently top of Serie A, being outplayed by Slavia Prague. They salvaged a late point through a fortunate deflection, but that flattered a horribly disconnected performance which Slavia didn’t quite have the composure to punish properly.

Conte’s football could never be described as exhilarating. Actually, its greatest virtue is its repetitive nature and percussive attrition, but it’s concerning just how loose Inter were and how far away from his ideals they seem to be. It’s early in his reign, that’s only to fair, but they really were hopeless.

 

Mason Mount
The last time Francis Coquelin played at Stamford Bridge he left humiliated, having been rag-dolled by Eden Hazard. On his return, he was evidently determined to leave more of an impression.

And he did. Whether there was any malice in his first half follow-through on Mason Mount is debatable – almost certainly there wasn’t – but the effect will be that one of the stories of the season will now be placed on pause. At the time of writing it’s not clear how serious the ankle injury is (although a scan has precluded ligament damage), but it was bad enough to see Mount leave the field and, presumably, will cost him a place in the team which faces Liverpool at the weekend.

Urgh. He’s one of the reasons to watch the Premier League at the moment and who wasn’t intrigued by Mount’s first steps in European football?

 

VAR
The sentiment behind Clear & Obvious is right, because nobody wants endless interference or to see tiny parts of the game being refereed. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes VAR such a difficult sell. The problem with this ‘high bar’ is that incidents are occurring which should be reversed – the Callejon penalty, Marc-Andre ter Stegen leaving his line – but which invariably aren’t because of that determination not to interfere.

The more that happens, whatever the intention may be, the more antagonistic it will ultimately become.

 

Lyon
The draw with Zenit now makes it eight Champions League games without a win. Stranger still, the last time they did win in the competition was against Manchester City at the Etihad.

Lyon are obviously no longer the club that won eight straight Ligue 1 titles at the beginning of the Millennium. The nature of French football has changed and their place in the domestic and continental hierarchy has been permanently altered. But this is still a team capable of doing more than they are.

Dembele, Depay, Aouar and Tousart may not be Juninho, Benzema and Govou, but it’s not as if they’re without talent.

 

Real Madrid
Big clubs have suffered at Parc des Princes during the group stage before, but this defeat felt more instructive. Not least because it was inflicted by a Paris Saint-Germain side without Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and without the customary reliance on individual power.

They just looked like the better team and, given what PSG represent in the modern game, that’s absolutely damning. But still very fair, because Real are in a terrible muddle and this felt like an accurate portrayal of what they are.

And what is that? A head coach with a very tenuous relationship with a few of his key players. A midfield which now looks tired and imbalanced and improperly weighted with attacking players. And a forward line which, last night at least, was propped up a by a player who the club tried to sell to the Chinese Super League over the summer.

When Zinedine Zidane first resigned, he made an excellent decision. He had his European Cups and a reputation which, because of that success, was very difficult to argue with. What he identified, most likely, was that the squad he’d been managing was reaching the end of its lifespan and that whomever was in charge over the next few years would have to suffer through transition.

And, unfortunately, although turning Florentino Perez down must be difficult, Zidane has stumbled his way back into the situation he did so well to extricate himself from. Remember that episode of The Simpsons in which Homer jumps out of a car which is heading off the edge of a cliff but somehow, inadvertently, rolls back in? Yeah, that.

 

Seb Stafford-Bloor is on Twitter.

 

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If we all agree that ethereal playmakers who sometimes can’t be arsed are the best type of footballers – and we do all agree on that, don’t we? – then Michael Laudrup may be the greatest player of all time.

A league winner in Italy, Spain and Holland, Laudrup is a rare species; equally adored by Barcelona and Real Madrid fans, having played a key role in 5-0 El Clasico victories for both sides.

We’ve collected 15 of the best quotes on the greatest No.10s in history.

Read at Planet Football.

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Luis Suarez says he “did not want to leave from home after losing” in Barcelona’s shock semi-final defeat to Liverpool in last year’s Champions League.

Liverpool completed a memorable comeback that night at Anfield in May, reversing a 3-0 deficit from the first leg to progress to the final by way of a spectacular 4-0 victory at home.

Two goals each from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi sealed the deal, with a famous piece of quick thinking from full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold from a corner providing the spark for the goal that broke Catalan hearts.

The victory propelled Liverpool to a sixth European Cup/Champions League success over Tottenham in Madrid, while Suarez and his Barcelona team mates were left to rue what could have been.

Suarez became a cult hero at Anfield with his dazzling solo displays almost catapulting the Merseyside club to their maiden Premier League crown in 2013-14, but that glorious past was of no consolation to the Uruguay international who recently described the suffering he endured following the defeat.

Speaking to Fox Sports Radio in Argentina (via The Daily Mirror) Suarez described the difficulties he faced in the immediate aftermath, stating: “It was days, weeks, that we who loved to take the kids to school, football, activities, we suffered … I did not want to leave from home after losing.

“It was very complicated. I really had a bad time, like most of my team-mates.

“We had already learned the previous year that we could have such a 3-0 result in our favour, but football has that.

“We knew how Anfield was going to be and how tight the stadium was, I told the teammates and everything.

“It is not necessary to take away merits from Liverpool , which pushed the fans.

“In five minutes they had two situations, at 15 minutes they already won and that enters you, it generates a nervousness.

“Then you see that a teammate loses the ball, another loses two more balls, and that leads you to an awkward situation until in the second half it goes out as it came out.

“The Champions League has that, if you go out 30 seconds relaxed, they pass you by. At the group, institutional level and as a human being this kind of defeat is suffered.”

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Moise Kean to Everton is reportedly a “done deal” after multiple reports from Italy claim the Premier League side have agreed terms with Juventus and the striker.

The three-times capped Italy international is believed to be costing Everton a fee of €40m (£36m), with the deal said to be hinging on a buy-back clause that Juventus were keen to insert into the sale.

However, it’s reported the two clubs have finally settled on a package that will take Kean, who enjoyed a breakout 2018/19 campaign, scoring seven goals in 17 games for Juve, to Goodison Park on what is a reported five-year deal.

It’s reported the 19-year-old will earn €3m per year at Everton and has already left the Continassa training camp in Turin to pack his bags to head to England for a medical.

The Toffees have made three first-team signings this summer, with Andre Gomes joining permanently from Barcelona. Jonas Lossl and Fabian Delph have also arrived as Marco Silva looks to build a squad that can bridge the gap to the top six.

Five years after Romelu Lukaku, Kean could be exactly what Everton need…

 

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SHAMBLES
Mediawatch assumed that Manchester United releasing the full footage of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard’s supposed ‘public spat’ on the pre-season tour of Perth would bring an end to this tiresome line of reporting.

After all, does this really look like the furious bust-up it was framed as?

There they are, at each other’s throats, smiling, laughing and generally being unable to stand one another’s company.

Mediawatch is, of course, stupid. Why would The Sun see the above and admit they made about 427 mountains out of a single molehill when they can duly double down on this emergency?

‘Land Down Blunders’ is the headline to a double-page spread on Wednesday, with the tagline of ‘UNITED OZ TOUR SHAMBLES’. Have we missed something?

The sub-headlines offer yet more misery:

‘JESSE TRIES TO SHRUG OFF POGBA ROW’ – because there wasn’t one.

‘LINDELOF’S READY TO GO, CLAIMS AGENT’ – who says nothing of the sort.

All of this accompanies an article from Neil Custis which gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘artistic license’.

‘Just as one player tried to make peace, another was throwing a spanner in the works,’ he begins.

‘In fact, there are so many spanners being tossed around at Manchester United right now,’ he continues, resisting the obvious gag, ‘it is a wonder the big red machine is moving at all.’

‘Well, it has been moving – but unfortunately in the wrong direction. And the build-up to the new season does not suggest that is going to be reversed.’

Yep, they’re absolutely sh*te. Although Custis did say ‘United have been made into a team to be feared again’ in February. Still, carry on.

‘Shortly after the team landed here in Perth on Monday and went for a walk to stretch their legs following the 16-hour flight, the video of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard arguing and being separated by Victor Lindelof emerged.’

It did not ’emerge’; it was literally posted by Manchester United’s official Twitter account. And it was not a video of them arguing; it was a video of the squad walking around that potentially showed a couple of seconds of two players having a heated discussion – a theory which has since been disproved.

Oh, and the claim that Lindelof ‘separated’ them is a load of b*llocks and you know it. They weren’t squaring up outside Wetherspoons in Manchester city centre at 2am on Saturday morning.

‘Twenty four hours later, United did not feel they needed to delete the footage from their social media accounts.’

Because that would have been the most stupid idea possible, giving rise to suggestions that there had been some sort of altercation. They ‘did not feel they needed to delete the footage from their social media accounts’ because they released an extended version that proved there was no problem.

‘Lingard was quick to post a picture on Twitter yesterday of him training next to Pogba, as if to say they were still pals.’

It’s almost as if they’re still…ah, forget it. There are two pictures on this article alone showing them both next to each other. Pogba is doing kick-ups as Lingard watches on in one, and we are told that ‘Pog shows off’. The flashy get.

‘Soon there was more trouble as peacemaker Lindelof’s agent Hasan Cetinkaya said: “Lindelof is on the radar of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club.”

‘It could be pointed out that he is already at a great European club but the agent is clearly stoking the fire of rumours that Barcelona are interested in signing the Swede, who moved to Old Trafford from Benfica in 2017.’

Can a pot tell a kettle that they’re ‘stoking the fire’?

But enough about Lindelof, who is ‘just another unwanted distraction’. This is about Pogba, whose ‘demeanour’ before the tour ‘suggested he was less than keen’ on heading to Australia to get annoyed by Jesse Lingard.

‘Indeed, it was reported he had told team-mates last week that he was not coming at all.’

That’s nice. You do realise he’s there though, don’t you?

‘Coaching staff were holding their breath on Sunday as to whether the club’s record £89m signing would turn up. That is some way to treat a club that pays you £290,000 a week.’

Neil, he’s there. He’s on the tour. He’s with the club. What are you on about?

Of course, the Frenchman ‘does not seem to be alone in wanting out of United’. David de Gea ‘has still not signed a new contract’, Romelu Lukaku ‘is looking to move to Italy’, Ander Herrera ‘has already gone to Paris Saint-Germain’ and ‘the club are keeping their fingers crossed on’ someone coming along to pay Alexis Sanchez’s ridiculous wages.

So that’s one player United want to keep, two players United want to sell and one player United did not show enough intent to keep before he left. Along with Pogba, who is apparently staying, this is clearly a ‘mass exodus’.

The problems really do ‘just seem to mount up’. Particularly when you invent at least half of them, Neil.

 

Wheeler dealer
Let Chris Wheeler show Custis how it’s done (in the Daily Mail‘s solitary page of football coverage).

‘There was uncertainty that Pogba would even show up for the tour but he reported for duty on Sunday.’

Making it clear Pogba has not actually done anything wrong. Lovely.

‘He was then involved in a supposed spat with team-mate Jesse Lingard that transpired to be nothing more than friendly banter when the United players went on a walkabout following their arrival.’

Pointing out that the ‘supposed spat’ actually ‘transpired to be nothing more than friendly banter’. Delightful.

‘Victor Lindelof was the third player involved in the video clip and the Sweden defender’s own future at United was called into question when his agent confirmed interest from a top European club – believed to Barcelona if they lose out to Juventus over Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.’

But ‘LINDELOF’S READY TO GO’,  yeah?

‘”Lindelof is in the orbit of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club,” said agent Hasan Cetinkaya, presumably a reference to United’s pursuit of Leicester’s Harry Maguire.’

Suggesting that the quote is likely more to do with United signing someone else than Lindelof wanting to leave? Wonderful.

Three huge issues worthy of a double-page spread in one desperate newspaper, and clarified as absolutely nothing by another happy to simply report on other sports instead of pretending something is happening. Textbook.

 

Mirror, Mirror
But here is David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror to prove that more than one newspaper is willing to completely ignore context and fact to pretend that Manchester United are in crisis.

‘Victor Lindelof has piled more misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his agent claimed he is being targeted by Barcelona.’

‘Agent says really big club wants to sign a player he represents’ really is a miserable state of affairs.

‘With Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku already trying to quit Old Trafford this summer, and David de Gea so far refusing to sign a new deal, the Manchester United boss is fighting to hold his squad together.’

Losing three players from a 28-man squad – and receiving plenty of money to reinvest in replacements – really would be cataclysmic.

‘The Sweden star’s agent, Hassan Cetinkaya, claimed Lindelof could move on this summer, suggesting the 24-year-old is keen to make the switch.’

He suggested no such thing.

‘A spat between Pogba and Jesse Lingard – filmed and posted on the club’s official social media feeds – hinted at further tensions.’

For fu…

 

Stay with me
Pogba even makes The Sun‘s back page because, well, obviously.

‘STAY!’ is the headline as we are told that ‘Paul Pogba will be asked to wait a year before quitting Manchester United.’

Fair enough. It worked with Cristiano Ronaldo a decade ago and with countless other players. It will show that they’re in control of the situation as they get another year out of a clearly talented player, whose ambition to leave will be realised eventually. There have been worse ideas.

‘Right now the midfielder, who is unhappy at being on United’s summer tour to Australia, is going nowhere.’

Yep, he’s miserable. So very, very miserable. And nice one. This is United’s and Solskjaer’s decision, then?

‘Italian giants Juve do not have the cash to fund a deal for the player they sold back to United three years ago.

‘Real boss Zinedine Zidane is also on record as being an admirer of his fellow Frenchman. But he has already blown most of his £300m transfer budget since returning to the Bernabeu.

‘And United have not had an approach from either Real or Juventus for Pogba – who was filmed having a spat with team-mate Jesse Lingard after they landed in Perth (No he f***ing wasn’t).’

So United are deciding to keep a player for one year…because they’ve had no offers for him and his two potential suitors can’t afford it? A rare victory for this absolute SHAMBLES of a club.

 

You’re kidding?
The efforts of the MailOnline in not pretending Manchester United are about to fold is appreciated. Their definition of ‘kids’ needs some work, mind.

‘The 25-goal hot-shot, a rampaging right-back, classy midfielders and a dreadlocked defender – meet the kids looking to break into Chelsea’s first team as Lampard plans his assault on the Premier League’ is the rather wordy headline to an article that puts forward the cases of Ian Maatsen (17), Ethan Ampadu (18), Marc Guehi (18), Billy Gilmour (18), Dujon Sterling (19), Jamie Cumming (19) and Conor Gallagher (19), among many others. They are hardly ‘kids’ in a traditional sense, but football logic dictates that any teenager is basically still a child.

Mediawatch can even let Mason Mount (20), Ike Ugbo (20) and Trevoh Chalobah (20) go; they are certainly young. But a line surely has to be drawn at Lewis Baker, the 24-year-old ‘kid’ who made his debut five and a half years ago.

 

Roll the Dyche
The following is presented to you entirely without comment. Good lord:

 

Recommended reading of the day
Caitlin Murray on Jill Ellis.

Melissa Reddy on Tottenham.

 

The post Did you know that Manchester United are an utter SHAMBLES? appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League