Jermaine Jenas has said that Manchester United should have kept Romelu Lukaku and sold Anthony Martial earlier this year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s first transfer window in charge saw him bring in three new recruits and get rid of several players including Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, the Red Devils boss saying those two departures in particular helped restore the culture at United.

The failure to sign replacements for Lukaku and Sanchez has led to United struggling for goals up top, however, with an injury to Martial not helping improve the situation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Jenas took a pop at Martial and said that it was the Frenchman who should have been sold in the summer instead of Lukaku.

“Since Martial has been at Manchester United, I would say he has a month and a half, two months a season then he goes absolutely missing,” the pundit said.

 

 

“You’ve got poor Marcus Rashford, who puts himself out there every single week and gives his all. We all know he’s not a goalscoring machine or that goal-scoring comes naturally to him.

“He’s got other attributes to his game that are phenomenal that we see him produce for England on a regular basis. He gets all this criticism thrown at him yet you’ve got players like Martial who just goes missing.”

Adding to his argument, Jenas insisted that injury problems so far this season for Martial should not be used as an excuse.

He said: “You talk injuries but it happens every single season at United. Why get rid of Lukaku when you’ve got someone like Martial who is doing that every week.

“Just because he’s a younger player, or he’s more valuable? I’m questioning so many decisions that are being made.”

Meanwhile, former United midfielder Paul Scholes has also criticised the club’s recruitment policy and named two recent signings that haven’t stepped up to the mark.

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Jose Mourinho was hammered for much of what he said and how he went about managing Manchester United. Maybe he was right more often than we all thought…

 

Finishing second was an incredible achievement
“I keep saying and thinking and feeling that the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game.”

How we all laughed when serial winner Mourinho declared that leading United to a runners-up finish was up there with the two Champions League titles and four domestic leagues he has conquered. At the time, it reeked of self-preservation.

But Mourinho knew. And he doubled down on that view after he was sacked. “If I tell you, for example, that I consider one of the best jobs of my career was to finish second with Man United in the Premier League, you will say, ‘this guy is crazy,’” Mourinho said a month after being shown the door. “‘He won 25 titles and he is saying that a second position was one of his best achievements?’”

“I keep saying this because people don’t know what is going on behind the scenes.”

In the context of United’s current fortunes, maybe Mourinho deserves a stand to be named after him at Old Trafford after coming 19 points behind Man City, but comfortably ahead of Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. His squad was very similar to the one currently disgracing themselves, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez (the Chilean joined halfway through the season) the only major exits, while Solskjaer has the luxury of the centre-back that Mourinho pleaded for.

 

Mourinho knew Pogba can’t be trusted
Paul Pogba may have been United’s most technically gifted player of the last three seasons, but Mourinho was right. The midfielder is a ‘virus’ in the dressing room.

“You don’t respect players and supporters. And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you,” Mourinho is reported to have told Pogba after a draw at Southampton last year. “You are like a person with a flu, with a virus in a closed room – you pass that virus to the others.”

By that time, the problems at United had split supporters and pundits into two separate factions: Jose vs Pogba. Shortly after, it was Pogba who claimed victory, and his sudden-but-fleeting upturn in form upon Mourinho’s sacking gave ammunition to those who believed the manager was the problem.

But Pogba hasn’t changed. Yet again he went out of his way to engineer a move out of Old Trafford this summer and his form this season – when fit – has been as hopelessly inconsistent as we came to expect from the Frenchman under Mourinho.

Pogba can’t claim that Mourinho didn’t try. The manager tried a raft of formations and midfield personnel in an effort to get the best out of the record signing, and even after Pogba told United he wanted to leave having returned to work with a World Cup winner’s medal fluffing his ego, Mourinho offered an olive branch in the form of the United vice-captaincy. Pogba (metaphorically we hope) wiped his arse with the armband.

But United don’t learn. The hierarchy at Old Trafford are reportedly ready to offer Pogba a pay-rise in a vain attempt to persuade him that his future lies with the Red Devils. But Pogba wants out and he could not have made it clearer, with his words or his form.

 

Marcus Rashford isn’t a natural centre-forward
When Mourinho signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku in each of his first two summers in charge at Old Trafford, the worry for many was what their arrival meant for Rashford’s prospects. Their concerns were misplaced.

Rashford ended up making more appearances under Mourinho than any other Manchester United player and played the fourth-highest number of minutes. The problem for some was that Rashford spent most of his time on the pitch shunted out wide.

Around 50 of the academy graduate’s 125 appearances under Mourinho came as a centre-forward, with 32 of those coming from the start. According to Transfermarkt, he averaged a goal every 219 minutes while leading the line. Hardly prolific numbers.

Mourinho recognised that Rashford’s qualities were more suited to a wide forward, a player who can lead breaks rather than one who can receive the ball with his back to goal. But Rashford still saw himself as a No.9. The ex-manager explained his thinking last month.

“I am not going to say he cannot ever be a number nine, he can be a dangerous number nine especially if the opposition is not pragmatic, is not close and is giving spaces to attack. He can be dangerous in transitions,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “But when Manchester United is a team that normally plays against teams who go to Old Trafford, close the door, bring the bus, bring the double bus, he is not a striker to play with his back to the goal.

“He is not the target man, he doesn’t score as many goals as a striker should do. So I think from the side you will get him to numbers of 10-12 goals per season.”

It seems Mourinho was right. Solskjaer immediately placed his faith in Rashford as his leading centre-forward – to Lukaku’s cost – but after an initial burst, the England attacker’s productivity has waned, as has his involvement in matches. Harry Maguire had more touches in the Newcastle box than Rashford – or any other United team-mate – on Sunday. Rashford looks so far off the pace as a leading striker that many people are assuming he is carrying an injury, despite Solskjaer’s insistence that he is 100 per cent fit.

The penny also appeared to have dropped with Solskjaer, who started the season with Martial as his starting centre-forward, with Rashford wide. But with Martial sidelined, Solskjaer has little option to persist with Rashford through the middle.

 

He knew Andreas Pereira wasn’t good enough
Mourinho had Pereira pegged as a continental Cleverley as soon as he got a decent look at the once-capped Brazil midfielder.

The 23-year-old spent the first two years of Mourinho’s United reign in Spain, initially with Granada before he defied the manager to go to Valencia for a season in 2017 – a decision which ‘disappointed’ Mourinho:  “His decision can be considered a young player who wants to play every weekend but also a young player that is not ready to fight for something difficult.”

Mourinho made his peace with Pereira’s choice and the manager offered the midfielder a chance to impress during United’s pre-season tour in 2018 while their World Cup players were still on holiday. In the United States, Pereira played as a No.6 where he eventually made his first Premier League start on the opening weekend. By the end of the following weekend, he was done in Mourinho’s mind. Pereira was hooked at half-time during a defeat which rang alarm bells at Old Trafford.

His next start came almost four months later when Mourinho rested key players for a Champions League group game at Valencia with qualification already assured. Back at the stadium he spent the previous season, Pereira was wretched. He was dropped again from Mourinho’s squad for the fateful trip to Liverpool, as he had been for the previous eight Premier League matches.

Solskjaer came in and having failed to convince Louis van Gaal or Mourinho, he was given a third opportunity. The current boss certainly appears to fancy the Belgium-born Brazilian more than the previous two managers – God only knows why. Pereira is a player without a position; he looks out of his depth wherever he is played. Fred may be the current poster boy for United’s slide but Pereira is equally as inept, as Mourinho quickly learned once he had the chance to see for himself.

 

He saw something in McTominay
When Mourinho brought Scott McTominay into his side and played him on an increasingly regular basis, even some within the club – his former academy team-mates among them – are understood to have been utterly baffled by what the manager saw in the gangly midfielder.

Not only did Mourinho play McTominay, he held the Scotland youngster up as an example to the rest of his high-profile, underperforming squad. Mourinho invented an award for McTominay at the end of the 2017-18 season, when United somehow finished second, so that he could be brought up on stage and paraded in front of the MUTV cameras as the template for his team-mates.

When Mourinho went, so too it was presumed would McTominay chances of regular involvement. Indeed, in his attempt to paint himself as the anti-Jose, Solskjaer used McTominay for a single minute in his first eight Premier League matches in charge.

But the midfielder has shown the kind of attitude and ‘special character’ that Mourinho saw in him to establish himself as one of the first names on Solskjaer’s team-sheet. Unfortunately for McTominay, any praise he receives is so often prefixed with “he’s no Keane/Robson/Scholes/Edwards” but he cannot be held accountable for the decline in standards at Old Trafford, especially while he is one of the few players trying to uphold them.

 

Ian Watson

The post Five things Jose Mourinho was right about at Man Utd… appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

“You’re a grown-ass man, deal with it.”

That was Romelu Lukaku’s instruction when many of his Manchester United team-mates were wilting in the face of Jose Mourinho’s confrontational brand of man-management. But it seems the Inter Milan striker might consider taking some of his own advice.

Since leaving for Italy at the start of the month, Lukaku has gone into great detail over the premature end to his United career. The Belgium striker felt neither wanted by the manager nor appreciated by the supporters. And perhaps there is some justification to be found among his list of gripes. But none of Lukaku’s complaints acknowledge that, as the person best placed to alter people’s perceptions, he failed to offer tangible evidence that he was being harshly judged at Old Trafford.

His goalscoring record at United isn’t bad. Nor does it demonstrate the kind of prolificacy required to put Lukaku among the company he apparently feels he deserves to keep. He netted 28 goals in 66 Premier League appearances, and 42 in 96 overall. In the race for the Premier League Golden Boot, he finished sixth in his first season, and joint 16th last year on the same tally as Ayoze Perez and Luka Milivojevic.

In the league, he netted once every 179 minutes – one every two games – which puts him just above Louis Saha and Michael Owen in United terms, but some way behind Andy Cole (156 mins per goal), Dwight Yorke (155), Dimitar Berbatov (154), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (150), Robin van Persie (142) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (128).

Last season was the seventh consecutive campaign that Lukaku reached double figures in the Premier League, with only the last two years spent at a big six side. That represents some admirable consistency – but is it enough?

Goalscoring, ultimately, is how Lukaku should be judged and his ranking among that group of United centre-forwards offers an accurate summary of his contribution in two years at Old Trafford. Only in one of those seven previous seasons did he crack the 20-goal barrier, which was his final year at Everton that earned him his big move to United. Lukaku’s record there, while commendable, did not justify the £75million price tag or meet the needs of a side aiming to claw its way back to the top.

So really, it is little wonder that no-one from within the club, be it Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ed Woodward, spoke out in an effort to make Lukaku “feel protected”. Solskjaer made clear very early that Lukaku’s style was not conducive to the way he wants his United side to play and that being the case, it would suit neither player nor club for the centre-forward to sit on the bench. Solskjaer cannot be blamed for looking to move Lukaku on, nor can Woodward when Inter were willing to give United close to their money back.

Lukaku also took umbrage at the accusation that he is just not suited to this United side. “A lot of people don’t think I should be part of that system,” he said on the LightHarted Podcast. “That’s my feeling from the conversations that I have, I just know.

“For me, the thing that makes me laugh a lot is… how the hell is sh*t going bad in my team, but when I play in my national team, it’s good? And I’m happy.

“We all know that international soccer is different than club football but the playing style we play in the national team is the one we want to play at Man Utd. So is it me? Or do we need to have a conversation from man to man and tell each other the rules?”

Most centre-forwards would be happy playing with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. On his way to becoming Belgium’s highest scorer, Lukaku has scored 25 international goals in the two years while United have been paying his wages. An impressive stat, but one that deserves context. The list of sides Lukaku has scored against: Gibraltar, Greece, Cyprus, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Costa Rica, Panama, Tunisia, Scotland, Iceland and Switzerland. Only two of those sides feature in the top 30 of FIFA’s rankings.

In five games against Portugal, Brazil, France, England and Holland in that same period, Lukaku has scored no goals and assisted only one. That is the sort of stage United would be looking for their players to thrive upon in the international arena.

Lukaku felt scapegoated by United supporters – but at least he didn’t feel like he was being singled out. “It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It’s the three of us all the time,” he said. “They have got to find somebody to blame… If they want to put the blame on me, you know what, f*ck it, do what you gotta do.”

The United players are fortunate that Mourinho carried the can for as long as he did. For once he had gone and the post-Jose euphoria had worn off, there was plenty of blame to share around the squad. And given the depths United plumbed at times last season, is it really so unreasonable for fans to shine a light on their two most expensive players ever and another trousering the highest salary ever paid by United – or indeed any other Premier League club?

Lukaku, Pogba and Sanchez are easy targets – but that doesn’t invalidate the condemnation. Shushing criticism has always been part of Lukaku and Pogba’s schtick but United supporters have grown tired of the flow of dismissive comments with no actions to back it up. In Sanchez’s case, he just doesn’t appear bothered either way.

Lukaku can’t have it both ways. You cannot claim to feed off criticism  – or ‘BS’ as he regularly describes it – then complain when it arrives, and certainly not when it is justified.

 

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Bulletproof flow. Flyin’ above the noise 🤫 @pumafootball

A post shared by Romelu Lukaku (@romelulukaku) on

‘Not bad for a fat boy’ he captioned an Instagram post last week in response to more criticism over his bulk. It is a debate that has dogged Lukaku throughout his United career. “Criticism about my physique? That’s some BS! Yeah, that’s some BS,” he told Bleacher Report last November. Just a couple of weeks before he admitted that he knew months before he was too heavy for the Premier League.

Many supporters might not be privy to all the nuances of elite performance, but it is not likely to escape anyone’s attention when their centre-forward turns up overweight. Nor did fans miss that Lukaku was playing for long periods of last season with “not enough intensity”, which he acknowledged himself. Lukaku was not alone in that respect but saying ‘I don’t think I was the only one playing bad’ offers no mitigation.

His frustration is understandable. He felt that joining United was his big chance to reach his “destiny” in becoming one of the world’s top strikers. But for a variety of reasons, many of which Lukaku should accept responsibility for, he was unable to achieve the targets he set for himself or those expected of a £75million centre-forward at Old Trafford. Taking potshots at United, their supporters and his critics won’t change that. Nor does it alter the perception that perhaps Lukaku’s skin is not as thick as he would have us all believe. The scrutiny isn’t about to get any less intense in Italy with Inter.

Ian Watson

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Why wouldn’t you want to watch this one? It is without doubt the biggest fixture of the opening weekend and Sky Sports have saved it until last.

Chelsea have been less active in the summer than usual due to a transfer ban, and have lost both their manager, Maurizio Sarri, and star player, Eden Hazard. Christian Pulisic arrived before the ban to replace the latter, and club legend Frank Lampard has stepped into the managerial breach.

They may also be more reliant on younger talent than previous years, which makes for an exciting prospect.

Man Utd have had a mixed summer. They have failed to land top attacking targets and haven’t been able to off-load expensive wantaway duo Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.

They have, though, acquired Harry Maguire – from Leicester City – making him the most expensive defender in history in the process. Daniel James, an £18million signing from Swansea, looks an exciting talent too, and they have managed to prise Aaron Wan-Bisska away from Crystal Palace to hopefully solve their right-back struggles.

The 4pm kick-off is a blockbuster way to end the first weekend of the season, and it’s one you’re unlikely going to want to miss.

Why wouldn’t you want to watch this one? It is without doubt the biggest fixture of the opening weekend and Sky Sports have saved it until last.

Chelsea have been less active in the summer than usual due to a transfer ban, and have lost both their manager, Maurizio Sarri, and star player, Eden Hazard. Christian Pulisic arrived before the ban to replace the latter, and club legend Frank Lampard has stepped into the managerial breach.

They may also be more reliant on younger talent than previous years, which makes for an exciting prospect.

Man Utd have had a mixed summer. They have failed to land top attacking targets and haven’t been able to off-load expensive wantaway duo Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.

They have, though, acquired Harry Maguire – from Leicester City – making him the most expensive defender in history in the process. Daniel James, an £18million signing from Swansea, looks an exciting talent too, and they have managed to prise Aaron Wan-Bisska away from Crystal Palace to hopefully solve their right-back struggles.

The 4pm kick-off is a blockbuster way to end the first weekend of the season, and it’s one you’re unlikely going to want to miss.

 

The post How and why to watch Man Utd v Chelsea (Sunday, August 11 2019) appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

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…

 

The post Details emerge as Everton strike £36m deal for Juve’s Kean appeared first on Football365.

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Romelu Lukaku missed Manchester United’s open training session amid ongoing speculation about his future.

Two years after his big-money move from Everton, there are questions about the 26-year-old’s Old Trafford happiness and Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan are eyeing a summer move.

However, PA understands the Serie A side have been struggling to meet United‘s demands for Lukaku, who arrived at the club in a transfer worth £75million plus add-ons and still has three years left on his contract.

United also have the option to extend his deal for a further year and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned on Wednesday that the club would not be pressured into selling anyone.

But tongues were set wagging the following day as thousands of fans descended on the WACA stadium in Perth, where Lukaku was conspicuous by his absence from the main group.

PA understands that the Belgium international was nursing a knock, so instead did alternative gym-based work along with Anthony Martial.

The pair could be seen on exercise bikes overlooking the main training group, which Luke Shaw left early. The full-back had some strapping on his right knee.

The players were in good spirits during the session at the WACA, despite a plane flying overhead shortly before the start that reminded them of the challenges facing the Red Devils as they attempt to return to the top domestically and in Europe.

‘Liverpool FC – 6x European champions!’ read a banner flown by plane over the 12,000 fans in attendance to see the United stars in action.

The proceeds from the ticketed event went to Telethon and the Manchester United Foundation, with a number of young children brought onto the pitch for a kickabout with the players.

Manager Solskjaer spent a lengthy spell signing autographs for fans, before the squad went on a lap of appreciation.

Diogo Dalot, David De Gea, Juan Mata and Tahith Chong were among those to spent time signing autographs after training, so too new boy Daniel James.

Paul Pogba also went over to the supporters after a session in which he was again the centre of attention as talk rumbles on about his United future.

The France midfielder may be hoping for a new challenge somewhere else, but he clearly enjoyed the second of the double training session as he celebrated a mini-game win with team-mates and joked around with De Gea.

It was the second day out of three that United have done double sessions since arriving in Australia, where they kick-off pre-season against Perth Glory at the Optus Stadium on Saturday.

 

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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