Manchester United has had a season full of highs and lows. Despite winning the Carabao Cup, they still fight for the top 4 spots with the likes of Newcastle United and Liverpool. With some of their key players out injured, they have lost some crucial matches exposing how low their squad depth is lying. Manager Erik Ten Hag has insisted on the importance of the club raiding the market early enough to give him ample time to prepare for the upcoming season. Several top players have been linked with Manchester United.
A modern goalkeeper needed
Long-time Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has fallen out of favor with the club’s fans due to his error-prone nature and style of play. He has made some easy but crucial mistakes costing the Red Devils essential points. He is also still working on high claims and sweeping of the ball. His build-up play from the back still needs improvement despite Ten Hag trying to encourage that style of play. FC Porto goalkeeper, Diogo Costa, has been identified as the top target for the club. His build-up play from the back is highly rated. Moreover, his high claims and sweeping skills are impressive. If Manchester United miss out on him, all is not lost. David Raya from Brentford has also been mentioned as another shot-stopper they might consider for the job.
The Manchester United defence menace
Club captain, Harry Maguire, has failed to meet his price tag and might leave in the summer with Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe. He still needs to impress the gaffer, forcing him to use left-back Luke Shaw as a center-back despite Maguire being fit. Scudetto winner Kim Min Jae has impressed this season at the Serie A, with some sources linking him with a summer move to Manchester. Jurrien Timber, who Ajax will sell in the summer, is excited to link up with Lisandro Martinez again. The two have been the most mentioned defenders with links to Manchester United.
Among other midfielders, Scott McTominay and Donny Van De Beek are on the way out of the club. Some new faces might be witnessed at the Carrington soon as the club sets sight on competing for trophies next season. Alexis MacAllister has been mentioned as one of the midfielders to help rebuild the club after impressing for Both Brighton and his national team Argentina. Declan Rice is seen as the perfect long-term replacement for Casemiro and has also been linked to the club. Frenkie De Jong is still the top midfield target as Ten Hag tries to bring him to Old Trafford for the second consecutive season.
The striking options
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been linked with Manchester United for some time now. With 22 Serie A goals this season and a scudetto to his name, he is wanted at the club to increase the number of goals scored. Harry Kane has also been linked to Man United in what is being taunted as an identical move to Robin Van Persie in 2012. Harry Kane is a Premier League-proven striker with two golden boots and can bank on that to give Manchester United the elusive Premier League title.
Other clubs also eyed these transfer targets, with Ten Hag expecting to make quick signings to avoid missing out on his priority targets. A busy transfer window awaits Manchester United; it will be interesting to see how it goes.
German star, Marco Reus, has just added one year to his contract showing that Borussia Dortmund consider Reus, a key part of their squad. Marco Reus is a familiar name to most football fans who adore two competitions, the Bundesliga and the Champions League. His name is always mentioned in the same context as Borussia Dortmund due to the player’s major affiliation with the club. The German international has experienced both the highs and lows of Dortmund, but one quality that has stood the test of time is; loyalty.
Through the winds of change, he’s the constant that remains: Marco Reus
Marco Reus started his junior career at Borussia Dortmund before being released to Borussia Monchengladbach as his senior career kicked in. As Jurgen Klopp was making the golden generation of the Signal Iduna Park outfit, he added Marco Reus to his project in 2012 to help him tame Bayern Munich, Bundesliga’s most successful club. With the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Matts Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan, among other stars, they reached the champions league finals in 2013, where they lost to Bayern.
His one-time best friend Lewandowski spent another season at Dortmund before leaving for rivals Bayern Munich. At the time, Manchester United and Real Madrid were still hunting down Reus. However, he rejected their proposals. He has spent eleven (11) years at the club with the twelfth in sight.
The 33-year-old talented midfielder has seen different generations of players come and leave the Signal Iduna Park. Lewandowski and Gundogan were among his first teammates. The era of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Shinji Kagawa also came and left him at the Black and Yellow-inspired club. Ousmane Dembele, Hakimi and Jadon Sancho played with the star before moving to other clubs. Erling Haaland is the latest star to play with Reus, and still leaving him there. His loyalty is one of a kind in the current footballing world, where money and huge contracts matter more than virtue.
Marco Reus’s loyalty can be matched by the likes of Paul Scholes, who refused to leave Manchester United for whichever amount. Additionally, Francesco Totti was a Roma player all his life and retired as their most-capped player. Phillip Lahm dedicated his career to Bayern Munich and never accepted a proposal to move away from Bavaria. Real Madrid’s Raul is also noted as a loyal one who stayed at the club long, winning different accolades. With his new contract, Marco Reus could be thinking about retiring from Dortmund despite being linked with a summer move to Manchester United by some news outlets.
The lows of Marco Reus have included the 2013 Champions League finals loss to bitter rivals Bayern Munich which would have given him one of the most adored medals in Europe. The German star also missed the 2014 world cup with an injury that denied him the world of football’s most prestigious medal. The injury has made him miss over 1100 days of football, which is estimated to be around three years. Despite the injuries, the attacking winger has not given up and has been coming back to play for his boyhood club whenever needed.
Marco Reus honours
His highs have included winning 2 DFB-Pokal cups and 3 DFL Super cups with Borussia Dortmund. He has appeared in the Bundesliga team of the season six times and has been named Germany Player of the Year once, among many other individual honours.
Manchester United has completed the signing of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax for fifty-five million Euros (€ 55 m). He is now the second player at Manchester United with a history of being coached by Eric Ten Haag. Donny van de Beek has also worked with Manchester United coach at Ajax.
Ten Haag rates Martinez highly despite his considerably shorter stature for a center-back. The Argentine will be the shortest center-back ever to have featured in the history of the Premier League. Most prominent center-backs are pretty tall and of huge stature, one that can be deemed to intimidate opposition players. Luckily, Cristiano Ronaldo, a player with excellent aerial and heading quality, is Lisandro’s teammate.
Despite this perceived shortcoming, Lisandro has successfully represented Ajax in the Eredivisie as a center-back. His excellence in tackling players earned him the name ‘butcher of Amsterdam.’ He is efficiently combative in one-on-one scenarios against attacking opponent players. Infact, after his transfer to Manchester United, he had this to say, “Yes, I am called the carnicero – The Butcher of Amsterdam. We Argentines do everything with passion and when I go out on the pitch, I fight for every ball. If I have to step over dead bodies, I do it.”
Such a mentality has been attributed to the likes of Diego Simeone, Sergio Ramos, and Casemiro. Specifically, Diego Simeone, as a player, was highly regarded for his fighting spirit on the pitch. He was a win-at-all-costs kind of midfielder, aggressive and efficiently ruthless. They called him El Cholo. Coincidentally, Diego Simeone and Lisandro Martinez hail from Argentina and play(ed) a defensive role in their respective teams. Is this a young version of the former?
Lisandro has made seven (7) appearances for Argentina’s national team, La Albiceleste. The number of international appearances might increase depending on whether Ten Haag plays him. With many defensive players available, the competition for active participation is expected to be high. If the Argentine performs more remarkably, he can start most of the games.
Lisandro can play several positions, such as a center-back (CB), left-back (LB), or as a central defensive midfielder (CDM). This versatility is advantageous as it gives Ten Haag more tactical options during or before a game.
Last season, Eredivisie 21/22, Lisandro started in twenty-three (23) matches for Ajax out of thirty-four (34) matches that his side played. Moreover, he scored one (1) goal and provided three (3) assists, which is quite a notable attacking contribution for a center-back. One of his significant attacking contributions is firing long balls into opponents’ defenses. In fact, in the 21/22 season, he made 5.4 accurate long balls per game which translates to a 61% efficiency of all his long ball attempts. Additionally, ‘the butcher of Amsterdam’ featured in Eredivisie’s nine (9) rounds of ‘team of the week’ awards.
Players tend to adapt differently to the Premier League. How Lisandro will adapt is not known yet? We can judge his performance by seven (7) to eight (8) games. Either way, Ten Haag will look forward to using him to bolster United’s defense. De Jong seems to be the remaining transfer Ten Haag hopes to complete to recreate a given type of midfield with his former and present players at Old Trafford.
It is pretty unsettling for a Manchester United fan that Cristiano Ronaldo did not travel with the rest of the team for the pre-season tour amidst the numerous Manchester United transfer news linking him to a possible transfer away from Old Trafford. The potential transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, among many other possible transfers to and from Manchester, keeps die-hard fans unsettled.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United’s top goal scorer in the Premier League 21/22 has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford. Clubs such as Chelsea and PSG have been linked with him. Chelsea’s transfers team made contact with Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s agent, following the news that he was not part of the squad for the pre-season tour. They were trying to establish the situation at Old Trafford for the Portuguese striker and assess the possibility of a transfer. However, the two have not discussed a personal agreement, nor has Chelsea made an official offer for the Portuguese striker. Moreover, Chelsea is yet to place an official bid to sign the player.
Picture Mbappe, Neymar, Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo on the same team
Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe are currently rated among the best footballers and happen to play for the same club. How would they lineup with Cristiano Ronaldo in the team? On paper, this team is quite formidable. However, the practicality of the situation, proper player management, and tactical implementation by the coaching team can be disastrous for one of the players. Some or one of the player(s) could end up clouded by the other(s). Notably: Benzema has been having a great season with Real Madrid following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, and Griezmann had a tough time featuring Barcelona with Messi present.
In addition, in the 21/22 Ligue 1 season, the three did not have a stellar performance per se. Mbappe was occasionally the main man on most occasions whenever the three were fielded. Mbappe played as the striking target in most matches and delivered exceptionally. Messi and Neymar had to take a deeper chance creating roles, but they occasionally failed to take up defensive roles. Well, probably Pochettinho’s tactics were a miss, or the three are just lazy.
As expected, PSG has turned down the opportunity to sign Cristiano Ronaldo. Considering the latter reason, it is pretty clear why. Furthermore, onboarding him with his high wages would significantly affect the team balance in other pitch areas, considering financial fair play guidelines.
Looking at United’s chase for De Jong brings to mind the thought of chasing after the wind. Remember the Sancho deal? At first, Sancho proved quite elusive for the Red Devils, but after numerous rejected deals and fan videos calling for his signing, he finally arrived at Old Trafford. Ten Haag appears to be gathering some of his previous exceptional players. Manchester United is also pursuing Lisandro Martinez, who happens to have been signed and coached by the Dutch, fifty-two-year-old (52 yrs) Dutch coach.
Barcelona’s financial status. Are they broke or not?
Frenkie De Jong has communicated through his agents, Ali Dursun and Hasan Cetinkaya, that he has no intention of leaving the Nou Camp. Moreover, they have stated that they are not accepting salary reductions or related negotiations. At one point, Barcelona had come to an agreement to sell the twenty-five-year-old to Manchester United, with some add-ons slated into the deal. The precise agreed transfer amount was sixty-five million Euros (€ 65 m) and twenty million Euros (€ 20 m) in add-ons. Barcelona claimed to not be in a stable financial position. They have been seeking to offload some players to lower their wage bills. The economic situation was dire to the point that the Nou Camp was open for weddings and other events during the summer break.
Another major hindrance to closing this deal is the seventeen million Euros (€ 17 m) that Barcelona owes De Jong. Surprisingly, they can hijack a Raphinha-to-Chelsea deal and sign the Brazillian for sixty-five million Euros (€ 65 m). The purchase of Raphinha by Barcelona begs many questions about their actual financial status and whether they will sell the Dutch midfielder to Manchester United.
3. Lisandro Martinez
This Argentine center-back, Martinez, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, where he will rejoin his former coach, Eric Ten Haag, at Old Trafford. The Red Devils have agreed on personal terms with the Argentine and are looking forward to sealing a deal with Ajax. Last week, the Eredivisie team rejected an initial fifty million Euros (€50 m) deal from Manchester United. However, they are currently open to selling the Argentine.
The successful transfer of Lisandro Martinez will add more defensive squad depth for the Manchester side. The Argentine will join an already star-studded defense if the deal pulls through. Some of these big names include Harry Maguire (Ten Haag’s captaincy choice), Raphael Varane (multiple times Champions League winner), Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw (dubbed to be present-day Roberto Carlos), Aaron Wan Bissaka (never misses a tackle), Alex Telles, among other defensive options.
Who is Lisandro Martinez?
Who is Lisandro Martinez? You might not need to scroll through numerous Youtube videos to get to know this guy. He is a quite notable left-footed center-back. Lisandro Martinez plays for Eredivisie’s side, Ajax, and has made 74 appearances for the Eredivisie side, scoring six (6) goals and providing five (5) assists. It is worth noting that Ten Haag occasionally fields a back-four side. Occasionally, he opts for a 4-3-3 high press formation, and other times he goes with a 4-3-2-1 formation. As a result, Lisandro Martinez might bench one of the center-backs or remain as a bench option or a Europa player considering the number of matches in the first half of the Premier League.
The phrase, Pogback, was a trend in August 2016. At that time, Manchester United fans worldwide celebrated his return to Old Trafford for a record fee, one hundred and five million Euros (€ 105 m). Despite all this, Pogba has again parted ways with the Red Devils to rejoin the Italian side, Juventus. Before this move, sources close to Pogba claimed that he was disgruntled at Manchester United. During this period, Labile was linked with some clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona. When Zinedine Zidane was coaching Real Madrid, he had taken a keen interest in him.
The France national joins Juventus on a free transfer for the second time (United seems to be doing the heavy lifting here). Paul Pogba is a Manchester United academy graduate but seems to have never settled comfortably for the Premier League side. He has not been consistent throughout his stay at United. It is worth noting that at the start of the 21/22 Premier League season, Labile Pogba had several stellar performances. However, this did not reflect over the rest of the season. Alex Ferguson, at one point, made a statement regarding the player’s discipline and cited it as a reason for concern. Moreover, he did not fail to acknowledge the exceptional skills Pogba possessed.
Despite all this, Pogba has contributed immensely to the last trophy the Manchester United team won. Most notable is his role in their Europa final versus Ajax back in the 16/17 season.
An active Manchester United transfer period
Ten Haag is active during this period. Cristiano Ronaldo might leave Manchester United; De Jong might agree to his transfer from Barcelona to Manchester United. There are numerous possibilities for Manchester United during this transfer period. The Red Devils might miss out on some transfers, lose some players, or complete unexpected player signings.
Raheem Sterling has officially completed his move from Manchester City to Chelsea. Prior to the opening of the transfer window, this would have been an unexpected signing, but here we are.
Sterling is among the few players to feature for multiple top-10 teams in the Premier League. The English winger played alongside Luiz Suarez for the Reds. He went on to be coached by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, until now, when he has left the club for the Blues. His playing style has evolved and changed immensely under the Spaniard at Manchester City.
Sterling has joined Chelsea on a contract that spans upto 2027. The move cost Chelsea £45 million in transfer fees and a further £10 million in add on fees. Raheem Sterling has had remarkable run under Guardiola. He has made the most appearances than any current City player, featuring in 292 games. Moreover, he has scored 120 goals, making him the third-most top goal scorer for the Cityzens during this period. Sterling has made 85 assists making him the third best assist creator under Guardiola for the Cityzens.
The winger has won multiple trophies with Manchester City, these include
4 Premier League Trophies
4 League cups
1 FA cup
2 Community Shields
Raheem Sterling has played for both the Cityzens and Liverpool and will now play for Chelsea. He is among the few players to do so.
Chelsea seem to be building something. They already have quite a remarkable squad depth and appear not to be done yet. With Sterling at Stamford Bridge, who will take the bench? Ziyech is rumored to be working out a transfer from Chelsea already. Pulisic, is there to stay for now. Most probably, Tuchel will pick Sterling over Pulisic at the front three, alongside Havertz and Werner/Mount, if they are to field a 3-4-3.
Is Cristiano Ronaldo bound to join Chelsea? To the shock of the football fanbase, especially Manchester United fans, Chelsea are interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo. Other clubs that are interested in the five-time Ballon d`Or winner include Napoli and PSG.
Not for sale
Initially Manchester United had profiled Cristiano Ronaldo as a not-for-sale player. However, with the arrival of Eric Ten Haag at Old Trafford has triggered more interest from other clubs. Ten Haag supposedly said that Cristiano is not part of his plans at Manchester United. This was prior to him officially joining Manchester United as the head coach.
Since the change in ownership of Chelsea, the club has been knocking door in almost every club. The Blues have already shown interest even to the point of making offers for various players. These include, Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), and Raphinha. Some of these deals have pulled through or are in advanced stages whereas some are at a threat of being hijacked by clubs such as Barcelona (Raphinha).
The guys at Stamford Bridge have made contact with Jorge Mendes, Christiano’s agent, with intention to purchase him from Manchester United.
Play in UEFA Europa Tournament
The Red Devils’ failed to qualify for the Champions League last season. This was despite their top-4 predicted finish by most pundits. The squad was good on paper, but something was amiss. Imagine the quality of a squad with the likes of Varane and the England national team captain. It is rumored that the Portuguese striker knows nothing about the UEFA Europa Tournament theme song. Manchester United are keen to introduce him to this side of the world, regardless. In the 2021/22 Premier League season, Man U finished with their lowest-ever Premier League point total, earning just 58 from their 38 games.
Despite his notable performance in all competitions last season (28 goals) for the Red Devils, Christiano Ronaldo’s workrate is reducing but remains quite remarkable for a 38-year old. This might restrict Ten Haag’s plan for the United squad considering his playing style. The chances that Manchester United will sell him are not nil, but are all the more appear to be increasing over the days as transfer progresses. Manchester United have traveled for their pre-season tour without Christiano Ronaldo. Is this the sign?
A growing Possibility of Ronaldo to Chelsea
A bid from the Blues is imminent, according to reports from Graeme Bailey and Scott Saunders. Despite the Portuguese’s fair transfer fee, Todd Boehly, Chelsea’s new co-owner, will need to budget for the player’s 400k-a-week salary. At the moment it’s not certain that Ronaldo is leaving Chelsea. However, it is certain that there will be a large outcry from Manchester United fans if Christiano Ronaldo completes his transfer to Chelsea.
Barcelona has emerged as favorites to sign Sergio Kun Aguero. The Argentinian striker’s contract with Manchester City expires at the end of June 2021. Faced with the prospect of getting little playtime in the newly crowned Premier League champions next season, Aguero has decided to part ways with the club. Indeed, the citizens’ record goalscorer, who has garnered 258 goals in 387 appearances, only mastered 18 outings this season, scoring four goals.
With Aguero being 33 years old when the next season commences after the European tournament, is Barcelona turning into a retirement home? Sure, if Aguero can avoid injuries, he is still one of the best strikers in the world and would improve the Catalan club’s team. However, the question of the average age of the Barcelona squad comes into play. While at first glance, the club boasts of their youngest roster in 7 seasons, averaging just 25.5 years, most of their first team players and the backbone of the team are aging.
Barcelona favorites to sign Aguero. A veteran joining an aging squad.
Barcelona certainly has a bright future ahead. They have many talented young players with great potentials. Half of their 24-man squad in La Liga this season is aged 25 or below. This list includes Lenglet (25), Junior Firpo (24), De Jong (23), Dembélé (23), Aleñá (22), Matheus Fernandes (22), Araujo (21), Riqui Puig (21), Trincao (20), Dest (20), Ansu Fati (18) and Pedri (17). However, they are pretty inexperienced and can’t be relied upon over a season. The backbone of the team is either 30+ or approaching that number. They are Umtiti (26), Coutinho (28), Ter Stegen (28), Sergi Roberto (28), Braithwaite (29), Griezmann (29), Pjanic (30), Neto (31), Jordi Alba (31), Sergio Busquets (32), Leo Messi (33) and Piqué (33).
While there are a few players in the world who don’t seem to be held back by age, that is usually an exception. Most players struggle with injuries and fitness after hitting 30, especially if they got into the first team as teenagers. As such, Barcelona emerging favorites to sign Aguero doesn’t reflect well from a squad building point of view.
Willian is on the verge of moving to Arsenal after failing to agree with Chelsea bosses on his contract extension.
According to reports, the negotiations between Arsenal and the Brazilian have reached at an advanced level to have him join the Gunners.
Arsenal are ready to offer the Brazilian a three-year-deal that he expected to get at Chelsea. According to France Football report, Willian will, however, considers switching between the two London clubs if he gets another year extension in Arsenal’s offer.
Losing Willian will be a tough decision for Chelsea since they have always wanted to keep him. Frank Lampard recently admitted to this.
â€œI know the situation from the clubâ€™s end. But it is his decision and I have not got that answer so I actually do not know what that decision is,” he said.
â€œIt is his choice and I respect his choice. He has been a great servant for Chelsea if he decides to move on. And if he does decide to move on then Chelsea moves on as well and we have to look forward ourselves.â€
The 31-year-old has also attracted interest Barcelona but Arsenal seems to be in the pole position to sign him.