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Diogo Dalot Can Become An Effective Utility Man For Manchester United

Things haven’t gone quite to plan for Diogo Dalot at Manchester United.

Put yourself in the youngster’s shoes in the summer of 2018 – the Portuguese talent was brought to England’s biggest club by his nation’s greatest ever manager, with the only competition for his position being the ageing figures of Ashley Young and Antonio Valenica. On paper, the move was simply a dream and his path into the first-team picture looked very straightforward.

Dalot’s debut for the club further supported this mindset, with the right-back flying down the flank away to Young Boys, performing step-overs and whipping the ball in with a consistent delivery. It was a long-awaited sight for United fans, seeing an energised and attacking defender get down the wing, fuelling plenty excitement towards their new signing.

Fast forward nearly two years though, and Dalot has failed to nail down a starting position at Old Trafford. Any momentum he has managed to generate has been quickly hampered by setbacks, having missed over twenty-five games through injury since the start of last season.

The arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has only pushed the 21-year-old further down the ranks too, with the £50m summer signing offering some defensive stability at the back, playing an integral role in a new defensive line that has improved significantly this season.

With no clear openings in United’s XI, transfer speculation had started to surround Dalot. As per ESPN, Barcelona and Paris Sanit-Germain have been monitoring the defender’s situation, but they also state that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen for him to stay. The versatile figure is capable of operating at either right or left-back, with the manager identifying him as effective cover for both spots.

When analysing the club’s defensive options, there are certainly other figures whose exits would be much more justified than the 21-year-old. Through his short cameos, we have seen glimpses of his talent, and his versatility is a trait that can be utilised to effect over the course of a full season. Solskjaer has often used the 3-5-2 formation against the ‘top six’, and the wing-back role is certainly one that plays to Dalot’s strenghts.

Perhaps Wan-Bissaka’s defensive traits could be shifted a little more narrow, granting a chance for a more attacking figure down the right. Alternatively, Dalot is more than capable of actually operating higher up the field – although Jadon Sancho is being pursued, he could be rotated in the RW role.

All in all, the youngster has a variety of encouraging traits, and more than enough to justify keeping him after just two years at the club. During their title winning seasons, United always boasted a couple of ‘utility’ men in their ranks, and Dalot could well become the latest figure to offer his services in such a manner.

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Manchester United Monitoring Wissam Ben Yedder

Manchester United are tracking Wissam Ben Yedder’s situation this summer, as the Monaco forward is looking likely to leave his club.

The Red and Whites are struggling financially – their squad is filled to the brim and following the abrupt ending of Ligue 1, the French side have failed to qualify for Europe for a second successive season.

In order to make up for such monetary shortfalls, the club are looking to sell as many as thirty players within their ranks. Ben Yedder is seen as their most valuable asset, and Monaco are keen to cash in. The forward arrived last summer for €30m, a fee they are confident of recuperating.

United’s reported interest (via ESPN) is somewhat inevitable, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking for a ‘bargain’ but proven number nine, to add to his frontline options. Romelu Lukaku departed Old Trafford last season without a direct replacement coming in, leaving just Anthony Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood at the manager’s disposal.

Both forwards are no doubt dangerous outlets in their own regard, but a middle figure in-between would help bolster the squad to compete across all fronts next season. Odion Ighalo is an obvious target, but Ben Yedder is almost a year younger than the Nigerian – a potential swaying point given that both players have similar asking prices.

The latter ended the season as joint-top scorer of Ligue 1, registering eighteen goals alongside the generational Kylian Mbappe. This is the eighth successive campaign that the 29-year-old has managed 15+ strikes across all competitions, having equally flourished for both Toulouse and Sevilla. The majority of his goals come inside the area, as he is a clinical poacher, who predominantly maintains a very high position inside the final third.

On paper, his profile fits exactly what Solskjaer’s squad is need of – a proven goalscorer who is ready to be called upon whenever necessary. Sound familiar? The Frenchman doesn’t boast the biggest ego and could well be content with such a role at United, particularly as he approaches the 30 mark.

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Paul Pogba Ready For Manchester United Selection

Paul Pogba will be available for selection when the Premier League restarts, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The Frenchman has not featured for Manchester United since Boxing Day, following a prolonged ankle injury. Pogba underwent surgery at the start of the year, keeping him on the sidelines longer than initially predicted.

His constant setbacks have fuelled transfer speculation regarding his future, as he is still yet to extend his current deal with the club. The midfielder’s contract expires in 2021, but United do have the option to extend for a further year.

Transfer talk and gossip has become the norm when it comes to the subject of Paul Pogba, but Gunnar Solskjaer has been keen to brush aside such distractions, particularly with the side performing exceptionally well pre-lockdown. There has been a change in the wind at Old Trafford this year – United have won nine of their last eleven games, keeping a clean sheet in each of their victories.

Fans will be hoping that such momentum will be resumed when football inevitably restarts, and the return of Pogba will only aid their hunt for Champions League qualification. The Frenchman has only featured seven times in the Premier League this season, but no player in the division has averaged more through balls (0.7). He also registered two assists on the opening day against Chelsea – only Andreas Pereira and Bruno Fernandes have managed more from the central midfield department.

The latter’s arrival in January has certainly helped fill the creative void in the absence of Pogba, and fans can’t wait to see the two together on the field. Both players thrive in creating chances for their teammates, and for the first time in his Old Trafford career, the Frenchman has a world-class partner to strike up an attacking relationship with.

Solskjaer’s side were on the rise before the hiatus of football, but the club will be one of few in the country that will actually be re-entering the field stronger than when they left it.

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Hearts’ Fans Slate Manchester United’s Joel Pereira

Joel Pereira is set to return to Manchester United following his loan move at Hearts. The deal was cut short due to the Scottish Premiership season being ended early, a decision that has seen the Jam Tarts plummet to the Championship.

The club’s relegation is premature, but one that looked rather inevitable. They sat bottom of the table after thirty-games, conceding the second most goals in the division. This stat is not exactly good reading for United’s loanee, who has endured a rather miserable time up in Scotland.

Pereira featured twenty-times for Hearts in the league, keeping just three clean sheets. The keeper was even forced to apologise to the entire dressing room back in February, after a calamitous mistake against Kilmarnock.

After we covered the news on Twitter regarding his recalling, it’s fair to say that the Hearts fans celebrated like they’d won the league itself:

Believe us, there were plenty more where they came from.

Pereira’s contract with United expires in 2021, meaning this is the last summer the club have to cash in on the 23-year-old. Judging by the above comments though, he may be a little short of takers.

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Jesse Lingard Addressees ‘Lows’ At Manchester United

Jesse Lingard has not exactly had it easy at Manchester United.

The Englishman first had to endure four loan spells away from the club before being granted a proper run in the first team, an opportunity that arised under Louis Van Gaal back in 2015.

Since then, it’s fair to say that the former academy graduate has not had the smoothest of rides. He has often been a bit part player for United, offering his lively services on a rotational basis for the club. Barring his best goal-scoring season during the 17/18 campaign under Jose Mourinho, Lingard has never managed to fully establish himself as a ‘top quality’ starter.

This factor is predominantly what stems frustration amongst fans when it comes to the 27-year-old. Not the most technically gifted player, the Englishman’s strengths lie with his positional movement and pressing of the ball. Such traits are no doubt useful to possess in the squad, but due to a lack of options, he is seen as one of the squad’s more attacking figures, a label his stats do not justify.

One thing that can’t be denied of Lingard though, is his desire for the club to succeed. As a boyhood fan, he is United through and through, and his love in representing the badge is evident for all. When asked what helps him go the distance in games by the club’s official site, he has said:

“The main thing is to concentrate on the game, to get the win. That’s the most important thing. I just think all the lows that I’ve had, I’m here now, coming onto the pitch and doing what I love doing best. I love playing football and I’m at Man United, so you try and be positive in that aspect.”

On the field, Lingard no doubt gives his all for the club. His hard-working attitude has seen the midfielder rack up over two-hundred games for United – the most out of his fellow academy teammates that he won the 10/11 FA Youth Cup with. Had you made this statement back then, not many would have believed it.

Despite addressing the ‘lows’, which evidently take its toll on the player, Lingard remains committed to keep working hard and represent United the best he can, for as long as he is trusted to.

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Manchester United Duo Set For Loan Deals

Manchester United academy talents James Garner and Dylan Levitt are both scheduled for loan deals next season, as per the Manchester Evening News.

Both midfielders are highly regarded amongst the club’s ranks, but a pathway into the first-team is currently quite clustered. United possess a big bulk of midfield options, which are only set to be strengthened given the return of Paul Pogba.

Openings will continue to be limited too, particularly with growing doubts over club’s capabilities to spend in the upcoming transfer market. The outcast figures of Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard will be hard to move on, simply due to their lucrative wage packages. If opportunities in the first-team squad are not set to open themselves, loan deals will be sought for academy players that are deemed ready for such an experience.

That isn’t to say that Garner or Levitt are not valued though, if anything, it’s quite the opposite. The former has already showcased his ability on the senior stage, having featured in four Europa League games this season. Operating deep in the midfield, the Englishman has maintained a pass success rate of 90%, averaging 2.3 through balls per game.

Recent reports have linked Garner with a move to Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City, with The Sun citing both clubs in having an interest. The latter would look to be a good fit on paper, as the player has featured for the former England U17 manager Steve Cooper in the past.

As for Levitt, there has been no concrete links as of yet, but he will not be short of takers. The Welshman’s first-team chances have been limited in comparison to Garner, but he did shine on his Europa League debut back in November. Away to Astana, the midfielder registered an impressive 96.2% pass completion rate, also managing two shots at goal and two long balls.

Both teenagers are evidently ready to test themselves on the senior stage over a full season, hence their inevitable loan moves. A year in a first-team picture will no doubt provide sufficient experience for both figures to develop further, as they are simply a level above the U23 setup.

It will be quite exciting to see how Garner and Levitt fare, as both talents look destined to transition into top, top players.

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Manchester United After Bellingham Brothers

jude-bellingham-to-man-united

Manchester United are confident over the signing of Jude Bellingham this summer, as per 90min.

The Birmingham City teenager has become one of the most in-demand talents of the upcoming transfer window, after impressing on the senior stage this season. At the age of just sixteen, the Englishman has featured in thirty-two league appearances for the Blues, operating in various roles across the midfield.

Bellingham is considered quite the ‘all-rounder’, as shown through his individual statistics this season. He has averaged 1.1 dribbles per game in the Championship, but also 2.3 tackles, highlighting his authoritative presence in the middle of the park.

Jude-bellingham-to-man-united

Competition for his signature is certainly high this summer, with Borussia Dortmund also interested, but United believe a deal is ‘effectively sealed’. In finalising the transfer, it seems as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to offer the teenager first-team minutes, whilst also holding a wildcard up his sleeve too.

As per the same report, the club have also been cited with an interest in Bellingham’s brother Jobe. The latter is also part of Birmingham’s academy and has represented England at youth-level. At 15-years-of-age, the younger sibling is also a highly regarded talent in the West Midlands and has caught the eye of the Red Devils.

The entire Bellingham family could be in United’s ranks next season, as the signing of Jobe could well act as the final push to get Jude over the line.

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Manchester United’s Stance On Raul Jimenez

Manchester United’s priority striker this summer would be Raul Jimenez, according to Portuguese outlet Record (via Sport Witness).

This isn’t the first time that the Mexican has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, with Goal (via Football365) reporting that the Red Devils had enquired about his availability back in January.

Such interest in Jimenez is no doubt expected, given the numbers he has produced since arriving in England. The 29-year-old has registered twenty-six Premier League goals since the start of last season, assisting fourteen during that time too.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desire for a new forward has been heavily speculated since summer 2019, with the club not directly replacing Romelu Lukaku. Odion Ighalo joined on loan in January, but there are underlying doubts over making the Nigerian a permanent signing.

As per Record, Jimenez is being identified as their top target, although a deal does look tricky. His contract doesn’t expire until 2023, with there being no reported release clause either. The player is represented by Jorge Mendes though, an agent that has guided many of his clients through the doors at Old Trafford in the past.

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James Garner Loan Move Next Season Move Is ‘Inevitable’

A loan move for James Garner next season has been described as ‘inevitable’ by the Manchester Evening News.

The 19-year-old is regarded in being one of Manchester United’s most promising talents, featuring in eight first-team games this season. Three of these have been starts in the Europa League, where Garner has showcased his ability to perform at senior level.

Operating as one of the two holding midfielders, the Englishman’s duties have relayed with the recycling of the ball, distributing from deep. In the ‘Michael Carrick’ role, Garner has maintained a pass success rate of 90% in the competition, highlighting his effectiveness in possession.

Many fans have called for the teenager to be granted more minutes in the Premier League, but there has been limited room for rotation. The arrival and instant success of Bruno Fernandes has left just two available slots in the midfield three, with the senior figures of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic battling it for such.

As per the MEN, United are now ‘re-plotting’ the pathway for Garner to get into the starting XI, labelling a potential loan move next season as ‘inevitable’.

This certainly looks the best case for Garner, who has little need for another campaign with the U23s. He has registered eight goals in ten games at this level this season, with it being clear to all that he is ready to now test himself elsewhere.

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Manchester United Identify Jadon Sancho Backup

Manchester United have identified Rabbi Matondo as a potential backup to Jadon Sancho, as per the Manchester Evening News.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a productive debut season in the Bundesliga with Schalke, featuring twelve times. Matondo is a versatile figure capable of playing anywhere across the frontline, gaining recognition for his blistering pace in-behind.

As per the MEN, the Red Devils have sent scouts to watch the promising talent, with the forward certainly catching their eye. The report cites the club in identifying the player as a more cost-efficient option to Sancho, in-case Borussia Dortmund price United out this summer.

Although there are doubts over the capabilities of clubs splashing the cash in the next transfer window, the Red Devils are keen to press on and invest, with Sancho being top of their priorities. This transfer has been reported so heavily that his arrival has almost become an expectation amongst fans, but it’s certainly a pragmatic decision from United to draw up a shortlist of attackers.

Whilst Matondo is not as established as his fellow Bundesliga forward, his potential is evident to see. Like Sancho, the 19-year-old left Manchester City’s youth set-up in the search of first-team minutes, after dominating at U23 level.

He has found a solid foundation at Schalke to build on, but the call of Manchester United may outweigh his ambitions in Germany. It’s certainly a story worth following, particularly if finances continue to worsen.

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