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Speculation linking Aleksandr Golovin to Manchester United starts to hot up as he’s learning English

Manchester United have been linked with Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin ever since Jose Mourinho personally watched a FIFA World Cup warm-up match earlier this month. Mourinho is acting as a pundit for Russian television station Russia Today during the World Cup this summer. The fact he watched a number of matches before travelling to the country has been accepted, by the media, as the manager scouting players ahead of possible moves during the summer transfer window.

Whilst it is impossible to rule that thought out, a more level-headed approach would suggest that Mourinho was just doing some research ahead of the tournament, which kicked off a week ago, many teams already having played their second group stage matches. The Manchester Evening News has today reported that Golovin’s father has seemingly handed the Old Trafford club a transfer boost after confirming his son has already started learning English, possibly ahead of a summer move away from CSKA Moscow. Speaking to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Golovin’s father said:

“I know that Sasha has already started learning English.”

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to the Premier League this summer with United, Arsenal, and Chelsea all suggested as having an interest in the Russian. Juventus were also said to be interested in the player with a move seeming likely, but his father poured cold water on that rumour with the fact his son has started to learn English. Golovin was a player that many had never really heard of before the World Cup, discounting the fact United had been linked with him at least until his side beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the World Cup opener a week ago.

Golovin played well during the match, scoring his countries fifth goal four minutes into added time, also assisting Yuri Gazinsky’s opener in the 12th minute and Russia’s third goal of the game, scored by Artyom Dzyuba. Russia had been criticised ahead of the World Cup starting, not winning any of their last seven matches ahead of the tournament. On Tuesday, Russia played their second group stage match, beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 3-1, knocking them out of the tournament with one match to play. Golovin played well but did not add any goals or assists to his tally.

Golovin has many admirers, according to the report, Mourinho being just one of them. The Portuguese manager hailed the performance of the 22-year-old after Russia’s opening match of the tournament. After the 5-0 victory for Russia, Mourinho, speaking as a pundit on Russia Today, said:

“The manager changed the team in relation to the match I watched in Austria. He played with a back four, which is normal against a team like Saudi. I think Alan Dzagoev was playing quite well, but when he came out, the fact that Golovin could go to a more central position, I think it helped the team.

“The team became better. Golovin is a playmaker, he’s a player that gives the dynamic of the team. Denis Cheryshev is a fast boy on the wing, more of a winger than Golovin, stretch the game more than Golovin, so I think the change worked perfectly.”

Too many people seem to get caught up in transfer rumours. Golovin is a decent player and one who is capable of performing on a big stage. Russia were given no chance of making it out of their group this summer, especially after not winning a single game in the seven matches played ahead of the competition. Russia and Uruguay go head to head in their final group stage match on Monday and with the side winning their two group stages, scoring a goal in each, Russia will go into the game with more confidence, especially as it is a dead rubber match for both teams.

In the knockout stages of the tournament, a Russia side full of confidence will be one that many may see as hard to beat, which could see them progress much further, seemingly against the odds. It just shows that the confidence of the team, along with playing in a World Cup in their own country can be a motivating factor. Last week, I stated on Twitter that Golovin was a talented player but the hype around the player after he scored and assisted two goals made out that he was a world beater.

He’s 22, has a lot to learn and could well be a player Mourinho has his eye on. If Mourinho is interested in the player, scouting him in one match, against Austria ahead of the World Cup would not be the deciding factor. He will have had scouts watching the player at various points over the last season or perhaps longer. At different points of the season, perhaps the entire season, who knows. Just because a player has performed at the World Cup, does not mean they will perform for their club. A move to the Premier League, especially to United, would be a tough move for anyone.

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