Menu

Manchester United interested in signing £35 million rated Brazilian striker – reports

Manchester United are reportedly lining up a £35 million move for Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius, according to reports. The 25-year-old striker has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League leaders Liverpool. United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking a new striker ahead of the 2010/21 season with Odion Ighalo set to return to China.

Vinicius is the current top scorer in the Primeira Liga in Portugal after scoring 15 goals this season before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football. In total, playing in the Liga NOS, Taça de Portugal Placard, Supertaça, Allianz Cup, UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, Vinicius has 20 goals and 12 assists in 36 appearances.

United have been linked with a number of striker this summer from Ighalo, who was signed on a six-month loan spell in January, Moussa Dembele who was linked to the club last summer also to Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martínez – it is clear that Solskjaer will be seeking to bring in a striker this summer to bring in much-needed goals next season.

Vinicius started his youth career at Goiás Esporte Clube joining in 2009 and leaving the club in 2011, signing for Santos Futebol Clube. The striker stayed at Pele’s former club for three years, although he spent a season on loan with Desportivo Brasil. He left Santos for Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, staying there for only one year.

His senior career started at Associação Atlética Caldense, staying at the club for a season (2016/17) moving to Grêmio Esportivo Anápolis for the following season. He was loaned to Real Sport Clube during the same season (2017/18). Europe beckoned for the Brazilian with a €4 million move to Napoli and was loaned to both Rio Ave and AS Monaco.

The 25-year-old played 38 times for Real SC, scoring 20 goals and five assists. He never played for Napoli but during his two loan spells, he made 20 appearances, scoring 14 goals and two assists at Rio Ave, then 16 appearances, scoring two goals and two assists at Monaco. Vinicius signed for Benfica for €17 million, having a €100 million release clause.

Obviously, the big release clause is something that all Portuguese club add to young players contracts and they seldom receive that valuation. In this financial climate, with clubs recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, it is unlikely that any club will pay anything like that €100 million release clause with reports suggesting £35 million for the player.

United will not be seeking to pay big money for players this summer with rumours suggesting that a big money move for Jadon Sancho has been shelved until next summer, which may be a better climate for the club to make big money singings. This summer, Solskjaer is seeking players that will improve his squad and not cost the earth.

Vinicius has a good number of goals this season and playing in a team which could consist of Bruno Fernandes, who also came from the Portuguese league, there could be a lot of chances created for the striker, who could help United score the goals needed to change their fortunes after spending seven seasons not challenging for the Premier League title.

Florentino Luis: Manchester United to battle with Manchester City to sign talented defensive midfielder – reports

Manchester United will battle with noisy neighbours Manchester City in a bid to sign 20-year-old defensive midfielder Florentino Luis from Benfica, according to reports. The Old Trafford club has sent scouts to to watch the U20 Portugal youth international who currently plays for Benfica. With Nemanja Matic needing to be replaced, this is good news.

Obviously, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking to rejuvenate his United squad, hoping to but them back on the road to glory once again. However, this season that is a feat that will be hard to achieve. Rome was not build in a day so that indicates that patience is needed, something modern-day football supporters have little of, wanting everything now.

The 20-year-olds career started ay Real Sport Clube in 2009, moving to Benfica the following year, at the age of 11. Luis first appeared for Benfica II in 2016, making his first team debut earlier this year. The defensive midfielder played for Benfica 15 times from February after being promoted to the first team.

This season, it has been said that he will play a big part for the club in both the Primeira Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Of course, the Portuguese club has a release clause in the player’s contract which works out at €100 million, or £91 million. It might be that a club could work out a deal for the player but that might be tough if he plays well this season.

City has apparently been scouting Luis for a while with Pep Guardiola’s side seeking cover for summer signing Rodri. Fernandinho is 34 and it is about time the club found capable players to rebuild the squad which is the best team in the Premier League at this moment in time with Liverpool a close second. United, however, need a lot of rebuilding.

In the summer, it was reported that City made a £55 million offer for the 20-year-old, which was rejected. Luis has played five times so far this season, assisting one goal for his Portuguese club. United would need to step in quickly if they are interested in the player and meeting the release clause in January might just do that.

United has very little cover in the defensive midfield position. Solskjaer is clearly not impressed by Nemanja Matic, who has played 22 minutes of football this season. Scott McTominay might not be the defensive midfielder needed for the squad and so far, James Garner has not been tested in for the first team in competitive matches.

The 20-year-old is predominantly a defensive midfielder but has been praised for his well-rounded attributes of the game. The player excels in front of the defensive line and sits deep inside the central midfield, waiting to cut attacks with interceptions and tackles but has been known to press further up the pitch, winning possession back for the team.

Tackling is a strength of Florentino Luis and he consistently gets himself in the right positions to get the job done for his team, which at his young age os good to see and one of the reasons that he is rated so highly at Benfica. Luis is calm and composed in possession and has a good passion range, also possessing a good work rate whilst on the pitch.

Obviously, playing at Benfica will see him given opportunities this season. If he was to move to City, he would likely be benched by Rodri, which is not ideal for the player, who will need to play in order to fully develop. Solskjaer is keen to promote youth and has turned United into one of the youngest teams in the Premier League this season.

With United not really having many defensive minded players at the club, Luis would just need to do enough to get him ahead of Matic, which would not take much at this moment in time with the Serbian slow on the ball and a bit of a liability in the team. That would ensure that the player would be given time to grow and keep developing.

United might not be interested in spending a lot of money on a player that has little experience. However, with Benfica giving him time in the Primeira Liga and the Champions League, come January or in the summer, he might have done something to suggest he’s worth the money wanted to allow him to leave the Portuguese club.

Benfica issue statement to confirm Joao Felix deal with Atletico Madrid was false; hope for Manchester United and Manchester City?

Manchester United and Manchester City have both been boosted after speculation on Monday suggested that Joao Felix was soon to leave Benfica for Atletico Madrid after the Spanish club agreed to pay the players €120 million release clause this summer.

The Portuguese club issued a statement on Monday evening confirming that the 19-year-old, who had been linked to both Manchester clubs, amongst others this summer, denying that a deal had been agreed with Atletico Madrid for the player. The statement said:

“In view of the set of news published in these last hours, Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD clarifies that it is false that any negotiation process is currently under way regarding a possible transfer of player João Félix.

“More serious, and that deserves our most vehement repudiation and denial, is the false news that refers to negotiations that involve commissions of 30% and which, unfortunately, was echoed in Portugal by the newspaper A Bola, with intentions and goals that we do not know at all.

“We repeat: this information is totally false, absurd and has clearly intentional intentions for the reputation and dignity of Sport Lisboa e Benfica.”

Felix, 19, played 33 times for the Benfica first team this season, scoring 18 goals, which for his age is pretty good. However, there is nothing to suggest the player will be a hit in the Premier League, which is why clubs will need to be careful and continue his development, should he come.

The player ended the season making his senior debut for Portugal in the UEFA Nations League semi-final against Switzerland, then against the Netherlands in the final, winning his first major honour for his country – he will be a player with so much excitement for what the future holds.

Obviously, with the players release clause being so high, any team interested in him would need to monitor him rather than being trigger happy and paying his release clause, which is going to be a massive gamble. However, so far in his career, he has headed in the right direction.

It could be that Atletico Madrid will end up signing the player this summer, as they will need to replace Antoine Griezmann, who is currently linked to Barcelona, although some newspapers will suggest that United are also interested in him, which does not look like the case.

Manchester United reportedly ready to break club transfer record for Joao Felix

Manchester United have been linked to 19-year-old Portuguese sensation João Félix and now the links keep coming with the world expecting the Old Trafford club to start to right the wrongs of the past six years of failure which has seen the club spend more than £700 million on players, many of them have not worked out.

Earlier on Monday, reports in Portugal from Correio da Manhã, reported by Sport Witness, suggest that Jorge Mendes is now involved in the teenager’s prospective transfer this summer. It has been stated in the report that Félix’s agent and his family now view this as the time for him to leave Benfica, accepting one of the offers the player has.

There has been a long list of clubs interested in the 19-year-old with United, Manchester City, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Félix has scored 19 goals, assisting a further eight in 38 appearances this season. There is a chance that the teenager could be en route to becoming one of the best players in world football, something many teams will be interested in acquiring.

Benfica president Luís Felipe Vieira is understood to want the player to stay at the club for another season and despite the player having a €120 million release clause, it was attempted to raise that to €200 million but the player was not keen on accepting that. However, if the release clause is met, the commission will need to also be paid by the buying club so this will be a costly deal for any club wanting to sign him.

On Sunday, Portuguese newspaper Record stated that both Atletico Madrid and United had representatives present in the final match of the season, where Benfica received the league title and Félix scored a great goal. However, it was also claimed that both clubs were already negotiating for the 19-year-old and that United would pay the release clause for the player, if necessary.

The Evening Standard seems to have taken a different approach suggesting that Benfica want £150 million for Félix but also stating that the Portuguese club may lower their demands, accepting a bid of around £100 million for the player. They do not seem to state anything about the release clause of the player – perhaps actual research is time-consuming? It does not make this source look any more reliable, not that it is reliable in the first place, in my opinion anyway.

Spending this kind of money on one player is always going to be a gamble, however, some will view it as necessary, especially if there are other clubs interested in the player. It might be unlikely that Manchester City and Barcelona would spend this amount of money on one player this summer. Juventus spent a lot of money last summer, acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo but the club could be set for a huge shakeup this summer, meaning funds might be available.

Also, with Antoine Griezmann confirming that he will leave Atletico Madrid, they will have money to spend. United though, will have money to spend, especially when you look at the money they have been turning over during recent years and the fact that last summer, the total net spend was around £60 million, the money from the lack of investment there should be added to the amount to be spent this summer. United need investment in the playing squad, also the sale of many players in that squad, which could supplement new arrivals.

Whether United do in fact make a move for the 19-year-old this summer obviously remains to be seen. There have been many reports over the past few months and United does have a scouting presence in Portugal, so I guess that gives the media enough information to speculate but there might be some truth in this. I am sure we will start to see signs of this happening, if indeed it is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward wants. If not, it can be resigned back in the bin of speculation.

Manchester United target Joao Felix would be open to following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps to success…

For a while now, reports have been emerging regarding Benfica prospect Joao Felix and a prospective transfer this summer with Manchester United just one of the clubs that are mentioned, as is normally the case. Just over a month ago, reports suggested that Felix, who has a €100 million price on his head, despite being just 19 years old. That figure would be too much to shell out for a player yet to achieve something.

As the season starts to head into the twilight, the speculation surrounding players, most linked to United, hots up and you start t read rumour after rumour suggesting that something solid is about to happen, which most of the time does not. However, hidden in these reports of supposition, there is normally something worthwhile hidden, which may actually happen. I don’t think this is one of them though.

That aside, Felix is growing as a player and if not this summer, he will be tempted to move to a bigger club than Benfica. The Portuguese club is great at selling young and talented players for big transfer fees, also they are good at marketing the said players, creating attraction and getting the money they desire. That is something that most clubs in the world of football fails to do, United included, seemingly selling players cheaply.

Embed from Getty Images

Now, Felix has spoken to the media in Spain about many things, some which are ensuring that this rumour of his departure from the Portuguese club continues to grow before it and up leaking air and sinking into the doldrums of football transfer media once again. This seems to be the way sports writing has evolved, not for the better, in my opinion. Nearly every player out there can be linked to United.

However, the comments by Felix, which are, of course, open to interpretation, seem to suggest that, although it will not happen now, he does have the desire to play for some of the bigger teams in European football. Marca spoke to the player recently, trying to get some juicy tidbits of information, presumably to ensure these rumours continue to grow. Speaking about moving clubs, Felix said:

“My dream is always to play for the big teams and in the big competitions, but as I’ve already said, I am here and I am very happy at Benfica, who are also a big European team.”

Felix was also asked about his obscene transfer fee, which has now risen from €100 million to €120 million, however, looking at the initial reports, the €20 million increase could be something or nothing, probably the latter. The 19-year-old’s comments on the fee seem to be pretty down to earth though, suggesting that he’s, not yet, a player that is going to be driven by his ego. When asked if the fee was crazy, Felix said:

“Maybe, yes. But I don’t understand the market or values, they are things for agents and presidents. I confine myself to playing.”

Embed from Getty Images

The most interesting part of the interview was Felix’s comments about Cristiano Ronaldo, who started his career in Portugal playing for Sporting Lisbon then signed for United in the summer of 2003 and playing for United until the summer of 2009 when he was sold to Real Madrid for £80 million. After years of success, Ronaldo is now playing for Juventus. Ronaldo’s path could be something Felix would be interested to follow:

“I don’t know him [personally]. He’s an enormously hard-worker, an exemplary footballer for everyone.

“Everybody knows his story, that it wasn’t easy. He’s been one of the best in the world for many years and he will carry on being so for a long time. Real Madrid are really feeling his absence.”

United will no doubt be looking to strengthen their squad this summer and boy do they need to. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it could be that he will seek to sign younger players who can be developed into United players rather than established players who would expect the club to change for them to fit into it. Sir Alex Ferguson developed players to fit in at the club and Solskjaer seems to have the same mentality.

Manchester United linked with big money move for Portuguese midfielder Joao Felix this summer…

Manchester United have been linked to Joao Felix in what could be a £100 million move for the prodigal midfielder. I know, right! The Glazers paying that sort of money for a 19-year-old is unlikely, right? It has been reported that United’s scouting network has watched Felix on a number of occasions this season, including the weekend before last, in which caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was reportedly given a glowing report of the teenager.

In January, Barcelona signed Frenkie De Jong in a £65.3 million deal which will see him move from Ajax to the Catalan club on the 1 July 2019. United supporters, at the time, were upset that Barcelona swooped on such a player, who had been linked to United, whether those reports were concrete or not. De Jong is the type of talented young player that United should have had a lot of interest in, even rivalled Barcelona for his signature, but they did not.

Embed from Getty Images

Benfica would reportedly be willing to sell Felix in the summer and £100 million is their preferred price for the teenager. Benfica has had their players linked to United before though. Who will forget Nicolás Gaitán, who was linked to United for a number of summers, eventually leaving for Atletico Madrid in 2016, now playing for Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League. He was never a serious target for United, despite the rumours in the media. This could well be the same.

Benfica has also had some of their young players linked to United in order to gain attention from elsewhere. It had looked like Victor Lindelof was going to be similar to this as he was linked to United the years before they made the move to sign him for €35 million, last summer. An Old Trafford source, reported by The Sun, which may have been fabricated, reportedly said:

“The club went to see Felix in action and it was all positive. He is seen as a real talent. He is definitely someone who is increasingly of interest. He is a clever playmaker and in a similar vein to Portugal legend Deco. The scouts saw him during the derby against Sporting Lisbon and he scored. There looks like there is going to be moves for him.”

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, alongside some other unnamed big European clubs, have a reported interest in Felix. The 19-year-old is contracted at the Portuguese club until the summer of 2023 and there are suggestions that Benfica would like to tie him up to a new deal, inserting a massive release clause, which would make them a massive amount of money should any club decide to purchase him.

Embed from Getty Images

To me, this seems to ring true about all the apparent interest in players over the years with Benfica just trying to tout talented players for as much as they could get for them, sometimes inserting big release clauses into contracts so the buying club had to spend big on a particular player. Felix has played 14 times for Benfica this season, once in the UEFA Champions League, scoring seven goal in total, all in the Portuguese Liga.

Felix may be a talented player but in terms of experience, this 19-year-old has very little, only playing in Portugal, not that it should be a criticism of him. I just cannot see the Glazers or Ed Woodward shelling out around £100 million on a prospect, even though he might fit in what that United is all about, focussing on youth, developing them and nurturing them into world stars, which is what United did with Cristiano Ronaldo when they signed him in 2003.

Manchester United linked to Brazilian attacker in €40m deal; other clubs interested, is it a ploy?

Manchester United undoubtedly have a massive transfer window ahead of them. A window that should be used to clear out some of the deadwood at the club and bring in fresh players, fresh ideas and a fresh way of moving the club forwards. On Saturday evening, after United lost the Emirates FA Cup final in devastating fashion, with Phil Jones not only starting the match but giving away a penalty with resulted in the only goal of the game, the Old Trafford club was once again linked to Anderson Talisca.

Talisca is a Brazilian winger from Benfica but has spent the last two seasons on loan at Besiktas. He was linked to United last summer but nothing happened regarding that as the Turkish club held all the cards, already agreeing on his two-year loan spell the summer before. No move materialised. However, Besiktas had a €21 million clause to buy Talisca this summer, something which is not expected to happen for whatever reason. Besiktas boss Senol Gunes has already confirmed the player will leave the Turkish club this season, saying:

“Talisca was already gone at the winter break. I’m sorry that he won’t be with us any longer. I wish he could stay for his sake and ours. He already had a deal in place. He might be rivals with Cenk Tosun.”

The Brazilian has been linked to Liverpool and Premier League newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers recently. Besiktas boss Gunes had an exchange of words with journalists about the 24-year-old in which he was asked if the player would be heading to Roma. Sport Witness, who translated the video, reports him responding as; “I can’t tell. But he could be a rival to Cenk Tosun.” It was then asked by the journalist whether it was Wolverhampton Wanderers with Gunes responding; “Look higher.”

A Turkish journalist, who specifically covers Besiktas, called Firat Gunayer has claimed that Talisca has agreed to join Manchester United this summer. However, there is no deal in place with Benfica, the owners of the player but they want to achieve the best price they can get for the Brazilian, from anyone. It seems they do not care where he goes, just how much they get for him. That is only to be expected. Jose Mourinho is a fan of the player, in 2014, if Chelsea could obtain a work permit for Talisca, he would have signed him, so said the insinuation. In 2015, Mourinho said:

“So I repeat what I said (that he was keen on him and he’d have been in England if not for a work permit). And that does not mean we want the player for something, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t him for anything.

“It’s a logical thing: where is a player in the world today who is detected only by one club? Only if he is hidden in a tomb and found by someone on safari in Africa. Within the known markets, there is no player that is detected by a single club.

“So I think it’s very good that Jorge has a great picture of himself and that he’s a person very proud of his path and his work, I think all this absolutely normal, but do not mess with my job which I also take very seriously.”

One thing that comes to my mind is the fact Manchester United have been linked with players from Benfica before, never for them to actually join the Old Trafford club. These sagas seem to come back time and time again, just with different players now. Could a club like Benfica use United’s name to attract interest on the sale of a player? Of course they could, and seemingly they have, especially with Nicolás Gaitán, who eventually left for Atletico Madrid and is now playing in China for Dalian Yifang.

It was reported by talkSPORT back in March that United were interested in Talisca, also confirming the interest Mourinho had in the player when he was the Chelsea manager. The report stated that United were ‘closing in’ on the Brazilian in a £35 million deal, which is currently suggested to be €40 million, around the same figure, given the exchange rate currently. The report also stated that Wolves, recently winning promotion to the Premier League, were also interested in the player.

This season, Talisca has played 47 times for Besiktas, only seven of the appearances were from the bench. He has played in the Turkish Super Lig, the Turkish Cup, and the UEFA Champions League, scoring a total of 20 goals, also assisting seven times. The Brazilian predominantly played as a central attacking midfielder, but also as a right forward, a position United really need to strengthen this summer. Whether he is the right player to fill that void remains to be seen though.

Talisca has many strengths; finishing, long shots, direct free-kicks, and holding on to the ball. He also has many weaknesses; passing, defensive contribution, and tackling. His passing for the season stood at 80%, which is not that bad for a player who holds passing as a weakness. The 24-year-old’s style of play includes his love to play long balls, his ability to dribble, however, he does get fouled often and does not dive into tackles. Mourinho had an interest in the player, that continued the rumours, it remains to be seen if there is anything to see here.

Manchester United involved in race for £18 million Benfica fullback

Manchester United have a fight on their hands to sign Alex Grimaldo from Benfica. The £18 million-rated fullback is a player Jose Mourinho is interested in, according to reports, to strengthen his squad after playing the season so far without a recognised left-back in the squad. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, and Ashley Young have played in this position, the latter being the only one to play in the position regularly. Luke Shaw is fit, the fittest player in the squad apparently, yet cannot get a game for Mourinho’s side.

Benfica have given Mourinho the green-light to make a move for the 22-year-old, but he will have to fight off Napoli, who are also keen on the player, in order to get his man. It is suggested that Shaw, Blind and Darmian are surplus to requirements and could leave the Theatre of Dreams either during the January transfer window, or in the summer as Mourinho seeks to assemble a side capable of dealing with the vigours of the season, fighting in four competitions being the major one, injury being the other.

Mourinho has faith in Young, but at 32, he is not a long-term option, neither is Antonio Valencia on the right, but United have Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on loan at Crystal Palace and even Axel Tuanzebe, who has played in that position for the club during the 2016/17 season. Grimaldo is highly rated, coming from Barcelona’s La Masia academy and since his move to Benfica in 2015, has become a key player in the squad. Benfica chief executive Domingos Oliveria, whilst speaking to IB Times UK, stated:

“All of the Benfica players have a certain market. Now you have some differences, the oldest guy we have in the team is Julio Cesar who is 38 years old and youngest is Miles Svilar who is 18.

“The players with over 30 years, it is difficult to transfer them although for example Jonas, our best striker, when we hired him he was already 30.

“But for a player who is 25, 26, 27, or younger at 22, 23, 24, there is a huge market.

“I am not talking specifically about Grimaldo, but all players with those conditions, they have a market.

“We do not want to close the door to anyone. We don’t want to force them to stay here. We want them to stay as long as they can.

“And while they are here they are happy, but once both parties agree on a transfer, usually the player leaves but as mentioned before, leave with a good relationship with the club.”

United have been scouting Benfica for some time now, nobody knowing exactly who the club have been scouting. This could be plausible, especially with United needing strength in the fullback area, especially the left-back role, Grimaldo could be a player the club have been scouting, but he is not the only one with goalkeeper Mile Svilar a player United have registered an interest in, despite the two gaffes whilst playing against United in the UEFA Champions League this season. Could Alex Grimaldo be the guy Manchester United are looking for? Watch this space…

MOTM: Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial and Daley Blind in contention against Benfica

Manchester United were victorious over Benfica at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, winning the match 2-0. It was the fourth match of the Champions League group stage, United winning all four matches and sitting just a point away from a place in the Round of 16. Anthony Martial won a penalty in the 14th minute of the match, Mile Svilar saving his attempt a minute later. It looked to be one of those matches for United.

With chances at either end, both goalkeepers making the effort to deny their opposition, it looked ot be a 0-0 draw with the firat half coming to a close, if not for Nemanja Matic. The Serbian midfielder unleashed a thnderous attempt at goal in the final seconds of the half, striking the post but the ball deflected into the bacl of the diving Svilar and into the back of the net. After saving Martial penalty, the Belgian goalkeeper would have gained some confidence after his horror from the match a fortnight ago.

Svilar had now made cost his side a goal in both matches, this one being a fluke. United were 1-0 going into the break. In the second half, Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Jesse Lingard, who received a knock in the first half, then Ander Herrera replaced Juan Mata with Marcus Rashford replacing Martial. It was Rashford who helped United get a second goal, earning a penalty in the 78th minute whic Romelu Lukaku wanted to take, Herrera then stepping up only to be cast aside by Daley Blind, who scored from the spot.

United could have been in the knockout stages this evening but Basel fell to CSKA Moscow in Switzerland, meaning United need at least a point from their next two matches to secure their place in the Round of 16 in the competition. There were a few good signs from this United side, who lack the creativity of Paul Pogba, the leadership and winning mentalioty of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the physicality of Marouane Fellaini at this moment in time. The contenders for Man of the Match were as follows;

Embed from Getty Images

Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder had a great night in Manchester whilst his former club Chelsea had a night to forget in Rome. Matic is my Man of the Match, but Anthony Martial was given the award by his club. Matic had one shot on goal, his thunderous strike on goal which forced Mile Svilar to score an own goal, putting United in control in the final seconds of the first half. His passing was great with 88% reaching a teammate, keeping United dominant with the ball, despite the possession being split 50/50. Matic won a third of his tackles,  also making a block on the edge of the United box. His signing in the summer could be the difference between United winning something or nothing this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman may have missed a penalty in the 15th minute of the match but he certainly put the effort into getting the result for his club. Martial had three shots on goal, one attempt saved, the other two off target, also having a 79% pass success rate. Martial created two chances, also putting two crosses into the box; one unsuccessful. The former AS Monaco winger had five takeons, winning three, also winning half of his tackled and all of his aerial duels. It was a performance of a player destined to claim something this season. It does make you wonder what a team consisting of Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford would achieve.

Embed from Getty Images

Daley Blind

The Dutch defender played well but may not be the long-term answer to United left-back position. His passing was top notch with 88% of is passes reaching a teammate. He had one shot on goal, which was on target and resulted in a goal, albeit from the penalty spot. Blind created two chances, neither was converted into a goal. He made five crosses, one a key pass, another met a teammate, but three failed. He won half of his aerial duels, only two were attempted though. Blind made six clearances and six interceptions as United took charge of their group.

Conclusion

United played well, despite being unable to score a goal themselves in regular play.The own goal by Svilar may have been forced, but Matic will not be able to claim it, hitting the post with his effort. Martial was unlucky with his penalty in the first half, but United were able to double their lead from the spot in the second half, with attemots to score being thwarted, not that much was being created. Nemanja Matic is my Man of the Match, althouth I will not ignore the play from Martial. With Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini missing from Jose Mourinho’s side, creativity and other ingrediants are missing and with the trio’s return, things should get better.

Ratings: Nemanja Matic the player with the plaudits against Benfica

Manchester United beat Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening. It could have been a night which saw United enter the knockout stages of the tournament, but CSKA Moscow defeated Basel 2-1 in Switzerland, which means United need at least a point from their next two matches to earn a place in the last 16.

United won a penalty in the 14th minute of the match, Anthony Martial stepped up to take it with Mile Svilar saving it, giving himself a confidence boost after the calamitous free-kick he carried into his own net a fortnight ago. United had a few chances to find a goal after the penalty, not able to do so.

In the last minute of the first half, Nemanja Matic sent a thundering strike towards goal, hitting the post and the deflection coming off Svilar’s back and putting United 1-0 up. It would be safe to say Svilar does not like playing against United.

In the second half, United had many chances. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaced Jesse Lingard after he received a knock in the first half, Ander Herrera then replaced Juan Mata with Marcus Rashford being the final substitution, Martial coming off.

Minutes after Rashford came on, he won a second penalty of the evening for United. Romelu Lukaku stepped up to take it, then Herrera took the lead with Daley Blind eventually pulling rank and slotting his attempt home to put United 2-0 with twelve minutes remaining.

David De Gea made a few saves against Benfica, proving just how crucial he is to United, keeping them in the game in the early stages of the match. United have now played four Champions League matches, winning all four also setting a new home record, willing the last 38 home matches in all competitions, winning 27 and drawing eleven.

United will face Chelsea, who lost 3-0 to Roma on Tuesday evening, in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before the final international break of 2017. United will travel to Basel in the Champions League on the 22nd November seeking to confirm their place in the Round of 16 in the competition.

Goals: Mile Svilar 45′ own goal, Daley Blind 78′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Matic, McTominay; Mata (Herrera 68′), Lingard (Mkhitaryan 46′), Martial (Rashford 75′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Shaw; Young

Bookings: Eric Bailly 24′, Jesse Lingard 27′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper had a good game. Made some crucial saves, some not so crucial. Showed how good he is and how crucial he is to the Manchester United cause.

12345

Matteo Darmian

Lacked attacking threat, as would have been provided by Valencia. Made some good interventions, but that was it from the Italian.

12345

3 Eric Bailly

Booked early in the first half. Seemed off he pace of the game defensively. Could have conceded a debatable penalty before United won theirs. With Chelsea coming up and his lack of form, could be a problem scenario.

12345

Chris Smalling

Had some good movement in defence but on the left he was pretty much exposed at times. Did what he needed to do to ensure the clean sheet though.

12345

17 Daley Blind

Not sure the left-back role is one for Blind. Seems much better in midfield or central defence, maybe in a back three also. Scored the penalty to put United 2-0 and cruising into the knockout stages.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Man of the Match for me. Dictated play, upped the tempo of the match when it needed to be done. Led from his midfield position. Forced Svilar to score an own gtom from his thunderous strike, which hit the post, then deflected in off the back of the keeper.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

McTominay really did not get involved in the match, but for a plauer of his stature and the fact he has not really played many matches for his club because of injury and growth issues, he has come a long way and seems to be a player earning the trust of the manager.

12345

8 Juan Mata

Not sure he really got a grasp on the game but seemed to have the ideas. Could be becmong surplus to requirements at this stage of his career - unless he finds some match winning form we know he is capable of.

12345

14 Jesse Lingard

Received a knock in the first half and was booked for entering the pitch without permission, but played until the break. Did not have the best of performances, but helped United take control, despite seeking a goal for the entire first half, getting luck with Svilar's own goal.

12345

9 Anthony Martial

Had the run of Benfica and got plenty of chances to put United ahead. Missed from the spot in the 15th minute of the match but had a good performance other than that. Was replaced by Rashford.

12345

Romelu Lukaku

Played an unselfish game against Benfica. Had the chance to score but failed to do so. Had not scored for United in their last six mates, last scoring for Belgium during the last international break.

12345

Substitutes

22 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Replaced Lingard. Played well but did not really get himself into the game much. Lingard received a knock in the first half and the Armenian had to be called upon.

12345

21 Ander Herrera

Replaced Mata. Did what he needed to do. Tried to take the penalty from Lukaku, but saw it go to Blind.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Martial. Won a penalty for United almost as soon as he came on. Pressured Benfica's defence.

12345

copyright: JW