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Everton interested in signing Diogo Dalot with fullback not in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans

Manchester United fullback Diogo Dalot could find himself heading to Everton this summer with manager Carlo Ancelotti reportedly interested in the 21-year-old Portuguese youth international. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not seem to have any plans for the fullback, even with Luke Shaw on the sidelines for the rest of United’s participation in the UEFA Europa League.

It would also seem that Tim Fosu-Mensah is favoured over the Portuguese player after he featured in the left-back position whilst both Shaw and Brandon Williams were out of action – after all it is a position that Dalot played in at FC Porto before former United manager Jose Mourinho signed the player two years ago. It might seem unfair to some that Solskjaer does not seem to have plans for the 21-year-old.

However, as the player arrived under the plans of another manager, despite being tested sparingly, it does not mean the player will remain in the plans of the manager who takes over from the departing manager. Dalot as been at the club for more than 18 months under Solskjaer, having fewer than five months under Mourinho. His current contract expires in the summer of 2023.

This season though, Dalot has made just 11 appearances for United, scoring one goal – playing a total of 577 minutes on the pitch. The 21-year-old started seven times, coming off the bench four times. Since the restart though, he has featured once against Norwich City in the Emirates FA Cup and was on the bench, albeit an unused substitute, against both Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

In the past few weeks, Dalot had emerged as a target for Barcelona but now The Mirror have suggested that Everton are interested with a possible £10 million fee involved in the transfer. Two years ago, United paid £19 million for the then teenager, so will absorb the loss, if he is sold to Everton for the reported fee this summer. It might not be easy at Everton with Seamus Coleman in the right-back position.

However, it is stated that Dalot could be the long-term replacement for the 32-year-old fullback which would set Everton up for the future. It would seem clear that Solskjaer is not interested in helping to develop the player with Aaron Wan-Bissaka the first choice right back with Williams able to fill in at both fullback positions. Then there is Ethan Laird, a player from the academy, who could rival Wan-Bissaka in the future.

Written by John Walker

Barcelona interested in signing Portuguese defender Diogo Dalot, 21 this summer – reports

Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot this summer. The 21-year-old has fallen out of favour under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after being purchased by Jose Mourinho during his reign of the club. It seems a shame but the player has not been in the best of form when he has been used this season. ESPN has reported the possibility of the Catalan club making a move for the player, which could be good for him.

Dalot signed for United in the summer of 2018 and has a contract which expires in the summer of 2023, so any transfer fee will be in United’s favour, however, if Barcelona are interested in the player, they will claim financial hardship and try to pay a pittance for the player. United will need to stick to their guns. The Catalan club will not be the only club interested if the player is going to be put up for sale this summer. The Portuguese defender, who can play at right-back, left-back and right midfield.

This season, Dalot has made just 11 appearances for United, playing in the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, scoring just one goal which came against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup in a match which United won 6-0. During his time at the Theatre of Dreams, Dalot has made 34 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal and three assists. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arrival last summer and the fact he’s the best right-back at the club, not to mention Brandon Williams’ progress – he can play in both fullback positions, Dalot has been left in the cold most of the time.

United signed Dalot at the age of 19 from FC Porto for £19 million, as reported by The Sun and at the time he was the best young European right-back, which is not something that has continued into first team football. At Porto, he made a handful of first team appearances before United purchased him, many of those from the left-back position. It is not his fault that it has not worked out for him and not Solskjaer’s either. When players arrive under one manager, they don’t always make it under another.

Now that Tim Fosu-Mensah has returned to the first team after a spell on the sidelines through injury for much of the season after two loan spells away from the club, which were not all that successful, it could well be that Solskjaer will fancy him as the stand in for Wan-Bissaka, although he also has Williams, who has largely played in the left-back position as a replacement for Luke Shaw, who is currently injured and missed the last few matches of the season. Dalot was not called upon then so it would seem to be the end of the road for him at the club.

Dalot is a player that could find his feet at a club willing to trust him to succeed. That is clearly not going to happen at United, which could well be a regret, however, United seem to be well stock in both fullback positions in the first team right now and have the likes of Ethan Laird, who can play in all four positions in the back four, and with him being a product of the clubs academy and having bagfuls of talent, Solskjaer might fancy his chances to break into the first team more than Dalot. He gave it a chance at United, it did not work and I think the player will remain humble.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United put six players on transfer list ahead of summer window opening – reports

Manchester United are willing to listen to offers for six first team players as they look to raise money to fund further transfers this summer, also clearing the wage bill to make way for any new faces the club brings in this summer. Reports have suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seemingly ended the United careers of these players.

United are said to be welcoming bids for Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot with Solskjaer keen to bolster his squad ahead of an new era at the club, which started with his appointment after the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December 2018. The Norwegian has helped six players out of the door already.

Solskjaer is keen to get United ticking again, like they did in his days as a player for the club, then led by Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager that Solskjaer would like to emulate at the club and could do with full support of the Scotsman. We have seen from recent matches that fast-paced attacking football is the style that he wants at the club.

Solskjaer, albeit temporarily, got rid of Smalling and Sanchez for the current season on loan with the club seemingly interested in ending the careers of the duo at United, if clubs would like to purchase them. Sanchez would be the harder of the two to get rid of because of his high wages. Smalling would like to remain in Italy past this season.

Rojo has not played much football this season and was loaned to Estudiantes in Argentines during the January transfer window with Jones not playing much football at all, being injured since the Premier League resumed last month and possible unlikely to have any further involvement with the club this season.

Lingard has fallen down the pecking order massively as what he has offered the club during Solskjaer’s tenure at the club, and before that, is lacking what is needed from a player representing United and you can see he’s not in the Norwegian’s plans as he has no involvement in matches, last playing against Norwich City in the FA Cup last month.

In regards to Dalot, his United career is two years in the making and it might be harsh to let him go so soon but he’s not going to get past Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the right-back position or either Luke Shaw or Brandon Williams in the left-back role. Solskjaer has used him further forward but that did not work out for him either.

Solskjaer seems to see more in Ethan Laird, who has been training with the first team for a while now, which says more about Dalot. Not every player will make it work at United, especially after coming to the club under the watch of a different manager, who had high hopes for the player. Solskjaer knows what he wants and what he has not got.

It could well be an exciting summer for United, if they can get different clubs interested in these six players, which could clear the way for some new faces at the club this summer and some places in the squad for some of the younger, talented players within the clubs academy, which is the route to success that Ferguson took all those years ago.

Looking at Manchester United’s defensive depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United did well during the summer transfer window, adding Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire, who arrived from Leicester City. It was a summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to pay attention to the defence, which allowed more than 50 goals to be conceded in the Premier League along last season.

Solskjaer spent £125 million; £80 million for Maguire and an initial £45 million for Wan-Bissaka giving some much-needed defensive ability ahead of the 2019/20 season in which United would be tasked with chasing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, to regain a place in the top four of the league.

United finished sixth last season, five points adrift of a place in the top four, which could have been much different if United managed to beat both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at the end of the season. However, hindsight is only fantastic when you look back as if you change two factors, other factors may have had to change also.

Goalkeeper depth; Solskjaer does not need to worry in this area.

Solskjaer has three great first-team options in goal this season; David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant. That will be the order of importance in the squad. The club also had the likes of Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara, who have all been loaned out to Sheffield United, Hearts of Midlothian and Burton Albion respectively.

De Gea will be the go-to guy to start the majority of matches, namely in the Premier League. As for the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup, it could well be Romero who features, as he did in the cup competitions last season, other than the UEFA Champions League, of course. Grant could be a shoo-in for matches in these competitions too.

It was hoped that Henderson could have been afforded time in the Premier League this season but with De Gea’s contract being extended by the extra year agreed to in 2015, it was unlikely that he would be the first option in the goalkeeping ranks, however, he will get that Premier League experience he craved for, which might do him some good.

Fullback depth; Solskjaer’s options are much improved this season.

Last season, United’s defence left a lot to be desired. First of all, in the fullback position, Jose Mourinho, who started the season as manager, then Solskjaer had Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, and Diogo Dalot to choose from in both the left-back and right-back positions. Not a lot of pace, or youth for that matter.

Valencia was on the sidelines for much of the season, leaving the other four to contend for places in the squad. Young was often criticised, as way Shaw. Dalot was too inexperienced, but gave his all and Darmian seldom played. This season though, after the departure of Valencia, Wan-Bissaka arrived and has improved the position greatly.

Both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw will face competition from Young and Dalot, who can both play on the left or the right. Darmian may still play a part despite his future up in the air, although his current contract will expire at the end of the season. The fullback role is looking good for the current season with youth coming through the ranks to add more competition.

Central defensive depth; the strongest defence in six years?

Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe in his ranks for the current season. There was the rumour of Rojo likely to depart before the closure of the European transfer window at the start of September, but it is just rumour right now. With seven players, there is some depth in this area.

Bailly is injured until the Christmas period, meaning Solskjaer has six players contesting two positions in the squad. Lindelof and Maguire secured the central defensive area in the 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend and will be expected to resume their positions against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

In case of injury to either Lindelof or Maguire, or the need for rotation, Tuanzebe will be a great option for Solskjaer as he did well during pre-season and learned some valuable things on loan with Aston Villa last season. The likes of Jones and Smalling could also be considered. Rojo not so much, based on pre-season appearances.

The depth of this squad is pretty good, despite the moaning for central midfield signings during the summer transfer window. Solskjaer will have had targets and if it was not possible to sign them, panic buying was just going to create more problems in the future with many players on high wages and unable to be moved on; Alexis Sanchez for instance.

United have many options in different areas; a minimum of three players, counting those already in the first team this season, which are players who have already made their debuts for the club in the recent years. In some positions, United has four sometimes five options, based on my opinion on where they would be able to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

This is the formation which Solskjaer has used more often than not, and a formation which will get the best out of the attacking players, using their hunger, determination and more importantly, their pace to launch attacking and counter-attacking plays during matches. Solskjaer’s identity seems to be young, courage and success.

Above, you can see the 4-2-3-1 formation, keeping an eye on the defence where there is a minimum of three players for each position, listed in order of importance to the squad. At fullback, both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw seem to be safe, although the emergence of Dalot could change that, more for Shaw, if he does not improve as he should have.

In the centre of defence, Lindelof and Maguire are certain to start more matches together, fitness and injury aside, but in that instance, there is some depth which could help get United through a difficult time. Tuanzebe, at least for me, is trusted more than the likes of Jones and Smalling; Bailly is at the bottom because of injury at the present time.

If the Ivorian improves his game, he could add more competition for either centre-back, which in turn will inspire players to perform to the best of their ability in order to keep their place. Competition is the best thing to bring the best out of players. This defence could achieve a lot; first of all to ensure they concede fewer than 54 goals this season.

copyright: JW