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Manchester United reportedly monitoring Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller

Manchester United are said to be monitoring Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller if Romelu Lukaku is sold by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer. The 24-year-old Frenchman played 41 times in the Bundesliga, UEFA Europa League, DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup last season, scoring 20 goals, assisting a further 12.

Teammate Luka Jovic, 21, was announced as a new signing by Real Madrid on Tuesday, a player United should have been hot on the heels of this summer. Perhaps they had been told that the player was already heading to Madrid? Although Haller has been identified as a target, a move has yet to materialise from the Old Trafford club.

The 24-year-old Frenchman was part of a dynamic Frankfurt squad this season, which came close to beating Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League semi-final, the eventual winners, Chelsea, enduring the German side in extra time and winning 4-3 on penalties to reach the final, in which they beat Arsenal 4-1.

Italian side Inter Milan have an interest in United striker Romelu Lukaku who was deposed as the main striker by Marcus Rashford after Solskjaer took over the reins after Jose Mourinho was sacked in December. Lukaku is admired by Antonio Conte, the former Chelsea manager who recently took over at the San Siro club ahead of the new season.

United will need to pull out a miracle in their rebuild this summer after six years of poor management, bad decisions in the boardroom and Ed Woodward’s inability to understand the footballing side of the business, which is what United is now – a business which plays football, or something that should resemble football at least.

Haller is an up and coming striker and has done well in the Bundesliga, scoring the 20 goals he got last season, adding 12 assists. Lukaku was not that prolific as a striker at United last season. Those three matches in which he scored six goals aside, he seemed to be a player in bad form and seemingly one looking for a change.

Haller, previously of Auxerre, FC Utrecht, eventually signing for Frankfurt in 2017. He has played for France at every youth level from U16 to U21, scoring 25 goals in 51 appearances from 2010 to 2013. However, he has yet to play for the senior France team but there is still time for him.

Although it has been suggested that Haller is a potential replacement for Lukaku, the likes of Everton, Newcastle United and West Ham United have, at a point, held an interest in the player. Some United supporters will probably mock that, suggesting that the club has fallen deeper in their attempts to sign players, however, it means nothing like that.

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac, who managed Haller at Frankfurt stated that “a bulldozer couldn’t knock him over” when talking about the 6ft 1in striker. If United does actually sign him this summer, he might not be the first-choice striker but would add some strength in depth at the club. Frankfurt may not be able to stop him leaving this summer but after losing Jovic, they would need to find a replacement first.

Loan Watch: Pereira and Wilson made debuts with defeats; Januzaj continues to stutter

So far this season Manchester United have five players out on loan; Guillermo Varela at Eintracht Frankfurt, Adnan Januzaj at  Sunderland, James Wilson at Derby County, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Andreas Pereira at Granada. The summer transfer window closes on Wednesday evening so that number could well increase ahead of the first half of the season. The emergency loan spell window has been abolished this season, so teams will need to strengthen before the closure of the summer window. Here is how I feel the loan players did for their respective clubs this weekend.

Guillermo Varela – Eintracht Frankfurt

Guillermo Varela played 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon. The Uruguayan right-back played well but was booked in the final three minutes of the match. Last week, the player scored the winning penalty in the DFB-Pokal, earning his team a place in the second round of the competition. The only goal of the match was scored in the 13th minute  through Alexander Meier and was assisted by Szabolcs Huszti. Varela committed a few fouls and conceded corners on a few occasions, but he did what he needed to do in order for his side to win their first Bundesliga match this season. Varela has not been called up by Uruguay during the international break, so he will a period of rest before the season starts again.

Next Match: SV Darmstadt 98 – Bundesliga – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 14:30 BST

Adnan Januzaj – Sunderland

Adnan Januzaj played 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. The Belgian, despite scoring his debut goal for his loan club during the EFL Cup earlier in the week, was not on the scoresheet this weekend. He failed to achieve a shot on goal, his passing was poor; managing to successfully pass to a teammate 42% of the time. He created one chance, a key pass on the 36th minute of the match, but nothing came of it. Januzaj managed to get on of his two crosses to a teammate, again nothing transpired from them. Januzaj has talent, but his attitude seems to be something of a problem, probably why he has not been granted a chance at United this season. It could well be the end of the road for him, as looking at his form and what he offers, a player of his calibre should be head and shoulders above the players currently at Sunderland. It is funny that when he scores a goal like he did midweek, many seem to think he has made it. Not by a long shot. He has a lot to do in order to get himself back into United’s first team if that is, in fact, achievable at all. Januzaj was not called up by Belgium during the international break.

Next Match: Everton – Premier League – Monday 12th September 2016, KO 20:00 BST

James Wilson – Derby County

James Wilson was on the bench for his first Derby County match of the season following his loan move away from Manchester United. Derby was subjected to a 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion, which was a poor result for the away side. Wilson replaced Jacob Butterfield in the 56th minute of the match. The United striker had a shot on goal in the 90th minute of the match, but it was blocked. Wilson made five passes, all of which reached a teammate, which was good, but he needs to be doing more, and so do Derby. Two minutes into his debut, Wilson crossed into the box, but it did not reach a teammate and came to nothing. I am sure that given the chance, Wilson will start to find his feet, as this was his first competitive game this season. He played during some of United’s pre-season matches but had not played since then. Wilson has not been picked for England U21’s ahead of their European Championships qualifier against Norway.

Next Match: Newcastle United – Championship – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 17:30 BST

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town in the Championship on Saturday afternoon. The Manchester United left-back did not feature in the EFL Cup through the week either. He has been loaned to Wolves in order to develop, but he is not going to do that on the bench, so we will keep an eye on this loan spell, which at this moment in time does remind me of Tyler Blackett’s failed loan spell at Celtic last season, but it is early days. Borthwick-Jackson, along with United teammates Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebe has been selected for England U20’s, who face Brazil on Sunday 4th September 2016.

Next Match: Burton Albion – Championship – Saturday 10th September 2016, KO 15:00 BST

Andreas Pereira – Granada

Andreas Pereira made his debut for Granada in the 5-1 defeat to Las Palmas in La Liga on Sunday evening. The Belgian-born Brazilian replaced Luis Martins in the 56th minute of the match, with his side trailing 2-1 at the time. Pereira had one shot on goal, in the 78th minute of the match, which was saved by the keeper. He maintained his passing at 63%, which was not all that bad. The Manchester United attack midfielder created one chance for his teammates with a key pass in the 71st minute, which came to nothing. Pereira was never going to have the debut of his life, having not played competitive football this season. The important factor is that he will gain some valuable first team football this season, in a competitive league where he will face Barcelona and Real Madrid, which may not be the best teams to play again, but the potential to learn is a massive thing for the young midfielder.

Next Match: SD Eibar – La Liga – Sunday 11th September 2016, KO 17:15 BST

Loan Watch: Guillermo Varela scores the winning penalty for Frankfurt in DFB-Pokal

So far this season Manchester United have two players out on loan; Guillermo Varela at Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt and Adnan Januzaj at Premier League side Sunderland. James Wilson is set to be loaned to Derby County, which is something that has been confirmed by both clubs over the weekend. Tyler Blackett is also linked to Championship club Reading, managed by former United defender Jaap Stam, which could be good for the player, especially after his failed loan spell with Celtic last season.

Guillermo Varela – Eintracht Frankfurt

The Uruguayan right-back was loaned to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt for the entire 2016/17 season to gain some valuable first team experience ahead of next season, where he may be in the plans of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Varela started against FC Magdeburg in the DFB-Pokal and played the full 120 minutes, including the penalty shootout to decide the winner of the match. Varela played well and saw his side take the lead in the seventh minute through Branimir Hrgota, assisted by Omar Mascarell. Frankfurt was unable to secure their victory and in the 75th minute, Magdeburg equalised through a Nico Hammann free-kick. The match went into extra time with a winner not being found. Penalties would be the answer. Frankfurt was 3-3 on penalties going into sudden death and Magdeburg missed their sixth spot kick. Varela was Frankfurt’s sixth penalty taker, scoring the winning penalty of the match, which would have been a special match for him in his full debut for his loan club.

Next Match: FC Schalke 04 – Bundesliga – Saturday 27th August 2016, KO 14:30 BST

Adnan Januzaj – Sunderland

The Manchester United Academy graduate started his first match for Sunderland in the 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, David Moyes’ second defeat of the season in the league. The Belgian playing on the right-wing in the three behind Jermaine Defoe and had a mixed game. Januzaj had four shots on goal; one being blocked, two being off target and the fourth saved by the goalkeeper. His passing was poor, only managing to complete 63% of his passes, which needs to be much better, but saying that, playing in a team as bad as Sunderland, that is going to be hard to achieve. Januzaj created three chances, all key passes – which amounted to nothing for the home side. Januzaj put nine crosses into the area, five of them corners. Only one was successful in finding a teammate. The 21-year-old is good at running towards opposition players, but his end product is terrible and needs a lot of work. Jamie Redknapp, speaking on Sky Sports spoke about Januzaj, saying:

“(He has) a god given talent that only a few possess. He needs to make a mark now, though. He’s got to the stage where he’s been on loan at Dortmund, it didn’t work out. It felt like he was sort of blame Dortmund, blame Man Utd, go and play, go and show us what you can do now, this is your opportunity. He’s got a gift. He can go by people as though they’re not there.”

Next Match: Shrewsbury Town – EFL Cup – Wednesday 24th August 2016, KO 19:45

copyright: JW