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Manchester United’s deadwood problem

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United eight years ago, United’s recruitment has been questionable; there’s been some great signings like Bruno Fernandes but some terrible signings like Alexis Sanchez. These recruitment issues have caused a major build-up of deadwood in the United ranks over the years leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a lot of the previous manager’s mess. 

Subsequently this causes an influx of players to be left at United who are clearly not good enough, but they are eating the wages up, increasing United’s overall wage bill making it harder to offload these players and thus harder to recruit other players because the wage bill needs to be lowered.

The root to this problem is the structure at the club. Once Ferguson retired, a lot of the footballing men at the club also left. leaving a complex hierarchy that needs experienced personnel with the football clubs’ best interests at heart, to the role of businessmen. These businessmen include Matt Judge and Ed Woodward in particular. 

The main issue with these businessmen is priorities. Their priority is capital, and what will save and raise the most amount of money as possible. They don’t put the team’s best interests at heart but more the club’s financial position treating it like a business. 

As a result, when in the transfer window, despite the managers best wishes, players can be signed due to their public relations value rather than their footballing ability. Signings like Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria where PR signings that were there to please the fans resulting in huge shirt sales and media attention. 

This doesn’t help the team at all as it can often mean bringing in a player that doesn’t have his heart set on a move and thus doesn’t respect the United shirt enough and soon becomes deadwood as their effort levels drop. To combat this, Solskjaer has started a rebuild on the team as well as the actual structure at United bringing in Darren Fletcher and John Murtough into roles that footballing men are more suited to. 

Murtough was recently hired as the ‘football director’ who’s role is to discusses directly with Solskjaer on targets before the negotiators approach the club and player. Previously, Woodward had had a lot of power in these situations, and this led to the deadwood being brought in but now with a footballing man discussing these transfers it can help reduce this. However, as seen with this current transfer window, despite the changes in structure, United are still struggling to sell off their deadwood. 

This is due to the astronomical wages these players have been put on under the poor recruitment. In previous years, too many signings were because of money rather than the passion and desire to play for the club. This summer the approach has changed as United are bringing in players like Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo who are all players who are hungry and want to play for the club. This is a testament to Solskjaer’s progression with the rebuild as players of this calibre were not signing for United previously. 

With these new signings having a real desire to play for United, it means the club doesn’t have to offer them huge wages making them harder to sell off in the future. To ensure that this deadwood problem doesn’t get worse, Solskjaer must keep only looking at players who will fight for the badge and aren’t in it for the money. 

Solskjaer and United should keep looking at upgrading the recruitment and changing staff to fit the clubs DNA and morals better. These gradual changes will ultimately make United a much better run club in general taking them back to the efficiency under Ferguson. 

At the club now there’s several players that United need to ship out. This includes Phil Jones, Andreas Pereira, Diogo Dalot, arguably Juan Mata and potentially Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic. Some view Mata as a vital member of the squad especially for his presence in the dressing room and thus not to be considered as deadwood, whereas others perceive him as past his best and now eating up wages. 

Lingard, on the other hand, is loved by a lot of United fans but could become deadwood if he stays at United because he’s unlikely to get many minutes for the team. Meanwhile, with the injury of Scott McTominay and the unlikely chance that a midfielder comes in so late in the window, Matic could prove a crucial part of the squad especially as he’s the only natural defensive midfielder. 

However, some feel due to his age he’s no longer at his best and can be a liability. Due to his unique skill set that United currently lack, I feel he is more important than some people realise and could be key for United this season so shouldn’t be sold off unless another defensive midfielder is brought in. Diogo Dalot is still a young player being only 22 and with Aaron Wan-Bissaka lacking competition some feel he must stay. 

Solskjaer, on the other hand, doesn’t seem particularly satisfied with Dalot and looks keen to get him out on loan or permanently sell him and thus he might be seen as deadwood especially in Solskjaer’s eyes. A player Solskjaer has looked at with great interest is Kieran Trippier. He’s a 30-year-old English right-back playing for Atletico Madrid in Spain and being a Manchester boy would love to go to United. 

This would fit the requirements that Solskjaer is trying to create as despite his age he would work incredibly hard and provide great competition for Wan-Bissaka. Therefore, if United can move Dalot on loan, that could open the opportunity to bring in Trippier who would strengthen the right-hand side even more. With Phil Jones and Andreas Pereira, most fans believe they are deadwood and their time at the club is up. Since Fernandes’ arrival, Pereira has barely had a look in and was loaned off out to Lazio last year but wasn’t majorly successful. 

If Lingard is to stay at the club, he would be third choice which would be a waste of his time and United’s. Phil Jones at one point looked like he could be a great player with Sir Alex Ferguson saying “I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had.” But he’s been plagued with injuries in the last couple years and with the recent signing of Raphael Varane it just pushes him further down the pecking order. Jones is on high wages, and many believe he must go as he’ll never play and is wasted at the club but due to his horrendous injury record and high wages it’s difficult to find any suitors. 

Overall, I feel the structure at this club is improving under Solskjaer’s management and with more time he could make it more and more effective. United must focus on only bringing in players that want to play for the club and keeping the wage bill down else they’ll struggle with deadwood issues again as they can’t ship these players off as their wages are too high. 

Then to keep taking this team forward, Solskjaer must get Pereira and Jones out definitely and then look to ease out Dalot, Lingard, Matic and Mata in the coming years if suitable replacements are available as it’ll reduce the wage bill and as these players are getting older it will bring fresh impetus into the club which could lead to a successful tenure for Manchester United under Solskjaer.

Written by Ethan Bents

Jesse Lingard: Should he stay, be loaned out or be sold?

Jesse Lingard has been at the club since he was a boy rising up through the academy before making his Manchester United debut on the 16 August 2014. It’s not been an easy ride for Lingard since making his debut, as he’s struggled with personal issues which have hindered his on-field form. He’s 28 years of age now, which statistically means he’s entering or is in his prime years and so if Lingard wants to take that step further in his career these years are vital to doing so. 

Lingard’s January loan move to West Ham United was very successful with him scoring nine goals and assisting five in just sixteen Premier League gamesHe even won player of the month for April which is a testament to his huge rise in form since his loan move. Now back at United, with just a matter of days left in the transfer window should he stay, go out on loan, or leave United permanently.

Lingard has a lot of qualities that could help the team this upcoming season and would provide quality squad depth in the number 10 role. His best feature is his work rate and energy. Throughout the ninety minutes Lingard never stops running, he’s always trying to find and create space as well as pressing the opposition. This high intensity makes him harder to mark as he’s constantly wearing out the defence. 

Furthermore, he’s also very strong at picking the ball up in the pockets and taking it on the half turn and driving with it. Although a seemingly simple trait, it proves very effective as it can bypass the midfield practically putting them out of the attack increasing your chances of scoring. Despite not managing a single goal or assist in 2019, when Lingard is at his best, he’s a potent threat offensively with the ability to get goals or create them. 

He may not be as technically gifted as Bruno Fernandes, but Lingard brings that ability to beat a man and has been highly effective for United in bigger games scoring in multiple cup finals. Off the field he’s also an immense presence as he lifts the spirits in the dressing room and around the club as he’s a great personality who brings the best out of others. 

This can be highly effective as it keeps spirits high amongst the players and helps maintain unity which can faulter if the team struggles and thus due to this togetherness off the field it creates a stronger bond on the field and that’ll help the team perform better. 

The main problem Lingard has is Bruno Fernandes. He’s arguably the most irreplaceable player in this United team and has been for over a year now. His incredible goals and assists record backed up by his overall effect on the United team with everything creative going through him makes him difficult to lodge. For Lingard to get in the team he’ll have to outperform Fernandes which could prove incredibly difficult. 

Having just had a remarkable loan with West Ham, Lingard won’t be looking to go back to sitting on the bench again and will want first team football but staying at United could hinder this. Unless Fernandes gets an injury, his chances of playing often are very slim and this could set him back months again. With the World Cup looming, the occasional cup game here and there with bench appearances won’t satisfy Lingard or Gareth Southgate. Without Lingard this United squad wouldn’t be too different. 

He rarely got minutes before his loan and is unlikely to get many after and thus letting him go wouldn’t hinder United too much. So, for Lingard to progress his career I feel he must leave United at least on loan if not permanently.

Financially, with the club still looking to bring in a midfielder with the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Saul Niguez and Ruben Neves being mentioned, offloading Lingard now would provide valuable funds to potentially pursue these targets. Due to his marketability being a nearing prime years English midfielder, his value would be high and could fetch United between £18-25 million. If he was loaned it would likely only be a small loan fee that wouldn’t contribute much to raising these funds and would likely mean United can’t get that all important midfielder before the end of the transfer window. 

For Lingard, he’ll want to make sure his next step isn’t a step down and so with the emergence of West Ham recently, he might look to get a permanent move there. Across Europe there would be plenty of teams interested but being an English boy it’s unlikely he’ll want to go abroad. This narrows his permanent move options down which could result in Lingard being loaned out again.

Overall, I feel for United and Lingard’s sake he should be allowed to leave in some form. Preferably a permanent move away but with such little time left a loan deal would suit both parties. As an extra incentive, United could look to use an option to buy clause which could be triggered if Lingard performs to the level he did at West Ham. The main thing for Lingard is to get first team football and at United he isn’t promised that but he’s a quality footballer and deserves to play and thus should be let go either on loan or preferably on a permanent transfer.

Written by Ethan Bents

Jesse Lingard’s rise in form could be good for Manchester United this summer

Jesse Lingard has been at Manchester United for the last 21 years, signing for the club as a youth player, previously playing for both Fletcher Moss Rangers and Penketh United. He has made a total of 210 appearances for United as a professional player, scoring 33 goals and 20 assists in his time at the club, making his debut in the 2014/15 season under the management of Louis van Gaal. Sir Alex Ferguson had previously stated that Lingard would be a late developer in the game, which is exactly what he was, although his form stuttered over the last few seasons, which was not good for either the club of the player. During his time at United, Lingard spent many seasons out on loan with Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County all clubs he tried to find his form before hitting the high notes at United.

After scoring 13 goals in 48 appearances during the 2017/18 season, which was his peak for scoring goals in his career at United, Lingard then started to fall down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho, the manager who followed Van Gaal then under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, still had a barren period at the club which saw him fall from starter to bench warmer, to a player that missed out a lot of the time. A turbulent time in his family life has helped to cause a downturn in Lingard’s career and in January 2021, the 28-year-old, who should be hitting his peak was loaned to West Ham United under former United manager David Moyes. There was high hopes for the player to raise his game with fewer pressure than he would be under at United, which could reignite the player’s career in the game that he loves.

Lingard made waves at West Ham, scoring nine goals and five assists in 16 Premier League appearances, which saw the player reach for form he once had at United. The season ended with West Ham finishing sixth in the league and achieving a place in the UEFA Europa League group stages. This will be good for the London club next season, although it will case problems as they do not have regular experience of playing in European competitions taking it’s toll on the club. There was a lot of talk at the end of the with the Hammers interested in signing Lingard permanently, but also the player seemingly interested in remaining a United player and fighting his way back into the first team, which may or may not be possible for him. The lack of pressure away from United was good for him, which may result in his performances being stagnant again, if he stays.

Does Lingard have a future at Manchester United?

United have many options at the club already in the attacking positions in the squad and Lingard would definitely be behind Bruno Fernandes playing behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He can also play on either wing, but will be behind Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial on the left and once again Rashford, James, Mason Greewood and quite possibly Amad Diallo on the right. It would see Lingard’s options reduced to a bench warmer once again, or even a player that misses out more often than not. It would be a shame if that happened. There is a chance he could get himself higher up the pecking order with Rashford carrying an injury and maybe needing an operation after Euro 2020 this summer and the fact that players who participated in the tournament may not be in the early stages of pre-season.

This would give Lingard time to impress Solskjaer and perhaps get himself into the squad, either as a starter or a substitute at the start of the 2021/22 season, with United getting ready to start the season at home to Leeds United in the first Premier League match of the season. If United were to complete the signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, which looks highly likely at this time, his work to get into the squad would become much harder. Saying that, United will need a payer capable of stepping in for Fernandes, who is clearly fatigued after the delay from the 2019/20 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, then the 2020/21 season commencing after a break of just four weeks or so, then a long and strenuous 2020/21 season, which saw United reach the final of the UEFA Europa League, losing to Villarreal in Gdañsk.

Lingard has shown with his form at the Hammers, that he is still a player that can put in the performances, but it is unknown whether he can meet tat same grade at United, with him working much harder to displace other players at the club in order to get more match time. It would seem that with talented youth coming through the ranks, such as Shola Shoretire, Anthony Elanga and Hannibal Mejbri – it could pose a higher level of difficulty for Lingard to achieve his place in the squad. It all seems complicated at this time, which may be simplified if a number of players were loaned this summer, or even sold. The future of Juan Mata will have a big say in what happens too, as that will leave another player to complete with – which might not be fun for Lingard. He has already had a tough summer, being named in the England training squad but removed for Euro 2020.

The future may look a lot clearer for Lingard away from the Theatre of Dreams

Lingard will become a free agent in the summer of 2022 so there is little time to get something sorted if United wanted to recoup some money from the sale of the player. There have been rumours of a £25 million transfer fee and a wage of £110,000 per week, which is something that puts the Hammers off purchasing the player as their wage bill will be hampered by that much weekly wage on one player. He would become one of the best players at the club though, with experience of the English game and more importantly, European experience, winning the Europa League in the 2016/17 season under Mourinho. There may be much work for both United and the Hammers to get a deal done for the player but there is also a chance that United would offer him a new contract, keeping him at United, or even ensuring that he cannot leave the club as a free agent.

If that was to happen, Lingard would want to be guaranteed game time at United, otherwise he would not sign a new contract as he would become frustrated. There may well be other teams out there who hold an interest in Lingard, which could pay the £25 million fee and pay the wages that he will demand, although he may need to lower his expectations as his time at United, on the wage that he has been on, does not exactly look all that great for him. Keeping Lingard at United could represent the repeat of a mistake, which has been made many times before. Phil Jones should have left the club on the expiry of his last contact with Marcos Rojo also sealing the same fate but new contracts were offered and United were stuck and still are with Jones who has not played for 18 months now. These mistakes need to be avoided if the club is to move forward.

For me, I would rather see Lingard sold. I don’t think the pressure to succeed at United would see him give the same performances he gave at West Ham and with the rumours of a new three-year deal being offered by United, it could represent yet another mistake that could cost United. If the reported £130,000 per week wage is correct, it will price so many clubs out of making an offer for Lingard, even at the end of his contract. Yes, his form at West Ham was good but not good enough for United to give hims a pay rise. He should be taking a pay cut, possibly have a bonus structure tied into his contract paying him more for good appearances but no player would accept that when they know United will pay them higher rates of money, even if they have a track record of poor performances for a number of seasons. Hopefully he wants to salvage his career away from United.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United might need to offload six more players this summer

Manchester United have a 31-man first team squad at this moment in time which consists of experienced players and players who have come through the clubs academy, that might yet be loaned out this summer. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to bring in more new faces to join Donny van de Beek at the Old Trafford club, he might yet need to clear a few more players out from the club to make room. United need an injection of quality this summer as other than the starting XI and a few other players, there is a severe lack of quality in the squad.

It is possible that six players could leave the club this summer, even after Alexis Sanchez, who left as a free agent and signed for Inter Milan. Chris Smalling is linked with an exit to AS Roma, a club that he spent last season on loan with, which saw him quickly find his feet in Italy and look to be heading back to his best after a turbulent few years at United. Two other defenders could be on their last legs at United; Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones. Rojo was loaned out to Estudiantes in January with Jones missing much of the season due to injury, again.

Solskjaer may not allow three central defenders to leave the club this summer, without one coming in although Axel Tuanzebe should be fit this month and Solskjaer has Teden Mengi coming through the ranks in the academy but one signing would be good this summer, if a player is available that would benefit the squad. United cannot continue with Rojo and Jones at the club though and will need to part ways with them sooner or later as they do not offer much benefit in the squad moving forward.

Andreas Pereira is another player who could find it hard to continue at United as the club has better players that him on the squad. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January made things hard for Pereira and Van de Beek’s arrival has made it even more difficult for him. Pereira has passion but in terms of what kind of player he is, it is not all that obvious as he’s played defensive midfield, central midfield, attacking midfield and even as a winger – he just does not seem to have an established role at United.

Jesse Lingard is another player that would benefit away from Old Trafford, as would United benefit from his departure. I have nothing against him but over the last two years or so, there has been little output from the player – he literally scored his first Premier League goal of the season in United’s final game against Leicester City. Off the field, his life had been dealt a blow with the illness of his mother but that is not excuse not to put in the work and find the form needed to be a footballer. United would be much better off if they could find a buyer for the player.

The last of the six players is Sergio Romero. It is not ideal that he might leave the club as for the past five years he has been the best number two goalkeeper in the Premier League. The Argentinian has been linked to Everton, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Chelsea, although the latter does not seem to be a viable option with the club looking at alternatives. There was suggestion that Villa were close to completing a deal for the player last week but nothing has happened yet.

Solskjaer has been seeking to rebuild United since he replaced Jose Mourinho as the manager of the club in December 2018 after his sacking. He initially did well then in March 2019 he was made the permanent manager and things stuttered that season with United seeking to make improvements during the 2019/20 season. The season started well, stuttered again but after Fernandes’ arrival, United changed completely and earned a third-placed finish in the Premier League, earning UEFA Champions League football for the 2020/21 season.

So far this summer, United have signed Van de Beek from Ajax. They have been linked to Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund all summer but the deadline to sign the player elapsed with the German club seeming determined to keep the player for the 2020/21 season. United still have him as their number one target though. With the midfield the best it has been since Sir Alex Ferguson managed the club, signing a central defender, aa left-back, a right-winger and a striker would be good for the club but only so much can happen this summer.

Written by John Walker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must offload players to make Jadon Sancho signing

Manchester United must offload a string of players the summer in order to compete the signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United will need to pay £108 million for the 20-year-old and now that their season has come to an end, a year and five days since it started, the club will now have the time to engage in the summer transfer market in a bid to strengthen the squad this summer, adding players that will make the difference, not stutter and end up failing, like some of the current squad.

The Standard has claimed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must end some careers at the club in order to have sufficient funds to get deals across the line this summer. Despite the supposed deadline to sign Sancho passing a week ago, United are still seeking to sign the English winger and are quickly coming to terms with the fact that they will need to pay the price that Dortmund want to receive for the player. Which is the position that should have been in before the deadline expired.

It is suggested that Solskjaer would like to make to more key signings as United lack depth in some areas, which has been seen by the clubs exit from the UEFA Europa League at the hands of Sevilla after suffering another 2-1 defeat to the Spanish side. It is suggested that a central defender and a midfielder would be brought in, in addition to Sancho, if the club managed to get Dortmund to part company with the player after the supposed deadline expired a week ago.

It has been stated that in the midfield area, both Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have no future at the Old Trafford club. Both players have been at the club for a number of years and in the past two seasons, both players have not done enough to warrant a place in United’s squad. United will need to have strength in depth at the club and having players that can make a difference will be needed and both Lingard and Pereira have failed to do that when it matters the most.

In defence, United also have a number of players who are not adding much to the squad right now. These players are Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot. Granted, Smalling has been on loan during the 2019/20 season, playing for AS Roma and there is a chance that the club could permanently sign the defender this summer, although Inter Milan are said to be interested too. Rojo was loaned out in January too. But for Jones and Dalot, neither have been involved much this season.

Solskjaer recently spoke about the summer transfer window, which so far the club have not made a move and will need to do so during the next month in order to have players in at the club before the new Premier League season starts. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is suggested that United are losing out on £4 million per home match with supporters not yet allowed into stadiums. The Sun quoted Solskjaer as saying:

“I cannot say when or if transfers will be done, but we are looking at it. We have to be 100 per cent sure when we make those deals.

“It’s not about a marquee signing, it’s about quality. The right personality that fits into the group.”

Written by John Walker

Manchester United to offload Jesse Lingard this summer – reports

Manchester United will listen to offers for attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard this summer according to the Guardian. The 27-year-old has been nothing but inconsistent for the past two years which has resulted in United carrying the player, seemingly the decision behind the factor that he has no future at the Theatre of Dreams. Lingard has been suffering family problems for a while but that is no excuse for poor form.

In any other job, if problem at home affected your role, you would be pulled up for a lack of performance which could result in disciplinary action or the employee forced to take time off to avert the problems. Whilst it is admirable regarding what he did, it does not really serve as an excuse and the player should not be unhappy with any decision that might have been made.

Ever since Bruno Fernandes was signed by United in January, Lingard has been left with such a challenge in order to regularly start in the first team, a void that may not be matched by the player. Sir Alex Ferguson said he would be a late developer in the game, which was the case but his peak seems to have come and gone in relatively quick succession, which is a shame as at times, he looked like he was going to be great.

During the 2019/20 season, Lingard has so far made a total of 39 appearances for United, coming off the bench in the final Premier League match of the season, and scoring then starting in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg, scoring the equaliser in that game. Lingard has scored four goals and two assists, which at his stage of his career should be a lot better considering the number of appearances.

Lingard’s contract will expire in the summer of 2021 although there is an option for another year to be added in that contract which might not happen. United will listen to offers for the player and providing the right offer comes, the player will be allowed to leave. Transfermarkt currently suggest that he’s worth £15.75 million, which might be too much based on the performances he has had this season but you never know.

So far this summer, United have gotten rid of Alexis Sanchez who never really fitted in at the club but was on an astronomical wage which did not offer value for money. The Chilean who arrived from Arsenal in a player swap for Henrikh Mkhitaryan has permanently signed for Inter Milan. Whilst it is a shame when players lose form and offer nothing moving forward, United will need to either find a way to change things or move on. United had given Lingard many chances which has not worked.

Written by John Walker

Jesse Lingard admits feeling lost during the season which he says was difficult

Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has admitted that he was ‘lost as a player and as a person’ during the 2019/20 season. The player is now into his last year of his contract, which is set to expire in the summer of 2021, although there is an option of a further year to be added. The player made a total of 38 appearances during the course of the season, scoring three goals and two assists, which is not good enough for a United player with high standards expected going into next season.

Lingard made just nine Premier League starts during the course of the season but he has opened up on his personal struggles, which does not excuse the fact he has been poor, stating that the season has been ‘difficult for so many reasons’. The 27-year-old has been looking after his younger siblings after his mother became ill but he has struggled to cope, losing his form and looking dejected more often than not. He will need to put all of this past his and fins his feet or face an exit from the club. On his Instagram page, also reported by The Mirror, Lingard stated

“This season has been difficult for so many reasons. I lost who I was as a player and person, but I never wanted to give up.

“I knew who I really was on and off the pitch and knew that, having been there before, I could get there again.

“It meant working harder than I’d ever done before and trusting in those around me that they knew how to best help me achieve that.”

Lingard knows that the supporters of the Old Trafford club have been frustrated by his performances and if he was going through so much away from the club, perhaps he should have taken time away to deal with things, rather than try to play though it as that just makes things worse. Perhaps he has now learned that he will need to offload things. This could have all but ended his career at United, especially if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brings in some new faces this season, that could severely cut his playing time at the club. Lingard concluded by saying:

“I know the fans have been frustrated, but in all this time my love for this club and everyone connected to it has never left me.

“This team, this club, is my family and I will continue to keep working harder than ever to help this team achieve its goals.”

United may have achieved their main objective this season; reaching the UEFA Champions League but it was not something that Lingard personally helped achieve. He will know that and many may feel that I am being harsh. However, when you play for United, you will need to ensure that you always give 100% as there will always be another player willing to give that, tasing your place in the squad. Lingard could be a wanted man this summer with West Ham United interested in signing him but he could well be given another chance at United, unless Solskjaer has made his decision already, which may or may not be the case.

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.

Jesse Lingard wanted by both West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United as Manchester United future looks bleak – reports

West Bromwich Albion are reportedly plotting a move for Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard, who seems to be out of favour at the Theatre of Dreams. It is also suggested that West Ham United manager David Moyes is interested in signing the 27-year-old along with out of favour defender Phil Jones.

In the recent past, Leicester City, Newcastle United and Everton have all been linked to Lingard. The Independent suggest that the Baggies will go all out for the 27-year-old this summer providing they secure Premier League football next season. Slaven Bilic’s side moved to the top spot in the Championship after a 2-0 victory over Derby County on Wednesday.

Lingard will most likely be one of the Croatian’s top transfer targets this summer, which would be good for United as the more interest in the player, the more chance he will leave the club as for well over a year now, he has been pointless at the club not even looking semi-decent in his only appearance since the restart of the Premier League.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking to add quality to his squad this summer with moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish reported in the media, however, the fees quoted for each player would certainly mean that United would not sign both players, as much as they would like to.

This season, Lingard has made 36 appearances for United in the Premier League, UEFA Europa League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup, scoring two goals and two assists, which for a player that should be in the peak of his career is dreadful. He would be out of contract next summer, although there is an option for a further year to be added.

At this stage, United will need to offload many of the players who have continually failed to reach any kind of impact at United. In his time at the club, Lingard was always known as a late developer. He has made 203 appearances at the club scoring 31 goals and 20 assists, which is poor for a player in the attacking ranks. Mason Greenwood has scored 15 goals this season alone, which provides a comparison.

Manchester United must sell four or five players to sign the likes of Jadon Sancho this summer – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to sell four or five players this summer if he is to make a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, or any other player that would cost the club a lot of money this summer. It is suggested that both Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez will have to be sold.

Obviously, selling the likes of Sanchez and Lingard is not a major problem as one of them has offered slightly more in 18 months than Daniel James has brought to the club in a year, getting wages a lot lower than the Chilean who is clearly on a major decline. Lingard could not even look good against Norwich City on Saturday evening so no loss either.

Some might suggest it is harsh to say these things but I am just being truthful. Solskjaer will need to find buyers for these two players if Sancho is even going to be an option, although Solskjaer has not yet ruled a move out for the player this summer. It could be hard to get a club to sign Sanchez permanently based on his weekly wage at United.

Solskjaer has reportedly been told by Ed Woodward that he will need to clear some of the players he does not want in his squad before he would commit to an approach for Sancho this summer, so presumably, if this is true, Woodward has not yet ruled out a possibility of the club making a move for Sancho this summer.

With the current financial circumstances regarding the coronavirus pandemic, of where the future is uncertain with the fact that nobody knows when supporters will be allowed back into stadiums in the numbers that attended matches before the pandemic, therefore adding to the loss of income for football clubs in terms of match day revenue.

Because of this, United will need to be careful and not overcommit themselves, therefore clearing some big wages and players that do not seem to have a future at the club is the best way to create space for a player who would be costly both in terms of transfer wee and weekly wages, which is a logical way of doing things.

Three other names have been suggested including Andreas Pereira, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. There is a possibility that Smalling could still be sold to AS Roma this summer, if they are able to make it work with United’s valuation of the player more than the Italian club would want to pay, which seems to always be the case with these cheap clubs.

Phil Jones has made just eight appearances for United under Solskjaer this season, which is not enough playing time to even warrant a place for him in the squad. He does have a contract which will expire in the summer of 2023, with the option of another year, so he might be a problem to shift, however, he would be a good signing for Arsenal.

In terms of Pereira, personally I am yet to see a reason why he should retain his place at United. Despite making 38 appearance so far this season, he’s scored just two goals and four assists. His contract expires in 2023, with the option of another year and in terms of creativity, there is little for him to offer the club.

Solskjaer will have a lot to do this summer before the club could make a move for Sancho and it is suggested that the manager does not yet know how much he will have to spend this summer. United obviously need to sign a striker, but Odion Ighalo’s loan spell will expire at the end of January 2021, so the urgency this summer is lower than it could be.

A right-winger is a priority and this could transform United attack considerably, providing the player fits in to Solskjaer’s system and gels with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Odion Ighalo and Mason Greenwood, not to mention Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, who will offer the creativity from the midfield.

Some suggest that United need a central defender, however, with Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Axel Tuanzebe, presuming that one, two, or all of Jones, Smalling and Marcos Rojo leave the club this summer, would be adequate with United utilising the likes of Teden Mengi from the academy, should they be needed.

copyright: JW