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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 opt against surgery for Phil Jones as they look to sell him

Manchester United have reportedly decided against surgery for Phil Jones who has been on the sidelines with a knee injury. The injury would keep the player out of the UEFA Europa League, which is why he did not travel with the rest of the squad to Germany ahead of their quarter-final against FC Cologne on Monday evening. Surgery would rule the player out of action until the New Year. The player was scheduled to undergo surgery on Sunday with medical staff seeking rehabilitation instead.

The Mirror has reported the news on the day that the United squad headed out to Cologne ahead of Monday’s class with the Danish side in a bid to reach the semi-final of the competition with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to win his first trophy as manager of the club. United are said to be seeking a buyer for Jones, 28, who signed for the club nine years ago from Blackburn Rovers for £16 million. The player has not been used by Solskjaer much this season. Solskjaer, talking about Jones, said:

Phil [Jones] has been following an individualised training programme during the post-lockdown period to optimise recovery from a knee problem

It was a good opportunity as we had sufficient cover in defensive positions for the remaining Premier League games and he will continue to work with a fitness coach at the Aon Training Complex, while the squad are in Germany.

During the 2019/20 season, Jones made a total of eight appearances for United, playing 562 minutes of football. He contributed one goal, against Tranmere Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup. Jones last featured for United in the 2-0 defeat to Burnley in January and was on the bench for two further league matches – missing the last 19 matches this season and seemingly set to miss the final few matches of the season in the Europa League. United clearly do not have plans for him moving forward.

Obviously, if Jones needs surgery, it might need to be something he has at his new club, if United find a buyer for him this summer. West Ham United, led by former United manager David Moyes, held interest in Jones and teammate Jesse Lingard but this seems to have been denied by Hammers sources, which is probably the best thing for them to be honest. Neither of these players are going to make West Ham a better club. There has to be some interest in Jones this summer.

However, the player being injured and needing surgery might be a major problem in United offloading the player, who still has three years remaining on his contract with the option of another year. United could be stuck with the player for the remainder of that contract. On hindsight, United should have let the player leave on the expiry of his last contract with with the Glazers aiming to save money, both Jones and Chris Smalling were rewarded with new contracts at United.

In his time at United, Jones has made just 224 appearances for the club, scoring six goals and 10 assists. This works out to fewer than 25 appearances each season at United which shows that he has had problems at United for a prolonged period time. Jones has suffered 19 separate injuries in his time at United which has led to him missing 121 matches for the club. This is not ideal for the player or the club and could pose a massive problem with United trying to offload the player this summer.

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.

Phil Jones could be offered a chance to join a Serie A club with interest in the out of favour Manchester United defender – reports

Out of favour Manchester United defender Phil Jones is reportedly being lined up for a shock Serie A switch this summer, despite interest from former United manager David Moyes, who is now managing West Ham United, for the second time in his career. The Athletic have suggested that the 28-year-old could follow the steps of Chris Smalling.

Jones has been at United for nearly ten years and despite having one Premier League title, one FA Cup, two FA Community Shields and a UEFA Europa League on his list of honours at the club, based on the prospects he had when he joined United, he should have done so much better as a player but injury kept on coming, something he is affected by now.

This season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred defensive lineup involved both Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire as a central defensive partnership with Eric Bailly as the backup in the squad. Jones has made just eight appearances for United this season, scoring one goal. It shows that his future is not part of Solskjaer’s plans, even when not injured.

It looks as if Axel Tuanzebe, who is out of action until September, could be given a bigger role at the club next season which would suggest that Jones needs to find another club. United also continue to be linked with a mother defender, which may or may not happen this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is clear that Jones needs to find a new club to salvage what is left of his career. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Jones was tipped as a future club captain but his demise under David Moyes continued under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho and is continuing now, under Solskjaer. With this many managers not trusting him regularly, it is not a problem with them.

Jones could look at what Smalling has done in Italy, making 32 appearances, scoring two goals and one assist for AS Roma with the player seemingly resurrecting his career in Italy, which is something that Jones could do too, if a club out there is interested in signing Jones, who has three years remaining on his current contract, with the option of a fourth.

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.

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.

Should David De Gea, Ander Herrera and Andreas Pereira have their contracts renewed and was the Phil Jones renewal the right thing?

Welcome to the second part where I discuss the contract expirations occurring in June 2019 and whether or not I believe they should be renewed or let go. In the few days since one of the players I was going to talk about has had his contract renewed, with Phil Jones being given a four-year extension with a one year option, so I will briefly discuss whether or not his renewal was a good or bad thing and why.

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David De Gea

Up first is none other than the best goalkeeper in the world who despite his rocky start to his Manchester United career has blossomed into an incredible shot stopper and one who could save a word file on a piece of toast.

There is one weak part of his game though and that is his distribution, which at times is borderline woeful. When compared with the goalkeepers in the rest of the top 6 De Gea is easily the worst at distribution than all of them. The stats for pass completion percentage are as follows:

  • De Gea – 59.2% with 25.6 passes
  • Alisson – 79% with 28.2 passes
  • Kepa – 86.9% with 28.6 passes
  • Ederson – 83.2% with 25.6 passes and one assist
  • Lloris – 74.2% with 32.3 passes
  • Leno – 70.9% with 30.8 passes

As you can see from the above De Gea is far behind the others in terms of distribution. That’s not to say it’s a skill he particularly needs but when a poor pass from your keeper leads to you being on the back foot when prepared to attack it’s not a good thing and it baffles my mind as to why the coaches at United haven’t worked on improving his game.

Now before you get the pitchforks out and prepare to lynch me I did say De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world and this has been shown time and time again with his superior shot-stopping ability that has saved United time and time and time again. And let’s be honest, I could easily add another hundred times onto that and it still wouldn’t be anywhere near enough times. The man has been absolutely prolific in his time at the club and if there is one player who deserves to compete for top honours year in year out then it is him.

Thankfully he was very poor for Spain in the World Cup leading Real Madrid to look elsewhere and he has stayed with Manchester United.

Now out of all eight players I will mention across both articles De Gea is the one who, without a shadow of a doubt, should be offered heaven and earth in order to get him to sign a new contract as without him there would have been a lot more goals conceded and the team would be in much worse shape.

Historically speaking the goalkeeping position has been United’s strength, aside from a few years but it’s best to forget the B’s were ever at the club to be honest. If Manchester United fail to get De Gea to sign a new contract then it will be one of their biggest ever failings in terms of squad management, and I mean upper management because the contract renewal is squarely on the higher-ups.

Final verdict: Give him everything he wants and get a new contract signed ASAP

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Ander Herrera

Ander Herrera, an absolute fan-favourite, from absolute shithousery on the pitch to spitting on the badge of Manchester City the man has a massive fan following and is a huge fan of the club. If you were to ask him where he’d like to spend the rest of his career and his life afterwards he would probably tell you that he wants to stay with the team forever, he has a passion for the team that few players seem to have and that all should look up to.

Herrera is a player that many fans would like to be given the captain’s armband because when he plays for the team he gives it his absolute all and will run around the earth to man-mark whoever he has been asked to. He might not be the greatest of players but he is one that should be a squad option at the very least. He might not be a regular starter for the team again but he can come off the bench and have an impact.

With his contract running out in June there is one minor issue facing his contract renewal, he turns 30 in August and depending on when the 2019/20 season starts he may very well be 30 before it begins. This begs the question as to what contract he should be offered as players 30 and over are typically offered a 12-month contract year after year rather than anything long-term. With him still being 29 when he needs to be offered a new one if the club does, will they offer a 24-month one or try to be sneaky with a 12-month contract? Realistically he should be offered a 24-month contract due to this but Ed Woodward is also a master of shithousery so you never know with him.

In my opinion, Herrera should definitely have his contract renewed, especially with Juan Mata slowing down and Marouane Fellaini being sold.

Final verdict: Renew for 24 months

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Andreas Pereira

Now if you read one of my previous articles I spoke about giving players time to adapt to the Premier League and given a chance to show their abilities instead of being shuffled off after one bad performance. Pereira was the main subject of that article so you will know my opinion on him already.

Unlike other players, whose contracts have a one year option that the club can activate, Pereira has a one year option that he also needs to agree to. Unfortunately for some Manchester United fans Pereira hasn’t really been given too much of a chance this season and being given more game time was one of the reasons he was willing to stay in Manchester and not be loaned out again.

It would be a real shame if he was to leave without being given a chance as I do believe he can offer something to the club and if Fred doesn’t work out, as it is looking, then Pereira can be a good squad option, one to come off the bench and run at teams when they’re tired. The problem is that whilst it’s easy to promise minutes to young players and hope they improve and show enough when given those minutes, it isn’t so easy to actually give them the minutes, especially when there are other players in the team who have done more and shown more.

Currently, Pereira is behind in the pecking order and when it comes to other players who don’t start regularly it’s hard not to see Mata, Herrera and Fred all ahead of him. And if you look at the bench for the game against Fulham on February 9th McTominay had a place but Pereira didn’t, so Scott McTominay might also be ahead of him in the pecking order.

Although I do believe Pereira should be offered a new contract it should be shorter than usual in order to give him time to see if he adjusts and will be good enough for the team in the future.

Final verdict: Renew for two or three years

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Phil Jones

As I stated at the beginning Phil Jones signed a contract renewal between my publishing of part one and part two and my original intent was to say whether he should be renewed or not. Instead, I will say whether it was a good idea.

The simple answer here is yes, although from perusing twitter you would be shocked to know there are a lot of Manchester United fans very unhappy with the decision due to him never hitting the heights everyone thought he would, as well as his injury record and often poor defensive work.

However, Phil Jones is a very good defender and on his day is very reliable and solid at the back. The problem lies in how often his day occurs and that isn’t often enough and he, as well as Smalling, always seems to have at least one mistake in him, as well as scoring own goals. The only thing fans would probably miss if he were to leave are the faces he pulls which often make for hilarious viewing and there are enough that he is his own personal meme at this point.

There is one very important reason that his contract was renewed and that is resale value. Phil Jones is currently 26 years old, soon to be 27, and has a few years left in football, and enough that should the club hope to get any money for him they would need to give him a long enough contract that he couldn’t be taken on a free. As well as Ed Woodward likely not wanting to spend too much money on defenders him offering Phil Jones a renewal was almost a certainty.

Hell, he even got himself an assist in the 3-0 win against Fulham on February 9th and a clean sheet, a day or two after his renewal, so maybe his renewal is the kick-start that he needs in order to become the top defender everybody hoped he would.

If I had written this before his renewal then my answer would have still been the same due to the reasons stated above.

Final Verdict: Renew (this has been done)

So there you have it, the final four whose contracts are and were expiring in June 2019.

Written by Craig Holland-Greenfield

Phil Jones set to be rewarded with a new long-term contract at Manchester United!

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is reportedly in line to receive a new long-term contract at the Old Trafford club, according to reports. Jones’ contract is set to expire this summer with United having the option to add a further year to his deal, which was signed in 2015. Reports which materialised in The Metro suggest that instead of the year being added to his current contract, the club would reward the player with a new long-term contract.

Jones is just 26 and it seems that he has been at the club for way too long. Sir Alex Ferguson signed Jones from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2011 for a fee of around £17 million and he was tipped for stardom by the legendary manager. However, eight years after his arrival, a series of injuries and poor form seem to have plagued the England international. Recently though, Jones has been chosen to start by caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has remained fit.

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The Sun suggested that Jones was in resurgent form for United at this stage of the season but for me, it is anything but resurgent. He just does not seem like a player that many will be happy with in defence. He seems clumsy at times and his lack of confidence is something of a liability. However, he does have a good game in him every now and again. It just seems that the Glazers and Ed Woodward are happy with Jones and Chris Smalling as the most experienced players in central defence, which is poor from them.

Jones has recently spoken about his current predicament, which leaves him in the situation that staying at United is not his decision. Going into this season, I personally thought that with both Smalling and Jones out of contract this summer, the club would have to work hard to bring in defenders worthy of playing for United. In my opinion, both have not covered themselves in glory, especially playing for three permanent managers after Ferguson. Speaking to Sky Sports, Jones said:

“I’m very settled – I’ve been settled for a long time here. Ever since I walked through the door I was made to feel very welcome. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time – it’s been great and long may it continue.

Phil Jones urges ‘father-figure’ Sir Alex Ferguson to continue to fight

Manchester United defender Phil Jones has spoken out in support for former manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he had emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage on Saturday. The 76-year-old retired as United’s manager after winning his 13th Premier League title in 2013 following almost 27 years at the helm of the Old Trafford club. It was such a shock to hear the news of United greatest manager since Sir Matt Busby as he gave us all the success we have become accustomed to over the years.

Over the past few days, many people from the world of football and beyond have wished Ferguson all the best for his recovery as we all wait for positive news surrounding the fate of the gaffer. United players past and present have also spoken of their shock, sadness and their belief that Ferguson has what it takes to make it through the biggest fight of his life. One of the players Ferguson brought to the club before his retirement, Phil Jones, has spoken to the BBC about how Ferguson was a father-figure to him, saying:

“He’s taken me under his wing like a father and it was shocking. It’s sad, but I know his character and I know that he has fight in him. He is such a legend in my eyes. He is the one who brought me to the club and gave me that opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“He has got all his family and friends around him, the support from all the players and staff at Manchester United and football around the world. When something like that does happen it’s nice that the football world comes together and shows support and we are all rooting for him.”

Jones was brought to United from Blackburn Rovers as a 19-year-old in the summer of 2011 for £16.5 million. Jones has since made 190 appearances for the club, scoring five goals and winning one Premier League title (2012/13), one Emirates FA Cup (2015/16), two FA Community Shields (2011 and 2013), one EFL Cup (2016/17), and one UEFA Europa League. It may not be the greatest haul of trophies but it will be a haul that Jones will be proud of, despite being on the sidelines for the EFL Cup victory.

The amount of respect Jones has for Ferguson is shown in what he has said about his former gaffer. Ferguson took many players under his wing during his time as United’s manager, some made it, some did not. The fact that Jones has come out and said what he has said shows how much respect and love he has for Ferguson, the man who brought him to United and stated that he could become one of the greatest players to have ever played for the club.

“Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, no matter where we play him.

“At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch. He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.”

On Saturday, Manchester United gave a statement about Sir Alex Ferguson as football supporters were dreading the worst possible news. The statement in itself was positive with a positive outlook, which can only be expected. Since then, there have been no updates on the former manager with everyone awaiting news as to whether he will recover. Time will tell. No news is good news, or so they say. The statement from the club read:

“Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage. The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery. His family request privacy in this matter. We will keep Sir Alex and his loved ones in our thoughts during this time, and we are united in our wish to see him make a comfortable, speedy recovery.”

There have been quite a few negative fans mocking what has happened with United’s, and other supporters hitting back at the crass, calculated comments put out on social media to gain notoriety and attention to the sad and pathetic people who mock things like this. The best thing to do with these no marks is to ignore them. They want attention, demand it even, giving not to them and scrolling on by their comments will hurt them so much more than attacking them will.

copyright: JW