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Manchester United need to sign Sergio Reguilon, two forwards and a centre-half says Rio Ferdinand

Former Manchester United centra defender Rio Ferdinand has stated that he believes United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be making three or four further additions to his squad this summer. United have been linked to Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon and as well as the addition on fit 23-year-old, should United end up signing him, Ferdinand believes that Solskjaer should be seeking to sign two forwards and a centre half, which would turn his squad into a stronger one, which would be good this season.

Solskjaer has signed Donny van de Beek so far this summer, which will go a long way to strengthening the midfield, especially with Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic in the squad already. It will be the strongest midfield that United have had post-Sir Alex Ferguson and probably for many of the last ten years of reign of the club. Ferdinand feels that the club needs to put more money into the squad this summer, upping the quality, which was lacking last season. Ferdinand, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said:

“I would say definitely after Van de Beek they need probably – if they’re going to really compete – three or four. Players that can go in and actually affect the first team, the first XI.

“And Reguilon we’re talking about, the lad at Sevilla who’s from Real Madrid, he was voted the best left-back in La Liga so really good credentials.

“Luke Shaw I think is unfortunate in terms of his injuries. He’s played games but then he hasn’t been able to sustain a full season without any injuries, which is disappointing.

“But listen, if I was looking at it and looking at the team, in the forward areas I think one or two additions.

“One definitely, maybe two, are needed that can come in and affect that first team and push people, if not start.

“And then I think a centre-back. That area, for me, is where there’s a lack of real, genuine pace and I think the best teams around at the moment have a player in one of the two players that play [at centre-back] in a four that has genuine pace normally.

“I think Liverpool are the team that’s dominated this season. The two centre-backs can be sat on the halfway line, they’re sitting there purring, waiting to be taken on in a foot race back to the goal and they back themselves.

“And with that, what that does as well, it’s not just about pace – knowing how to defend as well – but what that allows is more players to be able to go forward and pin the other team back in the opposing team’s third, which is, the way the game is played today, very critical.”

On Monday 14 September 2020, there will be three more weeks left of the summer transfer window and that would suggest that United would not have enough time to get three or four deals done to end the summer with a squad that could challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City to contest the Premier League title. United are fragile defensively, especially in the left-back position with the injuries to Luke Shaw and the fact that Brandon Williams lacks the experience to play in that position, although he has done well to do what he has done over the past season.

It would seem that the chase for Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund this summer is going to run until the final week of the transfer window, probably with nothing happening, which will upset the fair weather supporters who are just seeking out that excuse to properly turn on the manager, which is all these people ever seem to do – they only ever moan about the ownership of the club during a transfer window when the money is not being spent, but buy all the goods and services on offer during the course of the season, which negates moaning about the ownership, in my opinion at least.

United do need to be backed by the owners of the club. If the money is not there for deals, that should be made known to the supporters. However, as Ed Woodward has already suggested that this is the case, he will be happy that the waning was given and that supporters of the club should not have high hopes that the club will challenge for title in the coming season – which is the point of football. That said, the Glazers seem happy to see United qualify for the UEFA Champions League so that the revenue fills their pockets, which might take a hit if supporters will sit out the 2020/21 season, which could well happen.

Written by John Walker

Rio Ferdinand gives opinion on David De Gea’s future after Dean Henderson’s return

Former Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand has backed David de Gea to rediscover his form at the Old Trafford club. Over the past year or so, there has been plenty of criticism of the Spanish number one with the player making a number of bad errors which has cost United dearly. With Dean Henderson coming back to the club this summer, having spent two seasons on loan at Sheffield United, a club where he helped win promotion to the Premier League and have a good debut season in the top flight of English football, has not helped De Gea’s case.

Ferdinand played alongside De Gea from 2011, when the player signed from Atletico Madrid, until he left United in the summer of 2014 for Queens Park Rangers before retiring at the end of the 2014/15 season, feels confident that De Gea can find his feet and regain his form once again. De Gea was once the player that kept United together post-Sir Alex Ferguson, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award in four seasons out of five, which shows you how good the player can be. Speaking to TeamTALK and reported by The Mirror, Ferdinand said:

“De Gea has the ability to get back to where he was. He’s shown over the years that he is a class act. He can now have a break for a few weeks and come back with his focus renewed.

“He has the mentality to come back and reach his levels again. We’ve seen time and again how good he can be. I think he can still be a big player for United, but he has a point to prove again now. He has had tough times before and has come back.

“He’s a great goalkeeper and over the years he has been fantastic for United. He was player of the year four out of six years or whatever it was. But if you are not producing the goods over an extended period of time you have to be told and there has to be someone waiting in the wings to come in.”

Henderson’s return to Old Trafford in certain to cause a few headaches with the player having no intention of playing second fiddle to De Gea at the Theatre of Dreams but probably understanding that he will need to take on the Spaniard to win the number one shirt at the club, not just demand it and get what he wants. I don’t think Henderson is like that though and a lot of the speculation regarding the player seems to be based from what the media publish, which is not always fact, just mere speculation which might actually mean nothing.

The 23-year-old has been linked to Chelsea but is reportedly close to signing a new contract at United. During the past week, it has been suggested that Henderson would be loaned out this coming season, and that he would remain at United. It has also been stated that Sergio Romero has been linked to a number of clubs, including Chelsea and Leeds United, so there is clearly something happening somewhere at the club, which could pave the way for Henderson to take on De Gea this season in the battle to become the clubs next first choice goalkeeper.

It could certainly be an interesting season at United, especially with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggesting that he does not need three goalkeepers at the club, which would become four with Henderson returning this summer, meaning that two goalkeepers will be surplus to requirements with them likely to be both Romero and Lee Grant. United went through a period whereby they did not have a great goalkeeper from the time that Peter Schmeichel left the club after helping the club win the treble to the arrival of Edwin van der Sar, with De Gea replacing the latter at the club. If both De Gea and Henderson could work together and share the position, Henderson could be set up for the future at the club, with United and Solskjaer having De Gea to fall back on should Henderson falter at any stage.

Written by John Walker

Rio Ferdinand speaks about run-in with Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has spoken about the time that he first realised that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to be a superstar. The former United captain has already spoken about former teammate John O’Shea needing an oxygen tank after facing the player against Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly weeks before Sir Alex Ferguson signed the player, who should be considered as one of, if not the best player in the world right now.

Ferdinand, now a pundit for the television, explained how an 18-year-old Ronaldo dazzled him in that pre-season friendly in 2003. The Portuguese winger made such an impact against United that Ferguson and former chief executive of United, David Gill delayed the team bus from leaving the ground for an hour as they tried to do business for Ronaldo after the match. It was a match to christen the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon with United wasting little time to steal an advance over their rivals.

Ronaldo showed his grace when signing for United on the 12 August 2003, replacing David Beckham at the club, who had left for Real Madrid in July for £25 million. Ronaldo donned the famous number seven shirt at United and helped the club win nine major honours including; three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one FIFA Club World Cup. The winger made 292 appearances for United, scoring 118 goals and 69 assists in six years before leaving for Real Madrid himself in the summer of 2009.

The you look at the career that Ronaldo has had and is still having, you can see what a truly world class player he is. United signed a player with potential with Ferguson helping to turn the player into a world star. It would have been great for United to keep the player for his entire career, but it was not meant to be. Ronaldo had a dream that he wanted to achieve and I think he has more than done that. Ferdinand, speaking to BT Sport and reported by The Sun, was quoted as saying:

“He started there. We arrived there coming back from America on tour, this was the last leg everyone was knackered, jet-lagged etc and we got asked to play in it late.

“We obviously got there, opened the stadium, we came off that pitch and anyone who didn’t know about Cristiano Ronaldo before we got there definitely did by the time we left.

“When we got to the stadium in the pre-match warm-up, people started, it got around – people saying that kid there, he’s meant to be a superstar. Bearing in mind we’d missed out on signing Ronaldinho as well that summer.

“We were still on the search for a superstar but we didn’t see it coming in the form of a young teenager. But by the time the game finished all the players were saying to the manager ‘When are we going to get him?’

“We were sat on the coach after – ‘Where are we going?’ – delayed an hour, want to get home after a big tour. And the manager and David Gill, the chief executive at the time, were upstairs doing a deal trying to sign him straight away, great recruitment.”

This season, if the Ballon d’Or was still happening, Ronaldo could well have matched Lionel Messi’s sis trophies but he would have had a hard task of winning with the performances of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who might have beaten the Portuguese winger, as Luka Modric did in 2018 with Ronaldo coming third in 2019. United were lucky to see the player in the flesh at a young age which changed the course of history for both United and Ferguson, who reached the promised land for the second time in his career after seeing his side beat Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final in 2008.

Written by John Walker

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were like chalk and cheese and it worked well for Manchester United

Manchester United legendary central defender Nemanja Vidic has stated that he could not understand by his former teammate, Rio Ferdinand cried after the club won the UEFA Champions League after beating Chelsea on penalties at the Luzhniki Stadium on the 21 May 2008. United opened the scoring in the match through Cristiano Ronaldo in the 26th minute of the match only for Frank Lampard to equalise in the 45th minute. The second half had chances not nothing to change the score.

United and Chelsea went into extra time, with did not find a winner, needing a penalty shootout to make the different. Ronaldo was the only United player to miss his spot kick with John Terry slipping on the spot to allow United a way back, going into sudden death. Anderson scored United’s sixth penalty with Salomon Kalou scoring Chelsea’s. Next stepped up Ryan Giggs, who scored with Nicholas Anelka seeing his effort saved by Edwin van der Sar – United had won the Champions League again.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Ferdinand from Leeds United in the summer of 2002 for an initial fee of £29.3 million. The player sat in the office of Peter Ridsdale for six hours to get the deal pushed through. Vidic was signed from Spartak Moscow in January 2006 with Ferguson paying just £7 million for the Serbian defender. Despite the almost three-year gap, the defensive duo literally became the best defensive partnership the club had seen. Ferdinand left for Queens Park Rangers with Vidic leaving for Inter Milan both in the summer of 2014. It was the end of an era.

Those of you that experienced Vidic playing football will remember this rock hard central defender who would literally fear nothing or nobody. On winning the Champions League, he was happy but not emotional like his defensive partner. It showed you how different the pair were – like chalk and cheese but it worked. Speaking to the official Manchester United website as part of the Utd Unscripted series of articles, Vidic, speaking fondly about Ferdinand, despite the tears, said:

“Me and Rio played so many games together, but it’s the most important ones that you remember, like winning the Premier League at Wigan and Blackburn, and definitely the Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow.

“I had forgotten, actually, until he said recently, but I had to stop Rio crying after we won the trophy! We are different in many ways!

“Rio obviously puts so much hard work into everything he does, and he had this dream to win the Champions League.

“I remember beforehand he just kept saying: ‘We have to win, we have to win, we have to win.’

“It was something he dreamed of and pushed for. When we won it, of course he was emotional. Remember the penalty shootout, that could have gone either way as well… but I have a general feeling like if you won something you should be happy, not crying.

“I just think that way. I never cried when I’m happy. He’s an emotional guy. They were just small tears, nothing major. I’d forgotten about that reaction, but it was just a moment.”

I have many fond memories of Ferdinand and Vidic at the club. They were the reason, most of the time that the club was successful during their careers at the club. Ferdinand won 14 trophies at the club, including six Premier League titles with Vidic winning 15 trophies at the club, including five Premier League titles. Winning the Champions League followed by the FIFA Club World Cup will be the best achievement of the pair though, literally reaching the pinnacle of European and World football at club level right there. Not many English clubs have done that.

Written by John Walker

John O’Shea needed ‘oxygen tank’ after playing against Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003

Manchester United signed a relatively unknown player in Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2003, the same summer that David Beckham left the club after a bust up with manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Before Ronaldo was signed by United, the club has a pre-season friendly with his club and as former United defender and captain Rio Ferdinand puts his, his teammate, John O’Shea needed an ‘oxygen tank’ after the match because of the performance of the 18-year-old Portuguese winger.

United were beaten 3-1 by Sporting Lisbon in that match but it had allowed Ferguson to see more of Ronaldo, who was tipped to be a player of a new generation of the time, and they were right. Ferguson was adamant to sign the 18-year-old, which he did only a matter of days later but O’Shea was left feeling dead on his feet after United were given the runaround by the Portuguese club. Speaking as part of EA SPORTS and COPA90’s “Stay Home. Play Together” campaign and reported by The Sun, Ferdinand said:

“We played against Sporting in 2003, we get in at half-time and John O’Shea must’ve needed an oxygen tank next to him.

“He was in bits and he was sitting there panting. We were telling him to get closer to Ronaldo and he couldn’t even answer us.

“To be fair, me, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt were standing there going ‘this kid’s unbelievable, we’ve got to sign him’.

“We got on the coach and we were delayed for about an hour and a half, and then they said they were doing a deal to sign Ronaldo now.”

Of course, the rest is history with Ronaldo signing for the Old Trafford club for just £12.24 million less than a week after this match and the player was handed a starting role at the club and Beckham’s old shirt, the famous number seven. It was a while before Ronaldo started to show what he could do for the club, being tricky and quick as United looked to overcome the loss of Beckham but the England captain was soon forgotten as Ronaldo started to find his feet at the club. At the time he signed for United, Ronaldo said:

“I am very happy to be signing for the best team in the world, and especially proud to be the first Portuguese player to join Manchester United.

“I look forward to helping the team achieve even more success in the years to come.”

The player literally became one of, if not the best player in the world at United and in the summer of 2009, left for Real Madrid for £80 million. It was a big loss for United but the six years the player had at United literally kickstarted his career in world football. Ronaldo made a total 292 appearances for United, scoring 118 goal and 69 assists. At United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one FA Community Shield, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup. Individually though, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or at United being the first United player since George Best (1968) and Sir Bobby Charlton (1966)to win the award.

Written by John Walker

Solskjaer keeps pressure off De Gea, Ferdinand slams him, Scholes defends him

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that he will not put any more pressure on goalkeeper David De Gea as he will not be talking about his performance against Chelsea which saw the London club score twice with goals that the Spanish goalkeeper should have saved quite easily. Solskjaer has leapt in to defend the goalkeeper in the past but bluntly refused to discuss the topic in his press conference ahead of the penultimate Premier League match of the season.

United will take on West Ham United at the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday evening with a view on putting his side in the top three of the league with a victory over David Moyes’ side. Solskjaer will be protective of his goalkeeper and will know that his mistakes against Chelsea will be the main talking point ahead of the next match, which will either result in the player being dropped from the team or being backed by the manager and his teammates, keeping his place in the team. The Sun quoted Solskjaer as saying:

“This is not going to become a David De Gea press conference. We’re just going to stick together.

“David’s mentally strong enough to know his job is to perform in training the next day and be ready for the games.

“We’re not going to talk about individuals. No one here wants to feel we are putting more pressure on them.”

Former teammate of De Gea, Rio Ferdinand has slammed the goalkeeper for his current form stating that he was not in a position to be defended. Granted, Ferdinand played in the same team as De Gea for a number of years so will have knowledge of how the player is when he has made a mistake. There is no hiding place for the player and he will know that too. Ferdinand, speaking to BT Sport about the goalkeeper and reported by The Mirror, said:

“When people make mistakes, they’re open to criticism. That’s just natural, that is just how football is,

“David De Gea is no exception. He’s made mistakes, glaring mistakes in some big games, notably the game against Chelsea in the semi-final at Wembley.

“Yes, he should be doing better. I have played with David, he’s his own biggest critic.

“He’ll be sitting at home mulling over these, going through the situations and making sure that he tries to get rid of these mistakes that he is committing at the moment.”

Another former United player, Paul Ince has given advice to Solskjaer about how to deal with the goalkeeper who is complacent. It seems funny that Ince is giving others advice on how to manage players, when in actual fact, his management history has been poor at best. Ince managed Macclesfield Town, MK Dons (twice), Blackburn Rovers, Notts County and Blackpool and did nothing but fail at each club. It is strange that this guy, who shows embitterment to United, feels he’s qualified to even have an opinion. Anyway, speaking to Paddy Power via The Mirror, Ince said:

“David [De Gea] knows he should have saved the second goal, but that’s done now. I can’t speak for David’s confidence, but he’s mentally very strong. He knows he should save that one 100 times out of 100, but that’s football for you.

“Any mistake you make, as a goalkeeper, will always be magnified. We know that, but what we’re seeing from David de Gea at the minute are basic, schoolboy errors. They are errors that someone on his wage and at his level simply should not be making – and not for the first time, too.

“If you go and look at the season, there’s several absolutely horrendous mistakes that just shouldn’t be happening. When you make mistakes like that, you have to come out in the next couple of games and stand up and be counted – to nullify that criticism – but it seems like he isn’t capable of doing that at the moment.

“You need to prove you’re the No.1 goalkeeper. He made a couple of decent saves against Chelsea, but the fact is, in big games you expect that. In those big games, the best keepers in the world aren’t making mistakes to begin with.

“My feeling is that De Gea doesn’t have enough, or any, competition. He is totally complacent. Sergio Romero only plays once in a blue moon, but Dean Henderson is waiting in the wings, and the manager needs to create a bit of a challenge and competition at the club.

“Right now, De Gea knows there’s no challenger to him, that he will be the first name on the team sheet, and he’s playing like someone who knows that, too. As a player, if you think you’re going to play every game, it leads to complacency.”

Paul Scholes, another former teammate of De Gea has done what you would expect from him and back the player. Scholes played alongside the Spanish goalkeeper for the final years of his career at the club, even coming out of retirement to play some more football. De Gea will be happy to see some players in his corner, past and present. It will mean a lot to him. The mistakes happened and there is no taking them away. Ot is now embellished in the club’s history. Reported by The Mirror, the United legend said:

“Yep, he’s having a bad time. But without him United wouldn’t have finished in the top 10 the last 6 years…he’ll be back!”

Finally, Solskjaer has refused to confirm whether the player, 29, will start against West Ham in the final Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. It would not surprise me to see De Gea starting against the Hammers but it would be a gamble that would bring criticism to the doorstep of Solskjaer if it did not pay off. Just the same would be if the player was dropped for Sergio Romero and that did not pay off, so either way you look at it, Solskjaer will not be able to win with the media. Reported by the Manchester Evening News, the United manager said:

“No, because I don’t want to talk about it. We stick together as a group. Of course we’re going to stick together as a group and as I said he’s proven before he’s mentally strong. We’ll stay together and we’ll see the team on Wednesday night.

“You have to [make big calls]. Every position is a big one here so you’ve got to do what is right for the team and the club. We’ll do that on Wednesday, we’ll do that on Sunday and then when the season’s finished we’ll make more decisions.

“Everything we talk about is between ourselves. We keep that relationship open and every player can trust me to keep that confidential.”

United have it all to play for on Wednesday evening. With Leicester City being beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and the fact that the two teams have the same amount of points and the goal difference is the same, although Leicester have scored 67 goals to United’s 63, it gives United the opportunity to get one over Brendan Rodger’s side before Sunday’s showdown ta the King Power Stadium. With a victory over the Hammers, United could go third in the league with Chelsea facing Liverpool, at Anfield. This is Solskjaer and United’s chance to get one over both teams ahead of them.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United legend sets out expectations with Premier League return days away

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believe that his former club should aim for a fourth placed finish in the Premier League this season with a return to action only days away after the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football back in March. United will return to action against Tottenham Hotspur in London on Friday evening.

The former central defender and captain for the club also back manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to deliver United’s minimum requirements this season, which would return the club to the UEFA Champions League next season, which is something Solskjaer and his team will need to deliver. United are currently fifth in the table, three points adrift of Chelsea.

United had a good start to the current season, beating Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford, however, the season has been inconsistent since. Before the coronavirus suspended world football in mid-March, United were on an 11 match unbeaten run, scoring 29 goals, conceding twice and keeping nine clean sheets in all competitions.

Ferdinand, who helped United win six Premier League titles, two League Cups, four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup during his 12 season career at the club, making 455 appearances, scoring eight goals, feels that United could achieve what they are expected to achieve this season. He said:

“I reckon they should make the top four­ – with that squad they ought to. Paul Pogba is fit again, as is Marcus Rashford, there is talk Pogba is looking really good in training.

“He and Bruno Fernandes can form a productive midfield partnership in a three with someone like Scott McTominay.

“Don’t forget United were on a good streak when the season was halted – and had just beaten Manchester City not long after winning at Chelsea.

“They haven’t lost in about ten games and signs of Ole’s good management are coming to fruition now. I’ve never lost faith in Ole despite all the criticism he was getting.

“I believe in him and if he makes that top four he’ll have done a good job. He also still has the Europa League to aim for if we can get that going again.”

United could achieve Champions League football if they finished fifth in the Premier League this season, if Manchester City’s European ban was upheld with the club likely to find out next month. This would mean that City’s place in the competition would go to the team below them with the fifth placed team gaining a place in the elite European competition.

This could give other clubs the chance to play European football next season, albeit in the UEFA Europa League. City has already achieved this by winning the Carabao Cup, but that won’t be eligible to play in the competition, if their ban is upheld. United could be lucky here but need to aim for forth place or higher. Ferdinand concluded by saying:

“There was a point where I couldn’t see how we were ever going to get going again.

“The world had bigger things to worry about and the fate of the title, the European qualifying places and relegation didn’t seem very important.

“I thought the season would be null and void but the fact we are ready to go again is testament to the players, the clubs and the owners.”

copyright: JW