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Manchester United linked to £28 million Valencia midfielder Uros Racic

Manchester United have been linked with Valencia’s Serbian midfielder Uros Racic, 22, who has a £92 million release clause in his current contract which is due to expire in the summer of 2022, as reported by The Sun. Racic is a box to box midfielder, 6ft 4in and a powerful player who is known for his workrate and he defensive power and has been likened to United midfielder Nemanja Matic. United may well be stacked in the midfield ranks right now but an heir to Matic will need to be signed by the club.

Racic signed for Valencia for €2.2 million in the summer fo 2018, signing from Red Star Belgrade. He has been unable to find his feet in Spain though and has played for Valencia’s B team, and loaned to both Tenerife and Famalicão. Despite the high release clause in his Valencia contract, it is unlikely that the club will pursue that because of their financial situation and it is suggested that a fee of around £28 million could be accepted for the player this summer.

The young Serbian idolises United midfielder Paul Pogba so would probably jump at the chance to sign for United if the club has solid interest in him this summer. The only problem would be the depth of United’s midfield this summer which consists of Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred with the likes of Andreas Pereira, and James Garner who could also feature in the position, although the latter plays at U23 level and could be loaned out this summer.

Racic can play as both an attacking or defensive midfield position and is described as a real number six player that has a great intelligence of the game and a player that has been said to demonstrate his quality, making his future in the game bright. This was stated by Zvezdan Terzic, the general director of Red Star Belgrade back in December 2017, months before he left toe club for Valencia. The player might be a gamble right now but has been compared to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been linked to United. Terzic said:

“Racic is most similar like Slaviša Jokanovic, the real ‘six’. He is a defensive midfielder with an extraordinary jump, great game review and incredible intelligence. He will just demonstrate his quality in the future.”

During the 2019/20 season when Racic was playing for Portuguese side Famalicão, he made a total of 39 appearances, playing in the Liga NOS and the Taça de Portugal Placard, scoring three goals and two assists. That season, Racic played as a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder and as a second striker. On Sunday, Racic played his first match of the 2020/21 season for Valencia in a 4-2 victory over Levante, playing 18 minutes and being booked in the 89th minute.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United interested in Kondogbia as Valencia put players up for sale

Manchester United have seemingly but another player in their interested list ahead of the summer transfer window opening in less than a week’s time. Valencia midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who was linked to United about seven years ago is a player that is now on their radar, at least according to The Sun. The report states the at La Liga club will be seeking to sell cup to eight players this summer in order to aid their ‘precarious looking financial situation’.

The reported in the British newspaper suggests that the original report comes from FootMercato, who have stated the the player has a dream to play in the Premier League. They also suggest that Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur are interested in the player, who also played for Lens, Sevilla, AS Monaco and Inter Milan. The Athletic have added more context to the situation as the Spanish club seem to be in ‘total madness behind the scenes’.

It has been stated that the board of the club want to sell all eight players, especially those on high wages, which the club obviously cannot sustain at this moment in time because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ran its course throughout world football with many clubs losing out financially. The clubs finances will take a second hit after the club failed to qualify for European football next season. It could be a devastating summer for Valencia supporters.

Along with Kondogbia, seven more players who are to be sold this summer have been named in the report with Dani Parejo, Rodrigo Moreno, Goncalo Guedes, Jasper Cillesen, Denis Cheryshev and Kevin Gameiro and Ferran Torres, who has been linked with United but seems to be more on Manchester City’s wish list this summer. Valencia will be seeking to raise around £90 million, also cutting their annual wage bill by £105 million, which could see the club through the problems faced right now.

This season, Kondogbia has made a total of 34 appearances at Valencia, playing in La Liga, the Supercopa, the Cope del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. The 27-year-old has scored twice, assisting another, which is not a great achievement. However, the Frenchman, who was capped by France and now plays for the Central African Republic plays as either a central midfielder or a defensive midfielder. This could be a position that United might be in the market for, taking the strain off Nemanja Matic, who at this moment in time is the clubs only experienced defensive minded midfielder.

United will probably require more creativity in the midfield if they do buy a player in that position this summer with Donny van de Beek linked to United but has not been the subject of many reports lately, however, former Arsenal forward Ian Wright suggested that he could sign for United – which probably means nothing. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a lot of work to do this summer in perfecting his squad. After the collapse of the past few matches, including the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, the manager will need to get his team firing, so at last they could rise to the challenge of the Premier League title once again.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United and Juventus to battle over Valencia winger Ferran Torres – reports

Manchester United could be beaten to the signature of Ferran Torres this summer if reports are to be believed. The player is said to be valued at £87 million by his club and the 20-year-old seems to have caught the eye of many clubs. Along with United and Juventus, Borussia Dortmund are said to be interested in the player.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will continue his rebuilding plan for the club this summer, despite reports that the club will not spend as much on players that they would have had the coronavirus pandemic not have happened. Spanish radio station Ondo Cero has suggested that Juventus are already in talks with the player.

It is suggested that the talks are already at a stage that signifies a ‘genuinely intensive stage’. The player’s contract at Valencia will expire next summer, which may give a buying club a bit of power in bringing down the £87 million price tag which the Spanish club has placed on the player. If Borussia Dortmund are interested, that could signify something.

In addition to United, Juventus and Dortmund being interested in Torres, it is suggested that Ajax, Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid also hold an interest in the player, so Juventus’ talks with the player could well open up a list of possibilities for the player this summer and give Valencia a chance to make some serious money.

Bayern Munich are also still deliberating as to whether they are interested in signing the player, seemingly with them trying to sign Leroy Sane from City this summer, despite them not agreeing on a price with both clubs some way apart on an agreement, so they will obviously have other players to look at should they fail.

This season at Valencia, Torres, 20, has made a total of 40 appearances so far, playing in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Supercopa, and the UEFA Champions League, scoring six goals and seven assists. It could be that United see the player as a potential should they fail to sign Jadon Sancho this summer, which could well be a likely scenario.

Valencia star Ferran Torres responds to Premier League links with Manchester United and Liverpool interested

Valencia winger Ferran Torres has seemingly poured cold water on the reports linking the player with an exit from the La Liga club this summer. Torres, 20 was linked to Manchester United and Liverpool with other clubs around Europe reportedly interested in the player. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to sign a winger this summer.

Jadon Sancho is obviously the number one choice for the right-wing position at the club, which has been a problem area for some time. However, the club, and all clubs, will need to prepare a list of other players suited for that position in case their first choice target is not attainable during the summer transfer window.

It would seem that Torres could well have been a secondary option, although lots of players who play in that position have already been linked to the Old Trafford club. Torres has become a key player for Valencia and when La Liga resumes later this month, he will be seeking to help turn the clubs fortunes around.

Barcelona, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund have also been tracking the player, presumably weighing up a move this summer. However, the player’s comments might suggest that any move could be out of the question this summer and possible beyond that. The player has a £90 million release clause and recently, speaking to Club del Deportista, said:

“For young people, La Liga is the best league there is. It is helping me a lot and I am learning all the time.

“I think I have settled in Valencia and in the division. Things are going well for me even though the team is on a bad streak, although we think we are going to turn it around.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Valencia were on a poor run in La Liga, winning just two of their previous seven matches, and the player along with his teammates will be seeking to overcome that before the end of the season. As he seems happy at the club, it could be difficult to prise him away. It is interesting that Dortmund are tracking him though.

Manchester United seem to have found a Jadon Sancho alternative this summer – reports

Manchester United are said to be close to making an official bid for Valencia winger, Ferran Torres, according to reports. The highly-rated Valencia winger could be an alternative for Jadon Sancho, who is likely to cost the Old Trafford club £100 million or more, a problem amount considering the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The 20-year-old, the same age as English winger Sancho, has done well with Los Che this season, despite the season being suspended since mid-March due to the virus. However, La Liga football will return form the 8 June, making it the second top-flight European league to make the return from suspension, the first being the Bundesliga in Germany.

Torres, who turned 20 in February, signed his current contract at the Mestalla club back in April 2018, which is due to expire in the summer of 2021, meaning the player will have one more year at the club after this summer. His future at the club could be in doubt, especially with United interested in him, if these reports are in fact true.

During the 2019/20 season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Torres has made a total of 35 appearances for the Spanish club, scoring six goals and seven assists – playing in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Champions League, and the Supercopa. He has played a total of 2,622 minutes of football this season.

When La Liga returns, Valencia sit in seventh place in the league, four points away from the Champions League places, which is where they want to be next season. If that happens, it is a possibility that this could enable the club to keep Torres, although the interest of other clubs this summer could change that if the player wants a new challenge.

United will not be the only team interested in Torres this summer though with cross city rivals Manchester City, North West rivals Liverpool, plus Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus all following the player’s progress at Valencia, seemingly making a clear run for the player difficult. The fact his value will be cut makes it more interesting.

Torres has been at Valencia for his entire career, coming through the clubs academy, playing the Valencia Mestalla and making his senior debut at the club in 2017. Since then, he has played a total of 88 appearances at the club, scoring nine goals and 11 assists, making a further 12 appearances at Mestalla, scoring one goal and five assists.

United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will probably keep and eye on Torres for the remainder of the season, with United linked to other players who could play in the right-wing position. They have probably not turned their back on Sancho just yet, but if the Bundesliga club stick to their valuation, it would be hard to see United paying £100 million.

Solskjaer is said to be interested in making three major signings this summer, which was the same last summer and the previous one, which may not make supporters happy. However, is a striker and a right-winger were signed, it would go a long way into helping United cut back the gap between them and Liverpool next season.

Ratings: Desire lacking across this Manchester United team; lots to look at for each player, changes needed…

Manchester United had the chance to overcome the obscurity against Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, only able to get a draw in a game which was lacking desire, largely from the United players. The team, if you can call it that, seemed to be on its knees and shouting for a change, no matter what that might be. The chance to end the speculation and spin some positivity was long gone against the Spanish side.

These seems to be a lot of discontent at the club right now. From the players, to the manager, right through to the supporters. If it could be called right now, there would be a big change coming, a change that will not necessarily be the right one and would set the club back by a number of years. However, it is not for me to say how things can be changed. I have no control here, just a suggestion.

The media will be happy as their endless stream of stories has been given more ammunition for the remainder of the week, which will see the discontent spread with many so-called supporters believing everything which seems to be written about the club, no matter how each story contradicts another. This will play out for the remainder of the week with United at home to Newcastle United on Saturday evening, which could be another barren match.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had little to contend with throughout the game. There were fears that he would not be playing tonight as he was not seen heading into the Lowry on Monday evening, which was obviously more of nothing than anything. His distribution was not the best but that is the least of the worries right now.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Washed up? Plenty of energy, nothing to give? The captain? These are things that suggest that Valencia has had his day. Bring in Diogo Dalot, now!

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Chris Smalling

Plenty has been said about Smalling over the years. The one thing that sticks is that he's not good enough for Manchester United. He's put in performances from time to time but consistency is key. Is able to deal with aerial challenges but lacks what is needed at the back. Some think he's better than the players Mourinho wanted this summer. Hmmmm

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3 Eric Bailly

Rusty? Lacking desire? Gave a little too much space to the visitors. Could have received a nasty unjust in the first half, which could have seen him on the sidelines again. Improved in the second half, slightly. Still not good enough for a club of this calibre though.

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23 Luke Shaw

Has the attitude his peers do not have. Got involved in the game and looked like he wanted to get stuck in and help turn things around. However, some could not have the same said about them. Shaw has worked hard to win the trust of Mourinho.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Physical presence. That is all the Belgian offers. His footballing presence is not the best but he's a threat in the box. United lacked pace in midfield with Fellaini but I guess it had to be that way.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Slow. Sluggish on the ball. Too many inaccurate passes. This season the Serbian could find himself having to up his game drastically.

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6 Paul Pogba

World Cup winner. Was it a fluke? This guy has no desire, determination and lacked the simple ability to play football tonight. A player seems to be showing his bosses that he wants to move on to pastures new. Would it really be a shame?

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed the most likely player to create something for United. His set-pieces were not the best. Had intent going forward, which cannot be said for some or most of his teammates. Not his fault.

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Romelu Lukaku

Poor first touch. Unable to be the striker. Needs to be min the box, not playing deep. He's not Wayne Rooney. Lacked movement needed for a top striker. Disconnected from his teammates. Not sure how he can improve as much as he needs to. £75 million looks like a lot of money for him this season.

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Alexis Sanchez

Missing from the start of the game. Seems dejected. Not a winger. Seems like a player that has just met his teammates, not trained with them for eight months. Not sure how this changes. That can be said for the entire squad as they are stuck in a rut they don't seem to want to get out of.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Sanchez 77'. Seemed to lack anything or note after replacing the Chilean, who has workmate with little output.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay

Bookings: Romelu Lukaku 86′

Report: A frustrating evening at Old Trafford with a team lacking desire, leadership and determination

Manchester United had the chance to overcome the obscurity against Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, only able to get a draw in a game which was lacking desire, largely from the United players. The team, if you can call it that, seemed to be on its knees and shouting for a change, no matter what that might be. The chance to end the speculation and spin some positivity was long gone against the Spanish side.

Jose Mourinho showed his passion in his programme notes ahead of the match, stating that the crest on the front of the shirt is more important than the name on the back of it, which is correct. Also suggesting that his team needed to work much harder during their matches. The media had suggestions that there were 34 blocks of tickets still to be sold for the match, which was not quite true with Old Trafford full of passionate supporters ahead of kick off, despite a slight delay to the game because of traffic.

United started the game in fine fettle, seeking an early goal. Marcus Rashford seemed the most likely to score in the opening stages, playing well and getting himself into the advanced areas of the final third at the Theatre of Dreams. Paul Pogba nearly created something for his side in the ninth minute of the match, touching the ball slightly to get it to Romelu Lukaku, who was flagged offside, which might have been the wrong call by the linesman.

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Rashford had a great chance to open up the scoring in the 15th minute of the match after a sublime run, on the ball. However, his shot was narrowly wide of the target with Valencia seemingly getting away with it. United were still trying to settle in the game at the half way stage of the first half, with the tempo of the game dropping, slightly. Valencia were doing well to keep United on their toes at times with commentary on BT Sport suggesting there were much better than they actually were.

United had lost intensity in the game and everything was being down slowly, seemingly at walking pace. There are positives to be seen though, especially from the last three matches, which all ended unfavourably for United. However, there was still bags of room to grow and improve, which is all we want to see this season. With the matches coming up for United, getting into some sort of form in majorly important.

United had a chance to gain something from the first half after Pogba won a free-kick after being fouled by Michy Batshuayi. Alexis Sanchez took the free-kick, which was dealt with by the Valencia wall, headed away comfortably, which is something United failed to capitalise from, at this stage in the game. There was a stoppage with ten minutes of the first half to go after Eric Bailly seemed to be elbowed in the throat, going down looking in trouble. Victor Lindelof was then warming up on the sidelines.

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Bailly was able to continue but gave away a foul minutes later after taking Batshuayi out with United on the advance in Valencia’s half. After some end to end football in the final few minutes of the first half, Bailly won a free-kick, in his own half, after Batshuayi fouled him on the edge of United’s box. United, from the free-kick, rushed forward and aimed to score before half-time. The ball was put out of play and Pogba through his side should have earned a penalty, which would have been the wrong decision.

There were three minutes of added time at the end of the first half. United seemed to pick up the pace looking for something to have the edge on the Spanish side during the break. However, that was not something that was going to happen. There will probably be some words said in the dressing room during the break with Mourinho looking to see something from his side in the second half, something to earn a much-needed victory which would help turn the tables on the disaster with was last week for United.

The second half started with no changes for either team. It was more of the same from United though. Lacklustre football, boring in fact, nothing being strung together and another show that United’s team was nothing of such, just a conglomeration of players who may have big names but do not possess any sort of desire to win for the club that pays their wages or the supporters that help bring the money into the club to pay the said wages.

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United won a corner in the 53rd minute of the match. Rashford took the said corner, which headed straight into the arms of Neto, Valencia’s goalkeeper. The likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, and Nicky Butt were all at Old Trafford to witness this match, none of them looking thrilled to see the way this team is playing, or at least trying to. It does not seem like this club has any professional players on the books right now.

United won another corner in the 58th minute of the match, Rashford stepped up to take it again which was put behind for another corner, thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia. The second corner came to nothing, just like all the others. United won a free-kick in Valencia’s half, Pogba stepping up to take it with Sanchez rushing into the box. The shot, seemingly directly towards the goalkeeper. United has a succession of chances to get something on target, ending with nothing other than a Valencia free-kick.

United had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the 71st minute after Lukaku was set free but his shot, which was from some distance, at an angle, was on target but not a threat to Neto. Mourinho made his first change in the 77th minute, bringing on Anthony Martial for Sanchez, which was a much-needed change with Sanchez offering very little, seemingly looking like a mistake the club should have let City take the risk on.

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United won another free-kick in a dangerous area, the third in this game. Lukaku took the set-piece, which was dealt with by the Valencia wall with United seemingly back to the drawing board to try and win this game, which was looking increasingly unlikely at this stage. Martial was fouled on the edge of the box in the 85th minute of the game. The supporters wanted a penalty, a free-kick was given. Was this the time for United to get the goal they needed, no matter how scruffy?

Rashford took the set-piece and slightly grazed the crossbar from his great technique. United won a corner, which was taken by Luke Shaw, connecting with Lukaku in the box, who headed towards goal, which was straight over the crossbar, not threatening Neto. Three minutes of added time were to be played at the end of the second half, with enough time for either team to grasp a victory in what has been a lifeless match, from both teams.

Marouane Fellaini reacted well in the box from a free-kick, unable to find the back of the net, but winning another corner. It was enough to add some pressure at the end of the match but not enough to find something to win the game for United. The game ended with a draw, a lacklustre draw at that. There were boos from the crowd, which suggested the Old Trafford faithful were not too happy with what they had endured. This one will surely play out for another few days before Newcastle United rock up in town on Saturday.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay

Bookings: Romelu Lukaku 86′

Confirmed Starting XI: David De Gea starts for Manchester United; journalists putting two and two together, again!

Manchester United face a must win clash with Spanish side Valencia in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford this evening. It has been a turbulent start to the season for United, who are winless in their last three matches, played after their last victory which was in the Champions League in Switzerland when United beat Young Boys 3-0. Jose Mourinho will be seeking a way to get the best from his team, something that the players have not been giving for some time now.

The lack of anything happening has seen Mourinho linked with another sacking, albeit by the media and the so-called United supporters who always seem to think they know so much more, always looking to another saviour of the club, which this time seems to be Zinedine Zidane, who is linked with a directorial role at former club Juventus at this moment in time. It does not look good for Mourinho though as players have seemingly given up, which says a lot more about the group of players than it does the manager.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw;

Fellaini, Matic, Pogba;

Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez

Substitutes:

Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay; Martial

United have a history against Valencia. Eight competitive matches have been played in the history of both clubs, all in UEFA competitions. United have won twice, drawn five times, losing one fixture. It has been about ten years since the last fixture against the Spanish side, who like United, have not had a very positive start to the new season. Both teams will be seeking to find something in this match – United continuing their unbeaten start in the Champions League, Valencia searching for their first win in the competition.

Preview: Manchester United v Valencia – UEFA Champions League 2018/19

Manchester United v Valencia

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 2 October 2018; KO 20:00 BST

Manchester United embark on what will be seen as a big fixture against Valencia in the UEFA Champions League at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. United have played once in the elite European competition so far this season, beating Young Boys 3-0. Having both Valencia and Juventus in the group means that United will have four fixtures against big European teams, either all or some they will have to win and avoid defeat in others.

Right now though, after a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, a 2-2 draw which turned into an 8-7 penalty defeat to Derby County in the Carabao Cup, which was followed by a 3-1 defeat against West Ham United in the Premier League, means that United manager Jose Mourinho and his team need to find a way out of the current rut. This maybe something that continues throughout the season, or ends with little notice given.

Pre-Match Thoughts: Everything might seem barren now but it could all change at the drop of a hat…

Personally, I have not been impressed by the club this season. The failure to back the manager in the summer, who wanted an experienced central defender and an attacking player, who would play on the right-wing, a position that has been lacked reinforcement since the David Moyes season. With Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, stating that the players the manager wanted were no better than the club already had, meant the same as Sir Alex Ferguson’s “no value in the market” comments, to me.

If a club is not going to back a manager, which months before signed a new contract extension, that means the manager’s thought are not valued at the club by any of the hierarchy, most of whom have no knowledge of football, but plenty from a commercial aspect. To me, that states another of the problems the club is facing right now. It has been more than five years since Ferguson retired and Manchester United’s identity has disappeared.

The players seem to not be playing for the manager. They also do not appear to be playing for themselves, their teammates, the supporters, of which they would not have a career if they were not there, or the substantial wages they earn on a weekly basis. These player are multi-millionaires, they can never be questioned, often seem to be supported by their own fans and can’t seem to put a foot wrong. You would think it was the manager on the pitch as he is the one that is always blamed.

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The thing is, that if these players are not playing for the manager, seemingly trying to orchestrate a sacking, it will show the lack of professionalism that footballers have since the money started to pour in for them. The wages are staggering. No person on this planet if worth that amount of money each week. If workers in a warehouse, or anywhere else, downed tools for their manager, the sack would soon follow, which, in turn, would make it much harder to get a job. In football, it seems easy to move on after the sack.

Some players lack respect. Whether it be for their manager, their teammates, the fans, the club or a combination of all of those, it is wrong. We all have to do things in life that we do not want to do. It helps define what we become. Imagine if you were so set in your ways and acted so spoilt and downed tools when you did not want to do something, if everyone was doing it everywhere, it would be frustrating, wouldn’t it? It’s happening in football now. No player is bigger than the club and they should back their manager.

The hierarchy of the club makes the decisions, not the players. If you succumb to player power once, you lose your identity. If you keep succumbing to player power, that lost identity is not something that you will ever find again. Players are there to play, not control who tells them what to do. Player power in football is on the rise. It needs to be quelled sooner rather than later. The damage to come from all this will affect the players when the financial bubble within football bursts. Then who will be to blame?

Team News: Four players will miss the Valencia clash at Old Trafford…

Mourinho has confirmed that for players will be missing from the squad as his side prepare to face Valencia on Tuesday evening. Ashley Young was injured in the defeat to West Ham on Saturday with Marcos Rojo, Jesse Lingard and now Ander Herrera all being on the sidelines. Young captained United on Saturday, playing in the right-back role. This will mean that either Antonio Valencia or Diogo Dalot will replace Young in the side, the latter being more preferable.

Alexis Sanchez played no part in the defeat at the London Stadium, which could see a rested Chilean face the Spanish side at Old Trafford. It would be good to see a new formation, one which favours attacking football which incorporates to up front, which could see the best out of both strikers. Something needs to give or we are going to see a lot of frustration from the manager, the players, the coaching staff and the supporters this season.

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Predicted Starting XI: A change of formation to bring a new attacking mentality to the club. Taking risks is what needs to happen…

Mourinho is a pragmatic coach. He prefers to play it safe and defend, rather than go all out attack in matches. In the past it has been much different for him but he had teams which he could trust, at least defensively. Right now, I would not risk anything with the defence United have. So far this season, they have leaked 14 goals in nine matches, which is poor compared to last season. In the Premier League, United have leaked 12 goals. Last season, in 38 matches, they leaked a total of 28 goals.

Romelu Lukaku seems to be maligned right now and needs something to turn his disappointing season around. United need creativity and players who can find the back of the net. Playing with two strikers might change the luck with both Lukaku and Marcus Rashford leading the line with Alexis Sanchez behind them. It will either work or it will not. To try will see whether this team is capable of these changes. Supporters moan about the number of tactical changes this season, but if something is not working, what do you do?

Match Prediction: Manchester United and Valencia both needing a win at this moment in time to overturn a poor start to the season…

Manchester United need a victory more than ever right now. Technically, they have only lost one match in the last six. The defeat to Derby was on penalties and will be seen as a draw inside 90 minutes. That does not mean it is alright. The form of the team may not be great, but the results they have attained after losing back-to-back matches against Brighton and Hove Albion (3-2) and Tottenham Hotspur (3-0) have largely been positive.

United have beaten Burnley (2-0), Watford (2-1), Young Boys (3-0), drawing against Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-1). After the Derby defeat on penalties, United were humiliated by West Ham in a 3-1 defeat last weekend. It would seem that in the past three matches, United’s players were just not trying. If they were, it brings a far more worrying scenario to the club.

Valencia have had a much poorer start to their season, winning their first game at the weekend, beating Real Sociedad 1-0 away from home. They have endured five draws, one defeat and one victory in their seven opening matches of the La Liga season, also being beaten 2-0 by Juventus in their opening Champions League match. To say both teams will meet in similar scenarios may not be right, but both need to get a result in that match in order to turn the tides of their respective poor seasons so far.

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Manchester United 2-1 Valencia

Carlos Soler banging on the door at Old Trafford as he wishes to leave Valencia?

Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler has reportedly begged his club to let him leave for Manchester United in January. During the summer, Soler was linked to the Old Trafford club with Jose Mourinho seemingly interested in the Spaniard. At the time of the initial interest, Soler was available for €8 million at the time, which was in the form of a release clause. At the end of last season, after the player had played a number of first team matches, that release clause reached €30 million.

The latest reports suggest £45 million, which is a pretty good fee for a player of Soler’s calibre, especially in the current market which is heavily inflated because of teams like Manchester City and Paris Saint-German having the funds to spend millions on players. United and Mourinho have apparently sounded out the 20-year-old Spaniard about a move to the Theatre of Dreams with the Portuguese manager seeking more creativity from his midfield, especially after Paul Pogba spent the last two months out of action due to injury – it would seem Soler could be the player to offer that.

Soler has played almost every match for Valencia this season, sitting on the bench against Espanyol on Sunday, and he has been outstanding for them – which seems to have raised the clubs confidence which in turn has lifted them to second in La Liga table, seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona, but more importantly three points clear of both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid with a game in hand, played today, which if they win could see the club six points above the Madrid clubs. Soler’s form has seen some of Europe’s biggest clubs turn their attention to the player.

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This attention has seen Valencia put a £75 million price tag on the player but with the clubs current financial difficulties, a deal would be reached for the player. Manchester United are reported to value Soler around the £40 million mark, which is shy of the £75 million price on the player. Soler, according to The Sun, has ‘demanded Valencia thrash out a deal’ with United with the payer interested in a move once the January transfer window opens, which is not normally a window United bring in many new signings.

Valencia may be interested in a deal as they currently have Andreas Pereira on loan with the club and at the end of the day, the player will have lost a lot of respect from the manager after he forced his way out of the club in the summer, which was something Mourinho did not want to happen. If Pereira had stayed, he would have needed to fight for his position at the club but could have been utilised when Pogba and Marouane Fellaini were injured, which could have earned him a more permanent role. Leaving on loan suggests he does not have what it takes to fight for a position.

Pereira is a talented lad but these things do not go unnoticed by many which in turn could see his future at the club effectively ignored with other players getting themselves ahead of him in the pecking order, Scott McTominay one of the players who has done so on this occasion. Pereira, should Valencia be happy with him so far this season, could be used as a sweetener for the Soler deal which will give United a player they crave a little more than Pereira. Valencia reportedly retain some interest in Fellaini also, who will be a free agent in the summer if he is not afforded a new contract.

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What type of player is Carlos Soler?

Many will ask what sort of player Soler is. He is a midfielder who can play a number of positions whether that be in a deeper role, an advanced role or somewhere in between – it does not seem to matter to him. The Spaniard is quick and direct and is seen roaming around the midfield waiting for a pass which will see him advance with the ball. Soler is not afraid to get into the faces of his opposition and will attempt to get through the defence – whether it be for him to shoot or set up a teammate with a key pass or an opportunity to score. He’s not Paul Pogba, but a great talent to have.

Soler prefers an attacking midfielder role, which will work in a number of formations. Mourinho has tried many different formations since becoming United manager, seemingly preferring a three at the back formation, which with Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic now both in contention, a 3-5-2 formation may benefit United with two strikers, three defenders, two wing-backs and three midfielders, one of which could be Soler, which would see creativity, energy and strength added to the midfield – a midfield three is something Pogba prefers too.

Soler is a player who is tactically aware and always has the knack of getting into those dangerous positions. Despite this, Soler is not a player who will neglect areas, which sees him drop deep to seek possession of the ball. When he has the ball, Soler is the type of player who can provide passes to the wide players or even bring a counter-attack forward, which would be beneficial to both Lukaku and Ibrahimovic, not to mention Pogba, Anthony Martial or even Marcus Rashford, depending on who is playing in the wide roles or as the attacking players.

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Strengths and weaknesses are part and parcel for everyone, here are Carlos Soler’s

One of Soler’s strengths is his pace and he has bags of it. This is perfect for a player to be the transition between the defence and the attack, which is what the midfield is meant to do, some more than others at least. Soler can also be that driving force between the midfield and the attack, using his tactical awareness to get into dangerous positions, helping out the forward players or even going for goal himself. Soler is around six feet tall and is of slender build, but looks can be deceptive and despite his build, Soler has bags of strength too. His awareness of the game is a strength

His awareness of the game is a strength which allows him to change the tempo of the game, something which United could benefit from in the coming years, especially after Michael Carrick has hung up his boots. Soler has the ability to spark a counter-attack, which is beneficial in this game. His ability to be flexible is another strength, seemingly preferring an attacking midfield role but being flexible which has seen him play as a deep-lying playmaker, even as a wide player, which would be good to have.

In terms of weaknesses, Soler’s age will play a part. At 20, 21 on the 2nd January 2018, he has a lot to learn about the game and by no means knows it all. His ability to attack is great, but defending is a problem, which would mean he would need to be bailed out, should he be caught in a deep-lying role with the ball. United have the quality in defence to nullify this and many attacking players will be in the same boat in terms of defending. His decision-making, especially from dead ball situations will need some improvement.

Obviously, with age comes experience, and playing in a tougher league will bring bags of that. If Jose Mourinho and his team of scouts have seen something they like about Soler, and the interest is solid, then he should be afforded the chance to show the Premier League what he can do. Soler has not played in any European competitions this season, so will not be cup-tied in the UEFA Champions League, which will be a plus point if his transfer goes through. He will also be free to play in the Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, if United are still in both if/when he signs.

copyright: JW