Posts Tagged ‘Man United’

Football

Pepe Reina on his way to Man United? David Dea Gea heading for the exit door?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

Pepe Reina to Arsenal was a key story before the transfer window opened, but now it appears that the Liverpool FC Spanish keeper is interesting not just Arsene Wenger but Sir Alex Ferguson too.

According to The Mirror Fergie is ready to sell David De Gea and buy a new goalkeeper this month with Liverpool’s Pepe Reina a target.

Ferguson has apparently asked David Gill and the club’s American owners to provide funds for a new keeper, and the Scot is understood to be keen to find a goalkeeper who can play in the Champions League during the second half of the season.

Reina looks like he is surplus to requirements at Liverpool with the form of Brad Jones and the mooted move of Birmingham City’s Jack Butland.

Still, although De Gea hasn’t quite worked out in the Premiership – he seems very suspect on crosses – replacing the keeper who Ferguson spent big money on after so short a time seems bizarre.

If Butland does arrive Reina will be available and with Arsenal’s courtship of the Liverpool keeper seemingly gone cold, Fergie could easily tie up a deal. Butland is apparently interesting Arsene Wenger too.

Read our top transfer targets of the window here.



Football

Would Frank Lampard leave Chelsea for another Premiership club? Everton? Man United? Arsenal?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

So it appears that Frank Lampard is on his way out of Chelsea. The departure of the 34 year old midfielder, who has been at the club for 11 years, has a whiff of ravens leaving the Tower of London about it. But his exit from the Blues was pretty much confirmed at the weekend with the player expected to depart in the summer.

But where will Frank be off to next? According to Goal today he isn’t short of offers. The website says that Everton have already had an offer rejected and that Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs who have asked to be kept informed of the 34-year-old’s situation. The Daily Mail is running the story too.

At first glance it seems unlikely that the ultra loyal Lampard would ever go and play for one of Chelsea’s rivals. However, he does want to continue playing and, according to Goal again has ruled out a stint in Italy or Spain.

The obvious destination for the player would then be the MLS following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

The key question though is does the player think his carer at a top level is finished? And is now the right time to head west? Given his time again would Beckham have moved to the MLS when he did when he arguably had at least a couple of years when he could have played in a premium European league? Lampard is older than Beckham was when he moved to the Galaxy, but the Chelsea player seems very fit, not too lacking in speed or agility and certainly still has a keen eye for as goal.

Maybe it is due to diet, or better injury management, but over footballers seem to be playing longer and older players are more in demand than they used to be. Van Persie went for £25 million while nudging 30, and Arsenal may be about to spend £16 million on a 31 year old. At United Scholes and Giggs, who are closer to 40, seem to be going on forever.

Lampard might be too ‘True Blue’ to consider signing for one of Chelsea’s direct rivals, but then again he knows he will have one last big pay day and maybe money might trump sentimental loyalty. And would the move to United be so bad? Fergie apparently would sign the player tomorrow and the way in which the United boss has extended the careers of several of his players might swing it.

The other alternative would be a return to his first club West Ham. With Cole now at the club and move to the Olympic Stadium in the offing I wonder if Frank might see the East London club as a project that he could help develop.

Pic Mark Freeman (Wikipedia)



Football

Man United and Spurs battle to sign Wilfried Zaha

By Stefano on January 6th, 2013

With Arsenal dropping out of the race (possibly because the deal with Theo Walcott is as good as done) Man United and Spurs have been battling it out for the signature of Crystal Palace’s highly promising winger Wilfried Zaha. Spurs were apparently first to contact the club about the winger, but Fergie, a huge fan of the player has been monitoring the progress of the talks.

According to The Mirror
it is Spurs who are in pole position.

Manchester United boss Fergie has now made an official move for the Eagles kid, but Palace supremo Steve Parish is refusing to talk to the Old Trafford giants.

And Ferguson will be furious to discover that Parish will meet Tottenham supremo Levy tomorrow to thrash out Zaha’s future.

The two clubs are already at loggerheads over Spurs’ deal for Ezekiel Fryers.

The Mail reports that Spurs bid for Zaha is around £10 million and part of the deal is that the player would have to be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

Read our top transfer target list here

Pic from Wikipedia



Football

Theo Walcott to sign new Arsenal contract. Wenger ends interest in Zaha, says Talksport

By Stefano on January 2nd, 2013

Talksport has an exclusive, which if proved true, could be one of the hottest transfer stories in January. They believe that Arsene Wenger is about to make his first signing of the window - Theo Walcott.

They say

“Reports have emerged from the Emirates that the former Southampton winger is ready to agree a new deal, having had various requirements met.”

Sky Sports is also reporting that Walcott is in news talks with the club today and that they expect a clear position on his future by the end of the day.

The down side for Arsenal fans is that Talksport also believes that Walcott signing will mean the Gunners cool their interest in Crystal Palace’s precocious star Wilfried Zaha.

The article also suggests that Arsenal remain in the market for other players with David Villa and Arda Turan on Arsene Wenger’s radar.

There have been positive noises coming out of The Emirates about Theo Walcott, so I don’t think many people will be too surprised if he re-signs. Arsenal are also not short of wide players, though they will lose one of them, Gervinho to the Africa Cup Of Nations, so cooling interest in Zaha isn’t too much of a shock. Not buying a winger thought would also rule out Turan. I do wonder if Arsenal’s main deal this winter will turn out to be Adrian Lopez who can play anywhere across the front three.

United are known to be very keen on Zaha, as are Spurs. Ferguson could even let him stay at palace on loan for the rest of the season. Zaha recently stated that he was ready to play Premiership football.

Here’s who else Arsene Wenger is considering signing this winter.



Football

Mancini tells BBC that Robin Van Persie could cost City the title

By Stefano on January 1st, 2013

A few weeks ago we ran a story about how had Arsenal kept Robin Van Persie for another season and his goal rate stayed the same they would be top of the Premiership and Man United would have been mid-table stragglers.

Now someone else is declaring that the Dutchman is the difference between the sides competing for the title.

Roberto Mancini told the BBC “Robin van Persie is a very important player for United. He has changed their situation. He is the difference between us.”

Mancini went on to add that he got very close to signing the striker. “We were very close. We were sure he was for us but this did not happen and now we can do nothing. We were very close three or four months before he joined United.”

Here’s the theory on Van Persie’s influence on United as initially outlined by the Mail’s Martin Samuels.

United have gone behind to the first goal of the game in 10 Premier League matches and in seven have come back to win. Of those seven, five have featured crucial goals from Van Persie, including the equaliser against Fulham, a hat-trick against Southampton and the winner against Liverpool.

Now consider Arsenal with Van Persie’s 10 league goals this season added to their total. Supplement a single goal from Van Persie to the draws with Sunderland, Stoke City, Manchester City, Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton; add an equaliser to the one-goal defeats by Chelsea, Norwich City and Manchester United. That is a difference of 15 points, or the current spread between Manchester United (top, 36 points) and Arsenal (10th, 21).



Football

Is Ronaldo really coming back to Man United? Can they afford him?

By Stefano on December 31st, 2012

The phoney war ends tomorrow and the 2013 transfer window finally opens. One story that is likely to rumble on throughout January though probably won’t reach any conclusion, revolves around the future of one Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to The Sun the Portuguese striker has been making noises recently that he is unhappy with his lot at Real Madrid. He has two years left on his contract and suggested that he would not be renewing it. The Sun also reported that he would consider a move back to United, but could they fund the mega bucks deal needed to sign him?

Today’s Sun thinks they could. It says…

If Ronaldo genuinely wants to leave, then Real’s asking price will tumble and players will come into the negotiations. The fee would be around £60m with David de Gea and possibly Nani joining Real.

So does he want to go? Who knows? After all this might just be a ploy to wrangle a few more million pounds a year to stay. If he does want to go then there are very few clubs in the world that could genuinely afford him. Front runners would be Paris St Germain, but Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala would also be in the frame and possibly a Chinese team or two.

And then there’s United. Fergie is apparently still close to the star and The Sun thinks that funded by shirt sales United could breaking the bank and make him an astronomic wage deal. The Sun thinks they could go as high as £300k a week. So would you break the bank to bring Ronaldo back?



Football

Nani to Arsenal – apparently it is back on, but what about Zaha?

By Stefano on December 29th, 2012

If you thought that the Nani to Arsenal rumour was just the figment of an over active sports writer’s brain you might be forced to think again. The Mirror is today reporting that the United winger might be on his way to Arsenal as Arsene Wenger looks to strengthen his squad.

Wenger has a bit of a dilemma about who he should play on the wings at then moment. Gervinho will shortly be off to the African Cup Of Nations ,while Andre Arshavin appears to be on his way to Reading. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has looked impressive recently but clearly needs to be brought on slowly. And as for Theo Walcott, Wenger seems to be agreeing to his wish to play up front in a bid to keep him at The Emirates.

Nani, who has barely featured for the Reds this season, is a an experienced campaigner who would add depth to the squad. Not everyone would be keen on his arrival though. In the comments on this link he features as one of the five players Arsenal fans hate most of all.

There’s no direct quotes in the Mirror article so make of it what you will.

According to the paper Wenger is very keen on Wilfried Zaha, Pepe Reina, and Southampton Left back Luke Shaw. There alsoa appears to be a bit of a buzz about Yann M’Villa  again. Odd that there aren’t any strikers on that list though. Also the Zaha to Arsenal bandwagon seems to have stalled a little. The player, who has been in scintillating form for Palace this year, is an Arsenal fan who, according to hearsay, favours a move to London Premiership club, however only Spurs have declared their intention to sign the winger so far.

Image PA



pick of the blogs

Hot stuff: United’s win against Newcastle pics, 10 worst ever toys, ungrateful kids on Twitter

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Top stories from Brandish and our pals

The ten worst ever toys

Great shots of bonkers Christmas day sea swimmers

This year’s most ungrateful kids, courtesy of Twitter

10 things we changed our minds about in 2012 – from the unsackability of Arsene Wenger to The Olympics

The five best kids TV programmes ever (for adults). Press Gang, Phineas and Ferb and more

15 blokes to watch in 2012 – from football, style, tech and more

That controversial Berbatov shirt

Redknapp’s sense of humour failure

United’s amazing comeback against Newcastle in pics

Forget MP3 we want records – the vinyl revival continues

 



Football

Robert Lewandowski on his way to Man United says German paper – but who is leaving?

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

A pretty reliable source – German newspaper Bild – has claimed that Borussia Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski will join Manchester United this summer.

Polish striker Lewandowski had an impressive Euro 212 and has scored fourteen goals for Dortmund so far this season. Sir Alex Ferguson also sees a major advantage in linking Lewandowski with his former Dortmund colleague Shinji Kagawa.

Bild says that a €22million bid will be enough to land the 24-year-old, and he will pick up £100,000 a week at Old Trafford.

If true the big question then is who, if anyone, will be leaving Old Trafford in the summer? In Van Persie, Hernandez, Wellbeck and Rooney Ferguson already has the most potent striking force in the Premiership. Five strikers, three of which are on very sizable wages might be difficult to maintain from a financial point of view. Also would Rooney or Van Persie expect not to be an automatic starter. Rooney’s form has been inconsistent this season. He has been sporadically brilliant but then has disappeared in games too. Lewandowski’s arrival does raise the tantalising prospect that Fergie might consider cashing in on his English striker.

Images PA



Football

Good news for Man United – six of the last eight Christmas Premiership leaders won the title

By Stefano on December 24th, 2012

So which Premiership manager has Santa for good news for this year?

It could have been so much better for Fergie. Well if United had sneaked a winner against Swansea and Mike Dean ruled out Gareth Barry’s last minute winner for City against QPR. But the United boss still finds his team four points clear of City at Christmas and five clear of Chelsea (and that’s assuming they win both of their games in hand).

United have been here many items before and if recent years are anything to go by, come May it will be the Red half of Manchester that will be celebrating. If you look at the statistics below six times out of the last eight seasons the club that is top at Christmas has gone on to win the Premiership.

The two exceptions are Liverpool who were overtaken by United in 2008-09 and 2007-08 where Arsenal threw away a winning position and ended up in third. That was famously the season in which Eduardo suffered his crippling injury in a game against Birmingham City in February, an incident that apparently shocked the team so much they never really recovered.

If you delve further back in the Premiership the number of Christmas leaders who went on to win the title declines a little – just seven times out of last twelve seasons.

So can we rule out Chelsea as title contenders then? Well if you look at the season 2008-09 United weren’t even in the top three at Christmas but went on to scoop the title that May. So in theory you can’t rule out any of the four teams currently on 30 points – but they would be a very long shot.

So what do you think will have the most impact on the title race in the coming weeks? I think how quickly Vidic settles again at United and how much he shores up what still looks like a porous defence. Keeping Van Persie injury free would help too and Rooney needs to re-capture some of his old form. I wonder too if the 8-0 thrashing of Villa might energise Chelsea to the point where their incredibly strong squad starts to deliver on their promise.

As for fourth place Arsenal would appear to be favourites. They have a few winnable games on the bounce, will strengthen in January and have been there many times before. If Spurs or Everton find some consistency they could run them close.

Here are the Christmas and final tables for the last ten years.

2002-03
1. Arsenal 39
2. Chelsea 37
3. Man Utd 35

1. Man Utd 83
2. Arsenal 78
3. Newcastle 69

2003-04
1. Man Utd 40
2. Arsenal 39
3. Chelsea 39

1. Arsenal 90
2. Chelsea 79
3. Man Utd 75

2004-05
1. Chelsea 43
2. Arsenal 38
3. Everton 37

1. Chelsea 95
2. Arsenal 83
3. Man Utd 77

2005-06
1. Chelsea 46
2. Man Utd 37
3. Liverpool 31

1. Chelsea 91
2. Man Utd 83
3. Liverpool 82

2006-07
1. Man Utd 47
2. Chelsea 45
3. Liverpool 34

1. Man Utd 89
2. Chelsea 83
3. Liverpool 68

2007-08
1. Arsenal 43
2. Man Utd 42
3. Chelsea 37

1. Man Utd 87
2. Chelsea 85
3. Arsenal 83

2008-09
1. Liverpool 39
2. Chelsea 38
3. Aston Villa 34

1. Man Utd 90
2. Liverpool 86
3. Chelsea 83

2009-10
1. Chelsea 41
2. Man Utd 37
3. Arsenal 35

1. Chelsea 86
2. Man Utd 85
3. Arsenal 75

2010-11

1. Man Utd 34
2. Arsenal 32
3. Man City 32

1. Man Utd 80
2. Chelsea 71
3. Man City 71

2011-12
1. Man City 44
2. Man Utd 42
3. Spurs 35

1. Man City 89
2. Man Utd 89
3. Arsenal 70

2012-13
1. Man Utd 43
2. Man City 39
3. Chelsea 32

Pic PA

People dressed as Father Christmas take part in the Great Edinburgh Santa Run, at West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, in aid of the When You Wish Upon A Star charity.



Football

Theo Walcott is on his way to United/Chelsea/City/Juve/nowhere

By Stefano on December 14th, 2012

There’s a lot of news about Arsenal’s speedy winger this morning, though, let’s just say that very little of it falls into ‘from the horse’s mouth’ category and you should take it all with a tankard of salt.

Until a few weeks ago it seemed that Theo Walcott would possibly end up at Liverpool leading the line alongside Suarez. Then Arsenal fans were given a  glimmer of hope with Wenger stating that he wouldn’t let the player go and that he would be with Arsenal til the end of the season at least.

Yesterday it seemed that the new frontrunners for Walcott were United who are hoping to rekindle the Van Persie/Walcott partnership that spawned so many goals last season.

Today the baton has been passed on to Chelsea. The Sun reckons that Benitez will test Arsenal’s resolve with a £15 million bid for Walcott (who remember, can walk away for nothing at the end of the season) and that because he likes living in London he favours the westward move.

But what’s this? It appears that Juve are happy to give Walcott the £95k a week has has asked for and we shouldn’t forget City who have been making noises about Walcott for a while now.

And in all this time neither Arsene Wenger or Theo Walcott has said anything meaningful about his situation. Expect this one to (like its subject) run and run.

Pic PA

 



Football

Barcelona has highest number of its players in European elite leagues – but you’ll never guess who is second

By Stefano on December 13th, 2012

A few years ago I wondered if Arsenal had the highest number of its ex-players in the Premiership. It seemed that every club had their own product of the Arsenal youth team whether they be a Sidwell, Hoyte or a Bothroyd.

However the latest figures of who has the most of its players (ok you can call some of them rejects) playing in Elite Leagues across Europe have been compiled by the always excellent Sporting Intelligence and you can guess who is top.

Yep those crafty Catalans of Barcelona have produced 38 players at top-flight clubs in either Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga 1 or France’s Ligue 1.

The post classifies the words ‘produced’ as

A player spent three or more years within the development programme of the club in question specifically between the ages of 15 and 21, which are considered a footballer’s most important ‘formative’ years.

The big surprise is whose academy is in second. Nope it is not Arsenal (a lowly 13th), United (5th), Bayern Munich (6th) or even Real Madrid (3rd,) but French side Olympique Lyonnais which has 31 players in the elite leagues. The list of their ex players is hugely impressive and you can see it here. I guess their high showing, along with the even more unlikely Stade Rennais who nabbed 4th, is because they not only ship out players to other French teams but also get their best players snapped up by English and Italian teams. Notable graduates from the Rennes academy include; Petr Čech, Stéphane Mbia and Jimmy Briand.

Aston Villa, Spurs, West Ham and Newcastle all make the 40, but there’s no sign of moneybags Chelsea and Man City.

Pic from PA



Football

More good news for United – Vidic is back for the Sunderland game. But for how long?

By Stefano on December 12th, 2012

If United have really missed one player this season it has been their talismanic captain Nemanja Vidic. While things look good for Fergie and the boys at the moment with that six point gap opening up against City and other would be rivals like Arsenal and Chelsea in disarray, the Reds clearly have some defensive issues to address.

Vidic suffered a knee injury during a Champions League match with Galatasaray on 19 September. And since then many pundits have said that his absence has been one of the main reasons why United have let in so many goals (21 and counting) this far in the Premiership season.

However even before his injury Vidic played in all four Premiership games which United conceded five goals – including the 1-0 opening day defeat at Everton. So in many ways United’s relatively poor defensive record has been maintained all season.

“It would have been crazy to play him against City, but against Sunderland – definitely. In the last 18 months he has only had 10 games or something,” Alex Ferguson told The Mirror.

“He is a battler, a real competitor. That uncompromising way of his – he likes defending, that’s what it is. Absolutely, he gives us the options.”

Vidic’s return certainly gives Ferguson options. But how long will he play for? Vidic is 31 now and might just be heading towards the end of a glittering career. His lack of match practice might cause even more problems for United in the short term.

However, I doubt is Fergie is losing too much sleep over any defensive frailties for now. With RVP and Rooney on this sort of form you would always expect United to score at least one more than the opposition.  And United remain red hot favourites for the title.

Pic PA



Football

Five reasons why the title race is not over – Van Persie, the Champions League, Wesley Sneijder and more

By Stefano on December 10th, 2012

So Manchester United suddenly have a six point gap over their noisy neighbours. Coupled with the psychological advantages of beating their local rivals some pundits are already calling the title for the Reds. But there is still a long way to go this season and here are five reasons why the title race clearly isn’t over.

1 City don’t have to worry about the Champions League - If United progress in the competition it brings an added pressure on the team. During those weeks City will be training and resting. You would expect United to possibly drop points after CL games which should reduce the deficit.

2 City will strengthen during the window – It is pretty clear that Mario Balotelli is on his way out of The Etihad. With the controversial Italian gone City will have room to enhance their squad. A key move would be if they were to sign Wesley Sneijder. City’s financial prowess has put them in prime position to nab the Dutchman

3 The Van Persie factor – Without RVP’s late goals (including another yesterday) United would possibly not even be in the top five this season. In almost every season that he has played in England the Dutchman has been out over an extended period with an injury. He avoided a trip to the treatment table last season, whether he can play another full season remains to be seen.

4 City will improve – They have been a shadow of the team that won the Premiership. Surely they will get better as the season progresses.

5 A lot of teams are getting stronger - After their recent run of form you wouldn’t bet against Liverpool being in the mix for a Champions League place. Arsene Wenger won’t have a job unless Arsenal strengthen significantly in the window. Then there’s Chelsea who, if they put a run together are not out of the title race yet. They could all have an impact on the race.

So this weekend has put United in pole position, but you can bet there will be many twists and turns to come this season.



Football

Now Fergie wants Zaha at United, and has a cunning plan to land him

By Stefano on December 9th, 2012

In case you hadn’t  noticed the transfer window is now just three weeks away and one player who is set to become one of the most in demand over that period is Wilfried Zaha.

The Palace winger has long been a target for Arsenal and now it appears other premiership clubs are keen to land him too. Step forward Sir Alex Ferguson who not only has a £10 million bid in the pipeline, according to the Mail, but also is willing to let Zaha stay at Palace for the rest of the season. United have already done a similar deal 2010 when they bought £8m defender Chris Smalling from Fulham but allowed the defender to stay at the club.

The deal could prove very attractive  to promotion chasing Palace whose boss, Ian Holloway  is adamant that he doesn’t want to let Zaha go in the transfer window.

It could be hugely bad news for Arsenal who appear to have earmarked Zaha as a replacement for Theo Walcott, who seems destined to be leaving the club in the window. Wenger clearly would want Zaha in Arsenal colours a lot sooner than August.




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