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16 Sep 2020 08:47:15
anyone heard more about the possibility of 12000 fans being at the game Saturday?

with the rate of cases going up i can see the season being halted again,

can clubs survive not having fans back in stadiums, i know peoples lives come first but we have seen it already with pubs, restaurants etc being back open

whats the difference in me being in a packed pub with no mask on than being in a stadium with a mask .

i get there is more people in there which increases the risk etc but clubs lower down won't last another full season with no gate income.

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16 Sep 2020 15:25:59
Are cases going up or are they just doing more testing?

How many cases were there at the height of this C.V.? No one knows because we didn't have the requisite testing capacity.

16 Sep 2020 18:00:28
Be locked down by Xmas I reckon, they won't the masses going out Xmas shopping throughout Dec.

17 Sep 2020 07:51:31
Think the Spurs match is the first one penciled in as allowing a limited amount of fans in, but plans can change quickly in the current environment.

06 Sep 2020 11:51:34
I think there is a general consensus, within reason about what areas of the squad need work. Right wing is probably the most urgent, while CB, CDM, LB and ST often come up as areas where we could do with added quality in depth or in the first team.

A couple of these areas could be delayed for another season, CDM is the most obvious with Matic, McTominay and Fred all able to play as a defensive presence in midfield. Add to the fact that Bruno and Pogba will likely start if fit, while DvdB will likely step in if one isn't fit to play. That means that more often than not we will have space for only one dedicated CDM in our starting line up with three in the squad this is an area that can be put off until next summer.

Striker is one that seems to split people down the middle. Some people like Martial and feel he is good enough; others are undecided on him. With Ighalo in the squad until January and Greenwood rapidly improving and looks like our future centre forward. While Rashford can also play as a striker easily enough, even if he is better coming off the left. So again, this is an area where we have 3 maybe 4 options for what will most weeks be one position in the side. This is another position we can delay until next summer.

Left back is an area I think we should push ahead and sign someone for. We have two left backs in the squad. However, one has on average missed 45% of our games through injury over the past 5 years missing 51% last season. While the cover for Shaw is Williams, a young right footed player who looks good but very raw, and maybe a better RB than LB. The way we play currently, with a RW who cuts in and a right back who isn't great going forward that makes our right flank narrow. Add to that Rashford playing left wing cutting in we have a real need for an overlapping left back to provide some width. While Williams works hard, having to cut back onto his right foot just makes us too narrow.

Obviously RW is a position that has been done to death, Sancho while expensive is probably the best option for many reasons. There are cheaper alternatives available and if for whatever reason the Sancho deal cannot be done then one of the alternatives should be sought.

This brings us to CB. It is a curious position as we have a decent defensive record, yet we don't look convincing when defending. We have good defenders, but not great ones. All our defenders have clear and obvious weaknesses which can be targeted. The solution is to either buy world class CB's (which are few and far between) or find the right balance with the players we have. If we are being honest Maguire while far from perfect has been our best CB this season, he is also club captain so what we are really doing is finding the right partner for him. Ideally someone who plays on the left as then Maguire can then play on the right, giving him AWB alongside him and greater cover. What Maguire really needs is a quick, defensively minded player. Someone who will focus solely on defending and not trying to move up the pitch. What he really needs is a Vidic with the pace of Rio to cover him. That will be hard to find.

Lindelof isn't the slowest and does a decent job. He is actually the only defender in the EPL last season not to be dribbled past. While he can play out from the back well. Unfortunately, he can be bullied a little in the air, especially if the opponent has the run on him. While he started his career as a midfielder and that means his natural instinct is to step out of defence, with a player like Maguire alongside him that can be fatal as Harry neither has the mobility or pace to get back and cover himself.

Other options we have tried are Jones and Rojo who have been poor. Bailly who is good and awful in equal measure, far too rash. While Tuanzebe looks a good option but has struggled with fitness. Teden Mengi is one for the future and is not ready to step in quite yet, a loan out to a Championship side would be a great move for him.

This brings us to the forgotten United defender, Chris "Mike" Smalling. His loan spell at Roma has been a success and Roma have the desire to make the move permanent. He has been one of the best defenders in a league that prizes itself on defending. On paper Smalling has qualities that should blend well with Maguire. He is a pure defender, not looking to step out at the back. He is stronger in the air than Lindelof, and he is very quick and able to cover the space Maguire will leave behind. While right footed he has often played on the left of the CB pairing, so could play on that side easily enough. What let's Smalling down is his medium to long range passing. Yet with Maguire alongside him, and with players like Pogba, Bruno and DvdB giving him quality short pass options just ahead of him in midfield, then his weaknesses could be mitigated. He has experience and wouldn't block the likes of Tuanzebe and Mengi long term. You'd also like to think he has picked up a few new tricks in the art of defending having spent a season in Italy.

In a world where we can't afford to spend big in every position could Smalling offer us a short-term solution to our CB quandary?

Keep Smalling this summer, move on Jones, Rojo and Bailly. Loan out Mengi, giving us a selection of Maguire, Lindelof, Smalling, Tuanzebe and Bernard from the under 21's or McTominay in an emergency. Sign a RW ideally Sancho and bring in a LB Reguilon or Lewis.

Then next summer look to sign a CB if needed, a CDM and maybe a back up ST or wide forward depending on whether Greenwood is really pushing Martial at CF.

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07 Sep 2020 01:31:51
Top post Shappy. Although i disagree about Harry being our best central defender and that he wants someone like Vidic next to him.

The problem with Maguire, except from him pace and his positioning, is exactly this, is that he plays like Vidic. We brought him to play the Rio role, the Van Dikes role, to sit deep and organize the defence, to be the brain of the defence. But in reality he is out of position most of the time picking fights all over the place leaving the defence open. So that's the problem with him, bringing a "fighter" next to him will not solve our problem.

We need an organizer next to him because unfortunately he is not one. But then he is too slow, out of position and not as good at defending to play the Vidic role, Vidic was slow too but he readed the game well and was tremendous at defending.

So the problem is Maguire, we count him as organizer and we want to bring a fighter next to him like Upamecano to bring the best of him. But he is not organizer and that is the problem. Bying a player like Upamecano will improve the defence, in theory he is big upgrade to Lindelof. Then if we want to go to the next level and have a top defence we must find a partner for Upamecano (or who else we buy) who use his brain and is an organizer.

07 Sep 2020 08:56:34
Herrera, I think you might be remembering Rio and Vidic differently to how they were. Rio relied more on his pace to get him out of trouble rather than good reading/ understanding of the game. Whereas Vidic who while not slow, wasn't the quickest would use good reading/ understanding of the game to position himself in such a way that he didn't have to rely on his pace. Fernando Torres used to position himself tight to Vidic knowing full well he could turn and run off him and beat him for pace.

Vidic was the reader and organiser of our defence. Rio shouted a lot but normally after something had gone wrong.

For me Maguire is a poor man's Rio, he carries the ball forward, he plays out from the back, he's strong in the air, while he also has Rio's lapses in concentration and poor positioning. However, Rio had tremendous pace to dig himself out when that happened. Something Maguire doesn't have.

I said last summer before we signed Maguire that he wasn't the defensive organiser that we needed. I said he was a decent player, but lacked the ability to organise a defence. I stand by that, although I think he has added a huge amount to our side. He is very press resistant, starts attacks, is strong in the air and statistically our best defender and surprisingly one of the best in the league. He has his weaknesses as do all defenders. As pointed out both Rio and Vidic individually had weaknesses in their game which could be exploited. All players do.

What we need is a defender with great pace but who doesn't rely on it and is a great reader of the game and a defensive organiser. That player could sit alongside Maguire, communicate well and organise their fellow defenders, while also having the presence on of mind and pace to cover Maguire's lapses. What we need is a player like Vidic (great reading and a defensive organiser) with Rio's pace. In that respect Upamecano would be ideal. Yet if he isn't available this summer than we could do a lot worse than to keep our powder dry and give Smalling a go at building a partnership with Maguire.

07 Sep 2020 13:25:36
Maguire shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as rio ferdinand.

The problem with maguire is that he's just not very good.

07 Sep 2020 16:39:13
DSG, Maguire is better than most give him credit for. I just think people judge him by his transfer fee and expect him to have a similar impact to VvD at Liverpool. That was never going to happen.

07 Sep 2020 20:40:25
Shappy, I think we should judge him on the transfer fee that Leicester paid for him. That would be more correct.

08 Sep 2020 00:36:10
shappy you must be watching somebody different to us with eyesight.

08 Sep 2020 09:21:13
Ferdinand had excellent reading of the game in my opinion. I think the difference was that he knew he had the recovery pace to get back if needed.

04 Sep 2020 17:37:54
Not United related but interesting none the less, Messi to stay at Barcelona for one more year.

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04 Sep 2020 18:14:08
Shock, horror.

04 Sep 2020 21:07:35
Can’t believe they want to hold on to a player who says that about a club president and is disrespectful to the club so openly.

05 Sep 2020 07:50:20
Recipe for disaster.

05 Sep 2020 21:11:10
Marriage of convenience.

07 Sep 2020 08:39:16
Messi waited far too long, he stayed in his comfort zone. When looking at greatness, Messi has been with one club built around him, however Ronaldo has been at three (not counting Lisbon) and won the league in all three different cultures.

Messi should have made a move 5 years ago after they last won the Champions League to prove his greatness elsewhere. He didn’t push himself, everything was there and he was pampered like no other, there is even a no fly zone over his house. I suspect he has seen Ronaldo prove his greatness in different leagues, worth noting the two of them seem to communicate together, but it is very late for Messi at 33. I suspect he has just realised a missed opportunity, hence the request.

I think Messi deserved better from Barcelona, yes the request appears to be stamping his feet, yet why after all he has done could they not have done this in private and let him go on good terms? He has won them everything and now they have a player who clearly doesn’t want to be there, that will be an issue.

07 Sep 2020 22:47:22
Why should he have moved if he was happy, scoring goals, winning things and making cash in a fine city?

08 Sep 2020 07:34:59
Either way - a very sad and u got end to his career at Barcelona which was a hit unnecessary from both parties.

08 Sep 2020 09:46:39

To define his career, to show he was able to do it in other leagues. He hasn’t and that shows Ronaldo, who has, as the better player. What you describe is comfort zone.

08 Sep 2020 19:14:40
Comfort zone at the very top though red man - that's the difference. Nothing wrong with with that. If he’s happy and at the best club, why leave? Serie A is pretty average let’s be honest. He wanted to come here too (to City) . Barcelona blocked it.

09 Sep 2020 08:53:36

Until he does it somewhere else he will have the one club / just built round him/ Comfort zone tag. He will be 34 when he leaves, maybe time to win something with City but if he had done it 5 years ago in the Premier I think he could have stamped himself as the undisputed Goat, he hasn’t. I just think there was a challenge he didn’t take on. Thank goodness he didn’t go to City when Pep arrived.

16 Sep 2020 11:21:51
Ronaldo hardly stepped out of his comfort zone by going to a team who are by far the strongest team in Italy and were winning the title every year before he arrived.

03 Sep 2020 15:13:36
Chelsea have been slow with there latest transfer in fCt interest was before we spoke with Sancho. Its only just resolved.

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04 Sep 2020 12:44:48
It is easy to make a mountain out of a mole hill. But the way Utd have been conducting their transfer dealings hasn't been great.

Apparently they are trying to do a deal with Sanchos agent, i.e reduce his agent fee and sort out the wage that Sancho wants before trying to sort out a transfer fee with Dortmund. This is again is only a rumour.

02 Sep 2020 21:56:07
The whole Messi situation is an interesting one,

The player has been there since being a teenager, the club have looked after him, nurtured him, supported him, and made him the highest paid player in the world.

Yet here he is wanting to jump ship, I find it quite extraordinary that the moment the sh1t hits the fan he looks to leave, when Barcelona need a leader, the worlds best player is running for the hills. Shameful.

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02 Sep 2020 23:29:56
Could also be seen that he has been there all of his life, given everything to the club, did the impossible in many instances, winning some games single handedly, made them a ball of cash during that period and is arguably one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Now after all these years, he wants to leave, seeking a new challenge, believing that he had a valid agreement to leave and the club are refusing to honour.

Maybe he believes he should be treated better given how he has performed for them?

02 Sep 2020 23:31:20
Totally agree with you there Tony, don't know who Messi thinks he is tnh a top footballer yes but this is the club that made him, he should tough it out.

03 Sep 2020 07:01:12
Maybe Angel, but its reported he's gone on strike, that's where it gets very icky.

03 Sep 2020 07:48:01
It's a very unsavoury moment in a fantastic career. Unfortunately he has been allowed to become bigger than the club, at least in his own mind.

The fact that he is consulted on potential new signings, paid 4 or 5 times as much as the second highest earner, and that presidents entertain his gripes with managers has made Messi believe he can do whatever he wants.

I can understand why at 33 having given his entire career to Barcelona and seeing the mess the club is in and the length of time it will take to rebuild, he doesn't want to give his last few years where he can be a key player in winning things to a club that will be off the mark.

I actually think Messi leaving is in Barcelona's best interest. His wages could pay 3 or 4 top players, massively improving the first team. When looking at the Barcelona squad they have some great players who are reaching the end of their careers at the top (Pique, Alba, Busquets, Suarez, Messi), a few good young players (Lenglet, De Jong, Fati), too many failed big name signings (Dembele, Coutinho and Griezmann), with only Ter Stegen being a top player in their prime.

They need a CB, a full back, two midfielders, a ST and a wide forward. All of top level quality.

They can't afford that and Messi's wages. I think Messi should have been sold a year or two ago and then they might have had 2 or 3 of those signings in place already. As it is at best they could maybe sign 2 or 3 of those players this year and maybe another 2 or 3 next summer, if they get all 6 right then they might be ready to challenge at the top table again in 2-3 years time. Get those signings wrong and it will take longer.

So I can see why Messi wants to leave, and think it's best for all involved. Yet the way it's happening doesn't work well for any of them.

03 Sep 2020 08:11:33
I know but the way your OP was written sounded like it is all his fault.

03 Sep 2020 08:14:54
Shappy, that's all speculation what you type above.

03 Sep 2020 08:29:59
I think he’s in the wrong. If he feels he wants to leave then there is a way to try and do that, his current approach is tardy.

03 Sep 2020 08:33:09
Messi has watched Barcelona crumble around him. Signings like Prince-Boateng, Vidal, Braithwaite etc show the level they have been operating at really. They have relied on Messi/ Suarez to see them through these last few years. Held onto Rakatic too long and Busquests, Pique and Alaba are well past their prime. It's going to take Barcelona at least 3 windows to try and sort all that out. Messi can't wait any longer. Their answer at the moment is Wijnaldum from Liverpool. Hardly going to get Messi excited.

He gave over half his life to the club. Became bigger than the club. They were desperate to keep him. He was going to leave before and Barcelona threw money and 'perks' at him to stay. You guys say Barcelona made him. I'd say he made Barcelona the team they were and they owe him just as much.

Barca should just ask for 100/ 150 mill for him and use it to update their squad. He's 33. Cash in now, keep the relationship good for the future.

03 Sep 2020 09:20:56
Who says he hasn't tried to do it differently AJH? As I said, he feels as if he had an agreement with the club. Even La Liga have rowed in with what they think which is highly unusual.

03 Sep 2020 09:36:46
La Liga will lose money with no Messi to promote the league. They already lost CR7 And Neymar so there is no-one left to be the face of the league to sponsors. They were always going to be on Barcas side.

What Messi should have done was clarify the clause in the contract but I think he believed that Barcelona would honour it as he appeared in the champions League for them still.

Either way, I think Barcelona have made just as much out of their partnership with Messi as Messi has with them. He was always going to be one of the best ever, he just decided to stay at Barcelona to do it and that was extremely fortunate for them.

03 Sep 2020 10:42:22
Whatever the rights and wrongs, it seems Barcelona are in something of a mess.

03 Sep 2020 14:31:51
Definitely agree with that AJH. They really seem to be. But the appointment of Koeman was a good move. I think they also have targets and plans in place to rectify some of their issues. They won't be in a mess for long.

03 Sep 2020 15:08:19
There was a clause to activate 10 days after Champions League have finished. Its not Messis fault that because of C.V. champions League final took place at August instead of May. What you say works both ways, Messi could do it differently as you say but Barcelona could do it differently too. Instead of asking 700 millions (i know they don't think they can take so much money) they could respect player's desicion, ask a payable fee and move on. I don't think Messi would have asked to leave if they could compete, its not only the 8 from Bayern, its 4 from Liverpool the year before, its Rome the previous year and Pari before that which although they qualified they conceded 4 goals in the first match. Barcelona is a mess and Messi has every right to want to leave. The only question is if he has a lot of power behind the scenes and is at fault too for this mess.

03 Sep 2020 22:17:30
Nobody knows what's gong on behind the scenes.
I agree in part with ajh i don't think Messi is conducting himself well. But neither are Barcelona.
He should be training and working with the club for an amicable exit.
His contract did not state 10 days after cl final it has a date in May. He didn't state his intention in time to trigger the clause.
But i feel Barcelona have a moral obligation to the player to facilitate his transfer and Messi has an obligation to act with good grace until that's sorted imo.

03 Sep 2020 23:36:54
He will stay in barca.

04 Sep 2020 08:54:44
Probably leahy its been a very long and mutually beneficial relationship.

04 Sep 2020 15:02:23
Angel, is that the same Koeman who was at Everton?

04 Sep 2020 20:31:14
No mancman, different one 😂

I think he's a good coach and one who will do well at Barca. Just a good fit I feel.

02 Sep 2020 17:49:16
With Donny VDB now officially a Utd player how does Ole fit him in the team?

Can we really envisage a midfield of Pogba, Fernandes and Donny VDB or will he just provide a very good rotation option?

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02 Sep 2020 18:17:20
In certain games, when opposition drops deep, the 3 would add so much flair.

He suits the pressing game as he closes down the opponents and brings more energy and vision.

02 Sep 2020 19:22:28
This is the beauty of a player like DvdB. He is very well rounded, he works hard, makes tackles and pressures, he creates chances, he scores goals and has great technique and vision.

He probably plays best as a No.10, but is more than capable at No.8.

He can cover BOTH Pogba and Bruno, while in certain games/ situations we could play with all three.

You could easily line up in a 3412 play Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw in the back three, AWB and Williams at wing back. Have Pogba, DvdB and Bruno rotate around between midfield and No.10 then play two of Rashford, Martial and Greenwood as strikers.

He really does provide many many options. Either in the first 11 or a great rotation option off the bench.

02 Sep 2020 19:51:59
Shappy - I think against weaker opposition especially at home we can accommodate all three in Ole's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation!

I just wonder against the better teams and away from home we could change to a diamond formation to try and accommodate all three especially if we don't sign a RW this summer.

02 Sep 2020 20:02:04
I remember watching the Bayern Barcelona game and was amazed at how Bayern we’re able to flood the box with midfielders making that late runs into the box. Having vdb will give us that in abundance. Can’t wait!

02 Sep 2020 20:03:56
3/ 5 at the back. Williams and? As wing back, Pogba, DVDB and Bruno in the middle, 2 from Rash, Martial, and a Greenwood up front. Some team that, just need a right wing back.

02 Sep 2020 20:17:23
Tony, imagine if we could sign someone like Alex Telles or Reguilon at LWB. It would be a very good team and could cover for us not signing a top class RW, or at least allow us to sign a player who might be more of a gamble for RW rather than a proven top level (very expensive) player like Sancho.

We could sign Reguilon for around 20m, and someone like Ismailia Sarr for 35-40m. Then we would have the option to play with a three man forward line that could include strikers such as Rashford, Martial and Greenwood with wingers such as Sarr and James. Or play an extra body in midfield in a diamond shape, with a front two.

So many options, this squad could be shaped however you want at this point. Then consider some of the young players who can be developed into first team players over the next few years (Garner, Levitt, Mejbri, Laird, Mengi) .

02 Sep 2020 20:50:00
If we could get reguilon I’d shift Williams as the right wing back. More offensive than awb and seems preferred to dalot.

02 Sep 2020 23:31:44
Sorry where's AWB in all of this?

03 Sep 2020 07:43:36
Still playing right back angel. Doesn’t suit the rwb role hence other options. Formations are likely to change throughout the season.

03 Sep 2020 07:49:15
Angel, I had him at RWB, not his ideal position I agree. Yet one he can learn and adapt in.

Williams might offer a more attacking option off the bench.

03 Sep 2020 08:16:11
I think he will learn quickly and adapt to that role. He's a clever guy, excellent footballer. But are the coaches in place to help him achieve that? I'm not so sure.

03 Sep 2020 08:36:52
Still think AWB could play RCB in a back 3. Has the pace to cover in behind and wouldn't be worried being dragged out wide. I think itv would be easier to train AWBs defensive instincts and mould him into a CB then try and improve the attacking side of his game.

03 Sep 2020 13:14:57
He would need to improve his positioning and not dive in to so many tackles as a RCB.

I think given that he was a winger until he was 18 that he can easily be coached how to attack more effectively. Ultimately it's about staying high and wide, and picking out the best option. He has the pace and the defensive instincts, not all full/ wing backs need to score and assist a dozen goals a season. If they can help create space by dragging opposition full backs wide then they are contributing to attack by making more space for more dangerous players in a more central position.

01 Sep 2020 10:49:46
Effectively swapping the woeful 30yo Smalling for 21yo hot prospect Upamecano for a net £20m investment looks incredible business to bolster our defence.

I'm sure Upamecano has many suitors with a release clause of €30m though with City having signed Ake and likely Koulibally they look to be out of the running. CB not an area Liverpool need to strengthen and whilst I'd consider Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs could all improve in that position it's United who look to be expressing most interest if a move to the Prem appeals.

Smalling looks nailed on to sign for Roma and if going for the rumoured £20m we've somewhat unbelievably doubled our money on him. Yes had the occasional decent game for us but he's never been United class. A great example of how poor our recruitment at CB has been since the Ferdinand and Vidic days.

Fascinating few weeks ahead and could be radically improving our overall squad if securing 21-23yos Henderson, Van de Beek and Upamecano.

Think the penny has finally dropped for United about buying younger players who are already exhibiting tremendous potential.

{Ed002's Note - Upamecano has signed a new contract and tehre is no "release clause" that can be used by Manchester United.}

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01 Sep 2020 11:44:29
What 30m release clause has upamecano?
If we want to sign him we will have to offer in the region of 60m even at that they may not accept. He signed a new contract a couple of months Ago. There is a release clause of 42m for end of next season by all accounts and I'm not sue that united can trigger that clause.
He looks a really top prospect but i wouldn't hold my breath this summer. He would be a great signing. Personally i'd offer 40m and bailly to see if they bite but that would be a long shot.
Smalling for €20m would represent great value for roma in the current climate. A great buy at that price imo. He is streets ahead of jones and rojo who we look stuck with at the moment.

01 Sep 2020 12:44:31
Seems top player in some matches such as the Madrid game, average in many i had seen him in Germany (after C.V.) . The problem with players like Upamecano and Koulimpali is that having too much physicality means that they are looking great with last time tackling, physical battles like Upamecano with Diego Costa, and overall domination. They seem perfect in certain circumstances . But to play in a top team with high press you have to be smart and have positional sense. Maybe for a top team like us Konate is the better of the two, i always liked him much more althought i maybe be wrong. Ofcourse i don't know why he disappeared, he must be injured.

30 Aug 2020 22:59:19
The three little words that make all men go weak at the knees.



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