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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Right I'd thought I'd air some opinions on recent activity.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Di Maria

The recent acquisition of Di Maria appears to have split both non-supporters and fans a like. I've seen a lot of, he's a great player but not the most needed one and I feel this needs addressing.

If you look at the Manchester United side before any signings were made this season there were glaring holes that needed filling. We needed desperately 2x CB's, 1x LB, 2x CM's, 1 Wing. I don't agree with anyone arguing that Di Maria is any less a vital signing than any other position as he can occupy 2/3 positions we needed true quality in.

If you look at our options at wing for example, pre-window we had the following;

Nani

Valencia

Young

Zaha

Januzaj

It's glaringly obvious to anyone with the minutest footballing knowledge, let alone any above average understanding of Manchester United, that these wingers are sub standard (with the exception of Januzaj). Nani is far too inconsistant, Valencia has been found out for his one footedness, Zaha I actually felt could develop into a very good PL winger but wasn't getting any chance and well Young is quite possibly one of the worst United wingers I've seen in recent years.

So with the exception of Januzaj, pre window all of our wingers were woefully sub par hence the dire need to supplement our wide areas with a player of absolute unquestionable class. Di Maria fits that bill, or at least should do if you paid any attention to his career at Madrid. He is head and shoulders above any United winger since Ronaldo and a huge step in the right direction.

Now even if Di Maria is played 'out of position' in central midfield, as many argue, I still believe he is an excellent option. Previously I suggested United desperately needed two CM's. I believe one mobile ball winner was needed and one mobile playmaker was needed in order for United to at least have a good 1st XI. Di Maria actually fits the bill for both and was arguably the best box to box CM in La Liga racking up assists and even breaking up attacks. Within the Madrid side he operated both wide and centrally and one need only look to his CL performances to see how effective he can be in either role. I believe Di Maria has the tactical awareness, technical and physical skills to succeed in a CM role (preferably a 3 man midfield) and so is a top signing for the club as we now have a player capable of producing consistent top level performances in two key areas.

Now I'm not by any stretch saying Di Maria will single handedly change or revolutionise United, but I do feel he will be a key component in the wider changes that need to be made to United so while the fee is a British record I believe it's an excellent signing.

Are You Blind?

Central midfield has long been a sore topic for United fans over the years. If I had a pound for the amount of times I've spoken to friends about the need to invest in this area I'd be on my own private island in the sun by now so what is most encouraging is that Van Gaal ironically sees the potential to solve this by recruiting Daley Blind.

Now I must hold my hands up if you had told me at the start of the window that Vidal wasn't coming but not to worry we'd be getting Blind instead I wouldn't have taken much comfort. Even now a small part of me longs to see the Chilean challenging in the centre but the more you research and the more you look into the player the more you realise how well he could fit into Van Gaal's vision and philosophy for what Manchester United could be.

Daley Blind was obviously used as a LB at the world cup, but he also operated in CM. Now while he didn't take it by storm if you look at his attributes and what LVG wants from his holding DM, Blind could, with the right coaching, become such a player. He is versatile and capable of defending and playing balls forward. Admittedly he is not outstanding at either but the positioning is good and the ideas are right most of the time. We've been crying out for someone to hold the midfield as Fletcher (as much as I like him) just doesn't have the ability to do so since his operation. Blind is very capable of doing so.

His versatility is also a huge plus point not an issue that some are suggesting. His ability to switch to LM, LB, CB or CM is a huge asset and will come in handy no doubt.

Blind has worked with LVG and been successful, his pass to RVP for that header during the world cup was sublime so the potential is there for a good understanding of the system and how best to exploit it.

Formation or Mis-information?

Much has been made of the 3-5-2 system or the 3-4-1-2 whatever it is and whether or not it can work in the PL for United.

The simple answer is yes. Despite what you might believe United do now have the potential to play the system effectively (if Blind signs).

Bear with me...

United XI

For those that bothered to view the link you will notice some arrows, no I've not gone crazy they are there for a reason.

The system relies on building triangles from the back and progressing them further up the pitch which is where Di Maria and Herrera/Mata (Herrera is better suited become so important. Triangles lead to two passing options, two passing options makes possession easier and less predictable and if you are capable of progressing up the pitch using this philosophy you inevitably create space and chances.

Referring back to the arrows. It is fairly obvious what jobs Shaw and Rafael should be occupying. Up and down the wings depending on where the ball is. If the ball is being held in defence it is vital that both players drop deep and wide to make themselves available to the RCB and LCB's triangle of options like so;

Shaw----Blind

\../

Rojo

and

Blind----Rafael

\../

Jones

Evans in this situation ideally should be looking at 3/4 options realistically though it will be 3 options as follows;

Blind

^

|

Rojo<----Evans---->Jones

While this limits Evans' forward options it allows him to keep safe possession at the heart of the defence with the option of a forward defence to midfield pass to Blind.

I'm now going to demonstrate how a tactically sound through the middle attack should look like under LVG using his philosophy of triangles from the back.

Phase 1

Ball is with the CB's and is played forwards to Blind. He has received the ball from any of his 3 CB's or 2 wing backs after drawing the opposition strikers out to the CB in possession.

Phase 2

Once Blind receives the ball ideally he should be seeing 4 options ahead of him now;

Shaw---Di Maria---Herrera---Rafael

\-----\-----/-----/

Blind

What you will notice then is how key the DM Blind is in this formation. Now rather than having a physically imposing player this is where you need a tactically aware, intelligent and adaptable one like Blind. He needs to occupy space and understand where he needs to be to receive a pass. His versatility allows him to understand this better than most. He has played in the positions at the back that enable him to understand where he would like someone in that situation. So in theory with LVG's coaching Blind could be a great addition (I would however absolutely love a fully fit Strootman occupying this space fingers crossed for January!).

By now Shaw and Rafael should have pushed wide of Blind to offer him outlets on the wings and Di Maria and Herrera should be occupying or moving into space in front.

If this is not possible Di Maria should drop deep receive the ball and look to break through midfield as indicated by the arrow backwards. This is because he is the most capable of doing so due to his dribbling, passing and movement though Herrera/Mata could also perform this role. Under no circumstances should Blind be trying to break through midfield. He is a facilitator in this formation not an instigator.

Both Di Maria and Herrera/Mata are capable of moving both on and off the ball and so once they receive it the other should be moving up infront/beside them with Shaw and Rafael pushing further to offer width to the man in possession.

Phase 3

So say for example Di Maria has now received the ball we should see this;

RVP---Rooney

Shaw----Herrera----Rafael

\.\.|././

Di Maria

This gives 5 potential forward passes. Two wide, one central short pass and two central longer through balls. Di Maria is very capable of picking out all five players if they can position themselves advantageously as is Herrera/Mata if the roles are reversed.

Finally by now the ball should be in the final third and Di Maria or Herrera/Mata should now ideally be in possession (for the sake of continuity we shall say Herrera has received a pass)

Phase 4

He should then have the following options with correct movement of course;

RVP---Rooney

Shaw----Di Maria--------Rafael

\.\.|././

Herrera

The hope then is that the ball in an advanced position can be played through into a goalscoring opportunity.

Hopefully that has demonstrated how the philosophy should work and how the United players fit into that system. Of course I have only really demonstrated the offensive side of the system but hopefully the defensive one is much more straightforward.

The players are all capable of doing their jobs well, they just need time to adjust and develop mentally into their roles the physical and technical abilities are all their just confidence and familiarity are needed now.

IMO the formation can be a success with those players the only question is will LVG have the time to see this come to fruition?

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Re: Official Manchester United Thread Just tried changing the password on my laptop to Man Utd defence but it said it was too weak

Re: Official Red Devils thread Apparently, it's been caused by City opening their trophy cabinet LOL

Re: Official Red Devils Thread Right I'd thought I'd air some opinions on recent activity. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Di Maria The recent acquisition of Di Maria appears to have split bo

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Apparently Rojo is currently in Madrid awaiting decision on his work permit' date=' they're doing an investigation into a fight that is recorded on his police record, he may be denied a permit and loaned out. I thought teams sorted permits out before making the signing official?[/quote']

Van Gaal said it should be sorted before the game vs QPR.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

He definitely has the attributes to be a CB from what I have seen - might be worth a shot with the Blind move imminent.

Some of his attributes' date=' yes. He's tall and strong, usually important qualities for a CB.

But William isn't just a "destructive" player. Besides recovering balls and helping defensively, his short and long passing skills help in his team's buid-up play. Being a DM, that constructive ability comes in very handy for his team, as they can start their build-up play in their own defensive half.

If u played William at CB, his passing abilities would be a bit wasted imo.

Jeeeeeeesus flipping christ, dresses like a council estate floozy and has the rear of a shire horse.

Needs to be weened off the pasties!

tumblr_naxqk9cjAT1rjev45o1_1280_zpsf94f5305.jpg

It looks like a hippo's behind. :o

And my 11 year old (girl) cousin is always dressed more discretely than that. :eek:

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Some of his attributes' date=' yes. He's tall and strong, usually important qualities for a CB.

But William isn't just a "destructive" player. Besides recovering balls and helping defensively, his short and long passing skills help in his team's buid-up play. Being a DM, that constructive ability comes in very handy for his team, as they can start their build-up play in their own defensive half.

If u played William at CB, his passing abilities would be a bit wasted imo.

It looks like a hippo's behind. :o

[b']And my 11 year old (girl) cousin is always dressed more discretely than that. [/b]:eek:

just wait :o

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Some of his attributes' date=' yes. He's tall and strong, usually important qualities for a CB.

But William isn't just a "destructive" player. Besides recovering balls and helping defensively, his short and long passing skills help in his team's buid-up play. Being a DM, that constructive ability comes in very handy for his team, as they can start their build-up play in their own defensive half.

[b']If u played William at CB, his passing abilities would be a bit wasted imo.[/b]

A certain Mats Hummels would disagree there. :)

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

@Ben

I'm definitely not trying to undermine your effort of explaining the whole matter in depth (as you have done it quite profoundly), but it's kind of stating the obvious in almost all cases, starting from the selection to the tactical part of it. And even so, I think many (including myself) would disagree.

The fact of the matter is this: four games in, four bad results. The game in which LvG switched his tactics to a 4-man defence saw minor improvements, whilst the other games (no major tactical change) saw United deteriorate even further.

His successes at the World Cup can be considered miraculous if you ask me. They beat a weak Spain team with an outstanding player in Robben. They were lucky against almost all other adversaries (with Robben almost single-handedly carrying them over all obstacles). Never did his 3-4-2-1 look capable of dominating a game, even against the smaller teams, with counter-attack the only viable option in that case. And let's face it, without Robben, they probably wouldn't have got out of the group stages.

The problem now is that LvG is facing teams that are experienced, not teams that play seven matches together once every four years, which is making it even more difficult for his tactics. Counter-attacking is much easier against teams that aren't seasoned. These players (especially in the EPL) know each other like the back of their own hand, which will prove to be hard for whatever team with whichever level of quality present.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fundamentally, a three-man's defence is a man-marking system, almost exceptionally used by teams that are desperate to hold on to a result. Now look at United's core, and if anything, it screams out the complete opposite. Too many attacking players, too few defensive players. Why on earth would that be a stimulant to play, what is on paper, a defensive formation?

Another problem with the man-marking system is the freedom opponents get whilst attacking. The moment one loses his defender, he's gone, and whether you have Godin, Thiago Silva and Benatia in your defence or United's current crop, it only takes some smart movement to get past them and run at goal. Exceptional wing-backs are becoming a rare breed of their own, making a possible five-man's defence as useless. The eventual damage done is down to the individual quality of the players, which in United's case is far from spectacular.

A three/five-man's defence will never work in the EPL, mark my words and feel free to humiliate me if I'm proven wrong.

Another thing that has absolutely bugged me since he's taken over and the competitive games have started, is his attitude towards the game. Four games in and four lame excuses found. This is the same United with which Ferguson, and even Moyes (in his first few months) were able to get reasonable results with. After the Dons game, he said this: "I expected this.", which is frankly enraging. If a manager doesn't believe in his team, why would the players believe?

I look at managers like Klopp, Mourinho, even Gustavo Poyet for that matter, and it's almost like playing with twelve players. So far, I haven't seen anything that makes me think he's any good.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

A three/five-man's defence will never work in the EPL' date=' mark my words and feel free to humiliate me if I'm proven wrong.[/quote']

It worked to some extent for Wigan who stayed up for far longer than they had any right to, and won the FA Cup using it. As you alluded to though, they had to focus on defence and they also had the players for it and they were well trained for it.

What baffles me is that there's no need for it. No English team has ever had real success with a 3 man defence and United's players aren't suited to it. So why persevere?

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Louis van Gaal without Robben is only half as good.

Interestingly enough, his first 4 league games with Bayern finished winless as well at which point we bought Robben. I remember him being subbed in at half-time giving his debut and scoring 2 goals in his first game.

However, while performances improved overall, they didn't improve nowhere near enough which meant that van Gaal was on the verge of being sacked in November after us losing back-to-back games against Bordeaux in the Champions League and only had 4 points after 4 games. We stayed alive by just scraping past Haifa (1:0) the next game before finally performing for the in the last one against Juventus.

Nevertheless, Robben continued to bail out van Gaal. Be it with his goals in the round of 16 against Fiorentina with one of his trademark cut-inside-let-it-fly long shots or in the quarters against United with that volley of a corner or in the German Cup where he scored the winning goal in extra time against Schalke after a mazy run or in countless league games.

Without Robben, van Gaal would have been sacked after 6 months for us as the results just weren't solid enough. Which speaks both against him (had trouble connecting with the other players) and for him (it was him who brought Robben to the club).

Fast forward to the World Cup and it was Robben again who almost single-handedly carried Holland to the semi-final.

Right now, United don't have a Robben or Bale (back for Spurs). They don't have a player who can bail them out every second game with just one brilliant action.

So while I see lot of people at the moment saying "van Gaal always starts slow" which is correct, you also have to consider what changed after these slow starts.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

I don't buy these generalized "3 men defense doesnt work in the EPL" statements.

If you have the right players and correct tactical instructions, you can play with 3, 4 or 5 men in defense and it all works.

United don't have wingbacks who can play at a high level and the biggest issue, and I think somebody said it on here last night, is that they have a terribly weak central midfield which offers no help. Add to that, the link-up play between Rooney, van Persie, Mata etc. is absolutely atrocious up front which is gonna be no different playing a different tactic.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

I don't buy these generalized "3 men defense doesnt work in the EPL" statements.

If you have the right players and correct tactical instructions' date=' you can play with 3, 4 or 5 men in defense and it all works.

United don't have wingbacks who can play at a high level and the biggest issue, and I think somebody said it on here last night, is that they have a terribly weak central midfield which offers no help. Add to that, the link-up play between Rooney, van Persie, Mata etc. is absolutely atrocious up front which is gonna be no different playing a different tactic.[/quote']

It's not about who you have in your defence, it's about what it takes to breach that defence. Burnley and Stoke are the perfect examples as to why a four-man defence is good against everything (bar the rare cases in which a team literally plays with four forwards) - there is always one man free who is able to provide that much needed support when an error is made. I would even put money on yesterday's Burnley/Stoke being able to hold a team like Bayern.

A five-man's defence is in principle the same as a three-man's defence, as both need good wing-backs and rely on man-marking, of which (the former) there are so few in the modern game. Hence, both are as good as each other. Man-marking isn't reliable even with the best defenders.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

It's not about who you have in your defence' date=' it's about what it takes to breach that defence. Burnley and Stoke are the perfect examples as to why a four-man defence is good against everything (bar the rare cases in which a team literally plays with four forwards) - there is always one man free who is able to provide that much needed support when an error is made. I would even put money on yesterday's Burnley/Stoke being able to hold a team like Bayern.

A five-man's defence is in principle the same as a three-man's defence, as both need good wing-backs and rely on man-marking, of which (the former) there are so few in the modern game. Hence, both are as good as each other. Man-marking isn't reliable even with the best defenders.[/quote']

Of course it's about players and instructions. Considering almost every team plays with 4 men at the back your Stoke argument is invalid as for every Stoke there are 3 other teams that play 4 at the back as well and do badly. Cardiff and Fulham played 4 at the back and conceded 160 goals between them last season. It's nowhere near conclusive. I can turn that around and say Fulham was the best example why a 4-men defense doesn't work.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

I think Van Gaal was perhaps looking for that Robben type figure in Di Maria, but he's ultimately not what they need. In terms of wingers, they have the luxury of leaving Januzaj on the bench whilst in centre midfield they're having to resort to playing Anderson, at wing back they're stuck playing wingers and at centre back they're playing youngsters.

If they go in to the season playing a 3-5-2 with just Fletcher, Herrera and Anderson in midfield then why should they be finishing above whoever is the best of the rest? Yes they ultimately have immense fire power, but that is going to count for little if they can't control games or defend.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Of course it's about players and instructions. Considering almost every team plays with 4 men at the back your Stoke argument is invalid as for every Stoke there are 3 other teams that play 4 at the back as well and do badly. Cardiff and Fulham played 4 at the back and conceded 160 goals between them last season. It's nowhere near conclusive. I can turn that around and say Fulham was the best example why a 4-men defense doesn't work.

Let me word it the other way, no three man's defence would have been able to achieve the same as what Stoke did yesterday, and that is a fact.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

cant believe there is still a Man U thread......I thought you would all have jumped ship by now as your (cough) 'club' are a laughing stock! :eek:

well done to you....well done indeed ;)

No need to be so patronising.

Every big club in the world (bar RM) have been through "tough times" before - nothing new here.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

So that's Kagawa gone, shame he wasn't given a fair crack by Fergie, Moyes or van Gaal, will likely return to top form with a system and players that better suit his game.

Hernandez to Madrid is apparently done. Can only assume that maybe Falcao is off to City with Negredo possibly moving to Valencia on loan (seems to be the popular opinion). Although City would have to sell to meet FFP criteria?

Welbeck to Spurs on loan too possibly.

Edit: Sodding loan deal for Hernandez, thought we were finally rid of him.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

@Ben

I'm definitely not trying to undermine your effort of explaining the whole matter in depth (as you have done it quite profoundly)' date=' but it's kind of stating the obvious in almost all cases, starting from the selection to the tactical part of it. And even so, I think many (including myself) would disagree.

[b']I wasn't trying to state the obvious more point out that the 3-5-2 can work well. It's surprisingly simple when you break it down as it really does just come down to having at least 2 options for every player.[/b]

The fact of the matter is this: four games in, four bad results. The game in which LvG switched his tactics to a 4-man defence saw minor improvements, whilst the other games (no major tactical change) saw United deteriorate even further.

His successes at the World Cup can be considered miraculous if you ask me. They beat a weak Spain team with an outstanding player in Robben. They were lucky against almost all other adversaries (with Robben almost single-handedly carrying them over all obstacles). Never did his 3-4-2-1 look capable of dominating a game, even against the smaller teams, with counter-attack the only viable option in that case. And let's face it, without Robben, they probably wouldn't have got out of the group stages.

It made the most of his best players though hence it worked. The defence of Netherlands is awful no stand out CB so he drilled into them the other system and did ok with it.

The problem now is that LvG is facing teams that are experienced, not teams that play seven matches together once every four years, which is making it even more difficult for his tactics. Counter-attacking is much easier against teams that aren't seasoned. These players (especially in the EPL) know each other like the back of their own hand, which will prove to be hard for whatever team with whichever level of quality present.

Hence his own side needs to gain experience playing the system. He needs time because he's uprooting almost everything we've known and it needs to happen IMO.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fundamentally, a three-man's defence is a man-marking system, almost exceptionally used by teams that are desperate to hold on to a result. Now look at United's core, and if anything, it screams out the complete opposite. Too many attacking players, too few defensive players. Why on earth would that be a stimulant to play, what is on paper, a defensive formation?

It's not at all man marking not in the slightest or at least when done correctly (as LVG would like) it should not be. I thought the defensive side was obvious but I might break it down when I have the time to.

It's not a defensive formation in the slightest either it's very offensive!

Another problem with the man-marking system is the freedom opponents get whilst attacking. The moment one loses his defender, he's gone, and whether you have Godin, Thiago Silva and Benatia in your defence or United's current crop, it only takes some smart movement to get past them and run at goal. Exceptional wing-backs are becoming a rare breed of their own, making a possible five-man's defence as useless. The eventual damage done is down to the individual quality of the players, which in United's case is far from spectacular.

I disagree that it's man marking so really that shouldn't be the problem. I agree you need quality but we have potential and you only improve by playing.

A three/five-man's defence will never work in the EPL, mark my words and feel free to humiliate me if I'm proven wrong.

I would argue they already have.

Another thing that has absolutely bugged me since he's taken over and the competitive games have started, is his attitude towards the game. Four games in and four lame excuses found. This is the same United with which Ferguson, and even Moyes (in his first few months) were able to get reasonable results with. After the Dons game, he said this: "I expected this.", which is frankly enraging. If a manager doesn't believe in his team, why would the players believe?

This has grinded on a few.

I look at managers like Klopp, Mourinho, even Gustavo Poyet for that matter, and it's almost like playing with twelve players. So far, I haven't seen anything that makes me think he's any good.

I think it's as much the situation as him. Having made some more signings and moved on some players he should have the personnel he feels he needs to perform better. Bear in mind the only new signing to have played in the PL this season is Di Maria and he was delightful to watch at times.

If we don't see at least the beginnings of something by about December/January then I feel it is time to wonder.

This was never going to be an easy season or a title challenging one. Hopefully top 4 and every fan would be happy that I know for now.

I don't buy these generalized "3 men defense doesnt work in the EPL" statements.

If you have the right players and correct tactical instructions' date=' you can play with 3, 4 or 5 men in defense and it all works.

United don't have wingbacks who can play at a high level and the biggest issue, and I think somebody said it on here last night, is that they have a terribly weak central midfield which offers no help. Add to that, the link-up play between Rooney, van Persie, Mata etc. is absolutely atrocious up front which is gonna be no different playing a different tactic.[/quote']

I agree you need the right players and instructions. I think United have the right players they just need to follow the instructions. When under pressure we are lumping the ball out of defence and now giving 2 options per pass. It's such a simple thing but lack of concentration is the problem.

I am becoming concerned by RVP and Rooney together with Mata due to the lack of pace but we shall see. I wouldn't mind seeing Welbeck in the mix despite his doubters (typically non United fans) I think he's worth a chance.

So that's Kagawa gone' date=' shame he wasn't given a fair crack by Fergie, Moyes or van Gaal, will likely return to top form with a system and players that better suit his game.

[b']Hernandez to Madrid is apparently done.[/b] Can only assume that maybe Falcao is off to City with Negredo possibly moving to Valencia on loan (seems to be the popular opinion). Although City would have to sell to meet FFP criteria?

Welbeck to Spurs on loan too possibly.

Edit: Sodding loan deal for Hernandez, thought we were finally rid of him.

Real shame about Kagawa. Had we given him the time in the No10 role I feel he could have been a great addition. Unfortunately he was never given a run in the side.

If Hernandez is off on loan to Real you have to question the logic?

Why loan him, why not sell?

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

Real shame about Kagawa. Had we given him the time in the No10 role I feel he could have been a great addition. Unfortunately he was never given a run in the side.

If Hernandez is off on loan to Real you have to question the logic?

Why loan him' date=' why not sell?[/quote']

I'd rather he left permanently, I can only assume that LvG has left it rather late on deciding who leaves, therefore leaving options limited in terms of permanent outgoing deals.

Heard that we had a bid of £20m rejected for Schneiderlin recently, not sure whether that bid went in before the Blind deal was agreed.

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Re: Official Red Devils Thread

So that's Kagawa gone' date=' shame he wasn't given a fair crack by Fergie, Moyes or van Gaal, will likely return to top form with a system and players that better suit his game.

[b']Hernandez to Madrid is apparently done.[/b] Can only assume that maybe Falcao is off to City with Negredo possibly moving to Valencia on loan (seems to be the popular opinion). Although City would have to sell to meet FFP criteria?

Welbeck to Spurs on loan too possibly.

Edit: Sodding loan deal for Hernandez, thought we were finally rid of him.

We don't have to sell to meet an initial loan fee with FFP. Even if we do sell, I don't think we can afford Falcao on a permanent deal.

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