Man Utd Named Amongst Clubs Interested in Reborn Crystal Palace Flop Alexander Sorloth

Manchester United have been named on the exhaustive list of clubs supposedly interested in Trabzonspor goal machine Alexander Sorloth, according to a report in Turkey.

Despite strong seasons from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as the emergence of the talented Mason Greenwood and Odion Ighalo’s mid-season cameo, there is talk that United will look to supplement their attacking options when the transfer window re-opens.

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And according to ​Fanatik in Turkey, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have an interest in Trabzonspor striker Sorloth – along with (supposedly) Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Milan and Napoli.

The 24-year-old Norway international had been in blistering form, before the suspension of the season earlier this month, claiming 25 goals and seven assists in 39 games across all competitions. 

The forward joined the Turkish side on loan from Premier League club Crystal Palace in the summer after a difficult spell at Selhurst Park. Despite the poor goalscoring form of Palace’s Belgian striker Christian Benteke, Sorloth was still unable to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s plans and netted just one goal in 20 appearances across a season and a half for the Eagles.

​​With Trabzonspor having the option to make the loan deal a permanent one, for just €6m, Sorloth could easily be flipped and resold for huge profit – the report suggests €30m.

However, Fanatik’s piece also maintains that the player is not actually thinking about his next move and is focussed on finishing the season with Trabzon, who were top of the Super Lig after 26 games before the enforced hiatus.

In recent days, United have also been linked with Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho ahead of what is likely to be a pivotal summer for Solskjaer’s side.

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Robin van Persie Tells Revealing Story About Sir Alex Ferguson’s Disciplinary Methods at Man Utd

Robin van Persie has revealed the stringent discipline process in place at Manchester United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s regime.

Van Persie joined United from Arsenal in 2012, and was instrumental as Ferguson’s side wrestled the Premier League title back from rivals Manchester City during his debut season.

The Dutch forward scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa to seal Red Devils’ 20th league title, allowing Sir Alex to retire in style.

Man Utd v Swansea

​United could have won the title a fortnight earlier, but they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Man City, and it was Ferguson’s reaction to this that revealed just what a tight ship the former manager ran at Old Trafford.

In an interview with ​So Foot, Van Persie said: “Most managers would not have dramatised the situation. The boss on the other hand was really ‘hot’.

“Two guys from the team were out after this loss. The day after the match, he had pictures of the two players on the changing room walls from their night out. 

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“He said to the whole team: ‘Ok guys, if we don’t win the championship, know that it’s because of those two assholes that chose to go out.'”

Van Persie explained the pictures of the two players on their night out remained hanging in the changing rooms.

There were pictures of the two players hour by hour: 2am, 3am, 4am; as if to emphasise the extent of their bullshit,” the former forward added.

“He didn’t stop there. He warned us all: ‘If we don’t win the championship, it’s because these two have decided to go out. From now on, if I see a player out before the trophy is lifted, that player is gone.’

“‘I don’t care about who you are, how many trophies you’ve won so far. If you’re out before the end of the season, you’ll leave the team and I’ll have you transferred.’

“After that speech, we went to train, and it was the two hardest workouts of my life.”

The revealing story highlights the alarm bells triggered by Jack Grealish’s recent ducking of the government’s coronavirus lockdown procedures.

Jack Grealish

The ​Aston Villa captain – a target of United’s – popped out to visit a friend, despite government warnings to stay in doors, resulting in further controversy. ​He has since apologised.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is striving to change the culture at United as he aims to reboot the club, often drawing from his experiences of playing under Ferguson. 

Creating the right culture demands the right personalities, and Grealish’s lack of discipline would not have been well received by the likes of Sir Alex.

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The Predicted Final 2019/20 Premier League Table – Who Will Finish Where?

Premier League football remains on hold until at least 30 April – and probably quite a bit longer – due to welcome coronavirus preventative measures, but an Opta/Stats Perform simulation has modelled what the rest of the 2019/20 season has in store, if it can even return.

The latest rumoured plans suggest a World Cup-style schedule in June and July to play the 92 outstanding Premier League fixtures. Fixtures would be played in a cluster of closed stadiums, with players and staff from each club observing full quarantine conditions between games.

The statistical model works by estimating the probability of each match outcome (win, lose or draw), based on each team’s attacking and defensive qualities. Those qualities are in turn determined by four years of historic results, with more recent results weighted more.

The model also takes into account the quality of an opponent, while the overall simulation was run 10,000 times to estimate the likelihood of each team finishing in each league position.

The obvious place to start is with Liverpool. There is little surprise that there is a 99.9% chance of the Reds finishing first and lifting a first league title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp

They are also predicted to do so with 101 points, which would be a new English league record, breaking the previous mark of 100 set by Manchester City in 2017/18. With City expected to finish second on 80 points, the 21-point gap would also be a new record margin of victory.

City are almost certain to finish second, with only a 0.7% chance they will drop to third.

The most likely scenario sees a 13-point gap back to Leicester in third, with Chelsea statistically the most likely side to finish fourth. Manchester United have a 9.8% chance of finishing third and a 20.6% chance of finishing fourth, but fifth is their most probable final position.

However, given the UEFA ban hanging over Manchester City, fifth place should still be enough for any team to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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The chance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team finishing lower than fifth diminish, but there is still a tiny 0.9% possibility they drop all the way to 10th before the campaign is complete.

Things are tight between sixth and ninth, where only minimal differences have determined the most probable order. In the most likely scenario, Tottenham will finish sixth, Wolves in seventh, Arsenal in eighth and Sheffield United in ninth place.

However, Spurs are almost as likely to finish seventh, Wolves have a nearly as strong chance of finishing sixth or eighth, Arsenal could easily finish seventh or ninth, while there is still a 15% chance Sheffield United could be seventh, compared to 22% of their most probable ninth.

In short, the battle for those four places will be ever so close.

Alexandre Lacazette,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Everton are predicted to complete the top half of the table, with Burnley, Crystal Palace and Newcastle following in 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.

The big takeaway at the bottom of the table is that West Ham should keep their head above water and stay up in 15th place, three points above the bottom three. Watford are also expected to stay up, although again the bottom looks as though it is going to be very tight.

Bournemouth are set to finish 18th, but it should be noted that their chances of finishing 17th and in safety are almost as high. Aston Villa are much more probable to get relegated, with a 40% chance they will finish 19th, with Norwich 68% likely to be bottom.

Predicted Final 2019/20 Premier League Table (Opta/Stats Perform):

​Pos. ​Club ​Points
​1 Liverpool​ 101​
​2 Manchester City​ 80​
​3 Leicester​ 67​
​4 Chelsea​ 63​
​5 Manchester United​ 61​
​6 Tottenham​ 58​
​7 ​Wolves 56​
​8 ​Arsenal ​56
​9 Sheffield United​ 55​
​10 Everton​ 50​
​11 Burnley​ 49​
​12 Crystal Palace​ 49​
​13 Newcastle​ 46​
​14 Southampton​ 44​
​15 West Ham​ 39​
​16 Brighton​ 37​
​17 Watford​ 36​
18​ Bournemouth​ 36​
​19 ​Aston Villa ​32
​20 Norwich​ 29​

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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5 Positions Man Utd Need to Strengthen & the Players They Should Sign to Fix Them – Summer 2020

Manchester United seem to have finally turned a corner. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if this is actually the real deal or yet another false dawn, but positive steps have definitely been taken since a horrific defeat by Burnley marked a new low in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

It was as though that lowest of the low needed to happen before a fresh chapter could begin.

Even just a couple of months on from that, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already looks like he has the beginnings of a squad that with the right recruitment and additions, will be capable of once more challenging for major silverware in the next couple of years.

These are five key positions United need to strengthen ahead of next season, complete with expected and/or possible targets for each…


Right Winger/Right Forward

Jesse Lingard

The right flank has been a problem for United for some time – probably even before Antonio Valencia was repurposed as a full-back around five years ago.

Of the current squad, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have all been tried there in recent seasons, but none have the requisite skills to thrive in such a role.

Having played way more than expected in his debut season, winger Daniel James lacks the natural ability to be a starter and should be considered more of an impact player looking ahead.

Suggested Options:

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho is the most obvious candidate for the role. 90min first revealed back in September that United are ‘confident’ of signing the rising England star and that the club will pay what it takes, while 90min also revealed just last week that they now think they have done enough.

That has only been strengthened now that Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has admitted the Bundesliga side will not stop him leaving.

Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka has been linked. The 18-year-old is left-sided, but modern wingers and wide players are nothing if not versatile and he has also played on the right this season. Burnley’s Dwight McNeil, who was released by United at 14, is another young and versatile winger.

Alternatively, Adama Traore or Allan Saint-Maximin could fit the bill.


‘Number 10’

Bruno Fernandes

Even though Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation since arriving in January, United still need even more midfield creativity if they are to genuinely compete within the next couple of years.

A lot will depend on whether Paul Pogba stays, which looks increasingly likely with a lack of buyers possessing the necessary funds to sign him, and how Solskjaer plans to use him.

Suggested Options:

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish has proven himself a fine Premier League calibre player this season, even scoring for Aston Villa at Old Trafford, and could be the best affordable and attainable option.

James Maddison would cost a lot more but is another player United have been linked with, while Kai Havertz is in a similar price range if the hierarchy wishes to look further afield.

Todd Cantwell would be more of a development target. The Norwich 22-year-old has primarily played from the left this season, but ‘number 10’ may be his long-term future.

Ajax talent Donny van de Beek is one player who has been repeatedly linked.


Central Midfield

Paul Pogba

Nemanja Matic has the look of a new player all of a sudden, but the veteran Serb will be 32 before next season kicks off and won’t last forever. Fred is also now finding form after understandably taking time to settle, while Scott McTominay remains an asset.

A lot in central midfield also hinges on the Pogba question – he is increasingly likely to stay.

Suggested options:

Jude Bellingham

90min revealed last week that United are confident they have done enough to sign 16-year-old midfield prodigy Jude Bellingham from Birmingham, beating off competition from Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Bellingham, despite his age, could even go straight into the first-team squad. He is a long-term option and that may provide the perfect blend and balance without anyone in the existing central midfield group feeling marginalised by a new arrival.

If United were to go down the more established route, which would only likely happen if Pogba were to leave, there is fresh gossip about Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez. A sneakier option might be N’Golo Kante, whose Chelsea future has been the subject of speculation this season.

At Wolves, Ruben Neves has only just turned 23 and would be one for the long-term, or 22-year-old Youri Tielemans after an impressive 18 months at Leicester.


Striker

Mason Greenwood,Anthony Martial

Chances are Odion Ighalo will sign on a permanent deal in the summer anyway, but United will still need another new ‘number nine’ forward in addition.

Let’s not forget that Marcus Rashford, when fit, won’t really come into this discussion as left forward is quite clearly his best and most preferred position. It means aside from Ighalo, who can only really be expected to fill an auxiliary role in cups and Europe à la Michael Owen c.2009, United only have Anthony Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood as options up front.

Suggested Options:

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Erling Haaland ordinarily wouldn’t be a goer so soon after joining Borussia Dortmund, although his reported release clause and other rumoured interest in him could see United act sooner than expected if other clubs like Real Madrid start to mobilise.

Harry Kane, who has refused to rule out leaving Spurs if the club isn’t making progress, would be the ultimate dream. But he will come with an enormous price tag.

United have also been linked with Lautaro Martinez, whose Inter release clause is £94m. However, if he moves anywhere ahead of next season it is thought more likely to be Barcelona.

Alternatively, Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani will soon be a free agent as a short-term option like Ighalo and is a proven goalscorer if chances are created for him – Martial, Rashford and Greenwood could certainly learn a thing or two from the Uruguayan.

Maybe even Wolves’ star number nine Raul Jimenez?


Right-Back

Diogo Dalot

While the resurgence of Luke Shaw and the emergence of Brandon Williams has solidified the left-back position in recent months, United still need reinforcements on the other side.

Diogo Dalot’s patchy fitness record and the departures of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, has left Williams as the primary understudy to Aaron Wan-Bissaka. That means even just one injury to Williams, Shaw or Wan-Bissaka will leave United too light.

Suggested Options:

Max Aarons,Joao Moutinho

Wan-Bissaka is the long-term future at right-back, so United would need to look for a reliable squad option rather than an established starter. That could be Max Aarons of Norwich, a player United have been linked with before and who offers a different skillset.

Mason Holgate is versatile enough to play right-back and centre-back, as are West Brom youngster Nathan Ferguson and Tottenham’s Japhet Tanganga.

The more established Thomas Meunier is nearing the end of his PSG contract.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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How Manchester United’s Loaned Out Players Will Get on When They Return to Old Trafford – Ranked

While Manchester United have used the loan market to strengthen their own team this year with the addition of new cult hero Odion Ighalo, the club mainly utilise the system to send their players out to other clubs – as they’ve done with many members of their squad this season.

Some were sent out on loan to get more game time, while others were shipped out in an effort to rediscover their form or reduce the current wage bill (not looking at anyone in particular, Alexis).

With United hoping to secure Champions League football for next season, we take a look at those players who have been sent out on loan, and consider whether they have a chance of making Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s first-team squad.


Kieran O’Hara

Kieran O'Hara

​The first of three goalkeepers you’ll find here – and although Kieran O’Hara is number one on this list, you can be pretty confident he’ll never be number one at United.

On his seventh loan spell away from Old Trafford, the Irishman is currently playing for Burton Albion in League One this season. It all seemed to be going fairly well until O’Hara channelled his inner-Luis Suarez, receiving a six-match ban ​for allegedly biting Peterborough player Sammie Szmodics.

Still, on the brighter side, O’Hara did win his first two caps for the Republic of Ireland this season.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 0/10


Joel Castro Pereira

Joel Castro Pereira

Once highly thought of at Old Trafford, Pereira made his Premier League debut for United on 21 May 2017 against Crystal Palace. Sadly, he’s unlikely to ever earn a second Premier League appearance for the club.

The Portuguese goalkeeper is having a torrid time on loan at Hearts this season, as the club sit bottom of the Scottish Premiership. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Pereira himself has been recently dropped from the side after conceding 11 goals in three league appearances.

Don’t worry just yet, United fans. While these two goalkeepers have failed to cut the mustard during their respective loan spells, there’s a fella further down on this list who’s fared quite a lot better…

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 1/10


Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

After bursting onto the scene at United under Louis van Gaal in 2015, Borthwick-Jackson’s career has gone backwards following unsuccessful loan spells at Wolves and Leeds United – both of which were cut short amid questions about the player’s attitude. 

Spells in League One at Scunthorpe United and Tranmere Rovers were just as unfruitful, and the defender now finds himself playing on loan at Oldham in League Two.

Geographically, the 23 year-old is currently as close to the Manchester United team as he’s been in years. In reality, however, with his United contract running out this summer, Borthwick-Jackson has never been further from a return to the first-team squad.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 1/10


Marcos Rojo

Marcos Rojo

After continually being linked with a transfer away from Old Trafford, Rojo finally managed to make his escape (albeit via a loan move) in January, as he was sent to former club Estudiantes. 

However, the Argentine has struggled with injury while being back in his native land, playing just one game so far.

With United holding out for a large fee for the defender, and there seemingly being no route back into Ole’s XI, Rojo’s future may be left in limbo for a while longer.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 1/10


Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

​It’s just not happening for Alexis Sanchez right now, is it? While the Chilean might well have earned enough money to last him several lifetimes, his form on the pitch has been a massive cause for concern over the last two years.

Sent to the San Siro just 18 months after United made him one of the highest paid footballers in the world, Sanchez’s struggles have continued in Italy. After missing the majority of the first half of the season through injury, the 31-year-old has failed to make an impact – scoring just one goal.

Football fans – and United fans in particular – would love to see the forward get back to his best, and producing the sort of dazzling displays he conjured up during his time at Arsenal. However, as each day passes, the chances of ever seeing that happen become more and more remote.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 4/10


Chris Smalling

UEFA Europa League"KAA Gent v AS Roma"

As one United player fails to make an impression in Serie A, another prospers. Chris Smalling has shone for Roma this season during his 28 appearances for the Italian club.

With Solskjær still undecided on who to permanently partner Harry Maguire with in central defence, and Smalling impressing at the Stadio Olimpico, it’ll be interesting to see just how ajar that door is for a United return.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 6/10


Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson

The third goalkeeper to feature, but the best by a fair distance. Not only that, Henderson is quite possibly the only man on this list who can be gushing with confidence about a future at Manchester United.

If this were to be judged on recent performances alone, Henderson would surely be the man in between the sticks at Old Trafford next season. The 23-year-old has been immense for Sheffield United, keeping ten clean sheets in the league as the Blades sit seventh. De Gea, on the other hand, has seen his form drop dramatically over the last two seasons with frequent errors.

All eyes will be on next season. Can Solskjær conceivably drop the Spanish goalkeeper, with his shiny new long-term contract – reported to be worth £350,000 a week? Would Henderson be satisfied riding the pine at Old Trafford, after performing so well at Bramall Lane for the last two seasons, and with aspirations of breaking into Gareth Southgate’s England team? 

Watch this space.

Likelihood of Making it at Manchester United: 8/10


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