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26 May 2018 15:20:23
Afternoon Boys, to try and distract us from the game this afternoon from all the players we've been linked with who do you realistically expect us to sign and why?

From what I've read these are the players I think we'll target (note these are the players I think we'll buy not necessarily the ones I'd chose personally or the ones I think we need) .

CB - I think we'll want another CB and Alderweireld looks the early favourite. Dealing with Spurs is notoriously difficult so I expect this one to go to the wire. Outside of this I expect Umtiti to sign another contract at Barca. I wouldn't rule out an offer to Real Madrid for Varane should negotiations with Spurs drag on.

LB - Sandro looks the early favourite but talk of a new contract and inflated transfer fee may price us out of a move. I remember us being strongly linked with Aaron Martin from Espanyol, I think he's liked by Mourinho and maybe this would be the more realistic target.

CM - It would appear a deal for Fred is almost done. I think our interest may end here especially if Fellaini signs another contract.

RW - William, liked by Mourinho but transfer fee may be prove problematic considering his age. Bale rumours may resurface depending on how he performs tonight. Woodward favourite but injuries and inflated fee makes this unlikely.

Outside of that I don't realistically see many other targets. I don't expect a high number of incoming players to arrive unless the Club choose to move on the likes of Martial, Mata or maybe even Herrera when replacements will be needed.

I fully expect Darmian, Blind and possibly Shaw to be sold over the summer.

What do you all think?

DLIB

1.) 26 May 2018 15:58:36
We're linked with some lad from Real Betis today as well. I think we need 2 midfielders either way. We have Matic, Pogba, Herrera and McTominay. Matic needs cover/ rotation. Pogba flatters to deceive. Herrera is a good squad option and McTominay is just a youngster. We need 2 more in there. Look at City's options.


2.) 26 May 2018 16:01:53
I'm reading a few reports of Milinkovic-Savic but only if we can offload pogba.


3.) 26 May 2018 16:15:46
Cb - Alderweireld
Lb - Sandro
Rb - sidibe
Cdm/ cm - Fabinho and Fred (would love Milinkovic savic instead of Fabinho)

Sell:
Blind
Darmian
Shaw (sadly)
Mata
Fellaini

Keep:
Martial (fingers crossed)


4.) 26 May 2018 16:19:32
Only two clubs could afford Pobga. Madrid will most likely be looking to buy in other areas and may need to sell first. And PSG are also after Savic too.


5.) 26 May 2018 16:46:41
RW is the most important for me to sort out, would be happy with either Bale or Willian

LB would be Sandro hope its true that a deal is close

MID Apparently we are close to deals with Savic, Fabinho and Fred would take all them and Fabinho can play right back too

I think Blind, Darmian, Shaw and Fellaini will be out the door

Martial I think will not be going anywhere.


6.) 26 May 2018 17:34:21
Sidibe
Alderweireld
Alex Sandro
Fred
Milinkovic-Savic
Bale.


7.) 26 May 2018 17:47:47
Didn't think it would be long before the name Bale cropped up
It's a NEVER from me for the same reasons as the last 2 summers, too expensive too injury prone and will soon be too old as well.


8.) 26 May 2018 17:58:33
Allan, Van Persie was considered injury prone before he signed for us.


9.) 26 May 2018 18:10:14
Regards Bale it would depend on cost. And a very vigorous medical.


10.) 26 May 2018 18:31:37
If a top CB comes in I can see Jones or Rojo going out as well as darmian, bind, shaw, fellani.

2 outside bets. a decent bid for Mata or Herrera would give jm something to think about. don't think either are 100% secure.


11.) 26 May 2018 18:41:23
‘Very vigorous medical’ mort 😂. Would not like to know what that would include.


12.) 26 May 2018 18:51:06
I did think twice about putting bale down, but he can be devastating and if the right price etc can be agreed couldn’t be worth a gamble in this money mad era, Willian was the other name I was going to put down.
Remember when we was nearly signing Felipe Anderson, how’s he been playing?


13.) 26 May 2018 19:09:44
bit harsh Welsh red devil. he is injury prone but having him put down?


14.) 26 May 2018 19:38:32
Not my cash so don’t care how much players cost. Bale has to be our man and okay him down the right. Martial may have to leave to open up the slot. Sanchez, Lukaku, Bale, Rash and hopefully Martial is quite the front line to pick from.

LB- Rose please
CB- Alderweireld is the best in the league so yes please
RB - not sure, maybe try TFM or Young as rotation?
CM - Fred looks done, Savic I don’t know but seems to be the one we are after.


 

 

20 May 2018 18:46:29
Once the dust settles and the disappointment subsides we can reflect on the game in a more rational manner.

The game panned out more or less as I expected. A tense, cagey, unexciting spectacle which was always destined to be won by the odd goal or a penalty shoot out.

In terms of our defensive play I thought we handled them pretty well. I was surprised when they played an extra midfielder which effectively meant we only had Hazard to deal with. De Gea was a spectator for most of the game and they carried very little threat. Such games are often decided by the big players or mistakes and whilst Jones was culpable of some pretty awful defending I'd also have to question the shape of the team that allowed their only attacking treat to the receive the ball on the counter with acres of space to run into. Herrera's positioning must be questioned especially as he was tasked with the job of man marking Hazard or certainly being close to him in the transitions in order to stop the counter attack. Ultimately Hazard produced the games one moment of quality, leaving Jones for dead and expertly converting the penalty.

It's easy to label Jones as the fall guy but after returning from a long injury he didn't quite look match fit in either body or mind. The way Hazard effortlessly accelerated past him was embarrassing and he should never have been afforded so much space to run into. I think Jones is a decent defender but he's still prone to individual mistakes and I've never been convinced that the Jones/ Smalling axis is our best defensive partnership.

Since Sanchez arrived we have lacked penetration and he has played far too deep. He has often congested the midfield occupying Pogba's space and without runners in front of him he's been relatively anonymous. Yesterday was no exception.

What we desperately lack is width, somebody to make the pitch bigger, somebody that can dribble the ball with pace, commit and beat defenders and supply quality crosses into the box for Lukaku. To be honest Martial provides this threat and was our brightest attacking outlet when he came on but he's been marginalised, maligned and cast aside by a manager that seemingly has little patience for young players still learning the game and searching for consistency.

I've read press speculation linking us with a move for William but I think this would be a mistake. He's plays a very similar role to Sanchez, he likes to play inside, often dropping deep to receive the ball, this would congest the midfield even further and complicate Pogba's role in the team even more.

I'm not sure which direction Mourinho is taking us. I don't see an evolution in our style of play and whilst I think his signings have been good in terms of quality there appears to be no forward thinking about how they all fit together.

In hindsight I think Sanchez may turn out to be a poor acquisition, especially if it's at the expense of Martial. What we really needed is a right winger to complete our attack. That's been the problem position all season. If we'd have looked to recruit a really top class right winger, one capable of scoring goals and assisting Lukaku then that would have relieved the burden on the likes of Martial and Rashford, allowed them time to develop meaning their off days would less important as others take up the slack.

I expect more of the same next season. The only way we can judge Mourinho is by his results. We can be encouraged by a better league campaign but finishing 20 points behind City whilst playing some pretty dire stuff certainly isn't enough for the swelling anti Jose brigade to be placated. The success of our season ultimately came down to one game and the means didn't justify the ends. Jose failed to deliver and I think our season can be best described in these three words "must do better".

Wishing you all a great summer, hopefully England can provide us with some much need entertainment (although I won't hold my breath) and we'll see what the summer transfer window and next season brings. All the best.

DLIB

1.) 21 May 2018 06:12:26
DLIB - I agree, as a team we look lost with no obvious plan to our game, we have so much possession but it's all in safe positions.
For the goal I thought Jones's starting position was poor and once he was squared up it was no contest, Hazard was through.
I think your judgement on Jose's signings is spot on, how many of them can be classed as a success.
With José at the helm I think we can sum up next season now, 'more of the same'. Will it be enough to see him as our manager by the end of the season, only time will tell.


 

 

18 May 2018 19:30:18
On the eve of the FA Cup final I have a foreboding feeling of deja vu.

Just like last season we enter our final game wondering if the ends will justify the means. Our season once again balanced precariously on a single game.

Win and most will be happy with a other trophy to swell our cabinet. A win will go along way in masking a generally arduous, tedious and frustrating season. A win helps to forge a stronger mentality into the squad and provides more evidence to both the players and the fans that Jose methods are successful if not pretty. A win ends the season on a high, provides optimism for next year and we can look forward to the World Cup and summer transfer window safe in the knowledge that Jose has delivered success in consecutive seasons. The experience of winning big games can only bode well for the future and maybe we can dare to believe that if Jose actually gets it right we might just become a force to be reckoned with once again.

A defeat however would have the opposite effect. Nothing to show for a largely joyless campaign littered with sobering defeats and performances. Progress undoubtedly made in terms of points gained and goals scored but stagnant with regard to style or patterns of play. Star names under performing, humbling chastisements for players and fans alike, bizarre statements and self proclamation. It's been a funny old year.

So now our season hangs in the balance. Once last 90 minute examination. One final push for glory. Let's hope Jose does what Jose does best. Gets the job done one way or another.

DLIB

1.) 18 May 2018 19:42:36
David de gea said during the week, second isn't good enough for Manchester United, you don't win anything for trophy for that.
He said we have to win the fa cup.
I agree with you Dave.


2.) 18 May 2018 20:35:25
I remember from the 76 final, back then when you won the cup it was seen as a springboard to a title challenge the following season. It isn’t like that anymore and to be honest was never really true anyway.

Enjoy the day, win is great but a loss is not the end of the world in the great scheme of things. This is ultimately a one off, just relax and enjoy, I have seen us win and lose, FA Cups on TV and stood/ sat at Wembley. Don’t read too much into it.


3.) 18 May 2018 21:34:53
Very true Redman maybe I was being a touch dramatic.

Anyway I'll be down there tomorrow supporting the boys.


4.) 18 May 2018 22:25:29
I think it's very clear, a win and Jose gets another year, a loss and he should be sacked. Lol.


5.) 18 May 2018 23:09:41
Shappy - What if it's 0-0 and we win on pens does he still deserve another year then? 😉 Lol.


6.) 19 May 2018 00:03:00
Red Man, I would have thought as a man of a certain vintage, you would appreciate the importance of the FA Cup, rather than being quite blasé about it. Seems like someone's downplaying the importance just in case José comes up short. Personally, I think we'll stuff them. Worst Chelsea team in years, with obvious schisms in the team, and between the players and the manager. If we can't win tomorrow, there's something wrong. I can't wait. Love FA Cup Final day.

Good post by the way, DLIB.


7.) 19 May 2018 00:41:15
I would sack Jose win or lose.


8.) 19 May 2018 05:15:47
Nou

As a man of “certain vintage” as you put it (not been referred to like that before) I appreciate the FA Cup for the great competition it is. Make no mistake I want to win, winning is what it is all about and will be gutted if we lose, however over the many years of supporting it brings perspective. If the team comes up short it doesn’t mean the end of the club just we start aiming for next season. If we win it doesn’t automatically mean a title challenge, in case you forgot we have sacked two managers after winning it so why would I be “downplaying it” in case we lose?


9.) 19 May 2018 08:08:28
Good post redman and dilb.


10.) 19 May 2018 09:26:46
Great debate, I love the Cup but it does seem to have lost some lustre in recent years. Semi finals at Wembley doesn’t work for me either. Let’s hope it’s a great game and we play with freedom. If we do, I think we will do them.


 

 

16 May 2018 00:26:09
Fascinating MNF with G. Nev and Pep Guardiola absolutely loved getting an insight into the mind of our great adversary.

Forget the beautiful free flowing football or tactics the single most important factor I took away from that program was Pep said his players had to be humble and they had to run. They all play for each other and they all run. Nobody is good enough to think that the other players will do their work for them. If they don't run they don't play, they come and sit on the bench next to me.

I've always been a big advocate that the best teams always work the hardest. The best teams have desire and intensity to their game and understand that victory never comes without blood, sweat and tears. Pep used the word humble which I think is a brilliant word. If you can't even outwork the best teams then what chance do you have?

This is an area where I feel we've been sorely lacking since Fergi retired. We've lost our hunger, our desire, our commitment. How many times have we just let the game dangerously drift towards full time? How many times have we witnessed our team come sprinting out of the blocks, putting the opposition under pressure from minute one? Didn't we almost go a full season without scoring a first half goal under LVG?

We've become a team of entitled brats, players on inflated wages, unprofessional, hiding.

We all wanted the answer about how well Pogba, Martial or Shaw would perform in a Pep team well tonight I think we've got the answer. They'd all be sat next to him on the bench without a significant change in attitude.

This is why Sanchez plays ahead of Martial, why Pogba was dropped in favour of an inexperienced academy graduate and why Shaw can't displace a veteran converted winger from the team. This is why Miki was sold to Arsenal.

Match the opposition for effort and your quality will win the game. Sadly this wasn't the case against Huddersfield, Brighton, Newcastle, WBA to name but a few.

Jose is right there is an attitude problem at our Club and it's holding us back.

DLIB

1.) 16 May 2018 01:21:34
Great Post DLIB, some good points there. Do you think Mourinho can restore the necessary desire and work ethic?


2.) 16 May 2018 01:44:55
DLIB great post 👍.


3.) 16 May 2018 03:52:00
Yes. Agree with everything you just said. I think Pogba can get there, but he needs to grow up, he could even be a future captain, but not with his current attitude. Or fitness level.

Martial and Shaw, like Miki will not get there.

And for everyone who is angered by that, just watch David Silva, Sterling, Sane, Sanchez, Giggs, Beckham etc etc they know/ knew they had to earn the right to play football. It is the minimum requirement.


4.) 16 May 2018 05:33:25
DLIB - only one problem with your analysis about why Martial etc were dropped, Pogba has walked back into the team still showing no signs of working hard. Wait until Saturday and see if the hard working McTominay is playing or the 'name' Pogba who strolls through games plays.
Gary Nev summed Pogba up best when he said he plays as if the team is winning 3-0 when in fact the score is 0-0. José may well be right about the attitude at the club but his stellar signing Pogba is one of the worst offenders.
I get fed up with everything being the players fault, how many players have played to their capabilities this season, DeGea, Lukaku possibly. José is paid a vast amount of money to get the players to perform and the weekly dross that we have become accustomed to is as much his fault as the players.
Before we get the usual excuses for José about the poor squad he inherited, assess how all of his signings have performed, why are his players not performing.


 

 

12 May 2018 12:49:48
As the curtain closes on another Premier League season it's a frustratingly difficult one to assess.

The optimist's will point to progression, our highest league position since Sir Alex retired, win tomorrow and we'll break the 80 point barrier, 25 league wins, 18 clean sheets and finishing second above L'pool, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal can be considered a decent campaign especially with an FA Cup final to look forward to and possibly more silverware to add to the cabinet, however many of us feel disappointed and disillusioned.

Some will argue that the football has been poor, disjointed, lacking rhythm, intensity and often overly cautions and boring. Supporting Utd this season has been a tough slog, joyless and unentertaining. Fall outs with players, harsh public criticism, self proclamation, a refusal to accept responsibility, constant team changes, no settled formation, sullen, fractious press conferences and flirtations with other Clubs have led some to question whether Jose is the correct man to take us forward.

I see merit in both arguments and have fell into both camps at various points throughout the season, Optimism often turning to despair and vice versa.

I think since Sir Alex retired we have lost our cavalier spirit and confidence. We often look consumed with doubt and paralysed by fear. Our football has lacked courage and belief and become almost robotic.

I am enthused by our results, I do see progress but I also see all the other stuff as well. I think at this time we need stability and despite the poor football I think the results should buy Jose more time.

Looking forward to next season I'd love to see a fresh approach. There is a time and a place for tactical, pragmatic stuff but football is a simple game. We have good players, sometimes all that's needed are simple words, encouragement and trust. Your better, go out and win the game. Be brave, be confident, trust in one another, express yourself, match their effort and your quality will win the game.

Come on Jose is doesn't always have to be a tactical slog. Cheer up you've got the best job in football. Meet us halfway and let us be entertained again.

DLIB

1.) 12 May 2018 14:02:04
Good post dlib. Sure we have improved plenty. This season in the league we have overtaken Liverpool Chelsea arsenal and spurs. Despite the lack if depth in the squad and poor options in a few positions.
Some players are doing very well others are good for a game bad the next game. I hope the football improves when we get in some proper full backs and strengthen in midfield.
Good positional improvement no real consistent football improvement. If we win the cup we will have had a good season. Lose the final it will have been an average season.
We beat every team In the league this season so we are not too far away. But we are not close to being entertainers yet.


2.) 12 May 2018 14:39:01
Yeah kind of how I feel Ken!

I just have a niggling feeling that it won't really matter who we sign if there isn't a slight change in approach.

I've nothing against tactical, pragmatic football in the big games but the rest of the time we must be braver, play with more intensity, work harder and not let games just drift by.

I'm still not convinced we're ready to mount a serious challenge next season and in reality I don't expect Jose to change. Having said that I think there was an impressive stat that I read recently that we've won every league game when we've took the lead. I think it was something like 20 games so in theory if we can start quicker and get in front I suppose it's possible.

I think the main problem is we don't really know what we're going to get. A slow start, more public spats, fallings out and implosion is almost as likely as us stringing a consistent run of games together.


3.) 12 May 2018 14:42:01
Dlib nice post, a well balanced view.

Despite positive results and a high placed finish, there were too many major lows this season, making things all too joyless. That's based on performances on the pitch as well as from Jose.

A mobile, intelligent central midfielder and two attacking full backs this summer, coupled with a more positive, energetic approach and we'll be happier fans all round.


4.) 12 May 2018 23:33:29
Wonderful post DLIB.


 

 

 

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28 May 2018 12:47:35
Good post AJH - Looking ahead to the summer I think our team and style of play could be transformed by signing just 3 players.

1. Alderweireld - A composed, elegant CB who is calm and assured on the ball, consistent, rarely makes mistakes, relatively quick, good both in the tackle and in the air, the complete modern CB. He should bring a calming influence to the team and is able to play out from the back. In theory he should be able to form an effective and imposing partnership with Bailly. We need a settled and first choice CB pairing if we are to take the next step.
2. Fred - Whilst I must confess I haven't seen him play, I've done my homework and the more I read the more excited I become. Apparently he's a tenacious player with great stamina. He's good on the ball, a great passer and also a good dribbler. He has the ability to start attacks from deep and drive us forward from midfield breaking the lines with his dribbling ability. He could form a formidable defensive shield with Matic whilst still having the quality on the ball to instigate attacks. Against newly promoted or relegation threatened teams especially at OT he could easily partner Pogba in a midfield two transforming us into a much more attacking outfit. In bigger games he could also line up in a midfield 3.
3. Bale - Maybe the most controversial player on the list but also the most talented and capable of making the biggest impact. A fit and inform Gareth Bale is a frightening prospect. He will bring experience, pace, goals and assists. His delivery from set plays and crosses is brilliant. He would bring a directness and add a totally new dimension to our team. Ok he'd be expensive and a big risk due to his injury problems but we once took a similar punt on RVP and he won us the title. At the moment Bale is fit, he's in form and hungry for a new challenge. He'll get a good rest as Wales are not involved in the the WC and a full preseason. If we really want to close the gap and are serious about challenging City in the immediate future then Bale is a MUST for me. Yes it's a risk but he who dares wins.

Maybe add a left back to that list but I'd try and capture those 3 first.

Anyway there you have it please feel free to disagree or pick me apart.

Roll on next season.

DLIB

 

 

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27 May 2018 12:37:49
Marcelo - I've never seen SMS play so it's hard to comment to be honest.

The same can be said for Fred but from what I've read he's a tenacious player with great stamina. He's good on the ball and also a good dribbler. He's deployed in a midfield 2 for Shaktar so he could easily anchor our midfield next to Matic and also have the ability to start attacks from deep and drive us forward from midfield.

I've always believed that Mourinho's preferred formation is 4-2-3-1. I think he was hoping he could mould Pogba into playing a more disciplined role but unfortunately this hasn't materialised. Pogba is a fantastic player with some brilliant attributes but he doesn't sense danger and it's hard to label exactly what kind of player he is.

I fear the arrival of Sanchez has further complicated Pogba's role in the team as he's often dropped too deep and occupied Pogba's space. I've seen little evidence of this problem resolving itself as the season progressed. We've predominantly played a 3 man midfield since Sanchez arrived, primarily in an attempt to release Pogba and get the best out of him. This hasn't worked because Sanchez has often occupied his space and Lingard has been moved wide right making him less effective as well.

I'm not convinced 4-3-3 is going to be the way forward. For Pogba to be at his best he needs the wide men to keep wide and make runs forward creating the space for him in midfield. Sanchez won't do this and prefers the ball into feet congesting and occupying Pogba's space. Lingard has been ineffective on the right. He has often come inside too soon further contesting the middle and leaving us with no width. We are then reliant on playing intricate little one twos and short passes which isn't really Pogba's game. He prefers space to drive into carrying the ball forward and looking for runners in behind. As the defence retreat he can shoot at goal. He's much more suited to Martial or Rashford playing wide left than Sanchez.

I think it will be interesting to see how we line up next year. I think Lingard probably deserve's his chance at No 10, Sanchez always looks more effective with players in and around him where he can play quick one twos and feed off others.

I think we'll probably start next season playing 4-2-3-1. I think if Pogba is still at the Club he'll start next to Matic in midfield where he'll have to deliver what Mourinho expects. I think if he doesn't and we sign Fred he could well find himself out of the team.

I think Mourinho has grown tired and frustrated with a lot of players. I fully expect him to return to how he wants to play rather than changing his preferred system to get the best out of others. He can rectify this with his signings this summer. Fascinating window ahead.

DLIB

 

 

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27 May 2018 11:15:10
Jred I thought Real were very good last night. It was a very classy and accomplished performance in my opinion. Funny how people view the same game so differently.

DLIB

 

 

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22 May 2018 20:29:58
Amen AJH some perspective restored in one short, heartfelt and beautiful post 🙏.

DLIB

 

 

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18 May 2018 23:09:41
Shappy - What if it's 0-0 and we win on pens does he still deserve another year then? 😉 Lol.

DLIB