May 16, 2017
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Manchester United: Rodriguez rumours continue; Europa League pay rise; Smalling discusses Mourinho criticism

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Reports in Colombia state that the deal taking James Rodriguez from Real Madrid to Manchester United will be announced as early as this weekend. Radio Caracol report that the transfer will be made public following the final day of the La Liga season. There has been plenty of talk in recent weeks that the Colombian international will be moving to Old Trafford and an initial agreement has been reportedly agreed. However, AS understand that the Spanish club won’t confirm their midfielder’s exit until after the Champions League final.

Manchester United have been heavy spenders in the transfer market since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and that looks set to continue this summer. James Rodriguez has been linked to the club during the last few windows and it does finally look set to happen. There is too much talk from various news sources to be ignored and it would be a great signing to add some much-needed creativity to the side. United have struggled to score goals this season and the addition of the Real Madrid star will help solve that. It will be interesting to see where he is played at Old Trafford if a deal is completed, as they will need to fit him into the same team as Paul Pogba.

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The Europa League final is the only remaining match that appears to matter to Manchester United and the players will be keen to triumph against Ajax next week. The Times report that the squad members that earned over £20,000-a-week suffered a 25% pay cut when they didn’t qualify for this season’s Champions League, but that would be reinstated if they qualify for next season’s competition. Therefore, a win against Ajax would see 22 first team players receive a pay increase, totalling £28 million, in addition to the bonus of £1 million that would be split between the squad.

This underlines the difference between Manchester United and Ajax in terms of finances. It would be a minor upset if the Dutch club manage to win the trophy next week. The main motivation for the United players is the Champions League place on offer, as they all want to be playing at the highest level. This latest news about the financial rewards underline how important it is for the club to be in Europe’s premier competition and offers a little more motivation for the players.

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A number of Manchester United players have been criticised publicly by Jose Mourinho this season, including Chris Smalling. The centre back insists that he took positives from the criticism and has said that he has a good relationship with his manager. He has told Sky Sports:

“You can take positives from it in that the manager wants you out on that pitch. He wants you to represent him and be that fighter and warrior for him. Obviously with a knee injury there are certain protocols that need to happen. With the medical staff and with the coaches, we are pushing all the time.

“As players we don’t want to be sitting on the touchline or watching the games in the directors’ box. That is no fun. We have pushed as much as we can and I am glad to be back.”

Although Mourinho makes questionable comments at times, he has been a good man-manager throughout his career and these comments show that Smalling has reacted well to the criticism. The centre back has had a mixed season, but he has the ability to play a big part in the future at Old Trafford and it is good for supporters to hear that he gets on well with the manager.

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Article Categories:
Manchester United · Transfer Round-up
Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

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