Manchester United: £51m Spaniard targeted; poor start makes record; four called up by Southgate
As Stoke City took their first point at Old Trafford since 1980, it meant that with seven games played the Red Devils are in the middle of their sixth worst start to a Premier League campaign in their history, and leaves the club two points worse off than this time last season under Louis Van Gaal. With 13 points on board, Jose Mourinho has had a slow and difficult start to life at his new club despite spending big money in the summer.
David De Gea’s error allowed Joe Allen to strike and equalise for the Potters late on in Sunday’s clash, and make it one win in the last four Premier League clashes this season for Mourinho as his stars failed to convert despite a whole host of chances falling their way. Now, Mourinho will be expected to improve on a poor start to salvage the season and keep hold of his job in the Old Trafford dugout.
Jesse Lingard received a boost after the game though, as he earned a first call up to the England senior squad. Lingard will be joined by Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford, who earns a recall having been dropped to the under-21s by Sam Allardyce during his brief stint in charge. Wayne Rooney is also expected to retain the captain’s armband under new boss Gareth Southgate.
Lingard has made 11 appearances for the England under-21s himself, all of which came under interim senior team manager Southgate, scoring two goals in the process. This season he has already scored once in five appearances, starting in yesterday’s draw with Stoke before being replaced by goalscorer Anthony Martial. Now, he will be out to prove himself at the highest level and try to force himself into the international scene in the future under whoever is next appointed permanent manager.
The Daily Mail also report that it could be bad news for another man on the fringes of the England set-up, as Luke Shaw will be concerned to hear that Jose Mourinho has sent scouts to watch former Barcelona left-back Alex Grimaldo, now starring at Benfica in Portugal. The 21-year-old has a £51-million buy out clause but the Red Devils expect that his club would accept a lower offer for the Spaniard.
Grimaldo signed for Benfica last January for just £1.25 million and is now being watched by scouts from Juventus, Valencia and Middlesbrough as well as United. Grimaldo may not be the first team star quality that Mourinho desires just yet, but he would certainly help to put pressure on to Luke Shaw after Mourinho criticised him after his mistake allowed Watford in before he picked up a groin injury which has kept him out since with a return expected after the international break. The competition faced for Grimaldo’s signature may make the deal difficult, but it certainly could have legs over the coming months.
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