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Manchester United’s Paul Pogba leads top flight rivals for passes completed by a midfielder

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Manchester United‘s record signing Paul Pogba may have faced his critics this season, but there is one key area in which he leads the Premier League rankings.

The Frenchman, who cost the Red Devils a massive £89 million during the summer transfer window, has now completed more passes than any other English top-flight midfielder this season.

Given his technical ability, it is perhaps unsurprising to see Pogba emerging as one of the division’s most proficient performers. After all, he returned to the Manchester outfit as perhaps the world’s most coveted player, with Europe’s elite clubs all in hot pursuit of his signature.

His record-money move to Old Trafford was accompanied by huge fanfare and huge expectation, following a summer in which Pogba featured on home soil for his country at EURO 2016 – a tournament which would ultimately end in heartbreak for the hosts, at the hands of subsequent winners Portugal.

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While Pogba hasn’t quite been the midfield lynchpin that the Old Trafford faithful were hoping for this season, this impressive statistic is a sure sign of his increasing influence on games. This was typified with his contribution during Manchester United’s recent 2-0 win over Chelsea, for which he received significant praise.

So far this season he has featured across 28 matches for Jose Mourinho’s men, totaling 1726 passes throughout his involvement – an average of 61.64 per appearance. 1312 of these have seen the ball moved forward, with just 711 going backwards. Additionally, he has fashioned 54 key passes, three of which have resulted in assists.

His creative output hasn’t quite lived up to supporters’ £89 million expectations, with several other household names trumping him in this area. Nonetheless, this is an area he will undoubtedly seek to improve ahead of his second full season as a Manchester United first-team player.

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Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.

Manchester United

West Ham round-up: club consider move for Chris Smalling, suffer setback in chase for Felipe Anderson

A round-up of the day’s most interesting news surrounding West Ham

Jamie Watts

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Ambitious swoop

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been ever-present in Jose Mourinho’s outfit this season, but failed to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup. And West Ham are considering using his omission to their advantage, as they weigh up a potential move for his services this summer, according to Metro.

The club are set to back Manuel Pellegrini with “record funds” this summer (BBC Sport), which will allow the ex-Manchester City boss to be ambitious with his targets in the market, and Smalling would represent a serious coup in east London.

Jose Mourinho has identified an additional central defender as key priority this summer, and the Englishman could find himself facing a limited role at Old Trafford next term if he stays.

Photo: Getty Images 

Set back for winger

Pellegrini has suffered a setback in his quest to sign Felipe Anderson from Lazio this summer, according to Gianlucadimarzio.com, as both parties are currently unable to agree over financial issues.

According to the report, Lazio want £30.5 million as transfer fee plus £4.3 million in bonuses, but West Ham are currently unwilling to spend in excess of £26 million, as they look to bolster the squad in multiple areas.

Moreover, the Italian club are asserting that any deal must have a selling on fee for the Brazilian, meaning they would receive a percentage of the transfer fee, if West Ham were to sell the 25-year-old in the future.

Photo: Getty Images

Boost for defender

Nice have announced that long-spanning West Ham target Marlon Santos will not have to fulfil the initial expectation of two-loan seasons with Ligue 1 outfit, and will instead return to parent club Barcelona after completing his first year, according to Sky Sports.

A statement on Nice’s official website said: “In agreement with Barcelona, the Brazilian who was loaned to Nice last summer will not wear the Nice colours in 2018-19. He now returns to the Catalan club.”

Pellegrini will now likely revive his interest in the £22 million rated centre-back, while also courting Chris Smalling and Swansea defender Alfie Mawson.

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Manchester United

West Ham weigh up bid for Manchester United’s Chris Smalling following World Cup omission

West Ham are considering moving for Manchester United’s first-choice regular.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been ever-present in Jose Mourinho’s outfit this season, but failed to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup. And West Ham are considering using his omission to their advantage, as they weigh up a potential move for his services this summer, according to Metro.

Mourinho has identified an additional central defender as key priority this summer, with Tottenham superstar Toby Alderweireld among a host of targets, following on from the signings of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred and Porto right-back Diogo Dalot. And Smalling could find himself facing a limited role at Old Trafford next term as a result.

West Ham are reportedly willing to offer the 28-year-old a crucial first-team role at the London Stadium,with Manuel Pellegrini in the market for quality additions to bolster his squad ahead of loftier ambitions next season.

Photo: Getty Images

The club are set to back the Chilean coach with “record funds” this summer (BBC Sport), which will allow the ex-Manchester City boss to be ambitious with his targets in the market, and Smalling would represent a serious coup in east London.

Other high-profile pursuits are currently stalling over financial demands, with Javier Pastore yet to agree personal terms, while Lazio are asserting that a “sell on clause” must be inserted for Felipe Anderson. 

Photo: Getty Images

And so the Hammers may consider turning their present focus onto the United defender. However, it is unlikely Mourinho will let a first-team regular depart the club without a direct replacement in the offing. So West Ham will be keeping a watchful eye over United’s progress for an additional centre-back this summer.

Pellegrini is also interested in the possibility of bringing recently relegated Swansea man Alfie Mawson to east London, according to Sky Sports, as his outfit shipped the join-most goals in the Premier League last season with 68.

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Crystal Palace

Timothy Fosu-Mensah becoming ‘impatient’ at Manchester United; Crystal Palace should take advantage

Crystal Palace could land the Manchester United starlet for another season.

Jamie Watts

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Jose Mourinho Manchester United

Manchester United‘s academy graduate Tomthy Fosu-Mensah is tired of future promises and wants to succeed as early as possible in the game, according to quotes from Manchester Evening News.

The 20-year-old spent last season on loan with Crystal Palace, making a significant contribution with 24 appearances, but now with his loan period ending the Netherlands international is due to return to Old Trafford in July, and he has asserted he wants a key-role next term.

However, with the additions of Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred and Porto right-back Diogo Dalot arriving early this summer, it appears game-time for the starlet isn’t at the top of Jose Mourinho’s priorities, as the manager is under pressure to deliver titles in his third season. And Fosu Mensah will likely face further frustration if he stays.

Photo: Getty Images

Palace should take their opportunity to try and land the player’s signature again for next season, whether it be permanent, or more likely on loan. Despite failing to really shine consistently at Selhurst Park, there’s no doubting his immense potential, and the Eagles could unearth a serious player if they were to offer him a consistent place.

Roy Hodgson needs quality reinforcements this summer after releasing Joel Ward and another move for the talented Dutchman would be a risk-free step in the right direction.

His versatility would also allow for Hodgson to deploy him as a defensive midfielder, as the right-back position is also likely to be occupied by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, after his late breakthrough last season.

Mourinho will be keen to keep a hold of United’s academy graduate for the foreseeable future, but with a 19-year-old arriving to bolster the options at right-back for £18 million, and with new captain Antonio Valencia producing the best performances of his career, it seems unlikely Fosu Mensah will be given what he wants next season.

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