With the Premier League season almost over, the transfer rumour mill has begun to churn into action once again.
A topsy-turvy debut season in English football for manager Louis Van Gaal has resulted in Champions League football returning to Old Trafford, meaning another summer of mammoth spending looks likely.
United spent huge sums of cash bringing in attacking talent last summer but strangely their forward line looks very barren if they aim to compete for the league title next season; Robin Van Persie’s future is in doubt after a shaky season, Radamel Falcao looks to be heading back to Monaco and Van Gaal believes his captain Wayne Rooney is better suited in a midfield role.
It begs the question, which strikers should Manchester United sign in the summer?
Rumours linking ‘Memphis’ to United have really stepped up in recent weeks, with United apparently asking PSV about the Dutch forwards availability. Memphis has had a blinding season for Philip Cocu’s side, who have won their first Eredivise title in seven years with three games of the season remaining.
Despite bursting onto the scene as a winger last year, Memphis has moved into a forward role alongside Luuk De Jong and has had a devastating effect, his 20 goals this season making him the league’s top goal scorer.
Cocu has told the media he expects Memphis to leave the club this summer, and United seems the best fit for the 21 year old. He has a great relationship with Louis Van Gaal; after all it was Van Gaal that took Memphis to the 2014 World Cup with the Netherlands where he really shone. Memphis has made over 125 appearances for PSV and a move to United would really see him come of age.
The big Colombian international will turn 29 in October, but this shouldn’t put United off. Martinez would be a perfect fit for the Premier League; a tall, strong forward who is capable of finishing with both feet.
His record at FC Porto is second to none, and it can be argued that he really should be making the next big step in his career soon. In recent years many of Europe’s top clubs have sniffed around the Porto skipper, so maybe it’s time one of them takes a punt on him.
Martinez can play up-front as a lone striker, and his effort and work rate would suit United’s style. With plenty of experience playing Champions League football, Martinez would be an excellent acquisition for Van Gaal.
Rewind 18 months and Radamel Falcao was one of the hottest properties in world football. The former Atletico Madrid man has a sensational goal scoring record at every club he’s played for, apart from United of course.
It’s fair to say Van Gaal’s gamble on Falcao has not paid off, but that doesn’t mean the club should rule out the option they have to sign him in the summer. People easily forget that Falcao had a difficult time at Monaco under then Claudio Ranieri before suffering a serious ACL injury which ruled him out of the World Cup.
Falcao has so much more to offer United. Although it looks unlikely that the club will trigger the £43 million clause they have on the Colombian, they should still give it some thought.
Let’s not forget that Javier Hernandez is still a Manchester United player! Chicharito has been used scarcely on loan at Real Madrid, but proved he can still be a big game player, scoring the winner against Ateltico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final.
If the Mexican international features for United next season he will yet again have to accept his role as an impact sub ala Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
We all know what Hernandez is capable of, but whether he will come back to United, or whether Van Gaal has him in his plans, remains to be seen.
It is clear to see that Louis Van Gaal is not short of options. A lot hinges on whether he wants to continue using Rooney in midfield and if van Persie stays at the club. United should cut their losses with Falcao, but it makes sense to keep Hernandez as a third/forth choice back-up if the player is happy to fill that role.
In an ideal world, buying both Memphis and Martinez would be the best thing to do. Martinez is made for the Premier League, having him and Memphis as strikers would bring a ton of goals. United certainly have the funds to make both transfers happen.
It should be an interesting summer at Old Trafford…
Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract
The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.
Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.
Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.
It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.
Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.
“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.
“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.
“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”
Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.
It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.
Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.
They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.
There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.
This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.
Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.
Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.
This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.
He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.
A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.
Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line
The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.
The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.
Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”
The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.
Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.
Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.
From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.
Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.
Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.
This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.
But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.
In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.
Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week
The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.
With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.
Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.
In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.
Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.
The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.
Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.
This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.
If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.
It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.
Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.
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