Should Harry Kane Leave Tottenham Hotspur This Summer?

Harry Kane might still currently be injured, but his return is being routinely monitored by those in England where members of staff will be hoping that the centre forward will be fit enough for this summer’s European Championship.

Kane, who turns 27 in July, has a few months to decide what the rest of his career will potentially look like. While no one can deny that, individually, he is one of the world’s best centre forwards, it can be argued that without any trophies to his name, his position in world football – especially for when he retires – can quickly drop down the pecking order.

The England international’s numbers speak for themselves year-on-year, with this season finding the back of the net 17 times in 25 appearances in all competitions (the Premier League and Champions League) accompanied by two assists.

His overall goals tally for the Three Lions is also mightily impressive: 32 in 45 fixtures. It is no wonder why he is the captain of the men’s national team when leading from the front and by example.

Speculation has followed Kane around for a number of years about switching allegiances, especially when his contract was under £100,000 per-week. Now earning up to £200,000 per-week including bonuses, Kane’s contract worth is now only possible for a number of clubs in world football.

In the same way it has followed Steven Gerrard around, not winning a Premier League title for a player of Kane’s quality will mark an asterisk on his name when comparing the centre forward to former and future greats. Kane needs trophies to his name, and although football is a team sport, they hold weight to the individual.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and many others in Europe’s top leagues, including Real Madrid, would be interesting in acquiring Kane to bolster their attacks, but he needs to take this leap of faith sooner rather than later.

At 27, Kane is in his prime and still at the forefront of his powers. But with his injury history, it would be no surprise to see the Englishman start slowing down at the turn of 30 and time spent on the sidelines is more of a regularity.

The England captain needs to make a considerate and clever approach in how to tackle this summer’s transfer window, especially if he is back and firing in goals for fun during the Euros – his stock will only increase and, in turn, list of suitors grow.

With Kane being a reliable goal-scorer in the Premier League, he is able to be held in an elite club of those who have consistently found the back of the net throughout Europe. With that being said, Tottenham are likely to hold out for near £100 million, if not more, especially given his contract runs until 2024.

There will be a queue of clubs ready for Kane’s decision should he seriously consider leaving the club that gave him his break, but now, turning 27 this summer, might be the time where he says goodbye and starts to act within his own interest.

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Should Manchester United pursue Jack Grealish or James Maddison in the summer?

With the January transfer window ending, some Premier League clubs will feel better than others in terms of the business they have concluded ready for the second-half of the season.

Manchester United have had a difficult past few months, but the acquisition of highly-rated midfielder Bruno Fernandes should appease fans somewhat. While they do not want to put too much pressure on the Portugal international, he is a player that can fill a variety of roles in midfield that has been sorely lacking.

Whether Fernandes is used as a tenacious box-to-box midfielder, or as a number 10 sitting in behind the centre forward, he has shown quality and determination wherever he is placed.

The question of heart and passion has been a sticking point for United’s fans in recent years when it came to new players, but Fernandes has that mentality in abundance, and appears to be a player ready to run through brick walls to wear the club jersey.

And while the fans are enthused by the prospect of Fernandes, they also know how much more business is needed to be done if the Red Devils are to amount to anything next season. One of those positions is an out-and-out attacking playmaker.

Two players that have come to the forefront of United’s shopping list are: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa, and James Maddison of Leicester City.

Both have been used out wide, as a 10, as an eight and sometimes even deeper in a midfield pivot. Similarly to Fernandes, they come with great pedigree of finding the back of the net as well as the final through ball for the centre forward.

It is arguable that this season, Grealish has been the player to watch. Every time he receives the ball, the opposition defence is quaking in their boots, not knowing in which way he is going to go next. The Villains captain has a certain X-Factor about him that is unparalleled to most players in the Premier League – as well as now the responsibility of leading his team.

Maddison, on the other hand, has consistently been improving with every game. Having risen up through the ranks at Coventry City, the fully-fledged England international has taken his game to a level where fees of nearly £100 million are being talked about.

Both players are likely to be extraordinary expensive, coupled up with the fact that they are British, but are also coming into the primes of their careers and have Premier League exposure. Not only the experience of playing in the division, but excelling.

Grealish provides perhaps more of the X-Factor on a weekly basis, whereas Maddison has a sense of reliability on the pitch with his performances never dipping to a sub-standard rate.

It will be a hard task on both accounts as to negotiating with Aston Villa and Leicester City, and the club, and fans, would be happy with either, knowing they have the tight qualities to influence the final third.

Above all, Manchester United need an out-and-out number 10 and will making in their priority come the summer.

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Manchester United are in a state of free-fall

After another loss against a rival appeared in such devastating fashion, it was to no surprise that Manchester United’s fans were vocally upset. 

The Red Devils’ faithful have a reputation of being extremely docile when it comes to sharing displeasure with the team, but there was a considerable amount of jeers when the full-time whistle blew on Tuesday night, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjær some food for thought.

It was not just the whole team that was received poorly, specific individuals were on the end of the fans’ chants. Jesse Lingard, who has one assist in the Premier League throughout the last 12 months and zero goals, was subjected to humiliation as he was cheered off the pitch when a substitution was made.

Such has been Lingard’s decline at Old Trafford, there are murmurs that the Englishman is plotting a move away from his boyhood club as early as this month in order to start over again and escape the consistent criticism.

A 3-1 defeat, at home, to Manchester City does not look all that terrible when looking on the surface of it. However, the Citizens dominated from start to finish and were, by a long stretch, the better team. Pep Guardiola would have been seething that the game did not finish six or seven to the good, such were the abundance of chances his side were creating.

Unfortunately for those Man United fans, no change appears on the horizon any time soon. The club’s board have backed Solskjær all the way through and will give him until, at the very earliest, the end of the season to improve form and try to make a path into the top four – no rush judgements will be made, in their eyes.

The ideal candidate is Mauricio Pochettino, currently out of action after his dismissal at Tottenham. Manchester United have tried on many an occasion to prize him away while in the job in North London, whereas now he would be easy pickings given his contractual situation.

On the field, there are a number of personnel problems – including the fact that the club thought it was best not to replace Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini last summer – but the main issue and cause for concern belongs in the board room, where there has still been no appointment of a Director of Football.

Manchester United, for one reason or another, are still operating in a footballing sense as if it was 15 years ago, where they got away with failing to adapt to the times due to a world-class manager in Sir Alex Ferguson and his control on the club. In the modern era, it simply cannot be a one-man show at the highest level, which is why Liverpool and Manchester City are so ahead of everyone else due to their management structure.

Unless the Red Devils adopt the modern way and come into this decade with changes ready to be made, they will continue to regress.

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Would Erling Braut Haland add a different dimension to Manchester United’s attack?

While Manchester United have hit a purple patch in form during the last 14 days, eyes are concretely looking forward to January, where investment is needed to be made under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. 

There are a numerous amount of positions in which Solskjær should be looking to strengthen, but appears that bringing in a new centre forward has taken priority. Rightly or wrongly, the Red Devils looks certain to do so, and it should happen as early as January if things fall their way.

While they wanted a more experienced head such as Mario Mandzukic from Juventus, and indeed tried to sign him towards the end of the summer transfer window, but they now have turned their attention to young world-beater Erling Braut Haland.

Son of former ex-Manchester City and Leeds United player, Alf-Inge Haland, the current Red Bull Salzburg centre forward has attracted interest from all of the European elite with his masterful displays.

To this day, his current stats read: 28 goals and seven assists in 22 appearances this season. Not only has he excelled in his own country in the Austrian Bundesliga, Haland has scored in all-but-one of the Champions’ League group games, which happened to be the most recent against Liverpool at home.

Four goals against KRC Genk, three against Napoli and one against Liverpool showcases the centre forward’s talent, and is the main reason why there are so many top level suitors chasing his signature.

At 1.94m, Haland represents a different approach that Manchester United are currently lacking. While they have raw speed and agility in abundance, they lack a physical presence and a striker who can disrupt the flow of the opposition’s defenders time after time since Romelu Lukaku departed for Inter Milan.

While the Norway international still has speed – mainly over a longer distance than a five metre parameter – he can act as a centre forward which brings others into play and allows the team to make better use of possession in the final third.

At 19, expectations will certainly be high, especially with a hefty price tag, but it is important to note that this will be Haland’s first time playing in England over a sustained period and time to adjust is crucial.

It has taken Fred, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk, a good 15 months to settle in England and adapt to the Premier League, but he has now become one of the team’s best performers every week, which is why patience will be a virtue.

One way or another, Haland looks set to leave Austria for pastures new, and given the Red Devils’ lack of physical threat in the position, it looks a no-brainer to do everything they can to bring in the young Norwegian.

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Should Chris Smalling Return To Manchester United?

Not many saw Chris Smalling leaving Manchester United last summer to go on loan with AS Roma in the Italian capital for the season ahead. 

Chastised by the Red Devils’ fans, Smalling saw no option but to leaving temporarily and also return to regular first-team football. With Ole Gunnar Solskjær failing to use him since stepping into the job on a full-time basis, Smalling knew his time at Old Trafford was coming to an end.

However, five months into his stint in Italy and the Roma fans are begging for the ex-England international to stay on a permanent basis. Such has been the level of his performances, Roma have been in touch to try and conclude a deal with Man United to thwart interest from elsewhere.

Since arriving into the first-team and making his debut for the Giallorossi in late September, Smalling has played every minute available in Serie A and the Europa League.

Alongside either Gianluca Mancini or Mert Cetin, Smalling provides the needed experience to navigate this Roma defence and provide a sense of assuredness. The Englishman’s impact has extended so far that he was even given the captain’s armband when Eden Dzeko departed the pitch.

Manchester United, having bought Harry Maguire for a world-record fee paid for a defender, are in possession of three defenders that are of the right quality: Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof and Maguire himself.

Below these three, there is Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones, two players who are consistently injured and very rarely available. When they are present, they are reckless and unreliable, which explains the lack of minutes awarded to them.

It is more than likely that should Solskjær still be at Old Trafford next summer, he will look to move those two central defenders on. There will be a number of clubs interested in both, who can still have prominent careers in England or Europe.

There has been talk of Smalling coming back to Man United, but it appears that it would only work should he accept a bit-part role behind the three central defenders at the top of the pecking order.

If the Englishman is open to challenging what is in front of him, then he would be a very good option to have within the ranks, especially with his experience, but otherwise Smalling might feel that his game time is waning compared to his time in the Italian capital.

A year stint with Roma at this rate will give the defender a much-needed boost in confidence to either return to Old Trafford or join another team in the summer. The issue some fans of the Red Devils will have of his return would be the lack of ability when playing out from the back: something in which has crippled him from reaching the next level.

Either way in whatever Smalling decides to do, it is a huge positive and fantastic to see his game flourishing in Italy.

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What should Manchester United be searching for in January?

With just under a month to go until the transfer window opens up for its mid-season appearance, Manchester United will be active in bringing in new faces to Old Trafford.

The season has, so far, not gone to plan, as they currently languish in 11th place, a point behind Crystal Palace and eight from fourth-place Chelsea. Hopes and aspirations of a Champions League position come May 2020 now appear far away with the season ticking on.

A priority position to strengthen for Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be his midfield, which looks feeble and weak when coming up against teams that have quick transitions. The absence of Paul Pogba since the end of September has not eased matters, but even so, the failure to replace both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera has been detrimental.

Ideally, the Red Devils want and need a player like Leicester City’s James Maddison. But for all intents and purposes, the Foxes are not going to be easy negotiators, especially halfway through the season when they are in second and the possibility of top-tier European football is more than realistic.

All season, Man United have lacked a midfielder that can pick defences and thread cute passes in between the lines. Fred and Andreas Pereira having taken up the more advanced roles in midfield, but neither have had the success on a regular basis that is needed to threaten teams week in, week out.

There are a lack of world-class midfielders that would want to come to Old Trafford for anything but a pay cheque, and so the market that is accessible for the Red Devils becomes increasingly small.

Emre Can is a name that has been touted around the Premier League once more ahead of January due to his lack of minutes under Maurizio Sarri at Juventus, but there will, rightly, be some reservations over the German international’s potential arrival, mainly due to being a stop-gap filler as well as a player who has been registered with Liverpool.

It is known that Solskjær wants an experienced centre forward that can hold play up and be versatile in his positioning on the pitch. The Red Devils tried to secure a late deal for Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic but ran out of time in the end. Their interest remains in the Croatian, even if, like his team-mate Can, his minutes have been shelved.

Mandzukic would offer a more rounded approach to the club than Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, as well as giving them invaluable advice on and off the pitch. Mandzukic is an extremely hard-working individual that has thrived off the bigger moments: such as his performance for his country against England in the World Cup semi-final.

The centre forward has 18 months left on his contract, but the Bianconeri will do business on him for around £10 million. He might be 33-years-old, but the wealth of experience and positional flexibility he could bring would be a welcome sight.

A lot can change in football in the second half of the season, but one thing is for certain and that is Manchester United need reinforcements.

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Should Manchester United turn to Red Bull Leipzig’s Timo Werner?

As the January transfer window peers ever closer, Manchester United know they have a lot of work to do in such a short space of time. 

At best, a club can aim for one transfer to be completed in January that is a permanent move given the time restrains set in place during the winter market, but the Red Devils need at least two through the door if they are to seriously challenge for a top four place.

Given the lack of recruitment in the forward and midfield departments, it is no real surprise to see Man United suffering in the way that they are. Injuries to key players in Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba have stunted the club so far this season, with the former only just returning to full fitness.

Although Romelu Lukaku clearly didn’t fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s plans, as well as the underperforming Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United made a huge mistake in not replacing them – even if they do have a strong belief in Marcus Rashford and the youngster Mason Greenwood.

The club pleaded to fans to suggest there were no players on the market available, but there never will be that ticks every single box. Mario Mandzukic is still one name to reverberate around Old Trafford, which might be re-ignited in January, but the Red Devils left it too late and could not put a deal in place before the English-buying market closed.

Timo Werner has continually been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Liverpool and Manchester United showing the most interest. After extending his contract until 2023, there is some noise from sections of the German media to suggest his release clause is £27 million.

If this is to be believed, there will be a vast number of teams in Europe that will be queuing up for Werner’s signature in January, which already puts Solskjær’s team at a disadvantage given the league position they are in, as well as their performances.

Werner is not a traditional centre forward, with a lot of his play starting from deep and integrating others. He began his career with VfB Stuttgart, operating as a winger, in which he continues to drift in-and-out of those areas on the pitch in present day.

There is no doubt about it that Manchester United need a new striker to help alleviate the pressure placed on Rashford and Martial. While Werner is not too much older than the pair, he has a reputation of a consistent goal-scorer.

The German international already has 13 goals to his name in 15 appearances throughout all competitions, and another six assists. More than just a typical centre forward, Werner can contribute from all areas of the pitch and help others – just as he has done in tandem with his partner Yussuf Poulson.

Ultimately, it will come down to Werner’s intentions moving forward. If he wishes to start every week and become the main player in a forward line, Liverpool is not his best option, given the fact he will not displace Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are more unattractive in where their reputation is currently situated, but offer more game time and the ability to become a hero that helps the club get back on track once and for all.

There will be a lot more Premier League and European teams that come to the table and try to place themselves in a position to sign the German, but Manchester United are Liverpool are the two most interested presently.

For such a cheap transfer fee in the current market, whichever club does manage to land him have themselves a potential world-class striker for the foreseeable future.

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Should Manchester United be targeting Moussa Dembele?

The January transfer window might still be a few months away, but decisions behind the scenes are now being made and lists with potential targets being drawn up.

Manchester United know, given their results, they have to recruit in the winter market, even if it is not a preferred course of action. There is a reason as to why few clubs operate in January, and it is primarily due to the hike in already inflated transfer fees.

However, the Red Devils, currently sitting in 12th place, having scored less goals than Wolves, Aston Villa and Norwich, are having monumental problems at the top of the pitch and simply have to address it halfway through the season.

After moving Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez on in the summer, and then failing to replace them, there is little wonder as to why they are in the position they are in now. Mason Greenwood might have had more opportunities to play, but he is still only 17-years-old, and is not in a position to have authority in matches.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are the two registered centre forwards, although there is a strong case to suggest that the England international is better suited on the wing. Unlike the Frenchman, Rashford does not possess the killer instincts and composure in front of goal when tasked with a one-on-one situation.

As seasons progress, injuries occur, which is exactly what has hampered Martial and caused him to remain on the sidelines. And so Rashford is then left with the pressure to be the out-and-out goalscorer – something he does not look comfortable with at all.

One striker on the continent that has been linked with Manchester United time and time again is Olympique Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.

The Frenchman has an impressive record already this season, having scored six Ligue 1 goals in only eight appearances so far this campaign. In 2018/19, Dembele mustered up 23 goals and six assists in 52 appearances – a highly impressive tally after making the move from Celtic to Lyon.

Dembele is not the tallest of strikers, standing at 1.83m, but he does know where the space is inside the box and comes alive in close quarters. The Frenchman’s movement and precision is near enough perfection, pulling away from defenders and anticipating where the ball either might fall, or where the intended cross will end up to be on the end of it.

Lyon are usually hard negotiators and do not let their players leave easily. As seen last summer, Tanguy Ndombele finally made his move, which Tottenham had to pay over £50 million for.

Jean-Michel Aulas, the club’s President, is a famed negotiator, which does not bode well given the time restraints in January, as well as the ineptitude of the club’s negotiators behind the scenes.

Dembele is not the type of player to carry an exorbitant ego into the dressing room at Old Trafford, given he is not at the highest echelon of world football yet, but he has the potential to get there should he carry on working hard and delivering performances.

It is clear Manchester United are trying to move away from the prima-donnas of the world in Sanchez and Angel Di Maria, and instead focussing on players who can buy into the club’s philosophy and mentality.

A very well-rounded centre forward who has a history of consistency is what the Red Devils and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer need, and so bringing Dembele in during the January transfer window might just be the catalyst in scoring the department.

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Can Brandon Williams replace Luke Shaw?

After yet another away game without a win, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has some serious thinking to do about how to improve Manchester United’s fortunes between now and the end of the season. 

Sitting in 10th place in the Premier League, the Red Devils are going to be on the backfoot now and, with the limited squad they possess, will not be feared by any visiting team looking for those crucial three points.

Manchester United might have brought in three talents in the summer transfer window to bolster the team, but the club are still a number of core players away from getting anywhere close to where they want to be.

An area on the pitch that has been most disconcerting in recent years has been left back. Luke Shaw was signed from Southampton to lock down that position for years to come, but after the Englishman’s double leg break in 2015, he is yet to sustain a season without any injuries or consistent performances.

In the Red Devils’ latest Europa League fixture against AZ Alkmaar, it was Brandon Williams who stepped in at left back after a successful start to the season with the reserves. In his five appearances in the Premier League 2, Williams has four assists and has had the armband at 19-years-old.

Manchester United quite clearly rate the England youth international highly, which is why he has played against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, as well as Rotherham earlier in the season in the EFL Trophy.

Shaw is only 24 himself with a contract that runs until 2023. It is plain to see that his attacking output is nowhere near what it should be, which is why attention is now being turned to this position by the fans in order to add another dimension to the team’s attack.

The former Southampton full back was close to exiting Old Trafford under José Mourinho’s harsh treatment, but signed a new five-year deal 12 months ago. There has been a slight improvement under Solskjær, but he is not yet regained his confidence he had when down on the south coast, nor when he first joined the club.

Williams looks hungry and motivated to challenge Shaw and begin his understudy role this season. In his 90 minutes against Alkmaar, on a poor surface pitch and in a team that is drastically underperforming, Williams came out on top and looked a class act.

Of course, the young left back is going to have moments that highlight his rawness, but at 19, it is to be expected. There is a great maturity shown by Williams in a defensive manner, which is coupled with his eagerness to get forward and try to create something in attack.

There are bound to be more twists and turns in this season for Manchester United, but one thing that is for certain is their youth are ready to make the next step and challenge the seasoned professionals who are not quite cutting it.

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Why James Garner is ready to step up in Manchester United’s midfield

With the current problems on the pitch for Manchester United primarily coming from the midfield, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has to now believe in his youth to be able to offer an alternative to this stagnation.

James Garner, who has been at Manchester United since a boy, is ready to take that next step and join the first-team on a weekly basis. The young Englishman has had a few opportunities to be in the squad, as he was on Tuesday evening against Lincoln City, but his chances have not been as regular as the other academy graduates.

Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes appear to be above Garner on the pecking order, but it is arguably Garner that can make the much-needed difference that the Norwegian manager is looking for.

Unknown to the fans, but for some reason, the Red Devils failed to sign a midfielder last summer after allowing Ander Herrera to leave on a free transfer, as well as selling Marouane Fellaini in the January window. Two key players for different reasons have moved on and yet no one was brought in.

And so there is little surprise to see why Man United’s midfield is currently struggling to dominate matches and get the team on the front foot. There is, of course, also the never-ending saga of Paul Pogba’s future, who looks increasingly fed up of recent times and has put in back-to-back derisory performances against Rochdale and Arsenal.

In Garner’s six games with the reserves, six wins have been recorded, 16 goals scored and 0 goals conceded. Without the bright midfielder, Neil Wood’s side have drawn one and lost one, while also shipping six goals.

The contrast is stark when the team is with and without Garner, which is why he is an essential cog in the reserves side. However, given the current crisis in the first-team’s midfield, Garner should be fast-tracked and be given the belief that he can begin to effect matches at senior level.

While the England youth international is typically a defensive midfielder, his five goals and three assists this season at academy level suggest he has the room to operate around the box, similarly to Paul Scholes. When the Red Devils faced Lincoln on Tuesday in the EFL Trophy, Garner scored the winning goal and showed yet again his threat moving forward.

One of the biggest conundrums United have had in recent history has been the utilisation of Pogba in the team. The France international is substantially more dangerous when played in a number 10 role, which is why Herrera’s involvement was so important in order to balance the midfield and provide cover.

Nemanja Matić and Herrera who has now left, Man United need a Garner-type player who can slot in front of the back four and allow the team to move forward, as well as permitting Pogba his freedom in the final third.

At 18-years-old, Garner is, of course, going to make mistakes, but this season has already shown that the Red Devils are miles off the pace as it is. With Solskjær’s promise of bringing youth through the club, the young midfielder has to be the next player to be given a proper chance of competing for a position in the team.