Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be Manchester United’s main transfer target in the summer

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Majority of Manchester United supporters will feel that their voices where heard when they wanted Jose Mourinho to be urgently sacked in the middle of December. However, due to lack of activity in the previous summer window and the lack of quality players in the squad as a whole, the next demand will be a convincing transfer spree that will help the side to challenge in all competitions.

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is to become the permanent manager of the football club, the board and Ed Woodward cannot set him up to fail, which can only be prevented if they work on bringing in a director of football, providing a good amount of money to spend and also not targeting any marquee players that are not required at the moment.

Focusing more onto the types of players the club should target. Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka has to be one individuals the team should be going all out for in the summer, someone who has really stamped his marker on the top-tier of English football so far this term. Given that he will be wanted man in the summer, a figure between £35million and £45million may be just enough to sign him up for in the current market.

The 21-year-old is currently playing in his first full season in the Premier League, yet his bright and consistent performances makes it feel like he has been playing for quite some time. Defensively composed, intelligent movement on and off the ball whilst having the stamina to run constantly up and down the pitch, he certainly has the much needed assets to become United’s star player at right-back for the next five ten years.

With Antonio Valencia not receiving a contract extension by the club and Matteo Darmian expected to leave in the summer window, it would leave Diogo Dalot as the only natural right-back left remaining within the dressing room. Even then, the Portuguese international is not ready to play on a regular basis, and his recent performances may see him as a perfect wing-back or arguably as a direct winger.

If that is the case, it makes more than sense for Manchester United to splash the cash on someone who has been regarded as one of the best upcoming right-backs in the Premier League and in Europe. He may not be as complete of a full-back like Benjamin Mendy or Jordi Alba, but he is still in his early days of his professional career and will only improve, whilst being a major upgrade on the options the club currently has.

It is no secret that United’s defence is still lacking some actual quality and energy to challenge for the league title on all fronts, whether that is obviously through the middle or out wide. To be brutally honest, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been playing as the side’s main full-backs for the last couple of years, but it is time for a change and a turnaround, where the club utilises the players in their favourite position.

Spending his early days within the Crystal Palace academy as a winger, there should be no doubts at all about Wan-Bissaka’s ability to create a new dimension in the side’s attack as well as his capability to dribble and cross consistently. When you look at the role that Jordi Alba respectfully plays in Barcelona’s attacks and Andrew Roberston plays in Liverpool’s rapid counter-attacks, the same could be expected from himself.

Manchester City: Planning already well underway for next season

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Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after Pep Guardiola’s side dominated possession against Bournemouth in a 1-0 victory on Saturday while Liverpool failed to beat Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Sunday afternoon.

The table makes good reading for City fans with the club now one point ahead of their title challengers, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have spent most of the campaign top while the Citizens have an easier run in compared to their counterparts. Continue reading

Manchester City rampant as they climb above Liverpool

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The difference in class between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea was clear on Sunday afternoon. Irresistible in the first half, City’s five shots at Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal resulted in four of them hitting the back of the net after just 25 minutes.

Raheem Sterling had the hosts a goal up inside after just three minutes with an emphatic finish at the far post and while Sarri called for concentration after conceding so early, it should have been two just seconds later, only for Sergio Aguero to miss seconds later from a yard. Continue reading

Manchester City can forget the title if they lose to Arsenal

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Defeat at Newcastle United on Tuesday night has put Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in an unpleasant situation. Their fourth defeat of the season, the Citizens find themselves five points behind their title rivals after Liverpool’s draw with Leicester City. A defeat against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon could well put a huge dent in their title aspirations with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool looking much more consistent. Continue reading

Manchester City can’t afford to be complacent against Wolves

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With nine dropped points in December, Pep Guardiola will be eager to keep the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool when his Manchester City welcome Wolves to the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

Being labelled as giant killers, the visitors have recently beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and so Guardiola will warn his team against complacency, despite coming into this fixture on the back of a morale boosting wins against Rotherham (7-0) and Burton Albion (9-0) in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup semi-final. Continue reading

Bernardo Silva: His importance to Manchester City

Bernardo Silva

Manchester City’s Portuguese magician Bernardo Silva put in a performance of a lifetime against Liverpool to keep their Premier League title hopes alive on Thursday night, just months after he was almost shipped out after struggling during his first season in Manchester. Continue reading

Manchester City gear up for busy Christmas period

Pep Guardiola is expected to make changes ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon as the reigning champions enter their Christmas period which includes nine games in December alone.

Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva all face a race against time to be declared fit and will undergo a late fitness test while Kevin de Bruyne remains on the sidelines with a knee injury he picked up in early November, with Manchester City’s match against Bournemouth coming too soon for the Belgian. Continue reading

Is Jose Mourinho on a losing battle with Manchester United’s stars?

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Manchester United somehow and finally qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League as a last minute goal from Marouane Fellaini was enough to see out Young Boys a team that at Old Trafford United were expected to score 3 or more goals against and ease into a victory.

Instead and yet again United underwhelmed and yet a victory is a victory and Mourinho punched the air with delight. He didn’t mind a 1-0 win, but there has to be serious doubts over this United team. One does get the feeling that Mourinho is trying to mould this side into the great Inter Milan team that he coached for 3 seasons. A dogs of war side that won 3 Serie A titles in a row and a famous Champions League title, their first for 45 years. The problem is that there was a major difference between that team and this United one, which was the players believed in Mourinho’s project and had thick skin.

Thick skin has been quite the subject this week too as Luke Shaw who Mourinho wants to be his lieutenant in the side just like Javier Zanetti was all those years ago at Inter said in a recent interview that you need thick skin to be in this side. He is absolutely right because Mourinho unlike most coaches will publicly criticise you if you don’t perform- Shaw included. His methods seem alien in a footballing world where the megastar player has been pampered too. Are Mourinho’s methods right? One could believe there is no definite answer, except they are his way of approaching things and he isn’t going to change now after all of the trophies he has won.

Romelu Lukakau the striker who has faded this season has stuck up for Mourinho lately, suggesting that players need to man up, and Mourinho himself has said that if some players are nervous they should just watch United’s games on the TV.

But Mourinho isn’t blameless in United’s start to the season, which forgetting the odd very good result, not losing to Chelsea away from home and victory over Juventus in Turin and has not been a good start to the new football campaign. After all he was the one that bought Paul Pogba, a player he is clearly at odds with and can’t seem to work with him. The other is Alexis Sanchez, an outrageously talented footballer who now plays like a journeyman under Mourinho he plays one week and not the next tactics.

Manchester United have not been the club we know since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and it does feel that whatever Mourinho will try with this club just won’t stick. Of course he has won the Europa League and League Cup with them, so is by far the most successful coach at the club since Ferguson left. But that is going on for 2 seasons ago now.

United have zero chance to win the Premier League this season and the big one for them now is the Champions League. It is where the teams concentration and priority will be focused on. After all if they can beat the tournament favourites Juventus away, then why not? For now United are not a club worth watching, which is the saddest aspect of Mourinho’s time here.

Back to business for Manchester City

For the mess that Manchester City have been in off the pitch with these Football Leaks allegations, it was business as usual for Pep Guardiola’s team on Saturday afternoon after they made West Ham United look like a Championship club. David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané had the Premier League champions 3-0 up inside 35 minutes before the latter added a second in second-half stoppage time.

For the fans of Manchester City, it was a sense of relief. With an international break last weekend, the last two weeks have been torturous for City fans following allegations by Football Leaks suggesting that the club may have conducted itself dishonestly or sought to illegitimately evade financial fair play (FFP) rules, with UEFA officials now examining these allegations before a likely investigation.

These allegations made by German outlet Der Spiegel suggest that Manchester City had tried to cheat FFP rules by City selling image rights of players to a company, Fordham Sports Management, to lower their wage bill. Whether this is true or not, it could be damaging to Manchester City while the consequences could well be severe. Manchester City aren’t the only club involved in these Football Leaks but with the eye of the world watching, Guardiola would have been keen to not let it affect his team.

Their performance against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon suggests that normality has remained on the pitch with Guardiola’s side now two points clear ahead of closest challengers Liverpool following their 4-0 win in London. And while the score line may suggest City were in top form, it certainly wasn’t their best performance with West Ham under par, as has often been the case this season. As one of two remaining undefeated teams, Pep Guardiola’s task will be to keep his players focussed with an important Champions League fixture coming up.

Despite that, Manchester City have scored 21 goals in the first-half of Premier League games this season, more than Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and 13 other clubs have in total, per Manchester Evening News journalist Simon Bajkowski. But while it’s an impressive stat, it still won’t be good enough for Pep Guardiola who rightly always wants more from his players.

“I give a lot of credit to our players for the victory, but it was not the best performance. I think we got a bit lucky. West Ham had a lot of chances and should have scored. But we will have more chances to be a lot better,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference.

“We are consistent and we are a humble team, today we wasn’t so good but I love the way we run. The Premier League remains tough and we cannot deny this. I didn’t expect after what we achieved last season to have these results.”

Raheem Sterling integral to Manchester City’s season

One of those players that Pep Guardiola wants more of is perhaps Raheem Sterling, despite his impressive stats. Frustrating for England, Pep Guardiola has moulded the 23-year-old into one of the best players in the Premier League. In 44 Premier League fixtures, Sterling has 25 goals and 18 assists but Guardiola surely believes that the youngster can still do better. And maybe that’s just one reason why Manchester City have just extended the contract of Sterling until 2023, worth a potential £300,000 per week.

The understanding that Raheem Sterling has with both Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sané shares the same characteristics as that of Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi of Guardiola’s Barcelona side in 2009. And although Pep Guardiola has distanced himself from his time at Barcelona, this Manchester City side certainly shares the same philosophy to some degree.

Whether they retain their Premier League title this season, this Manchester City squad is frightening and will no doubt go down as one of the greatest teams in European history. Of course, winning the Champions League is the goal for everyone involved with the club, it’s the trophy that’s eluded them while many suggest winning the European competition eclipses that of winning another Premier League title.

They have the players, the staff and the backing to do so but it will be up to Pep Guardiola to guide them to a Champions League final, something they’ve yet to do.

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Why Claudio Ranieri is the right manager to turn Fulham around

Football is a cruel sport. Slavisa Jokanovic performed miracles turning Fulham from a mid-table Championship side into a Premier League one, and yet within three months of beginning his adventure in the top flight the Serbian is already out of a job. Having been sacked by Watford the summer after gaining promotion in 2015, Jokanovic has every right to feel hard done by.

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