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.

How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.

Three exciting European teams you should be keeping an eye on for the remainder of the season

7e0d14d05e

For sure, the current style of play within football has extremely transformed compared to what it used to be over five to ten years ago, where many teams would place the aim of winning a game and play attacking football at the same time. Being a passionate fan of the sport, you’d like to see your own beloved football club going out for the much needed three points rather than seeing them defend their own lines for majority of the game.

On the other hand, many football supporters of the beautiful game will argue that the narrow-minded coaches such as Diego Simeone and Max Allegri have changed the sport as a whole, as they have played an incredible role on those sides that go on to have a pragmatic approach ahead of the fixture by nullifying the opposition instead of playing to the squad’s strengths.

Here are the three European teams that have been a pleasure to watch during the 2018-19 campaign…

Bundesliga – RB Leipzig

RB Leipziga are still the most hated team within German football, due to the fact that the club went through a massive revolution by having energy drink company, Red Bull, as their new owners and have also gone against the tradition of the league by making a mockery to the cherished “50+1” rule. Meanwhile, in the new era of the club, they are starting to be known for their dominant and thrilling football on the pitch, especially with the current group of talented players that are available to new manager Ralf Rangnick.

With the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Marcel Sabitzer, Timo Werner and Yussef Poulsen regularly running the show, Leipzig have the chance to finish in the Champions League spots before the season comes to an end. The side carry out their work within an insane 4-2-2-2 setup, with their principles being; to complete gegenpressing from the first minute till the end and to play direct counterattacking football at the highest level.

La Liga – Real Betis

Without a shadow of doubt, the heart of La Liga will always be seen witon the familiar clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, the time has come where a mid-table side like Real Betis get the attention that they truly deserve, who are definitely one of the most exciting teams to watch in Spain this campaign. Whether they see themselves as a liability defensively due to their attacking approach or not, it has not stopped the boss, Quique Setien, from implementing a simple yet effective possession-based style of play.

The 60-year-old Spaniard is one of the few coaches left that lives for total football, one that looks after the young players and gives them first-team opportunities time after time as well as being a devoted manager that sticks to his philosophy no matter who is side comes up against. Despite conceding a lot of goals compared to the top teams, Real Betis have come up with vital wins at home to Atleticlo Madrid and away at Barcelona, which currently leaves them in seventh place and just three points away from the Champions League spots.

Serie A – Atalanta

The current focus in the top-tier of Italian football is on Juventus running away with the league title, with Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli sitting comfortably in second place whilst both Milan clubs are aiming to claim bragging rights by finishing in third place come the end of the season. Meanwhile, the main story the moment has been Gian Piero Gasperini working his magic on the touchline at Atalanta, who are the only club along with Juventus to have scored over 50 league goals so far this campaign and are also in the Coppa Italia semi-final.

In the first half of the 2018-19 season, I Nerazzurri struggled on both areas of the pitch due to the lack of rotation and ability to find game changers from the bench, preventing them from picking up many positive results in the first few months of the season. Now, with the summer signing in Duvan Zapata being in fine form and Gasperini showing his tactical flexibility, the side are producing dominant and energetic performances as they now have a balanced and fluid midfield, allowing them to actually play their best football in recent years.

Directionless Lookman provided with Everton chance

Ademola Lookman

Ask Ademola Lookman how his Everton career is going and the answer won’t be a positive one. The answer will be a similar one if you only asked about his career in general. To say the 20-year-old is a little directionless would be understating it.

It was not supposed to be this way. As first impressions go Lookman’s could not have gone better at Goodison Park. A goal on his debut in a 4-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City set tongues wagging. Early on, Lookman appeared to be a massive bargain. Many Blues on Merseyside raved, predicting he could be the next big youngster to make his mark at the club. In the 20 months since that date, it has been a downward spiral.  Continue reading

RB Leipzig’s rise to the top of European football is stunning

download

Here’s a pub quiz question which may well come up next summer. Which German team won the Bundesliga but were not formed until 2009? The answer could be RB Leipzig and it is fair to say that if you hadn’t heard of them before you most probably have now, because currently they are sitting in first place in the Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig have been in one word incredible. In a league that features one of the greatest clubs in the world in Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig are not only in first place but after 11 games are still undefeated. The current record reads won 8 and drawn 3. One of those wins include victory over the impressive Borussia Dortmund who have been excellent in the Champions League this season and currently lie in 3rd place a cool six points adrift of the leaders.

Even the mighty Bayern have had to yield to the club as they have seen a 3 point gap appear. So what gives, how come RB Leipzig have seemingly come from nowhere to be everywhere?

Last season the club known affectionately as Die Bullen- translated in English – the bulls were playing in Bundesliga 2. This is a league which they eventually won and thus promotion was guaranteed. But nobody expected this sort of start.

The club are led by coach Ralph Hasenhuttl who is from Austria and started his playing career as a forward at Grazer before moving to Austria Wien. He played for six seasons in Germany but never made it big and played out his twilight years at Bayern Munich II.

For Austria he was capped just 8 times and last played for his country in 1994. His management career started in 2007 with some minor clubs before he headed back to Germany and took charge of Inglostadt. He helped the team clinch promotion to the Bundesliga and the team have been solid since. In the summer his impressive work was rewarded to take newly promoted RB Leipzing further and he has impressed with a win rate of 66%.

There a lot of ingredients that have made Leipzig look so good. Hasenhuttl has deployed a mean defence, the team have conceded just 9 goals this season and he has taken the model he developed at Inglostadt to start from the back. One believes Hasenhuttl would be a popular figure in Serie A.

The team is led at the back by 31-year-old Marvin Compper a natural leader and the club can rely on Swedish sensation Emil Forsberg who already has five goals this season.

Hasenhuttl is also very animated on the touchline and is quite a character and it’s obvious to see that he is the man of the moment right now. There is a hunger and a desire to do well and it will be very interesting to see how far he can take his team after such an impressive start to the campaign.

Play European Fantasy Football against your friends and colleagues, sign up now with Eurofantasyleague.com