Manchester United are monitoring Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld contract situation: report

Manchester United reportedly keeping an eye on Tottenham Hotspurs defender Toby Alderweireld as they look to bring in recruitments in the summer.

Reports have claimed that Jose Mourinho is keen on bolstering his team’s defence after recent fixtures have exploited the club’s only weakness.

United’s losses to Newcastle and Tottenham were frustrating and of themselves but it was more so due to some defensive errors.

Against Tottenham Phil Jones was at fault, scoring an own goal whilst at Newcastle Chris Smalling was at fault after he conceded a free-kick for diving in which the Magpies capitalised on.

Rumours have surfaced that Mourinho is going to move on both players and is monitoring Alderweireld just in case an opportunity reveals itself.

According to the Mirror, Manchester Evening News reports that the Red Devils are keeping tabs on Toby whose contract runs out in the summer of 2019.

Spurs are currently attempting to negotiate a contract renewal but perhaps Jose will attempt to swoop in and buy him for a cheaper than usual price.

Although the Portuguese manager bought in Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, Toby Alderweireld represents a more experienced option.

The soon to be 29 year old will surely add quality to Manchester United’s backline and has plenty of Premier League experience as well.

What the possible transfer means for both Bailly and Lindelof is yet to be seen but the move may prove too tempting for Jose Mourinho to ignore.

It could possibly be a case of Alderweireld attempting to negotiate a bigger pay raise at the London club too.

Manchester City could wrap up the title at home to Manchester United

Manchester City could wrap up the title at home against Manchester United after Jose Mourinho’s men suffered a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Sunday.

The Premier League leaders went 16 points clear at the top of the table with a 5-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday evening.

Man United’s blunt-edged display at St James’ Park means that Pep Guardiola’s side could claim the title in just six games.

And yes, that sixth game comes at home to United on April 7, giving Man City the chance to reflect their supremacy over their neighbours this season by clinching the title with a win over Mourinho.

Both United and City would need to win their next five games for this to happen. Dropped points against either Chelsea or Liverpool at home, however, will mean City could claim the Premier League crown before then, leaving open the galling prospect of having to give them a guard of honour in front of their supporters.

If they progress past Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fifth round next weekend then their clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on March 17 would be postponed, meaning victory over United would leave them just one win away from the title.

An unlikely prospect, then, but one still very much alive and menacingly lingering in the distance. If anything, perhaps a mauling at the Ethiad, followed by unbridled celebrations, would serve as an important kick up the backside ahead of next season.

Jose Mourinho could lose Manchester United trio worth £37.4m this summer

Jose Mourinho could lose Manchester United trio worth £37.4m this summer – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho could lose three midfielders worth £37.4m from the first-team at the end of the season, leaving him incredibly short in a key area with mere weeks to replace them.

Michael Carrick, who joined from Tottenham Hotspur in 2006, has made more than 450 appearances for United but is set to retire this summer.

The 36-year-old has been on the periphery this season, making just three appearances in all competitions, and will join Mourinho’s coaching staff ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. He’s worth just £1m as a result.

United still haven’t made any progress in contract talks with Marouane Fellaini which could result in the £6.4m-rated Belgian international leaving at the end of the season on a free transfer.

Signed from Everton in 2013, the 30-year-old has fallen down the pecking order this season, making only four starts in all competitions for United, and might consider a move away to get more playing time.

Ander Herrera is the third first-team midfielder whose future is uncertain this season. The Spanish international, who joined from Athletic Bilbao in 2014, has struggled to dethrone Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic from the midfield.

Herrera’s been linked with a £30m move to AC Milan, and given the 28-year-old has made just eight Premier League starts this season, it’s possible he could be lured away from Old Trafford.

It’s bad news for Mourinho, as the 2018 summer transfer window closes before the new season starts, leaving him with less time to replace three midfielders from the squad.

Stats from Transfermarkt.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Newcastle defeat once again highlighted Manchester United's biggest problem this season

On May 6 2012, Manchester United claimed a 2-0 win over Swansea City in their penultimate game of the campaign.

At right back was Phil Jones, while Chris Smalling featured at centre-back as Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia occupied the wings.

Six years on and, somewhat astonishingly, the aforementioned quartet are lining up as Manchester United’s first choice back four, despite the club making 22 signings in the post-Ferguson era.

Defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday saw them line up together and their collective display – inert, predictable, lacking in zip or discipline – once again highlighted just how absurd it is that, for all the millions spent in trying to evolve this side, nothing of note has been done to advance United’s back four over such a prolonged period of time.

Mourinho fielded the same back four against both Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur earlier this season and lost, along with witnessing perhaps United’s two worst performances of their Premier League campaign.

That last bit is crucial. In a modern game evolving faster than our senses can comprehend, United have been caught with cold feet and suffered the consequences for failing to evolve in the same way as Manchester City, who only have one semi-first choice defender – captain Vincent Kompany – still at the club since May 2012.

Out of the 22 signings made by United since 2013, only five have been defenders. And what has transpired as a result is a kind of tale of two cities in Mourinho’s side: an attack comprising of diverse, fresh, dynamic options and a back four painfully out of step with the times.

They have hardly been awful. In fact, no team has more clean sheets than United this season. But the problem lies less with objective results and more with the symbolic message it sends.

While Man City, who could be champions in just six games, have spent nearly £180m on defensive reinforcements over the past year, United are still calling on the old guard to come up with modern day solutions.

A defensive overhaul, one matching the comprehensiveness of United’s attacking additions in recent years, desperately needs to begin in the summer.

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez brilliantly trolls Manchester United

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was caught on tape at his witty best following his side’s shock victory over Manchester United yesterday afternoon.

Matchup

The two sides went head to head at St. James’ Park, with Jose Mourinho’s visitors having put their disappointing loss to Tottenham last week behind them with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield last time out.

Newcastle, meanwhile, had slipped into the Premier League relegation zone ahead of kick-off yesterday, with the Magpies having picked up draws in their last two outings with Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively.

Shock

The visiting Red Devils understandably headed into the clash as heavy favourites, and took control of the majority of possession from the off.

However, Newcastle made it clear from early on that they would not allow the aura of their opponents to intimidate them, with Rafael Benitez’s men working like dogs when out of possession and making every tackle count.

And, after holding United at bay for the opening 45 minutes, Newcastle were rewarded for their valiant efforts shortly after the hour mark, when Chris Smalling’s ridiculous dive near the halfway-line saw the hosts awarded a free-kick.

The ball was subsequently lofted in towards the edge of Man United’s area, before a flicked header landed at the feet of Dwight Gayle.

From here, Gayle proceeded to expertly lay the ball off into the space behind him, where Matt Ritchie arrived in perfect time to slam home a quality finish into the bottom-left corner of David De Gea’s goal.

Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial were both guilty of fluffing guilt-edged chances for the visitors on ‘one of those days’ for United, with Newcastle in the end holding on for a potentially-crucial 3 points.

Benitez banter

Following the full-time whistle, Jose Mourinho’s praise for Newcastle’s ‘animals’ quickly garnered widespread attention, with the Portuguese tactician having proven uncharacteristically magnanimous in defeat.

However, one aspect of the post-match interviews which slipped relatively under the radar revolved around a comment made by Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez, at the expense of Manchester United.

A recap of the exchange, as well as the soundclip itself, are linked below:

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Jose Mourinho disappointed with how Manchester United conceded against Newcastle United

Jose Mourinho has expressed his frustration at the way Manchester United conceded in the second half during their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

Chris Smalling, who was already causing supporters to melt in fury with a dire performance, produced a truly awful dive inside his own half to hand the hosts a free kick.

The ball sailed to the far post and, for reasons that remain unclear, Paul Pogba refused to jump and Dwight Gayle was able to nudge the knock-down in Matt Richie’s direction and the midfielder duly slid the ball home.

And Mourinho, when asked about the goal, didn’t want to discuss the dive that led to the goal but insisted his side had to do better recovering the second ball.

It was, in many ways, a microcosm of the 90 minutes overall: Smalling producing unnecessary blunders, Pogba clearly hampered by injury and completely absent as a result, Newcastle wanting it a bit more, and United ultimately drifting. Once again.

There were moments when, after Anthony Martial and then Alexis Sanchez went incredibly close, United could have pushed the knife in at St James’ Park and made their dominance count.

But they did the opposite, coasting through the game and allowing the hosts to deliver the ultimate sucker punch. And with Sevilla, Chelsea and Liverpool coming up, this needs to serve as a big lesson.

Manchester City handed injury boost ahead of Basel tie

Premier League leaders Manchester City are ‘likely’ to have winger Leroy Sane available for their Champions League matchup with Basel on Tuesday night.

Crocked

Blistering wide-man Sane has been on the sidelines since picking up an ankle injury during City’s FA Cup 4th round victory over Cardiff two weeks ago, following a horror challenge from Blubirds’ defender Joe Bennett:

CARDIFF, WALES – JANUARY 28: Leroy Sane of Manchester City is tackled by Joe Bennett of Cardiff City during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Cardiff City and Manchester City at the Cardiff City Stadium on January 28, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Sidelined

Pep Guardiola revealed in his post-match press conference following the clash that Sane looked set to be sidelined for ‘a while, a few weeks or months’, with City later confirming that the former Schalke star suffered ligament damage to his ankle.

Guardiola went on to put a timetable on Sane’s return in the days that followed, with the former Barcelona boss having estimated ‘six or seven weeks out’ for the 22-year-old.

Ahead of schedule

However, over the last couple of days, a surprising update on Sane’s condition has revealed that the winger has incredibly already returned to light training.

Guardiola confirmed as much over the weekend, but also revealed that ‘I don’t think he will be back for the Champions League’ (vs Basel).

‘Most likely’ scenario

But, in yet another update coming courtesy of reliable journalist Jose Alvarez Haya this evening, signs now point towards Sane being included in the Citizens’ squad set to travel to Switzerland tomorrow:

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Bad news for Manchester United as Real Madrid consider record transfer

Bad news for Manchester United as Real Madrid consider record transfer – originally posted on Sportslens.com

According to Don Balon, Real Madrid are closing in on Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi. The 24-year-old is nearing a £96m move to Los Blancos, which would be bad news for fellow suitors Manchester United.

Icardi has been in fantastic form this season, scoring 18 goals in 22 Serie A games. The Argentine, who came to the San Siro from Sampdoria in 2013, has been linked with a move away for a record fee.

His reported release clause would make him Real’s and Manchester United’s most expensive signing, although the former look most likely to land his signature.

United manager Jose Mourinho has openly stated he won’t be signing another attacker in the summer but rather the midfield, so losing a player as talented as Icardi would be a major blow.

In his five years with the Nerazzurri, the prolific South American centre-forward has scored more than 90 goals in 170 games in all competitions. The former Barcelona youngster has three years left on his Inter contract, so the selling club hold all the cards.

Real need to replace the ageing Karim Benzema, and Don Balon suggest Icardi is one of many strikers on the lost of potential replacements. United have Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford so they boast enough depth up front.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Newcastle United vs Manchester United confirmed starting line-ups

Newcastle United vs Manchester United confirmed starting line-ups – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Manchester United visit Newcastle United on Sunday aiming to strengthen their grip on second place in the Premier League.

United head into the game 16 points behind Manchester City and the title race already looks a foregone conclusion.

Newcastle are fighting for survival at the bottom end of the table and desperately need to take something from the game.

The Red Devils triumphed 4-1 when the two sides met at Old Trafford back in November and they are strongly fancied to pick up another win at St James’ Park.

United have lost just two of their last 30 meetings with the Magpies in all competitions.

The visitors are priced at 4/7 to win the game, with Newcastle on offer at 11/2. The draw is available at 3/1.

Confirmed starting line-ups:

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Danny Murphy: Manchester United lack this in comparison to Manchester City

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side are not well-balanced enough to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.

The Reds are currently 16 points behind their local title rivals, and Danny Murphy believes that is due to an ‘imbalance’ in the team.

Man United have shown glimpses of utter brilliance this season, but their inconsistency has seen them drop silly points and succumb to Man City.

“If you look at City, who will win league and comfortably, Fernandinho sits and De Bruyne and Silva spread the pitch,” said Murphy.

“Occasionally Silva or De Bruyne will drop in and they mix it up, when to stay away and that is worked on by the manager.

“Mourinho prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation with two holding players.

“The formation doesn’t change, just a personnel change.

“Pogba can adapt to different formations.

“I’ll like to see him not have a free role, well everyone has to defend, but I’ll like to let him go and influence games and have a couple around him that can do a bit.

“You can’t just have Matic, but find a place for Pogba.

“While United have lots of quality going forward, there’s still an imbalance. They don’t play out enough with the quality they’ve got.”

The argument that United are imbalance is correct. It’s shown in games this season, where the transition from defence to attack has been poor at times, and in big games like Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge or Tottenham Hotspur away at Wembley and Manchester City at home. United’s midfield has been found out, leaving their defence weaker, too.

“They [United] can be hot and cold,” Murphy continued. “They can win four in a row and be goalless against a smaller team.

“City are very definitive. You know they will pass it out and they will overplay.

“If you continue to press them and press them, you’ll get done.

“They just keep trying to do that and it’s murder to play against.”

Murphy is right to an extent in implying that City have an identity and United do not. But most Reds, at the moment, only care about winning.