What the papers say

Football transfer rumours: Oblak to replace De Gea at Manchester United?

What the papers say - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:18

Today’s gossip is so fresh, so clean

With the window firmly shut and an international break in full swing, today’s tidbits are a story of what may be, in a distant dystopian January, and what might have been.

The Mill should probably start paying Neymar commission. The wantaway/wants-to-stay Brazilian has got up through some lean times – and the latest whisper is that Juventus failed with an ambitious deadline-day move, which would have seen the forward form a deeply likeable strike partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Related: Ten of the best value-for-money signings around Europe this summer

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Mkhitaryan and Sánchez prove no transfer is ever a sure thing | Paul Wilson

What the papers say - Tue, 09/03/2019 - 19:00

Arsenal and Manchester United have offloaded players whose 2018 swap deal conspicuously failed to live up to expectations

The Liverpool teenager Bobby Duncan appears to have bucked a growing trend by leaving to join Fiorentina in Italy. Whatever the rights and wrongs of a dispute with the European champions that led to the player’s exit, Fiorentina are at least getting a promising young talent at the right age.

Most of the recent Italian imports from the Premier League have been just the opposite, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining Alexis Sánchez in Serie A after failing to convince he was worth a regular place at Arsenal.

Related: Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan joins Roma in loan with option to buy

Related: Alexis Sánchez says he ‘didn’t know why’ Manchester United dropped him

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Alexis Sánchez says he ‘didn’t know why’ Manchester United dropped him

What the papers say - Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:14
• Forward insists he has no regrets over move to Old Trafford
• Sánchez says he was sometimes omitted without explanation

Alexis Sánchez has said he has no regrets about his move to Manchester United. The 30-year-old, who has joined Internazionale on loan for the rest of the season, scored only five goals in 45 appearances for United after arriving as their highest-paid player from Arsenal in January 2018.

The Chilean, earning a reported £400,000 a week, came in for heavy criticism but insists he is glad he made the move.

Related: PSG sign Internazionale’s Mauro Icardi on loan as Neymar stays put

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Transfer roundup: Hernández joins Sevilla, Darmian seals Parma move

What the papers say - Mon, 09/02/2019 - 11:34
  • Javier Hernández leaves West Ham for Sevilla in a £7.3m deal
  • Matteo Darmian completes transfer to Parma for £1.4m

Sevilla have signed Javier Hernández from West Ham for £7.3m. The striker has been deemed surplus to requirements at the London Stadium after the arrivals of Sébastien Haller and Albian Ajeti.

Hernández joined West Ham two summers ago from Bayer Leverkusen for £16m and scored 17 goals, the most recent in the draw with Brighton in the second game of this season.

Related: Transfer window deadline day – every deal from Europe's top five leagues

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

What the papers say - Mon, 09/02/2019 - 08:26

There are defensive issues for Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Manchester City, while Fabinho shone for Liverpool

You have to wonder what was going through the minds of the Arsenal hierarchy over the summer when they belatedly decided that David Luiz was the answer to their defensive issues. There is no doubting the positives of the Brazilian’s play; David Luiz can change games with his passing and prowess in the opposition box but his propensity for switching off is there for all to see. Unai Emery played three defensive midfielders at home against Tottenham, and one suspects he has limited faith in his defence, as proved by the counterattack for the opener, which saw David Luiz wander off and an unmarked Christian Eriksen tap into an empty net after a goalkeeping error. At least January is not too far away and Arsenal can plan once more to solve their problems, preferably not with a deadline-day signing. Will Unwin

Related: Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

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Manchester United need more ‘nasty little tap-ins’, says Ole Gunnar Solskjær

What the papers say - Sun, 09/01/2019 - 22:30
• Manager says strikers need to sharpen poaching instincts
• ‘It’s about those scrappy goals now, they count just as much’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is adamant that Manchester United have not lost confidence despite an unconvincing start to the Premier League season.

The manager has called on his young strike force to harness their poaching instincts and score the “nasty little tap-ins” he did as a player. Solskjær, a prolific goalscorer in his heyday, said he believes Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood will sharpen their senses in the box after a profligate performance in the 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday.

Related: Manchester United are on right path despite draw, says Solskjær

Related: Southampton 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

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The Dozen: the weekend's best Premier League photos

What the papers say - Sun, 09/01/2019 - 20:28

Our picture editors choose their favourite photos from the weekend’s Premier League action

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'We're on the right track,' insists Solskjær after draw at Southampton – video

What the papers say - Sat, 08/31/2019 - 18:22

Ole Gunnar Solskjær insisted that Manchester United were 'on the right track' despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday. Ralph Hassenhuttl's men had Kevin Danso sent off with 20 minutes to go but United could not break them down and had to settle for a point. Daniel James scored for United in the 10th minute before Jannik Verstergaard equalised in the second half.

Solskjær also confirmed Paul Pogba will remain at the club beyond Monday’s European transfer deadline.

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Manchester United held by 10-man Southampton thanks to Vestergaard

What the papers say - Sat, 08/31/2019 - 14:51

A game that started so pleasantly for Manchester United ended in raw frustration as they failed to break down 10-man Southampton. They are not in crisis but the reality is they have not tasted victory since the opening day of the season. A thumping strike by Daniel James gave United an early lead but a controlled performance turned wayward and Jannik Vestergaard, the 6ft 6in Southampton defender, seized on United’s vulnerability to head in his first goal for the club. By the end Southampton, who had Kevin Danso sent off, were clinging on. A lively game turned into target practice for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, with Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young all taking aim from distance, while a diving header by the Saints defender Maya Yoshida prevented danger from escalating.

James’s opener was sweet. United shifted the ball from right to left, with Andreas Pereira helping the ball on to Scott McTominay, who spread the ball across to James. Cédric Soares’s decision to allow him to cut inside proved fatal, with James jinking on to his fearsome right foot and dispatching an unstoppable piercing effort into the roof of the Southampton goal. Solskjær clenched his fists in celebration, embracing his coaches Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick as every United player except Victor Lindelöf headed to the corner flag, where James had wheeled away towards, to mob a man in form. The 21-year-old could have doubled his and United’s tally two minutes later after a neat give-and-go with Juan Mata, who was influential on his first start of the season, but this time Oriol Romeu made life difficult.

Related: Southampton 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

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Southampton v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

What the papers say - Sat, 08/31/2019 - 12:19

12.19pm BST

“Now,” says Aslan Greer, “I understand how France won the World Cup: by playing 4-3-3-1.”

N’Golo Kante, innit.

12.10pm BST

“What I don’t understand is why no-one seems to try Pogba as a No10,” says Richie Patterson. “He’s obviously amazing on the ball, has a killer pass and scores goals. None of which he can do if he’s having to tackle back as part of a Dm two. Imagine him receiving the ball just behind Martial, Rashford and James and setting them free without having to worry about defensive duties. Fred can then fit in on the left, next to McTom, in his natural position...”

I’m not sure. Isn’t his long passing his greatest strength? I agree 4-2-3-1 isn’t ideal either. The best system for Pogba is 4-3-3, or the 4-3-3-1 that France used at the World Cup.

12.08pm BST

“Hi Rob,” says Duncan Edwards. “It’s ironic that after missing consecutive penalties United now face Southampton - the club of arguably the greatest penalty taker of our lifetimes.”

But which one?

11.51am BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Manchester United are a striker short, admits Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Related: Southampton v Manchester United: match preview

11.40am BST

Southampton (4-2-2-2) Gunn; Cedric, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Danso; Hojbjerg, Romeu; Boufal, Ward-Prowse; Ings, Adams.
Substitutes: McCarthy, Yoshida, Stephens, Valery, Armstrong, Long, N’Lundulu

Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Pogba, McTominay; Pereira, Mata, James; Rashford.
Substitutes: Romero, Rojo, Tuanzebe, Matic, Lingard, Chong, Greenwood.

11.39am BST

That didn’t take long. Just two games after a stirring 4-0 win over Chelsea, Manchester United are apparently in crisis again. It’s infantile nonsense, of course, which doesn’t deserve the time of the day. But this is the culture football chose, and all the old-fashioned values in the world won’t help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once the media go for him. The only way he can succeed with his long-term plan is to get enough good results to divert the noise elsewhere.

If United don’t win today, that noise will just get louder. It’s an unspoken rule of modern football that the Premier League must always have at least one club who are In Crisis. And if it’s one of the Big Six, so much the better.

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The Fiver | Dressed in a manner best described as Fiverwear

What the papers say - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 17:32

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The Fiver was disappointed that Eric Cantona didn’t follow up his monologue about immortality at yesterday’s Big Cup draw by rolling back the years and jumping into the audience to flatten an audience member with a kung-fu kick. Obviously violence is wrong, but there’s no denying that it would have been a talking point if Cantona had finished his speech and reprised his Selhurst Park acrobatics from 24 years ago. A baffled Cristiano Ronaldo would never have seen it coming. Lionel Messi was also asking for it, sitting there with a dumbfounded look on his face, though in fairness the Barcelona forward’s been wearing that expression ever since falling foul of Andy Robertson at Anfield last season. Anyway, it’s all moot. Turns out that time has mellowed Cantona, who turned up for Uefa’s big shebang dressed in a manner best described as Fiverwear.

Related: Eric Cantona speech: humans 'will become eternal' – unless crime or war intervene

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'If he was 28, not 38': Man Utd's Solskjær plays down Ibrahimovic return – video

What the papers say - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 15:26

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said on Friday he will 'always speak to' Zlatan Ibrahimovic - but added that he didn't believe the striker was serious about a return to Manchester United.

Earlier this week, Ibrahimovic was quoted saying 'if United needs me, I'm here', having netted 44 goals in 49 matches for LA Galaxy in the MLS. 

The Swede scored 26 times in his debut season at Old Trafford, in 2016/17, but suffered a ligament injury towards the end of that campaign, and made just seven appearances the following season.

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Southampton v Manchester United: match preview

What the papers say - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 14:53

Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be without Anthony Martial but has backed teenage forward Mason Greenwood to play a bigger role after Alexis Sánchez’s departure. Manchester United suffered memorable defeats at the Dell but are unbeaten at St Mary’s since 2003. Ralph Hasenhüttl is eager to end that run and build on impressive away wins over Brighton and Fulham but the hosts also have attacking absences, with Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo both out. Southampton begin the weekend in the relegation zone but victory would lift them above United. Niall McVeigh

Saturday 12.30pm BT Sport 1

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Europa League draw: Manchester United given gruelling group

What the papers say - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 13:24
• Celtic face Lazio, Wolves play Besiktas, Rangers will meet Porto
• Arsenal draw Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liège and Vitoria

Wolverhampton Wanderers were handed an encouraging draw on their first return to European competition proper for 38 years, when they avoided big-name opposition in a Europa League group that pits them against Besiktas of Turkey, Braga of Portugal and Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia.

Nuno Espírito Santo will be happier than Unai Emery with the proceedings in Monaco, for Arsenal’s opponents in Group A include Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege, while Manchester United face demanding trips to eastern European opponents in Partizan Belgrade and Astana of Kazakhstan.

Related: Europa League draw: Manchester United given gruelling group – live!

Group A

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Solskjær says Sánchez ‘needed to go’ and that he trusts his younger strikers

What the papers say - Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:33
• Man Utd manager backs Martial, Rashford and Greenwood
• ‘It’s time for our boys to feel that pressure and responsibility’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said he trusts Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to be Manchester United’s centre-forwards after allowing Alexis Sánchez to be loaned to Internazionale.

Romelu Lukaku, the top scorer of the past two seasons, has been sold to the same club yet Solskjær is not concerned regarding his striker options.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Alexis Sánchez is best when smiling. The joy went at Manchester United

What the papers say - Thu, 08/29/2019 - 12:00
The forward needs freedom on the ball and a manager’s love to thrive and he may get that on loan at Internazionale

In May Alexis Sánchez released his autobiographical movie in Chile. It is titled Mi Amigo Alexis – My Friend Alexis – and shows his beginnings as an always smiling kid kicking a ball in a dirt field in his hometown Tocopilla, in the north of Chile. It was like the Joker had drawn a forever-lasting smile on his face.

Where did that joyful and happy boy go? That’s the question every fan in Chile has been asking since the forward joined Manchester United in January 2018.

Related: Internazionale agree loan deal with Manchester United for Alexis Sánchez

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Chris Smalling to join Roma on loan from Manchester United

What the papers say - Thu, 08/29/2019 - 10:50
  • Italian club agree to pay €3m for season’s loan
  • Defender has fallen out of first-team picture at United

Chris Smalling is set to join Roma on loan from Manchester United after a deal was agreed under which the Italian club will pay €3m (£2.7m) to take the defender for the season without an option to buy.

The England international is keen to make the move and will conclude the transfer subject to a medical. Smalling has not made an appearance this season and Ole Gunnar Solskjær is content to lose him after the signing of Harry Maguire left the club with too many central defenders.

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The Guardian view on the collapse of Bury FC: a tragedy bigger than mere football | Editorial

What the papers say - Wed, 08/28/2019 - 18:40
The fans of a small northern club deserved better than to witness their club destroyed by bad management and financial speculation

Football is about more than money, however much lucre has come to shape the beautiful game. Over this summer, English top-tier clubs had spent a total of £1.41bn, with Manchester United shelling out a world record fee on a defender of £80m for Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. Yet these amounts and the teams that spend them are symptoms of an unsentimental business model that is indifferent to tradition, place and practice. It is eroding the sense that many football clubs are a central and vital part of people’s identity.

That is why the end of Bury Football Club after 134 years is important. Before it was shut, 400 supporters had volunteered to mop and sweep the Gigg Lane ground hoping to show that the true value of their football club cannot be counted in pounds and pennies. Bury FC was the town’s pride until 5pm on Tuesday. The club disappeared after prospective buyers said that there were “systemic failings” that could not be overcome. With capitalism increasingly dominating community as the driving force in modern football, other clubs could risk a similar fate.

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Internazionale agree loan deal with Manchester United for Alexis Sánchez

What the papers say - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 22:50
• Inter will pay £175,000 of Sanchez’s £390,000 weekly salary
• Sánchez departs having been massive failure at Old Trafford

Internazionale have finally reached a deal to sign Alexis Sánchez on a loan from Manchester United.

The two clubs have been discussing a possible deal for several weeks now and a breakthrough in negotiations day saw the reaching of an agreement. Sánchez’s loan is believed to be for 10 months and Inter do not have an option to buy, although the Serie A club will pay £175,000 of Sanchez’s £390,000 weekly salary. The 30-year-old will have his medical in Milan on Wednesday.

Related: Manchester United's Luke Shaw ruled out for at least five weeks

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Jordi Cruyff on Johan: the dad who became Barcelona’s spiritual father | Sid Lowe

What the papers say - Tue, 08/27/2019 - 15:45

Before the unveiling of a statue outside Camp Nou, Jordi Cruyff talks of how his famous father shaped his life and why it did not work out at Manchester United

The way Jordi Cruyff tells the story, the way his mum and dad always told it, one day Johan Cruyff turned to the family, and said: “Listen, I have to put my boots back on: we’re going to the US.” There is a pause, a smile, and Jordi adds: “‘We fly in five hours.’”

He was only four but he has heard it often and, like everything else, it was a lesson. Listening to him on the morning Barcelona unveil a statue of their spiritual father, his actual father, there are many of them: moments that helped shape him, that shaped them all. “He reached so many people, touched them,” Jordi says. There may be no one who influenced football like he did.

Related: Pep Guardiola: ‘I would not be here without Johan Cruyff. He was unique’

Related: Johan Cruyff: the revolutionary who changed how the world saw football | Richard Williams

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