What the papers say

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Nick Powell refinds his feet at Wigan and stirs a few memories | Ben Fisher

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 10:00
The former Crewe midfielder who won over Sir Alex Ferguson in a matter of minutes is back doing what he does best after his wilderness years at Old Trafford

In a candid interview a couple of years ago, Nick Powell discussed how he felt at being perceived as a lost cause, a maverick and a nuisance. An exceptional talent, his ability has never been doubted but Powell was a player at pains to prove he could reach the heights he was supposed to reach. Described by Sir Alex Ferguson as the heir to Paul Scholes’s throne on joining Manchester United as an 18-year-old, he is playing with a freedom again, enjoying a kind of renaissance at Wigan.

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Is the US falling out of love with European clubs' summer tours?

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:00

The International Champions Cup is still capable of attracting huge crowds in the US, but away from the marquee games, attendances were down

Whatever you do, don’t call it pre-season. Meaningless games are now a thing of the past, at least according to the International Champions Cup. Billed as “club football’s premier summer tournament,” this year’s edition was the largest to date, encompassing 18 teams and 27 games played in 22 different cities on three different continents. And yet, the crowd numbers didn’t quite live up to hype.

Related: After six months, is Carlos Cordeiro close to reviving US soccer fortunes?

#ICC2018 RT @MikeMartignago: My beloved Milan v Manchester United at the StubHub Center. Appears it’s friends and family night pic.twitter.com/Z07hqKCqvc

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Manchester United confident David de Gea will sign new deal

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 22:30

• The goalkeeper’s contract expires next summer
• De Gea won the domestic Golden Glove last season

Manchester United are confident that David de Gea will sign a new deal, with the goalkeeper expected to receive a marked increase on his current salary of around £180,000 a week.

Related: Five things Manchester United must do to become a title threat

Related: Manchester United plan to install director of football after restructuring

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Five things Manchester United must do to become a title threat

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:59

José Mourinho can benefit from a director of football but club need a spirit of adventure to be Premier League contenders

The season’s first week proved bumpy for Manchester United. José Mourinho missed out on his desired centre-back. A message emerged that the club would not back the manager in the market on a carte blanche basis. He made Paul Pogba captain yet after a fine display against Leicester the midfielder said there would be a fine for saying certain things – again illuminating a difficult relationship with his manager.

Yet with the 2-1 win on Friday Mourinho has negotiated half of the Leicester-Brighton double he identified as difficult owing to the many key players not available because of post-World Cup breaks. It offers a glimmer of optimism following Mourinho’s pre-season gloom. And given the hierarchy’s view that, while it will be tough, United should be title contenders, what has to be done to turn this hope to reality?

Related: Balancing risk and reward may be Manchester City’s biggest challenge | Jonathan Wilson

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

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 08:25

Guendouzi is one of Arsenal’s few reasons to be cheerful, Naby Keïta is a thrilling talent no matter whose shirt he’s wearing, and Richarlison already looks worth the money

Wherever Arsène Wenger was watching, he would have approved of Mattéo Guendouzi’s presence at the base of Arsenal’s midfield. The 19-year-old was poached from Lorient, exactly the type of under‑the-radar Francophone deal in which the former manager delighted. Eager and energetic, his tousled locks and upright style make him stand out but, with City interchanging midfield passes at breakneck speed, Unai Emery had exposed him to a heavy workload – neither Granit Xhaka nor Aaron Ramsey showed much dedication to defensive duties. When Raheem Sterling blazed past him to score City’s opener, Guendouzi’s inexperience was exposed but so was neglectful defending from Mesut Özil and Héctor Bellerín. His passing was often chaotic but so was that of his midfield partners, particularly Xhaka. John Brewin

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Paul Pogba: 'if you're not happy, you cannot give your best'

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 14:26
  • Manchester United midfielder fears fine if he speaks his mind
  • World Cup winner says it is a ‘dream come true’ being captain

Paul Pogba has suggested that it is hard to play well if there are off-field issues and said he would get fined if he opened up about his happiness at Manchester United.

Related: Manchester United turn down Barcelona offer for Paul Pogba

Related: Win over Leicester unlikely to put an end to José Mourinho moanathon | Jamie Jackson

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Manchester United plan to install director of football after restructuring

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 22:30

• José Mourinho has been unhappy with transfer policy
• It is unclear how Portuguese would react to the move

Manchester United are set to appoint the first director of football in their 140-year history, as soon as the current restructure of the club and expansion of facilities are complete.

The move will allow United a continuity of football style and ethos as well as a more streamlined transfer policy. It is understood this is also recognition by the hierarchy of the need to modernise in an era when managers are often in situ only for the short term. This can lead to disjointed recruitment and a disconnect between the manager and the executive.

Related: José Mourinho says manager role should be downgraded to ‘head coach’

Related: Win over Leicester unlikely to put an end to José Mourinho moanathon | Jamie Jackson

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'Pogba was a monster' : José Mourinho praises United's performance – video

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:57

José Mourinho’s usual low-spirited and glum demeanour was less apparent after his side started off their campaign with a 2-1 win over Leicester City. Mourinho praised the performance of Luke Shaw, a player he has not been particularly fond of in the past

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José Mourinho says manager role should be downgraded to ‘head coach’

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 23:37

• Portuguese referred to lack of Manchester United transfers
• Mourinho was speaking after 2-1 win over Leicester City

José Mourinho appeared to take aim at Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, for not sanctioning all of his transfer targets, with the manager saying maybe his title should be downgraded to “head coach”.

Related: Luke Shaw scores to cap Manchester United dream start against Leicester

Related: Win over Leicester unlikely to put an end to José Mourinho moanathon | Jamie Jackson

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Win over Leicester unlikely to put an end to José Mourinho moanathon | Jamie Jackson

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 22:07
Given how fearful the Manchester United manager was of this season opener, maybe he can afford to start smiling

In the way only football can, this contest started in breath-taking Boys’ Own fashion. Paul Pogba has had his issues with José Mourinho yet just 75 seconds into a season advertised as a struggle by Manchester United’s manager his prize midfielder rifled home a priceless lead.

It came from the penalty spot and sent the home faithful into ecstasy. It arrived after Mourinho handed Pogba the armband, and was priceless PR for a pair who can endure a troubled relationship.

Related: Paul Pogba penalty gives Manchester United dream start against Leicester

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Luke Shaw scores to cap Manchester United dream start against Leicester

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 22:02

Was that, very briefly, a smile on José Mourinho’s face? Blink, and you might have missed it, but at least Manchester United have begun the new season with a victory and after all the sullenness of pre-season, the complaints about the club’s transfer business and the overwhelming suspicion that something is not right, this was a reminder how winning football matches can make everything feel so much better. For now at least, Old Trafford feels like a happy place again.

Related: Manchester United v Leicester City: Premier League – live!

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Manchester United v Leicester City: Premier League – live!

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:04

7.04pm BST

Here are the men who will enhance your evening, ruin your evening, or keep your evening more or less the same:

Man Utd: De Gea, Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Pogba, Mata, Rashford, Sanchez. Subs: Lukaku, Martial, Smalling, Grant, Young, Fellaini, McTominay.

6.48pm BST

The Premier League/Division One/EeePeeEll is back among us! Are you ready? You’re going to have to be, because this is it until May now and fortunately we start with a nice quiet one. What on earth could go wrong at Old Trafford this season?

Quite a lot, if you use Jose Mourinho’s mood as your thermometer. Did he get the signings he wanted? Nope. Does he feel his side, shorn of key players thanks to the abominably slender window between the World Cup and ... errm ... now, is a touch undercooked? Yep. Is he happy to let the world know it? Yep and very much yep. But despite the hangdog appearance and the negative narrative, we should probably cool our jets a bit: this is still an exceptionally talented United squad, one that finished runners-up last season even if they rarely sparkled. Perhaps Jose is playing us all for fools and, behind the scenes, has been working them up to play with the ferocity of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the positional interplay of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Or perhaps they might, at least, be a bit better from another year playing together, with the extra familiarity of minimal upheaval, and put in some form of challenge this time. You really do never know.

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How the season began 30 years ago: TV money, transfers and Tony Cottee

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 10:56

A new TV deal brings about huge transfer fees, Liverpool spend big and Spurs need to sort out stadium issues. Sound familiar?

By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog

English football was on its knees in the late 1970s and early 1980s as hooliganism and crumbling stadia led to a steady decline in attendances. Rock bottom arrived in 1985 in the shape of the Bradford fire and Heysel stadium disaster. Football spent the rest of the decade taking a long look at itself and, gradually, it started to get its house in order. As the sport’s reputation improved, so did TV revenue, with domestic rights more than doubling from £5.2m in 1983 to £11m in 1988.

On the back of this new TV deal, some clubs chose to spend big in the summer of 1988. Tottenham invested £1.7m on Paul Stewart and broke the British transfer record by spending £2m on Paul Gascoigne. Everton pushed the record up to £2.2m when they brought in Tony Cottee from West Ham; they also signed Stuart McCall for £850,000 and Pat Nevin for £925,000. Not to be outdone by their local rivals, Liverpool paid a whopping £2.8m to bring Ian Rush back from Juventus. George Graham went about his business quietly at Arsenal, only adding Steve Bould to his squad for a bargain price of £390,000.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for on the opening weekend

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 08:30

Manchester United and Leicester under pressure to start well, Emery’s formidable opening task, heightened ambitions for Brighton and Wolves

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Summer transfer window verdict: how every Premier League club fared

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 23:06
Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves were busy while Everton and Fulham left it late, Manchester United fell short and Spurs did not sign anyone

Arsenal’s biggest move of the summer was replacing Arsène Wenger with Unai Emery, but they have also strengthened their squad with five new signings. Bernd Leno will challenge Petr Cech in goal, while centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos and full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner will add experience at the back. Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira and 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi are intriguing additions in midfield. Jacob Steinberg

Related: Transfer window 2018 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

Related: Premier League’s power shown by spending of clubs outside elite | David Conn

Related: Everton make three major signings in remarkable end to transfer window

Related: Fulham break record with £30m Anguissa transfer on frantic last day

Related: Southampton finally sign Danny Ings after Crystal Palace prefer Jordan Ayew

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Manchester United veto José Mourinho’s transfer wishlist

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 22:30
• Manager’s short-term fixes rejected by Ed Woodward
• Some targets viewed as no better than those already at club

Manchester United did not follow through with some of José Mourinho’s transfer targets because of misgivings about the players he had identified and a decision, from the top of the club, that he should not be allowed to get his way if it meant potentially wasting tens of millions of pounds on a short-term fix.

Related: Transfer window 2018 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

Related: Manchester United v Leicester: match preview

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Premier League’s financial power shown by spending of clubs outside elite | David Conn

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 20:00
TV riches fund ever more overseas recruitment and make England’s inspiring World Cup campaign seem a long time ago

When most of England was glued to the World Cup and gleefully chucking beer around in feverish fanzones, club football seemed to recede into some proper perspective, where the national team’s success would always be the highest priority. Yet one month later, as this summer’s transfer window closed, it seemed almost party‑pooping even to mention that the overwhelming majority of Premier League signings are from overseas and to wonder at the effect this will have on opportunities for English players.

Related: Transfer window 2018 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

Related: Daniel Sturridge can lead the way for Premier League’s forgotten men | Paul Doyle

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Manchester United v Leicester: match preview

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 17:03

Claude Puel’s attempted joke regarding Harry Maguire’s future at Old Trafford being limited to a few hours will probably not have tickled José Mourinho. Maguire remains a Leicester a player despite Manchester United’s considerable interest. Mourinho, petty as he may often be, should remain focused enough and even combined with a poor pre-season United are likely to start the season with three points. Graham Searles

Friday 8pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Manchester United make €25m offer for Diego Godín to trigger release clause

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:04
• United trying to secure defender on transfer deadline day
• Uruguayan keen to stay at La Liga club

Manchester United have made a €25m (£22.5m) offer to Atlético Madrid for the 32-year-old defender Diego Godín to trigger his release clause but the Uruguayan would prefer to stay at his current club.

José Mourinho is desperate to sign a centre-back before the window closes but has been put off by the fees for Bayern Munich’s Jérôme Boateng and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire.

Related: Transfer deadline day news: Godín, Mina, Pérez, Grealish and more – live!

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