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Updated: 15 hours 31 min ago

Manchester United poach City exec Omar Berrada as Brailsford exits cycling

Sat, 01/20/2024 - 19:24
  • Berrada joined City in 2011 and has been COO since 2016
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s advisor Brailsford to conduct audit of club

Sir Dave Brailsford, the mastermind behind Team Sky and its Ineos-Grenadiers successor, has stepped away from cycling to focus on his new role at Manchester United. As the chief sporting adviser to the Ineos chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Brailsford is to concentrate on an audit into the club Ratcliffe paid £1.25bn to buy a quarter share of and take control of sporting affairs.

Brailsford, after his success as performance director of British Cycling, founded Team Sky in 2010, winning its first Tour de France in 2012, Bradley Wiggins taking the first of seven of eight editions until 2019 by four riders, Chris Froome collecting four. The team collected five further Grand Tours under the Sky and Ineos banner that followed a rebrand in 2019.

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Long-term vision: why sporting directors are now vital for elite football clubs | Karen Carney

Thu, 01/18/2024 - 12:03

The days of the all-powerful manager are over so Manchester United’s search for a sporting director is crucial for the club

When I was playing for England, Dan Ashworth was always there. He sat in the back of meetings, attended matches and came to training sessions in his role as director of elite development at the Football Association but he never openly interjected, keeping himself to himself. At the time I wondered what he was doing but gradually you could see the effect he had when everything around England improved.

Ashworth has gone on to have great success at Brighton and Newcastle in his understated way as a sporting director. The role was often misunderstood in the UK, more often used abroad, but it is a valuable part of a club’s structure. Ashworth is one of many who are showing the importance of employing someone with oversight of what is happening, giving a club a long-term vision that can bring success on the pitch.

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Football transfer rumours: Karim Benzema to join Arsenal or Chelsea?

Thu, 01/18/2024 - 09:18

This page is to the birds

With Joelinton’s prognosis on his muscle injury not looking at all good, Newcastle really need a midfielder. They’re in the hunt for Kalvin Phillips, who is this window’s most recurring name, give or take Ivan Toney. Phillips, with no real chance of playing for Manchester City, is wanted by a long list that includes Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. There’s Juventus, too, while a loan move to West Ham or Crystal Palace would keep him in Gareth Southgate’s sightlines. A £7m loan fee is the asking price.

There is an alternative for Newcastle, namely Ederson at Atalanta even if the Serie A club do not want to sell. How about Conor Gallagher, on the market as Chelsea address their own profit and sustainability concerns. Another means to achieve that is the sale of Armando Broja, valued around £50m, a prohibitive price for those interested, including West Ham, Fulham and Wolves. Broja, like Gallagher, having been youth team hewn, counts as pure profit on the FFP chitty for the Bridge money men. That high price arrived via a weighting on Manchester United paying £64m for Rasmus Højlund, their similarly goal-shy striker.

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Manchester United say Qatari bidder failed to provide financial guarantees

Wed, 01/17/2024 - 18:53
  • US SEC filings said Sheikh Jassim did not respond to requests
  • Jim Ratcliffe gave United Christmas Day deadline to accept offer

The Qatari bidder for Manchester United, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, dropped out of the race to buy the club after failing to prove he had sufficient finance for the deal, according to a document submitted to American authorities.

In filings made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to confirm Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of 27.69% of the club, Jassim (referred to as “Bidder A”) is described as having failed to respond to requests to show where his money was coming from. It was also revealed that ­­Ratcliffe issued a Christmas Day deadline for ­acceptance of his final offer, threatening to walk away if there was no progress.

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Premier League weekend awards: De Bruyne’s magic and Onana on corners

Tue, 01/16/2024 - 13:01

From Kevin de Bruyne’s instant impact to Chelsea’s PR stunt, we hand out honours (and dishonours) from the Premier League weekend

It would have been hard to script it any better. After missing five months with a hamstring injury, Kevin De Bruyne came off the bench against Newcastle to turn a 2-1 defeat into a 3-2 victory, providing a goal and an assist.

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Premier League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 01/15/2024 - 08:00

Right-backs steal the show at Old Trafford, questions for Howe and a turning point for Chelsea?

Full-backs don’t often grab the headlines, and sure enough they didn’t at Old Trafford as Rodrigo Bentancur, Rasmus Højlund and Marcus Rashford all scored classy goals. But the best player on either side, according to the WhoScored.com ratings, was the right-back. For Spurs, Pedro Porro earned 8.1 out of 10 for a fearless attacking display that included an assist when his pinpoint corner picked out the peroxide head of Richarlison. Ange Postecoglou says he wants his players to stop thinking of themselves as defenders or attackers, and Porro is both at once. For Manchester United, Diogo Dalot did even better with a rating of 8.2. If he was less buccaneering than Porro, he was the more polished defender, making crucial interceptions and heading off the line. One of the two, surely, should have been player of the match – but another right-back, Gary Neville, gave the award to Bentancur. Tim de Lisle

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'My players are giving me everything': Ange Postecoglou on draw with Man Utd – video

Mon, 01/15/2024 - 03:05

Tottenham Hotspur boss Ange Postecoglou said his players 'are giving me everything' after his side’s 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Spurs were without both long-term injured players and players such as Son Heung-min, who is playing for South Korea at the Asian Cup. Rasmus Hojlund opened the scoring early on for the home side, before Richarlison equalised with a header from a corner in the 19th minute. The result leaves Spurs in fifth place in the table, with 40 points from 21 games so far this campaign. After the match Postecoglou said 'the only reason we're in the position we are is because we've had players who are prepared to put aside whatever adversity we're going through and give everything they have'.

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Erik ten Hag tells United to ‘grow up’ after conceding soft goals against Spurs

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 21:14
  • ‘We should be more man when we have to defend corners’
  • Manager says team feel ‘insecure’ after forwards’ goal drought

Erik ten Hag criticised his Manches­ter United players for not being “more man” at corners as his team twice let the lead slip in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

Goals from Rasmus Højlund and Marcus Rashford put United ahead on three and 40 minutes but ­Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur pegged the hosts back.

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Timo Werner continues to pose questions rather than provide goals and answers | Jonathan Wilson

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 19:50

Spurs have signed German on loan and against Manchester United he produced finishing that Chelsea fans got used to

How long do you wait for promise? How many seasons can you give potential before accepting that it has curdled into unfulfillment? How many years of not quite hitting the heights before doubts begin to be expressed about just how much promise there really was in the first place? Timo Werner is 27 now. He’s an experienced player. He should be somewhere near his peak. And yet still the question remains: just how good is he?

This loan spell at Tottenham feels critical. Succeed over the next five months and there is still time for Werner to emerge as a Premier League player of serious repute. Fail and his chances of a career in England are probably done, his hopes of a return to the Germany squad diminishing.

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Tottenham fight back twice to earn point at Manchester United

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:39

Before a watching Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Manchester United were an athletic, vibrant proposition who came up against the precise same entity in Tottenham in this sense-tingling, rip-roarer of an encounter.

As United’s incoming 25% owner, Ratcliffe could also be warmed by the fight and unity of Erik ten Hag’s team, elements not always visible this season. Spurs showed similar, as they twice went behind and fought back to depart as they arrived: in fifth place, eight points ahead of United, who are down in seventh with a goal difference of minus five.

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Manchester United v Tottenham: Premier League – live

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 17:27
  • Updates from the 4.30pm GMT kick-off at Old Trafford
  • Get in touch: send Tim an email or a tweet

3 min The first foul is committed by Fernandes. Does he accept the ref’s decision calmly? Have a guess.

1 min And they’re off! With Spurs going back to Vicario and Bruno Fernandes pressing him hard. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is on the left for United, Diogo Dalot the right, rather than the other way round.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United buy-in is most exciting deal he has done

Sun, 01/14/2024 - 16:36
  • Billionaire at Old Trafford for first time since agreement struck
  • He expects Premier League to sign off on deal by mid-February

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says his involvement with Manchester United is the most exciting thing he has done and expects his partial takeover to be ratified by mid-February. The 71-year-old billionaire was at Old Trafford on Sunday to attend his first United match since agreeing to buy a 25% stake in the club.

Before kick-off against Tottenham, Ratcliffe spoke publicly for the first time since the Christmas Eve announcement of his deal. “It’s the first match for me since we sort of got there, if you like,” he said, introducing himself to members of the media in the press conference room.

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Ten Hag wants ‘hungry players’ to fire Manchester United up the table

Sat, 01/13/2024 - 22:30
  • ‘You need players with personalities,’ says manager
  • United trail leaders by 14 points before hosting Tottenham

Manchester United need players who will “fight for the badge”, according to Erik ten Hag, as they try to climb the table. Ten Hag’s side sit 14 points behind the leaders, Liverpool, after 20 matches and welcome fifth-placed Tottenham to Old Trafford on Sunday.

“If you want to perform you need hungry players,” Ten Hag said. “You need players with personalities and who are hungry to fight for the badge and fight for this club. And they need to do this in a team. It’s not about discipline. It’s about normal behaviour. That is what you can expect from a top professional.”

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Manchester United’s pay structure needs reboot after wasted millions

Sat, 01/13/2024 - 11:00

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his lieutenants must address the club’s tale of bloated wages that can be traced across the last decade

Marcus Rashford, Casemiro, Jadon Sancho and Raphaël Varane would be the poster boys in any Sir Jim Ratcliffe white paper examining how Manchester United’s flatlining squad could be moved to a more modest or even performance-related pay structure.

In the elite football world of hyper-inflated salaries performance-related pay is a pipe-dream but imagine if the United footballer’s lucrative base rate salary was slashed and generous incentives predicated on, for instance, goal ratio and minutes played, were built in.

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'We hope he brings joy': Terzic and Ten Hag on Sancho's loan to Dortmund – video

Fri, 01/12/2024 - 16:58

The Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has given a brief message to out-of-favour forward Jadon Sancho, following the England forward's move to Borussia Dortmund on loan. Sancho has been frozen out at Old Trafford after refusing to apologise to the Dutchman for effectively calling him a liar. Ten Hag said he hopes that Sancho is doing well and wished him well in Germany during his press conference on Friday. The Dortmund manager Edin Terzic was far more willing to discuss the player, who spent four seasons with the club, saying he wants to help Sancho 'feel joy' again.

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Antony’s poor Manchester United form down to ‘off-field issues’, claims Ten Hag

Fri, 01/12/2024 - 14:07
  • Winger has denied allegations of violence against women
  • Ten Hag wishes Sancho good luck and declines to elaborate

Erik ten Hag has claimed off-field issues are to blame for Antony’s underwhelming form. The Manchester United winger has been accused of more than one act of violence against women, all of which he denies.

Antony is yet to score or make an assist in 21 appearances this season, the Brazilian’s form causing the manager to drop him on more than one occasion.

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‘Like coming home’: Jadon Sancho completes loan move to Dortmund

Thu, 01/11/2024 - 13:10
  • Forward has not played for Manchester United since September
  • Borussia Dortmund to pay part of salary on €4m loan fee

Jadon Sancho has said he is looking forward to play with “a smile on his face” after joining Borussia Dortmund on loan from Manchester United for the remainder of the season. The 23-year-old has been banished from the United first team since publicly hitting out at the manager, Erik ten Hag, after not being included in the squad for the loss at Arsenal in September.

The Bundesliga club are set to pay a loan fee of €4m (£3.4m) and part of Sancho’s salary. The winger, who spent four seasons with Dortmund from 2017 before joining United, said: “When I walked into the changing room today, it felt like coming home. I know the club inside out, I’ve always been very close to the fans here and I’ve never lost contact with the people in charge.

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Dortmund seal €4m deal to take Jadon Sancho on loan from Manchester United

Wed, 01/10/2024 - 16:23
  • German club paying loan fee and covering part of winger’s wages
  • Sancho due for medical before joining Ian Maatsen in signing

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund have concluded a deal for Jadon Sancho to join the Bundesliga club on loan for the rest of the season. The package is worth €4m (£3.4m) to United in terms of a loan fee and partial coverage of the winger’s salary.

Sancho will take a medical before signing for Dortmund, who do not have an option to buy him. Sancho thrived at Dortmund from 2017-2021, prompting United to pay an initial £73m for him, but his time at Old Trafford has turned sour and he has not played for more than four months.

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Fearless Mainoo embraces pressure of playing for Manchester United

Mon, 01/08/2024 - 23:27

Teenage midfielder’s seamless transition despite team’s troubles offers hope with cool head in FA Cup win at Wigan

Erik ten Hag warned that playing for Manchester United is not for everyone – it is a poisoned chalice because of the added pressure. Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent have failed to cope over the past decade but their very own Kobbie Mainoo is embracing it.

It was Ten Hag’s first visit to a Football League club since arriving at United. There are more unwelcoming stadiums than the DW Stadium, although few could claim to be as cold. Often the issue that creates United’s inconsistency revolves around the mentality of the team, as they struggle to put a run of victories together. A trip to a mid-table third-tier team desperate to rattle a very fragile team was not the most enticing encounter for a side in constant transition. It was a night for cool heads, something the temperature aided.

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Manchester United progress after comfortable FA Cup win at Wigan

Mon, 01/08/2024 - 22:14

Shaun Maloney wanted to pose Manchester United the dual question of whether they could out-fight and out-play his Wigan Athletic team. Unfortunately for the Wigan manager and boyhood United fan, the answer was a convincing yes as Erik ten Hag’s troubled team avoided a late third round upset to overcome the League One side at the DW Stadium.

Diogo Dalot and a Bruno Fernandes penalty secured United a fourth round tie away at either League Two Newport County or Eastleigh of the National League. The visitors dominated against Wigan, who were hoping for another FA Cup upset in front of their biggest home attendance in a decade but only really threatened one in the opening minutes. The gulf told, although United’s wastefulness in front of goal spared Wigan greater punishment.

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