What the papers say

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Updated: 14 hours 18 min ago

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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Wigan Athletic v Manchester United: FA Cup third round – live … plus fourth-round draw

Mon, 01/08/2024 - 21:57
  • DW Stadium hosts third round tie; 8.15pm kick-off (UK time)
  • Get in touch! Send Scott an email about the game

West Bromwich Albion v Brentford or Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Bournemouth v Swansea City

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Ten Hag warns United targets they must be able to cope with unique pressure

Sun, 01/07/2024 - 22:30
  • A series of high-profile signings have failed to make an impact
  • ‘If you have confidence in yourself, this is the best challenge’

Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United are the best club in the world to play for – but only if you have the confidence to cope with the pressure. Recent high-profile signings have been unable to live up to expectations but the manager does not feel that will deter potential targets.

Ten Hag was asked whether Donny van de Beek’s struggles would put off players as he prepared for Monday’s game at Wigan in the FA Cup, which provides United’s only realistic hope of a trophy this season after exiting the Carabao Cup and Champions League.

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Manchester United’s Hannibal Mejbri set for loan to either Sevilla or Everton

Sun, 01/07/2024 - 13:39
  • Midfielder has struggled for first-team minutes at Old Trafford
  • United close to agreement with Dortmund over Sancho loan

The Manchester United midfielder Hannibal Mejbri is expected to join either Sevilla or Everton on loan this month.

The Tunisian has been a regular in match-day squads this season but has struggled for minutes on the pitch and is eager to get further experience of first-team football.

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Wigan’s Shaun Maloney plans to ask Manchester United serious questions

Sun, 01/07/2024 - 08:00

Boyhood United fan has scored an upset over the club once before and is plotting to do so again in a fascinating FA Cup tie

To gauge Shaun Maloney’s popularity at Wigan, look no further than the patrons of the Phoenix Lounge at the DW Stadium on Friday who spotted the manager conducting a TV interview at pitchside, stepped outside and sang his name throughout. They were attending a wake at the time.

A release from the sorrow: the mourners in the Phoenix and Wigan can identify with that. A club that almost went out of business last summer and started the League One season on minus eight points have hope again. Saved from a winding-up order when taken over in June by the local billionaire Mike Danson, the Wigan Warriors’ owner, Wigan are now above the relegation zone and rebuilding with a promising young team under Maloney.

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Jürgen Klopp is right: man-management skills are being lost in a rush of data | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 01/06/2024 - 20:00

In the seasonal flurry, the process is over-prioritised and as the Liverpool manager points out, players’ emotions count more

In March 2019, Manchester United went to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League trailing 2-0 from the first leg. By half-time, they led 2-1. Needing another goal to go through on away goals, their manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, pulled a counterintuitive masterstroke: he sat back. For half an hour, almost nothing happened. PSG pushed tentatively, first baffled and then anxious. And then Solskjær unleashed his assault on panicking opponents, United won a penalty – a silly, modern, European handball, but a penalty nonetheless – and went through.

That was Solskjær at his zenith, the result that prompted Gary Neville to ask where he wanted his statue. Solskjær’s record at that point read P17 W14 D2 L1; he was still soaring on the euphoria of not being José Mourinho. His struggles to implement attacking structures had not yet been exposed. But where he had proved himself adept was in reading and manipulating the emotional flow of a game.

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Who killed Sancho’s United career? The club? Ten Hag? Or maybe just football | Barney Ronay

Sat, 01/06/2024 - 08:00

Most failures have a pattern but, as the winger nears a return to Dortmund, this feels like a fault in the way things should work

Never go back. Don’t do it. Never, ever, ever go back. On the other hand, well, you could just go back. Particularly when the business of going away is panning out quite as badly as this. Here’s a good new way to mark the chill passing of time as the lights come on at four and the rain drills against your window.

It is now two and half years since Jadon Sancho moved to Manchester United. United have had three managers in that time. Sancho has earned £40m. And yet he still barely seems to have pulled on the shirt, or got past his moody online announcement clip. This timeline has simply stalled. Wait. Can we restart this thing?

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Ratcliffe plans to stand by Ten Hag as he starts Manchester United deep dive

Fri, 01/05/2024 - 13:11
  • Thorough examination of how to revive club is planned
  • Decision on manager will follow that unless results are dire

Erik ten Hag is secure at Manchester United for the foreseeable future unless he oversees a run of particularly dire results, because the immediate priority for Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford is to get to the bottom of what is required to turn the club around.

Ratcliffe and Brailsford are first intent on analysing the makeup of the playing squad, executive and staff, the club’s structure and how revenue is invested in the team to understand the best way to achieve their ambition of making United domestic and continental challengers again.

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The Glazers’ non-exiting exit of Manchester United is the way of the future | Aaron Timms

Fri, 01/05/2024 - 08:00

The Glazers blazed a trail for US money in European soccer. Now they’re innovating again with a non-sale ‘sale’ that gives them all the spoils of ownership with none of the accountability

So, a new era for Manchester United? Not quite: amid all the hullabaloo about a “restructuring” at the club following Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25% stake – all that talk of job cuts and belt tightening, squad turnover, comings and goings in the executive suite, meetings between Ratcliffe and Erik Ten Hag, a fresh energy both on and off the pitch – it’s been easy to forget that commercial control of the club remains firmly in the hands of the Glazer family. Manchester United’s corporate structure splits ownership into Class A and Class B shares. Real control of the club lies with the owners of the Class B shares, which are worth 10 times the voting rights of Class A shares. Ratcliffe has spent around $1.6bn for a quarter of the club’s Class A and B shares. But critically, Class B shares convert to Class A once they are sold. Once the deal is approved, the entirety of the Class B holding, along with voting power and control of the board, will remain with the Glazer family. If this is the start of the Glazers’ exit from their investment in Manchester United, it is a curiously sedentary departure.

There’s a kind of brilliance to this move, a form of dirty financial sorcery akin to the creation of the credit default swap. The Glazers’ 18-year ownership of Manchester United has been a calamity for Manchester United, which has degenerated over the past decade from the powerhouse of English football into a mid-table club hanging its hopes of Europa League qualification on a late-career revival from Jonny Evans. But it’s been extremely good business for the Glazers, who’ve repeatedly exploited their ownership to enrich themselves while running operations at a consistent loss and lumping the club with crippling levels of debt. Dividend payments since the Glazers’ 2005 takeover have totaled £166 million; the bulk of them have gone to the Glazers themselves. Nothing about Ratcliffe’s investment in the club will disrupt this cash flow or the corporate structure underpinning it: as the club’s 2023 annual report notes, “our board of directors has complete discretion regarding the declaration and payment of dividends, and the holders of our Class B ordinary shares [ie the Glazers] will be able to influence our dividend policy.”

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FA Cup third round: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 01/05/2024 - 00:00

Maidstone chase history against Stevenage, Jack Clarke set for Tyne-Wear duel and Armando Broja spots chance

Ange Postecoglou did not want to say who would captain Tottenham in Friday night’s tie against Burnley. The usual choice, Son Heung-min, is away on Asian Cup duty while the vice-captains, Cristian Romero and James Maddison, are injured. Yet to Postecoglou, it will not be “really that significant” because the pecking order is established and the stopgap will be exactly that. It was striking to hear how gutted the manager was over Son’s absence – within the context of wishing him well with South Korea. Postecoglou lavished praise on a “generational” talent and “outstanding leader,” adding: “If you name a team of the year at the moment, he’s in it.” Son, he said, would be a “significant absence … a big loss.” Ben Davies is the most senior candidate to step in but, as Postecoglou stressed, every player must step up. David Hytner

Tottenham v Burnley, Friday 8pm (all times GMT)

Maidstone v Stevenage, Saturday 12.30pm

Sunderland v Newcastle, Saturday 12.45pm

Watford v Chesterfield, Saturday 3pm

Gillingham v Sheffield United, Saturday 3pm

Chelsea v Preston, Saturday 5.30pm

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Erik ten Hag tells of ‘very positive’ Jim Ratcliffe meeting at Manchester United

Thu, 01/04/2024 - 17:12
  • Minority owner to make changes in recruitment
  • Ten Hag: ‘On many issues we were on the same page’

Erik ten Hag says his talks with the new Manchester United minority shareholder, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and his Ineos team were “very positive”. The manager met the billionaire on Wednesday after Ratcliffe took over football operations.

It is anticipated Ratcliffe will make a number of changes, recruitment being a key focus as a potential restructure looms, although Ten Hag would not be drawn on specifics as he prepares for Monday’s FA Cup third-round clash at Wigan.

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Who’s missing? The Premier League players off to Afcon and Asian Cup

Thu, 01/04/2024 - 13:00

Africa Cup of Nations runs from 13 January to 11 February and Asian Cup starts and ends a day earlier but who are worst hit?

With the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia also expected to take place in January, Takehiro Tomiyasu (Japan) has called for “the Asian Cup to be played in June, the same as the Euros”. The defender has quietly impressed this season and will miss at least five games if the favourites Japan reach the Asian Cup final. Mohamed Elneny (Egypt) is departing for Afcon but the injured Thomas Partey has not been selected by Ghana.

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Cameroon allow André Onana to play in Manchester United’s game against Spurs

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 19:15
  • Goalkeeper’s release for Africa Cup of Nations delayed
  • Casemiro and Martínez return to training after injuries

Manchester United’s goalkeeper André Onana will be available for the Premier League game against Tottenham on 14 January, 24 hours before Cameroon start their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Guinea.

United and Onana have reached an agreement with the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) to delay his release for the tournament. The compromise will allow the 27-year-old to be involved in the FA Cup third round tie at Wigan on Monday and Spurs’ visit to Old Trafford before flying immediately after that game to the Ivory Coast.

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Manchester United in talks over Jadon Sancho loan to Borussia Dortmund

Tue, 01/02/2024 - 20:48
  • Loan fee and salary coverage under discussion for winger
  • Sancho keen on Dortmund return after falling out with Ten Hag

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are in negotiations over a deal for Jadon Sancho to return to the Bundesliga club on loan. The winger is keen on the move after more than four months without a game.

Talks centre on a loan fee and salary coverage, with only a temporary transfer feasible for Dortmund, who sold Sancho to United for an initial £73m in July 2021. Sancho has not played since he effectively called Erik ten Hag a liar in early September. United’s manager has demanded an apology from the 23-year-old and ostracised him from the first-team squad.

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Premier League weekly awards: Liverpool’s talisman delivers again

Tue, 01/02/2024 - 18:06

From Erik ten Hag’s questionable substitution to Michael Olise’s excellent finish, we hand out honors (and dishonors) from the Premier League weekend

The holiday period was critical for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal. With Manchester City off at the Club World Cup, they had a chance to put some distance between themselves and Pep Guardiola’s side before the turn of the year. It was their biggest title test of the season so far – and they failed.

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Sergio Reguilón returns to Tottenham after Manchester United loan

Tue, 01/02/2024 - 16:17
  • United cut deal short with left-backs regaining fitness
  • Spurs could strengthen defence in transfer window

Sergio Reguilón will return to Tottenham after Manchester United exercised a break clause in his loan deal. The 27-year-old Spanish left-back made 12 appearances for United after joining in September after injuries to Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

United have chosen to cut short the deal with Shaw having returned to action, although he is out with a slight injury, and Malacia nearing a comeback.

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