Should Mourinho be looking to replace Martial with this £40m Premier League champion?

Jose Mourinho will no doubt ring the changes at Manchester United this summer. His first season in charge has been steadily improving but he needs to bring more quality to the squad in order to compete for the title in 2017/18.

One man who has struggled more than most under the Portuguese manager is Anthony Martial. He’s struggled to make much of an impact throughout the current campaign and while he is still young, he has offered little to show Mourinho that he is the best winger for United next season. Fans and pundits alike know Mourinho is ruthless and if he sees the potential to cash in on an underperforming player, he’ll do it.

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Jesse Lingard has been included in the matchday squad more times than the Frenchman – 38 times to 36 – and considering the money spent to bring him to the club, that is a worrying statistic for Martial.

A potential replacement for the former Monaco man could be Chelsea’s Willian. The Brazilian has seen his game time limited this season at Stamford Bridge and has found himself second choice to the in-form Pedro. Mourinho is a huge fan of Willian and would no doubt love to sign him for United.

The 28 year old won the Premier League with Mourinho at Chelsea and would be an ideal fit for United. He is a set-piece specialist and would offer the Red Devils more than their current options for free-kick and corner duties.

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Willian’s is currently valued at just below £30 million by transfermarkt and United would have to pay a little over the odds for him from a rival club. An offer of £40m should be enough to secure his services if Mourinho can persuade him to leave and Chelsea to sell in the coming months.

Would Willian be an ideal fit for United? Is he a better option than Martial?

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Would this £50m striker answer Manchester United’s goalscoring problems?

Manchester United‘s goalscoring problems have been well documented by pundits and fans alike throughout this season. The summer transfer window is fast approaching and there have already been plenty of players linked to United.

According to Tuttosport.com, Alvaro Morata is a striker Manchester United are looking into. Any sale of the 23-year-old Spaniard would not come through Juventus directly. Tuttosport highlight United would be prepared to offer a figure around £50 million for the forward.

Morata has a buy-back clause of £24 million from his former club Real Madrid, who could well be tempted into resigning their former man to sell on to potential suitors for profit.

If United are interested in signing Morata as the reports state, Madrid would potentially stand to make a whopping £26 million if they were to exercise their right to buy him back from Juventus.

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But is he the right man to lead Manchester United’s frontline? Lets have a look at his statistics.

Morata vs United forward

Morata 2015/16 league stats compared to Martial, Rooney and Rashford

As we can see, Morata made the most appearances in his domestic league compared to the three United strikers in question above. However, the only area he outperformed any of them was in assists.

Anthony Martial scored the most of the strikers compared with 11 goals coming in three less appearances than the Juve man. Marcus Rashford had the highest shot accuracy, though this is unsurprising given his substantially lower amount of games played. Wayne Rooney had the highest pass accuracy and created more chances than the other three strikers listed.

Manchester United’s Martial had the highest direct involvement with goals for his side, combining with his assists to tally at 15. Morata and Rooney came in joint second, with 14 each and Rashford had the lowest output with seven.

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It is worth mentioning that these comparisons are only an indication of the output all four of the strikers in question, though it is difficult to make an exact comparison given the differing number of appearances.

With the stats presented in mind it would be hard to make a case for United to spend anywhere near £50 million on the Juventus forward and there would more than likely be a number of other candidates whose comparable statistics would provide a better option for the club this summer.

Morata’s strike rate is one goal in every 4.85 games, which in comparison to Rooney – who has had his fair share of critics this season despite an injury-stricken campaign – is worse, as the United captain has averaged a goal in every 3.5 games.

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Martial and Rashford have had far less criticism than Rooney and their statistics better both Rooney and Morata’s. Martial is averaging a goal every 2.8 games, while Rashford’s output is one in every 2.2 outings.

It is clear from the United strikers in question that the squad needs an out-and-out goalscorer in this window. This would take some of the pressure off of the young shoulders of Martial and Rashford but would also give them another quality teammate to learn from.

Given these statistics Morata doesn’t look the right option for United, but as we all know, stats don’t tell the full story in football.

Would Manchester United be wrong to make a move for Morata? Who should they be going after in the summer transfer window?

FA Cup Final Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United

Competition: FA Cup Final –  Crystal Palace FC vs. Manchester United FC

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, May 21 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 17/4 – Draw 12/5 – Man Utd 3/4

Match Preview

Crystal Palace take on Manchester United in the 2016 FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday in what is a huge game for both clubs after fairly disappointing league campaigns.

Palace finished the Premier League season in 15th place and lost three of their last four games, including a 4-1 loss to Southampton on the final day last weekend.

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However, Alan Pardew’s side have been excellent in the FA Cup. They beat Watford in the semifinal and also saw off the likes of Southampton, Stoke, Tottenham and Reading to reach the final.

A win on Saturday would see Palace win the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Their only previous final appearance came in 1990 and was incidentally also against Manchester United.

United won that final 1-0 in a replay after the side’s drew 3-3 in the original clash. Another tight affair is expected this weekend, though the Red Devils remain favourites.

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Louis Van Gaal may well be preparing for his final game as Manchester United manager, with speculation about his future not going anywhere.

The team will be solely focused on this game for now, though. They beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their final Premier League game on Tuesday night, which was rescheduled following last Sunday’s abandonment.

The lack of preparation time might affect the squad but they will still be expected to win in 90 minutes on Saturday evening.

They beat Sheffield United, Derby, Shrewsbury, West Ham and Everton to reach this stage and will now want to lift the FA Cup for the first time since 2004.

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Team News

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has eight injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game. Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane all look certain to miss out, while Adnan Januzaj, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin are listed as doubts. Wayne Rooney will likely occupy a midfield position once again, with Marcus Rashford set to start in attack.

Crystal Palace have seven injury worries of their own. Kwesi Appiah, Marouane Chamakh, Brede Hangeland and Joe Ledley are all sidelined, while Connor Wickham, Yohan Cabaye and Wilfried Zaha are all 50/50 ahead of the final.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/W/L

Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: W/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: United are unbeaten in six games against Palace, conceding just once in that time.

Key Player: Anthony Martial – The United striker has scored four goals and bagged two assists in his last four outings and is in the form of his season. He fired United into the final with his late goal against Everton and will look to shine at Wembley once again here.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United – A low-scoring affair is expected between two sides that don’t tend to score too many. Palace have been in poor form and despite their strong run in the FA Cup, they are underdogs here and look likely to come up short. United have improved towards the end of the season but will need a trophy to feel satisfied, having missed out on the top four. United to win.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Swansea City

Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, January 2 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man United 4/7 – Draw 29/10 – Swansea 5/1

Match Preview

Manchester United face Swansea in a key Premier League battle between two sides desperate to start the new year off in better fashion than they ended 2015.

United manager Louis Van Gaal remains under intense pressure, with his job seemingly further on the line with every game that passes.

The Red Devils have not won in six Premier League outings in a row and despite looking more positive in Monday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, they remain five points off the top four and need to improve dramatically from now.

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Failure to beat Swansea here could well cost Van Gaal his job, with back-to-back away trips to Newcastle and Liverpool coming up in the league after Saturday’s game.

The Swans travel to Old Trafford in poor form themselves and are just two points above the relegation zone in 17th.

Interim manager Alan Curtis has seen their fortunes improve slightly over Christmas and they are now unbeaten in three consecutive league outings, without conceding a goal in those matches.

What had the promise of being an excellent campaign for the Welsh club has now become a relegation-threatened one and they must try and steer themselves clear of trouble quickly.

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A trip to Old Trafford is never easy but the Swans beat United 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and have now won their last three games with the Red Devils by the same scoreline, including the game at the end of August at the Liberty Stadium.

Team News

Manchester United will be without Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia once again here. Louis Van Gaal may name an unchanged side to the one that drew with Chelsea after an improved showing, despite not getting the win.

Swansea caretaker manager Alan Curtis remains in charge here and could even last the remainder of the season in that position. He made seven changes for Swansea’s draw at Palace and more can be expected here. Franck Tabanou remains out, while Federico Fernandez and Wayne Routledge are doubts.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: D/L/L/L/D

Swansea’s last five: L/L/D/W/D

Key Stat: Swansea have beaten Manchester United 2-1 in each of their last three league meetings.

Key Player: Anthony Martial – Martial scored Manchester United’s last goal, which came two weeks ago in the 2-1 home defeat to Norwich. He is always a threat and will look to lift spirits around Old Trafford with a fine showing here.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 1-1 Swansea – This is likely to be a really tense and nervy affair between two sides desperate for an upturn in results as we start the new year. Both have struggled to find the net of late and so a low-scoring game is likely to end in a draw.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Chelsea beat United to ‘new Pogba’, City to loan NYCFC star

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, June 8)

MLS Rumours

NYCFC target Andrea Pirlo is also being tracked by A-League side Sydney FC as the Australian club are hoping an $8 million deal for two season will be enough to convince the Italian to move Down Under. (REPORT)

Manchester City could use their relationship with MLS Expansion Franchise New York City FC to loan Spanish striker David Villa in the winter once the US soccer season is over. (REPORT)

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Uruguayan attacker Diego Forlan has decided not to renew his contract with Japanese side Cerezo Osaka and could move to MLS as a final challenge after being linked numerous times in the past. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Chelsea look to have beaten Manchester United to the signing of 16-year-old midfielder Joseph Colley, who has been likened to French sensation Paul Pogba. (REPORT)

Tottenham will look to offload Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor this summer to fund an £18 million move for AS Monaco striker Anthony Martial. (REPORT)

Arsenal will look to make a surprise £11 million move for Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer. (REPORT)

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Done Deals

Danny Ings will join Liverpool when his contract with Burnley expires at the end of the month, subject to a medical. (REPORT)