Do Manchester United actually need this PSG star?

Manchester United have already been busy in the transfer window and the amount of rumours surrounding players in and out is as high as always. According to reports, Blaise Matuidi is a player on their radar but do United actually need the Paris Saint Germain midfield maestro? Lewis Addley explores

Blaise Matuidi has impressed so far during the European Championship and had yet another consistent season for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain last term.

The 29-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move away from the French capital and Manchester United appear to be frontrunners the Frenchman.

Jose Mourinho is keen to get his business done early in the window and prepare his squad to challenge on all fronts from the first whistle and there are no doubts about the qualities Matuidi could bring to their midfield.

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In Ligue 1 last season Matuidi had a pass completion of 92%, he won 54 tackles, played 20 key passes, made 46 interceptions and 18 clearances.

Used in a predominately holding role, Matuidi also impressively created 26 chances for teammates, while he registered six assists and scored four goals. With all those stats in mind you could be forgiven for referring to him as the ‘complete’ midfielder.

But do Manchester United actually need Matuidi?

Problems and weaknesses across the pitch were well documented last season for United and they looked vulnerable when opposition teams were counter-attacking. A solid midfield is something football fans have become accustomed to from Mourinho and Matuidi’s stats scream out solidity.

To assess whether United actually need Matuidi we have to look at their current players who could and have played in the same holding role. Three players who are suited to playing in that position in the current United squad are Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind.

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At this stage of the window it appears only Carrick’s future is secure, with speculation about Herrera and Blind refusing to go away. If all three are in Mourinho’s plans he would have a healthy selection of players to choose from and the possibility of Matuidi as a fourth option would arguably lead to some selection headaches for the United boss.

So let’s have a look to see how the three players mentioned compare to Matuidi… 
(Statistics provided by Squawka).

Last season, Blind bettered Matuidi’s key passes with 24, while Herrera totalled 19 and Carrick managed ten. The PSG midfielder’s 92% pass completion was highest, although the lowest percentage was still impressive, coming from Blind and Herrera with 84%.

Matuidi scored and assisted more than any of the United midfielders, whose combined goals and assists came in at just seven compared to his ten.

Blind made the most successful tackles with 67, interceptions with 80 and clearances with 127, bettering all three of the other players in question.

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Finally Matuidi created the most chances, managing one more than Blind’s 25, while Herrera came in with 21 and Carrick only managing ten.

With these stats in mind it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest Blind is currently the strongest candidate in the United squad in comparison to Matuidi. It would appear United would benefit from signing the Frenchman and there is no doubting his experience and quality, but whether or not they are in desperate need for him is questionable.

Do United need to sign Matuidi or are their current options good enough? Should Mourinho prioritise strengthening his squad elsewhere?

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Ibrahimovic has heart set on MLS switch with Miami favoured destination – report

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and MLS. The link that just won’t go away. The charismatic Swedish striker is today being linked with a move to David Beckham’s projected Miami franchise by French newspaper L’Equipe.

The story fills the front page of the publication alongside the headline “Big bang in Miami” and a move stateside for Ibrahimovic would certainly create a splash.

A move to Miami would see the 34-year-old Paris Saint Germain star join up with David Beckham for the third time in his career, having played together at AC Milan and PSG before the Englishman retired in 2013.

However, Miami are yet to be officially confirmed as an MLS Expansion Franchise and won’t join the league until 2018 at the earliest, depending on how the ongoing stadium struggles pan out.

Ibrahimovic’s PSG contract expires at the end of the current season so he will be a free agent as of July. He would be free to move to MLS then, but would have to wait at least 18 months to play for a Miami team.

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New York City FC and LA Galaxy are also reported to be looking at signing ‘Ibra’ as a move to the United States looks to be his priority, despite his agent Mino Raiola claiming “he could move anywhere”.

The player himself has praised the growth of MLS and said he would love to experience soccer in the U.S. in an interview with Yahoo Sports this summer.

“I see that soccer is growing a lot in US. I mean, I was here 10 years ago and soccer was not on the level that it is today, but it’s growing.

“I would like to play. Which team? Am I allowed to say that? No, I cannot say that.”

Which MLS club would best suit Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Feature: Chelsea dominating transfer headlines but are they panic buying?

Chelsea‘s below-par start to the new Premier League season has resulted in transfer news and rumours flying around about a number of players.

The Blues have today signed FC Barcelona’s Pedro Rodriguez after Jose Mourinho swooped in and stole an almost done-deal from rivals Manchester United.

The 28-year-old winger made it clear he wanted to leave the Catalan giants this summer after a lack of playing time and although terms had initially been agreed between United and Barca, it is Chelsea who have landed the experienced Spanish winger.

With Eden Hazard, Willian and Juan Cuadrado all having featured already this campaign, you have to ask whether there is room for Pedro and whether one of these three will be on their way out of the club in the next two weeks.

Foot Mercato have reported that Willian has been offered to either Paris Saint Germain or Bayern Munich, which would be a surprise given he appears to be one of the first names on the team-sheet for Mourinho.

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The John Stones saga also continues. Chelsea have reportedly had a third bid of £30 million rejected for the 21-year-old Everton defender, with a fee of nearer £40 million rumoured to be required.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will make a final offer to tempt the Englishman away from the Toffees but Mourinho wants the player and he will do what he can to get his own way with a short time left to go in the transfer window.

With John Terry’s position in the side uncertain ahead of the weekend clash with West Brom this will be a story with more to come. Whether or not Chelsea need the youngster is another question, with Terry, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic all options for Mourinho at centre-back.

Ivanovic could find himself out of the squad for this weekend’s upcoming game, with new signing Baba Rahman tipped to start at left-back, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta back to his more natural right-back slot.

The odds have been slashed for Paul Pogba to join Chelsea before the window closes. This could be a clever manoeuvre from the bookies, given Chelsea’s late movements in the window leading people to believe they are willing to pay big money for players that will help them defend their Premier League title.

Juventus are reportedly holding out for at least £70 million for their highly sought after talent and having already lost many star players this summer, a move away for Pogba looks unlikely.

With a whole host of attacking midfield options at Chelsea already, Pogba would no doubt have to dislodge another player from a starting position. With Oscar occupying the number ten role he could more than likely be the player axed if Pogba was to join, with Juve linked with the Brazilian throughout the window.

Talk of Cuadrado going to Juventus is also ongoing but the rumours are that he would be going on loan to the Old Lady and would not be included as part of a potential Pogba deal.

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It is going to be a very interesting and busy end to the transfer window for Chelsea if we are to believe the rumours and Mourinho’s side could be the ones to watch very closely as they look to make up for their worst start to a season since 1998 with some late transfer excitement.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United £45m DONE DEAL, Liverpool star exit looming?

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, July 10)

MLS Rumours

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is still hoping for a move to Major League Soccer after turning down the chance to stay in Europe with FC Porto. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United‘s Angel Di Maria has reportedly agreed a deal in principle to leave the club for Paris Saint Germain in a £45 million deal. (REPORT)

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Manchester City are set to make a third bid for Liverpool‘s Raheem Sterling. City have already had two offers for the Englishman declined. (REPORT)

Arsenal‘s David Ospina is considering a move to Everton. The Colombian is uncertain of his future at the club since the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Crystal Palace have announced the signing of former Newcastle United star Yohan Cabaye. The Paris Saint Germain man will join for a club record fee of £10 million. (REPORT)

Manchester United great reveals good news ahead of preseason tour

Manchester United great, Denis Irwin, believes Louis Van Gaal‘s organisation of the club’s preseason tour in the US will benefit the side.

Van Gaal was unable to have much of a say on his side’s America tour last summer due to his involvement with Holland in the World Cup.

But the United manager has made certain there will not be a repeat of the travelling ahead of the new season and Irwin told manutd.com the squad will be under less strain as a result.

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“Last year he came in late because of how well the Dutch team did at the World Cup, so it wasn’t his tour in terms of preparation.

“This time he’s been able to organise it himself, organise the distances we travel, where we stay, where we train and also organise having the matches four days apart.”

United face Club America on July 17, followed by Major League Soccer outfit, San Jose Earthquakes on July 21 before two showdown clashes against Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain on July 25 and 29.

Irwin feels Van Gaal’s preparation is spot on and that the players will ready to come up against some tough opposition.

“His preparation is unique because of the amount of detail there is to it. He’ll be looking forward to it and the way the games are with Barcelona and PSG as the final two means it’ll get tougher as the tour goes on, but the players’ fitness will also improve so the set-up will be exactly how the manager wants it.”

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United faced five opponents in their last preseason, with games spaced closer together. A hectic 11 day period saw them play five games against LA Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool between July 24 and August 5, whereas this summer they play four sides across 12 days.

Will a less hectic preseason help Manchester United ahead of their 2015/16 campaign?

Spurs make contact with PSG over World Cup finalist

Tottenham Hotspur have made contact with Paris Saint Germain over a potential move for World Cup finalist Ezequiel Lavezzi according to talkSPORT.

Lavezzi could make way for the potential signing of Angel Di Maria from Manchester United, who has been on PSG’s radar for the last couple of years.

Spurs head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, is expected to add to his forward line and Lavezzi is an ideal serviceman for any striker.

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The Argentine winger has netted nine times this season in 45 appearances and his experience could play a pivotal role to help Spurs break back into the Champions League for the first time since 2011.

Lavezzi could come in as a cheap option as he has just one year remaining on his current contract. Transfermarkt.co.uk value the winger at £14 million.

The 30 year old hasn’t quite hit the high levels which earned him a move from Napoli to PSG in 2012 and it seems now would be a good time for him to move on.

Will Spurs sign Lavezzi and do they need him?

Chelsea suffer blow as star is open to joining Arsenal or United

Chelsea have suffered a huge blow as Petr Cech‘s agent has revealed his client is open to a move to Arsenal or Manchester United.

Both Arsenal and United are expected to dip into the transfer market for new goalkeepers. Arsene Wenger could seek an upgrade for David Ospina and David de Gea’s Real Madrid saga is still ongoing.

Cech would be a great addition for either club, having won almost every trophy available during his eleven year chelsea career.

Jose Mourinho is hoping to keep hold of his back-up ‘keeper but it appears the decision will be down to owner Roman Abramovich.

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Cech still has one season to run on his current contract and if he stays with Chelsea he will more than likely move on for free. If the Premier League champions cash in on the 32-year-old shot stopper it is estimated his services would fetch around £10 million.

Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Besiktas are all reportedly interested in the Czech Republic number one and Mourinho will hope his star will opt for a move away from one of the clubs rivals.

Will Cech leave Chelsea? Will he be allowed to move to one of their rivals?

United and Arsenal suffer BLOW as £44m-rated target set to join Juve – report

Manchester United and Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Paris Saint Germain striker Edinson Cavani this summer as Juventus are closing in on the signing, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

The 28-year-old Uruguayan forward has been linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United and Arsenal both believed to be keen, but a move back to Serie A now looks the most likely option.

Cavani joined PSG from Napoli for around £50 million in July 2013 and has gone on to score 53 goals in 93 appearances for the Ligue 1 side.

Playing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hampered his chances as he has had to fill in out wide at times and the French giants are now set to cash in on Cavani so they can go on another spending spree.

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Cavani has scored 16 league goals in 33 games this season and Juventus want to bring him back to Italy. The Old Lady will send representatives to meet with the player’s agents on Wednesday and have put an €8 million contract on the table.

The only difficulty for Juve could be negotiating a deal with PSG as the French club will not want to sell for any less than they value the striker, even if Cavani wants to join Juventus.

But for now, it looks like Cavani is a name that won’t be coming to England in the next few months and so United and Arsenal will have to look elsewhere.

Would Edinson Cavani be a perfect signing for Manchester United or Arsenal? Should he move to Juventus this summer?

Juventus line up Chelsea man to replace £70m City target

Juventus are eyeing Chelsea‘s Ramires as a potential replacement for Manchester City target, Paul Pogba, according to Gazetta dello Sport.

Ramires has made 23 appearances in an injury-stricken season and when fit has struggled to break into the first team as a result of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic’s consistency in the holding midfield role.

Pogba is heavily tipped to move on this summer and City have been eyeing the highly sought after midfield powerhouse, though Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid are all chasing the 22 year old.

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Ramires is valued at £22 million by transfermarkt.co.uk and could be one of Mourinho’s players to sell to generate funds to freshen up his squad.

City will need Juventus to have a replacement lined up for Pogba if they are to stand any chance of securing his services.

Ramires is out for Chelsea’s remaining two games through injury and could have played his last game for the club if the rumours are true.

Will Ramires play a key role in Manchester City’s chances of signing Paul Pogba this sumer? 

United CLOSE on £44m-rated South American goal-machine

Manchester United are closing in on Paris Saint Germain’s Edinson Cavani, who is expected to leave the French champions this summer, according to The Express.

Cavani has been forced to play as a wide-man for PSG, second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and is looking to get back to his preferred role as an out-and-out striker even if that means he has to move clubs.

The Uruguayan goal-machine was reportedly close to a summer move to Juventus, but it seems the Italian giants are unwilling to meet his hefty wage demands.

It is understood that Cavani will demand a £5.75 million-a-year salary and Louis Van Gaal’s side are more than capable of giving the striker what he wants.

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United flop, Radamel Falcao, is expected to move on this summer and his departure will free up a huge £265,000-a-week in wages for new faces at the club, and Cavani could be a straight swap.

United have been linked with a number of top goalscorers already ahead of this summer transfer window but Cavani could be the most likely to make the move to Old Trafford.

The 28-year-old is rated at £44 million by transfermarkt.co.uk and it is no surprise given his goal output. He has netted a staggering 193 club career goals in 347 appearances. His experience of playing at the top level, including in the Champions League, makes him an ideal candidate for United ahead of their summer rebuild.

Is Edinson Cavani the goalscorer Manchester United need?