Are Manchester United failing in this summer’s transfer window?

It is no secret that Manchester United have missed out on a number of their transfer targets this summer, but are they failing by not adding players they so desperately need in this window?

United have added some world class players to their squad, there is no doubting that, but they have also missed out on some high caliber names, which could arguably be the difference in mounting a strong title challenge and waiting another season.


Players signed (as of August 24, 2015):

– Sergio Romero – Free
– Matteo Darmian – £12.7m
– Morgan Schneiderlin £25m
– Bastian Schweinsteiger £14.4m
– Memphis Depay £31m


Embed from Getty Images

Louis Van Gaal’s side have started the new Premier League season with two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw, but the Dutch manager is still rumoured to be looking to strengthen his squad before next Monday’s deadline.

Strengthening the defence as well as the attack appear to be absolute necessities if United are to challenge for the title this year, but with just a week to go in the summer transfer window, the club have missed out on almost as many key targets as those who have signed.

United were heavily linked with moves for FC Barcelona’s Pedro, who has ended up signing for Chelsea, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, who has signed a new five-year contract with Los Blancos and Nicolas Otamendi, who has signed for fierce rivals Manchester City.

Despite talk of needing a world class centre-back, Van Gaal’s side haven’t conceded a league goal in their opening three games. But there are many who believe the Red Devils need a new striker as Wayne Rooney has now gone 858 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal and is struggling in the lone striking role this term.

Van Gaal has insisted he does not need a striker and is happy with his options, as reported by ESPN.

“I have a lot of options. I have chosen Chicharito [Hernandez], because he is another type from Rooney, and we have also Fellaini, who is another type, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker.”

Embed from Getty Images

Speculation will continue to mount regarding whether or not United need another attacking option the longer their goal scoring troubles go on in league play. With seven days remaining in the transfer window there is still plenty of time for potential deals to go ahead, but United may be ruing missed chances at this stage as panic buys could be on the way.

Advertisements

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea 

Venue: The Hawthorns – Sunday, August 23 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: West Bromwich Albion 9/2 – Draw 11/4 – Chelsea 8/13

Match Preview

West Bromwich Albion have another tricky fixture as they host Chelsea this weekend. Both sides are still looking for their first win of the season.

West Brom picked up their first point of the season last weekend in their 0-0 draw against promoted Watford. Tony Pulis’ side are yet to score in either of their games this season, but new signing Salomon Rondon has been bought in to lead the line.

The Baggies last win came over the Premier League champions at the back end of last season. Pulis’ side had a good preseason but have struggled to relay that form so far this campaign.

It is difficult to tell whether or not this is a good time for West Brom to play the defending champions, as although they are out of form they will see this a good chance to pick up their first win of the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Chelsea have had a very poor start to the season and even this early on, trailing Manchester City by five points is a concern for Mourinho.

Last weekends demolition at the hands of City seems to have sparked the Blues back into life in the transfer market. Having signed Pedro they are now being linked with Juventus’ Paul Pogba. The future of John Stones remains unclear but it is obvious he is a player Chelsea are hoping to sign.

This is Chelsea’s worst start to a Premier League season since 1998/99 and they cannot afford to drop more points in this one. The pressure is certainly on Jose Mourinho and his players will be all too aware of the wrath they could potentially face from the boss and fans alike if they do not win here.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

West Brom are still missing Ben Foster. Salomon Rondon will be hoping to start and show what he can do against a struggling Chelsea defence. Joleon Lescott will be hopeful of regaining his first team place after being left out of the 0-0 draw with Watford.

Jose Mourinho could bring Thibaut Courtois back into the starting line-up after he served his one game suspension. Asmir Begovic will certainly feel hard done by if this is the case as he without question was Chelsea’s best player on the pitch last weekend and stopped the scoreline from being anymore humiliating. Victor Moses and Oscar look set to be sidelined, while new signing Baba Rahman is tipped to start at left-back, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta into his more natural position of right-back. Branislav Ivanovic could find himself on the bench after he has struggled to find form this season. The decision to look out for is whether or not Mourinho starts John Terry after his substitution last weekend. Pedro may well feature but it remains to be seen whether or not he will start. Lots of talking points for the potential Chelsea line-up and there will no doubt be some controversy.

Key Points

West Brom’s form: L/D

Chelsea’s form: D/L

Key Stat: Leaky – Only Sunderland (seven) have conceded more goals than Chelsea so far this season, not a stat you could have imagined hearing just two weeks ago.

Key Player: Nemanja Matic – The big Serbian’s performance will be vital to how this game goes for the defending champions. If he can control the midfield, marshall the back-four and steady the ship Chelsea stand a great chance of picking up three points.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

West Brom 1-1 Chelsea – West Brom to pick up a solid point against a disorganised, struggling Chelsea side. Pulis will know his side can frustrate Jose Mourinho’s men which will lead to their weaknesses showing yet again on the pitch.  

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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 star to Bayern, Arsenal’s Barca raid & Palacios to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, May 29)

MLS Rumours

Wilson Palacios has been released by Stoke City and his next move is yet to be confirmed. The 30 year old has been in the Premier League since 2007 but a move to MLS is a possibility. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United flop, Angel Di Maria, could be moving on to Bayern Munich after just one season to. The German giants are expected to dip into the market for a winger with both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben heading into their last year of their contracts. (REPORT)

Arsenal are planning a raid for FC Barcelona duo Pedro Rodriguez and Martin Montoya. Both players are reportedly unhappy with a lack of playing time. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly made an offer for Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic as they look to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard’s departure to MLS. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Orlando City SC have announced goalkeeper Josh Ford will be joining Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, of NASL, on loan until June 18. (REPORT)

Chicago Fire have sent Mike Magee on a three-day loan to USL affiliate Saint Louis FC to get some playing time. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur have signed Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer from German side, Cologne, for an undisclosed fee on a 5-year deal. (REPORT)

Arsenal set to raid FC Barcelona for second successive summer

Arsenal could sign FC Barcelona‘s Pedro Rodriguez for as little as £10 million, according to Fichajes.net.

Last summer’s marquee signing of Alexis Sanchez has proved to be great business by Arsene Wenger and it looks as if he could be set to raid the Catalans for a second pre season in succession.

Pedro has seen his game time limited this season and a number of clubs are interested in signing the Spanish World Cup winner, but he could favour a move to link up with former teammate Sanchez.

The 27-year-old cannot be blamed for wanting a new challenge as he has played second fiddle to Barca’s deadly trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Embed from Getty Images

At just £10 million, Pedro would be an absolute bargain for any potential new club and he will certainly be looking to move somewhere where he is guaranteed playing time and Champions League football.

The skilful winger boasts an impressive trophy cabinet, with the likes of the World Cup and Champions League winners medals, and he has a wealth of experience.

In 2010 he scored Barca’s opener against Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley and is still just as sharp and calm in front of goal.

Pedro has scored six times this season in 34 league appearances, 20 of which are from the bench and it looks likely that he will be moving on this summer for a new challenge at a cut-price.

Will Pedro leave FC Barcelona this summer and is Arsenal a possible destination?

Liverpool plotting double raid on Barcelona for exciting duo

As the Raheem Sterling saga continues at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers is apparently monitoring potential replacements for the English winger, and could turn to Spanish giants FC Barcelona for options.

Spanish international, Pedro could be on the move this summer after he is reportedly frustrated with his lack of playing time at the club. It comes as no surprise with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez ahead of him in the pecking order.

Pedro has a wealth of experience and he has already won some of the world’s most prestigious trophies. The 27-year-old attacker won the World Cup twice and a European Championship with Spain, and he has also won the Champions League with Barcelona twice, scoring against Manchester United in the 2011 final.

Embed from Getty Images

Pedro spoke to ESPN earlier this week about his frustration and long-term interest from Liverpool could tempt him away this summer.

“When you do not have playing time, of course you do not feel one of the important players.

“Playing few games, not many minutes, it is normal that there can be talk of leaving, that is logical. It is the same for all players, everyone wants to play. When you do not play in important games, then it is a difficult situation.”

This is the biggest hint Pedro has dropped so far that he is considering leaving the club and at 27, he could hold the key to what Rodgers’ side need to push for European football again next season.

The Metro have reported that Liverpool are also interested in former Everton loanee, Gerard Deulofeu, who is still contracted to Barcelona. The winger is set to be sold this summer upon returning to his parent club after a loan spell at Sevilla.

Embed from Getty Images

The Catalan youngster showed his potential at Everton but struggled to tie down a regular first team place, which has been the story of his career so far. If given the chance for an extended run in the squad, his real talent could emerge.

Liverpool are hoping to tie down Raheem Sterling to a new contract but won’t negotiate a deal until the summer, and with top clubs around Europe circling, they will need to have possible replacements lined up.

Could Liverpool sign both Pedro and Gerard Deulofeu this summer?

2014 MLS Season Review: Vancouver Whitecaps

Western Conference Final Position: 5th

Western Conference Playoffs: Knockout Round

Review

Despite their agonising exit from the playoffs via a 2-1 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas, the 2014 season will go down as the best so far for the Vancouver Whitecaps since they began competing in Major League Soccer in 2011. It saw them record their highest points tally (50) – their previous best was the 48 points they accumulated last season (2013).

Best Moment

Their five-game unbeaten run at the end of the season is the biggest highlight as they charged towards the playoff positions and nipped in ahead of Portland Timbers by just one point.

Embed from Getty Images

Worst Moment

The 84th minute penalty conceded by Kendall Watson after he was controversially adjudged to have handled the ball intentionally against FC Dallas in the playoff knockout game. Some will argue that it was the right call to award the spot kick, while many will say very much the opposite. Whatever way you dress it up, it’s a gut wrenching way to lose any game of soccer, let alone bow out of the playoffs. You have to sympathise for the Whitecaps who had worked ever so hard to be in such a great position this season.

Player of the Year

Pedro Morales is a name that has rightly popped up frequently when discussing the Vancouver team. The Chilean has been an inspiration in midfield and to finish the 2014 season as the top goalscorer and assist-maker at the club shows how crucial he is and will continue to be. Keeping hold of him is essential to their future.

Embed from Getty Images

Biggest Win

Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1 New York Red Bulls (March 9 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-3 Portland Timbers (August 31 2014)

Portland Timbers 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (September 20 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There are numerous positives to take from their performance this year. They have shown a gradual improvement for every season that they have been in MLS and this should fill them with confidence that they can continue to grow.

Vancouver Whitecaps points tally since participation in Major League Soccer:

Whitecaps points tallies

One area they could look to improve is up-front. They have lacked a prolific goalscorer and have relied heavily on Pedro Morales to do the business from midfield. The man with the most goals for the Whitecaps other than Morales is Darren Mattocks with six.

The news of Erick Torres becoming a free agent in the close season is interesting and he could be someone that’s on their radar as they look to fill that void.

Vancouver Whitecaps have the potential to be one of the strongest teams for the 2015 season.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps have both earned their spot in the playoff positions after successful regular seasons in the Western Conference but the dress rehearsals are over and now it’s time for the real thing as they clash in the knockout round at the Toyota Stadium on Wednesday.

Dallas are appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 when they fell at this stage, losing 2-0 to New York Red Bulls – they were MLS Cup runners-up in 2010 which is the furthest they’ve ever been.

They’ve finished the regular season with slight inconsistency with four wins and five defeats from their last nine games.

Dallas met with Vancouver twice in the closing stages of the season, winning 2-1 at home in September and losing 2-0 away in October, so this is a game that couldn’t be harder to predict and should make for a fascinating tie.

FC Dallas home form: Played 17 – Won 12 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Embed from Getty Images

Vancouver’s only appearance in the playoffs came in the 2012 season when they were beaten 2-1 in the knockout round by LA Galaxy so they will be hoping to make it through to the semi-finals this time around.

As the regular season was nearing its conclusion, Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey stressed the importance of going into the playoffs in a good run of form and they’ve certainly done that, winning four and drawing one of their last five games.

Picking up victories on the road has proven to be a slight issue for the Canadian outfit, but they don’t lose too many games either, so if they don’t win this in 90 minutes, they may be able to force extra-time and penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps away form: Played 17 – Won 3 – Drawn 9 – Lost 5

This game marks the beginning of the MLS Cup 2014, so let’s hope these two sides can set the tone with an entertaining spectacle.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Whitecaps playmaker has been crucial to their success this season (10 goals, 12 assists) and a lot of responsibility will fall on his shoulders again.

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have never beaten FC Dallas at the Toyota Stadium – is there a first time for everything?

FC Dallas last five: W/L/W/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps last five: W/W/W/D/W

Prediction: FC Dallas 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps