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?

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?

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?

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?

City deal HUGE blow to United and Chelsea’s pursuit of €100m-rated star

Manchester City have held initial talks with Juventus over a possible move for €100 million-rated midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Sky Sports Italia.

It is understood that City’s representatives travelled to Turin to talk with Pogba over a move to the Etihad Stadium this summer.

Last season’s Premier League champions face a tough task to secure Pogba’s services as he is being chased by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain.

Don’t miss: Stats – Can Paul Pogba replace Yaya Toure at Manchester City?

Italian champions Juventus are hopeful of keeping their star man, who is contracted until 2019, and have set an asking price of €100 million in an attempt to fend off interest.

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City are understood to be the first club to make advances on the player by visiting Turin but PSG are reportedly ready to stump up the asking price to beat of competition for the French international.

Pogba could yet find himself playing in this season’s Champions League final as his Juventus side take a narrow 2-1 lead into their semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Yaya Toure is expected to leave City this summer and Pogba is viewed as the perfect replacement should he do so.

Will Paul Pogba leave Juventus this summer? Would Manchester City be his best option?

STATS: Can Juventus star replace Yaya Toure at Manchester City?

Juventus midfield superstar, Paul Pogba, is looking like the main transfer story of the summer so far and is top of many top clubs’ shopping lists, with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG among those searching for his signature.

Former club Manchester United have also been linked but Pogba could join the blue side of Manchester since reports emerged that Yaya Toure is likely to be heading out of the club this summer.

Pogba, who has won his third Serie A title in a row this season, is one of few that are similar to Toure in stature and playing style and City are keen to acquire the Frenchman.

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Should Pogba make the move, it is reported that his salary would be approximately £250,000-a-week after tax, making him the highest paid midfielder in the world.

So how does the promising youngster weigh up against Toure? We compare their league stats from this term:

Yaya Toure Stat Paul Pogba
31 Age 22
27 Appearances 23
8 Goals 8
1 Assists 2
89% Pass Completion % 83
21 Tackles Won 45
30 Key Passes 32
31 Chances Created 34

Judging from the stats above, there is a clear indication that Pogba can replicate the performances from Yaya Toure this year, and with potential to get much better, Pogba should be a worthy investment.

It is worth noting that this has not been Yaya Toure’s greatest season at Manchester City but the Juventus star’s statistics speak volumes about how influential he is.

Do you think Paul Pogba will replace Yaya Toure at Manchester City? Would he be the perfect signing for City?

Chelsea, City and United handed HUGE boost in race for £58m-rated superstar

Premier League trio ChelseaManchester City and Manchester United have been handed a huge boost in their pursuit of Juventus superstar Paul Pogba as the Italian club are looking to rebuild this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been on the radar of some of European football’s giants after yet another impressive season and Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain are said to be chasing his services.

It is reported that PSG made the Frenchman an astonishing £210,000-a-week offer, but Pogba’s representatives are looking for more as interest in the Frenchman is so high.

His services are going to set back any potential outfit around £58 million and with Financial Fair Play regulations, clubs will need to be selling at least one top player in order to fund any possible move.

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There has been previous talk of player-plus-cash deals, especially surrounding Chelsea with regards to Oscar heading to Juventus. But Jose Mourinho hasn’t given any indications that he plans to allow the Brazilian playmaker to depart and Oscar has claimed he is settled.

With Yaya Toure’s departure from Manchester City looking imminent that seems a more likely destination than Chelsea, but City will need to be working hard to meet the regulations of FFP.

The excitement around this deal is continually on the rise and it could be a summer-long saga for a club to secure his services in such a huge move, not too dissimilar to Gareth Bale’s move in 2013, as Pogba looks to be the number one target for club’s across Europe.

Will Paul Pogba leave Juventus this summer?

Is this £57m-rated United star on the way out of Old Trafford?

With the news today that Manchester United have secured the signing of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, Louis Van Gaal has already started his summer revamp of his current squad.

The signing of Depay, naturally a winger, could spell the end of Angel Di Maria‘s United nightmare after just one season.

It is no secret that Di Maria was linked with a move to Paris Saint Germain in last summer’s transfer window and that could be a likely destination for him next season if the French giants are willing to pay the huge transfer fee needed.

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The Argentine ace has featured 19 times in the Premier League for Van Gaal, scoring just three, but he has racked up an impressive ten assists in his debut campaign in England’s top flight.

In stark contrast Depay has netted 21 Eredivise goals and notched four assists in 28 appearances.

The fee for the 21-year-old is reported to be around £25-30 million and if United were to move Di Maria on they will make twice that amount as he is valued at £57.2 million by transfermarkt.co.uk.

Van Gaal is clearly expecting more from his forwards and this signing is a statement that he is eager to get his business underway early ahead of his first full summer in charge.

Could the signing of Memphis Depay mean Angel Di Maria is heading for the exit door?