Red Rants Archives for January 2014

United keen on hijacking Liverpool transfer target

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Manchester United have moved in for FC Dnipro star Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Liverpool have been long-term admirers of the Ukrainian and failed in a last minute deadline day bid to bring the highly rated midfielder to the Premier League in January but United are now favourites to secure the 24-year-old's signature this summer.

Blame lies with the players, says United defender

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Rafael has insisted the players should shoulder the blame for United's abysmal showing last season and that him and his team-mates are the only figures responsible for United's worst season since 1989-90, as United finished seventh and missed out on European football altogether for the first time in over two decades.

£24m defender set for United move

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Atletico Madrid defender Miranda looks set to become Louis Van Gaal's first signing as Manchester United manager, after the club has reportedly triggered the defender's release clause, thought to be worth in the region of £24m.

The 29-year-old defender was instrumental in Atletico Madrid's phenomenal season and even though he couldn't prevent Diego Simeone's men from falling to a 4-1 defeat in Saturday's European Cup final against city rivals Real Madrid, the Brazilian has emerged as one of the best defenders in Europe over the last couple of seasons.

United target Dutch duo

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Louis Van Gaal is looking to bring two members of his Holland squad to Old Trafford after the World Cup, with the United manager seemingly determined to ensure a deal is agreed for Feyenoord pair Jordy Clasie and Bruno Martins Indi.

Clasie and Martins Indi have emerged as some of the brightest talents in Dutch football and, despite being only 22 years of age, both have forced their way in the Holland squad and are widely expected to be in the starting XI for the Oranje's opening fixture against Spain on June 13.

United set to miss out on another midfielder

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Havingdecided Toni Kroos is no longer worth pursuing,Manchester United are set to miss out on another Bayern Munich midfielder, with German international Thomas Mueller expected to decline Louis Van Gaal's offer to join him at Old Trafford, while the Bavarian outfit remain reluctant to sell. Mueller was thought to be one of United's main transfer targets this summer, for the German can play in three different roles and guarantees an excellent goalscoring return for a midfielder, providing United with exactly the sort of player they've sorely missed for over five years now.

United striker wants out

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Danny Welbeck has hinted he might seek a move out of United despite the arrival of Louis Van Gaal after expressing his frustration at the number of time he's been played out wide for the club over the last 12 months.

Welbeck endured a difficult season, with rumours linking him with a move away with the club after growing disillusioned with David Moyes' training methods hitting the headlines, while a couple of injuries meant his campaign struggled to get any momentum at all, but Van Gaal's appointment was thought to be a good enough reason for the England striker to remain at the club.

Scholes questions Woodward and Rooney

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Paul Scholes has claimed thatWayne Rooney might have already reached his peak and that Ed Woodward will have a lot to answer for if United do not complete a couple of world class signings this summer.

Rooney looked set to leave United last summer after relationship between him and Sir Alex Ferguson broke down, but was convinced to remain at the club by David Moyes and ended up signing a new five-year deal which will probably keep him at Old Trafford for the remainder of his career.

United close to agree deal for £20m midfielder

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Manchester United have agreed a £20m deal for Bayern Munich midfielder and German international Toni Kroos, according to reports on today's backpages which, quite frankly, seem too good to be true.

Kroos has been on United's radar for a long while and United were thought to have approached both Bayern and Kroos' agent after the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final in April even though there seemed to be no valid reason for the 24-year-old to leave the Bavarian giants.

United to chase Liverpool target?

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Having finally been named as Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal seems determined to get one over Liverpool as quickly as he possibly can, by entering the race for one of Brendan Rodgers' main transfer targets Dnipro's wingerYevhen Konoplyanka.

The Ukrainian international looked set to move to Anfield this summerfor around £10m, even though Dnipro are reportedly unhappy with Liverpool's attempt to lure one of their prized assets away from Ukraine on the final day of the January transfer window a move which backfired in spectacular style for Rodgers, as Konoplyanka ended up remaining in Ukraine.

Tearing you apart for 24 years: United’s greatest ever?

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Destiny, like many other words, is a term often overused in football, but it's difficult to dismiss it when it comes to Manchester United.

The 1999 Treble was clinched on what would have been Sir Matt Busby's 90th birthday, while had George Best not departed this world, he would have enjoyed the celebrations for his 62th birthday as United lifted the European Cup in Moscow in 2008.

United confirm Van Gaal appointment

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Football's worst-kept secret was finally revealed today, as Manchester United confirmed Louis Van Gaal as their new manager, after two weeks in which both parties involved had disguised themselves behind the usual smokescreens, with the Dutchman and United both happy to decline any agreement was in place.

United players in for a shock under “control freak”

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Once he's finally announced as David Moyes' replacement, Louis Van Gaal will keep players at Manchester United on a very tight leash, according to Dutch football expert Marcel Van der Kraan.

Van Gaal should be formally unveiled as United's new manager this week but his reputation for demanding total control over his players and for being strict and hardworking almost to the point of being obsessed have preceded him to Britain and might spell news for some of the players who have been stealing a living at the club.

United’s new captain?

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Louis Van Gaal might not yet have been officially appointed as David Moyes' successor, but the 62-year-old manager dropped his biggest hint yet as to who he'd like to see wearing the armband next season.

Wayne Rooney was widely expected to replace Nemanja Vidic as captain next season, particularly after Moyes described him as the perfect man to lead the team and to trouser £300,000-a-week but it seems as Van Gaal has other ideas and could instal Robin Van Persie as his on-pitch lieutenant.

Mata targets home comfort

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Manchester United must again make Old Trafford a place feared by other teams if they're to return to winning ways next season, according to Juan Mata. United number 8 claimed that the home form this season played a major role in the dismal campaign endured by the club which culminated in United missing out on European football for the first time since 1990.

Analysing Van Gaal’s list

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Louis Van Gaal might not have been officially appointed as Manchester United's new manager yet, in fact he probably won't be officially announced until Sunday, but the Holland manager has reportedly already handed Ed Woodward three lists of desired players, with players in the A list the hardest to get but also the one the Dutchman is likely to pursuit first.

Do United need a summer clearout?

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This summer, so we're being told, will be one of the most important in Manchester United's recent history, with a new manager and a major overhaul required to ensure United return to the upper echelon of English football. Last summer it wasn't much a case of United fluffing their lines in catastrophic fashion as of them completing forgetting the plot of the play that had them as main characters, as the sheer ineptitude of Ed Woodward combined with David Moyes' inadequacy ensured United's only signing was Marouane Fellaini.

Van Gaal and Giggs set to takeover

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Ryan Giggs is set to become Louis Van Gaal's assistant manager at Manchester United after he was offered the job when he met the Dutchman in Noordwijk yesterday, during a three-hour meeting in whichcould prove crucial as far as United's future is concerned.

Van Gaal could be announced today as Manchester United's new manager, putting an end to weeks of speculations and allowing the club to finally put a solid strategy in place ahead of next season given the sizeable job that lies ahead this summer, when United will have to recruit at least four world class players if they're to mount a serious challenge next season.

Vidic: “The players fought each other”

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Nemanja Vidic has revealed just how hard his final season at Manchester United was, with players under constant scrutiny and arguing with each other, as the team that had lifted the Premier League in May 2013 all of a sudden lost its way and found itself trapped in a downward spiral which only ended with the last game of the season last Sunday.

A Year In The Life Of Liverpool

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In a plot almost reminiscent of that rather poor movie, ‘Freaky Friday', the season which we've just rejoiced at seeing the back of has seen a switch in fortunes for ourselves and Liverpool.

It was unthinkable at the end of the 2012/13 campaign that a year on we would find ourselves languishing in seventh place, whilst our fiercest rivals would be experiencing the heady heights of the top end of the Premier League.

Vidic, Europe, fans: 5 things we’ve learnt from yesterday

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After 10 seemingly endless months, when disappointment and dire football became as common as success and attacking endeavour had been for the best of the last 26 years, we finally waved goodbye to the 2013-14 season, not in style but after a dull 1-1 draw.

Here's what we've learnt from United's last outing of a dismal campaign.

United veteran set for exit

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Patrice Evra is expected to make his final appearance for Manchester United today, as the Reds travel to Southampton for their last game of the season, with the 32-year-old seemingly poised to join Nemanja Vidic at Inter Milan next season.

Evra's contract runs out at the end of the season and while he's been a virtually ever present figure this season, David Moyes' long and ultimately fruitless pursuit of Leighton Baines had made clear that the Frenchman was no longer going to be the club's first choice left-back, after eight seasons at Old Trafford.

Light at the end of the tunnel for United

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At long, long, last we've finally reached the end. Sunday's trip to the South Coast brings the curtain down on this seemingly endless, utterly shambolic, largely uninspiring campaign meaning we can all spend the next few months dreaming of returning to success, while our heads spin at the number of players United are linked with in the press.

Van Gaal wants United job

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Louis Van Gaal went some way to dispel doubts over his future by publicly admitting that he wants to manage Manchester United, describing the Reds as "the biggest club in the world". The Dutchman is largely thought to be the overwhelming favourite in the race to succeed David Moyes at Old Trafford and could be announced next week.

United could regret losing Vidic

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Rio Ferdinand has admitted his future remains unsure and has expressed his concern at United's decision to allow Nemanja Vidic to join Inter Milan on a free transfer this summer. Vidic, who alongside Rio formed arguably the best centre-back pairing in the Premier League over the last decade, played his final game at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Giggs set to stay on

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Ryan Giggs looks set to become Louis Van Gaal's assistant manager at United when hopefully not if the clubwill confirm the Dutchman as the new manager sometime during this week. Having been in charge for two weeks as caretaker manager, Giggs has still two games left in his managerial career but reports suggest he could extend his stay at United.

Vidic’s departure is the end of an era

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United's last home of the season was an emotional occasion 12 months ago as Sir Alex Ferguson walked out in front of the Stretford End one last time before bidding farewell to the ground where he had spent 26 years.The occasion might not be as grand as last season, given the horrible campaign and the difference stature of the men involved, but tonight a few redscould shed a tear or two.

Future, Vidic and Jones: five things we’ve learnt from United vs Hull

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United's last home game of this shambolic season offered, at long last, something to look forward to after 10 largely disappointing months, in which the highs have been few and far between. The 3-1 win against Hull was also the chance to wave goodbye to Nemanja Vidic and to welcome some new faces on the big stage.

It’s out with the old, in with the young for United

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On Monday, it'll be a year since Sir Alex Ferguson took charge of his last ever game at Old Trafford but the way things have unfolded this season one'd be forgiven for thinking that 10 years have passed by since that rainy May afternoon. United's catastrophic season simply refuses to end, the feel good factor generated by David Moyes' sacking and Ryan Giggs' first game in charge evaporated in less than a week, as United were their usual inept selves on Saturday.

Pogba: “United disrespected me”

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Not for the first time since leaving Old Trafford, Paul Pogba has had bitter words for Manchester United, with the Juventus midfielder accusing his former club of disrespecting him and wanting to get rid of him.

Pogba has claimed he was sidelined and marginalised, after he was told to train alone and he insists he has absolutely no regrets about leaving Old Trafford for Juventus in July 2012.

Giggs hoping for perfect double

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Over the last two weeks, football has been somewhat of an afterthought at United, with all the attention focused on David Moyes' successor who, presumably, will be unveiled next week and is extremely likely to be speaking Dutch.

Football, of course, still has a role to play in this most endless, disappointing and beleaguered of seasons, whose finishing line seems destined to remain something blurry on the horizon.

United to unveil Van Gaal next week

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Having spent the last two weeks surrounded by the same uncertainty that characterised last summer's pursuit of a world class midfielder, United look to have finally taken a step forward in their quest to appoint David Moyes' successor and could unveil Louis Van Gaal as their new manager as early as next week.