Red Rants Archives for January 2015

The bleak mid-winter battle

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On the 21st of September around 12.45pm, United fans were sat back with their feet up or pint in hand brimming with excitement at the idea of a season with this new look United side under the brilliant Van Gaal.

Half an hour later most had switched off their televisions in disgust, sank a few more alesand taken to the internet to discuss why this would be another season of abject failure.

LVG rules out January signings

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Louis Van Gaal has ruled out any January signings, meaning Manchester United wait for a world class centre-back will extend until the summer transfer window.

United had been expected to bolster their defensive options in the winter transfer window, but with their primary targets seemingly out of reach, Van Gaal declared on Friday that while departures remained possible, the arrival gate was now firmly shut.

Fletcher departure imminent

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Darren Fletcher has been given permission to talk to West Ham United ahead of a possible January move, Louis Van Gaal confirmedat Friday's press conference.

Fletcher, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford this month, with Valencia, West Brom and West Ham linked with a move for the Scotsman.

United suffer Carrick blow

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Louis Van Gaal has confirmed Michael Carrick will miss the next four weeks with ruptured muscle, while Ashley Young is close to return to first team action.

Carrick's injury is the latest blow for United, though it might open the door for Ander Herrera and give the Spaniard the chance to establish himself as a regular figure in the team over the next month.

Herrera: “Carrick is a role model”

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Ander Herrera has described Michael Carrick as a role model, claiming the United midfielder has had a massive influence on some of the younger members of the squad.

Herrera described his team-mate as "one of the best players I've ever played with" and hailed Carrick's composure as being a key factorto his important influence on the squad, both on and off the pitch.

United to launch January bid for centre-back

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Manchester United will make a last-minute attempt to sign Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels or Athletic Bilbao Aymeric Laporte this month.

With the transfer window closing on Monday, United are running out of time to bolster their defensive options and while they've not seemed in a rush to get their hands on a new signing, reports suggest things might be about on change over the next four days,according to reports from ESPN.

5 Reasons Why Manchester United Will Beat Leicester This Weekend

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Back in September Leicester City pulled off one of the upsets of the season as they came from 3-1 down to beat Manchester United 5-3 at the King Power Stadium.

This result meant Louis van Gaal had won only one of his first six games in all competitions as Manchester United manager and many had started to write off their chances of UEFA Champions League football next season.

Why United should fight to keep their star man

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David De Gea has become the subject of increasing interest from Real Madrid who have identified the 24-year-old as the heir to Iker Casillas' long-standing throne as number one goalkeeper.

Signed from city rivals Atletico Madrid in 2011 for £18.9 million, De Gea has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and is arguably the reason why Manchester United have a strong chance of finishing in the top four.

Van Persie uncertain over United future

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Robin Van Persie has admitted he hasn't scored enough goals this season and that he's not sure whether United will opt to extend his contract past 2016.

The Dutchman is under contract for another 18 months but has failed to score in over a month and has admitted he has yet to open negotiations with United over a new deal and conceded that, at 31 years of age, his destiny might not be entirely in his hand.

LVG blocks youngster move

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Adnan Januzaj will not leave Manchester United on loan or on a permanent basis this month, after Louis Van Gaal blocked PSG's attempt to lure the Belgian away from Old Trafford.

Arguably the only positive of David Moyes' disastrous tenure, Januzaj has started just five games in all competitions this season but Van Gaal has made clear he has no intentions to part way with the 19-year-old.

United to battle Real Madrid for defender

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Manchester United will face competition from Real Madrid in their bid to sign Athletic Bilbao's centre-backAymeric Laporte. The 20-year-old has been on United's radar for over 18 months and with Louis Van Gaal determined to bolster his defensive options, the France U21 international has emerged as one their main targets.

Juventus manager admits Pogba has a price

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Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that Paul Pogba has a price and that Juventus could be forced to consider an offer for the Frenchman, but only in case of a massive bid.

Pogba has scored 22 goals in 113 games for Juventus since joining the Serie A giants in the summer of 2012 but has since been linked with a return to Old Trafford, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid also interested.

West Ham confident of signing United midfielder

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West Ham United are "confident" of signing Darren Fletcher in the January transfer window, with reports suggesting the Hammers could announce the deal as early as Monday.

Fletcher is out of contract at the end of the season and has found first team opportunities hard to come by this season, despite having been named vice-captain by Louis Van Gaal.

Falcao would have been better off with Fergie

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Radamel Falcao's agent has claimed that his client would have been better off playing under Sir Alex Ferguson than other Louis Van Gaal, adding that the former United manager would have been able to get the most out of him.

Having criticised Van Gaal for omitting Falcao from the squad for the game against Southampton, Jorge Mendes has now gone a step further by insinuating that the former Atletico Madrid striker would have had a much bigger impact had he joined United when Ferguson was still in charge.

Nani: “United want me back”

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Nani has claimed Manchester United are keen for him to return to Old Trafford on a permanent basis once his loan to Sporting Lisbon expires.

The 28-year-old was allowed to join his former club on loan in August, as Louis Van Gaal deemed him surplus to requirements, but the Portuguese insists he's still wanted by United and that he's been ensured he has a long-term future at Old Trafford.

Five things we’ve learnt from Cambridge vs United

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On a weekend when the "magic of the FA Cup" was alive and well, Manchester United did their best to ensure the underdogs had their 90 minutes of fame as they stumbled to a rather embarrassing 0-0 draw at Cambridge. United have, of course, suffered cup humiliations against lower sides before, but the abject performance on Friday night was a new low in a season that continues to deliver much less than what it had promised.

Irwin backs United cup run

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Denis Irwin has said he believes Louis Van Gaal could steer United to Wembley this season and end an 11-year drought in the FA Cup, but added United won't hit top gear until next season.

United have not won English football's oldest trophy since defeating Millwall 3-0 in Cardiff in 2004, before tasting defeat 12 months later against Arsenal and in 2007 against Chelsea, but Irwin insisted the current squad has all the required credentials to go all the way in the competition.

Blind urges fans to keep faith with LVG

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Daley Blind has urged United fans to keep the fans with Louis Van Gaal, insisting the Dutchman will get things right at the club and ensure United will challenge for trophies again.

The former Ajax man drew comparison with Holland's performance at the World Cup, where Van Gaal steered a largely unfancied team to the semifinal and, ultimately, to third place after defeating Brazil in the third spot playoff.

United deny making defender bid

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Manchester United have denied making a bid for Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi, despite rumours suggesting the Argentinian had been identified as the man to bolster United's defence this season.

On Monday, Valencia claimed they had received a £27m offer for the defender but refused to specify which club was behind the bid, sparking speculations it was United, as Louis Van Gaal looks to bolster his defensive options.

Zaha unsure over future

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Wilfried Zaha has admitted he remains unsure about his future, claiming that he'd be open to a permanent return to Crystal Palace as doubts remain over his chances of making the cut at United.

Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in January 2013 afterimpressing with Palace, Zaha was left on loan with the South London outfit for the remainder of the season, helping them to promotion before arriving at Old Trafford at the beginning of last season.

LVG: “Fans can’t choose tactics”

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Louis Van Gaal has said that he won't listen to the fans' opinions when it comes to picking his team, for it'd be impossible to take into account the views of 600m supporters.

United fans chanted "four-four-two" early in the second half against QPR on Saturday, as they made clear they wanted to see United reverting to a more traditional system, having badly struggled with a 3-5-2 formation in the first half.

Falcao’s fitness no longer an issue

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Radamel Falcao has insisted his injury problems are a thing of the past and that he's fit and raring to go for United, adding that he remains confident goals will soon start flowing.

The Colombian failed to score against QPR on Saturday after twice being brilliantly denied by Robert Green but, despite not finding the net, he looked sharp and much more at ease than he had done at any other stage this season.

Five things we have learnt from QPR vs United

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Manchester United put last week's defeat against Southampton behind them with a 2-0 win at QPR but things were far from being as straightforward as the scoreline suggests. United toiled in the first half and would have probably been behind had it not been for a couple of superb saves from David De Gea, though they looked a complete different side in the second half and managed to clinch their third away win of the season.

Shaw: “I didn’t know how big United were until I signed”

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Luke Shaw has admitted he hadn't grasped the size of Manchester United until he signed for the club last summer and insisted his meteoric rise from Southampton to United via the England World Cup squad will not distract him.

"You don't actually know how big it is until you sign for it – around the whole world, the fan base and everything," Shaw said in an interview with the Guardian, in which he discussed his rise from promising teenager to England international within the last 18 months.

LVG to be handed another £150m?

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Louis Van Gaal could be given another £150m to further bolster his squad, according to some of today's back pages. Van Gaal and Ed Woodward are due to meet on Friday to discuss the club strategy in the coming summer transfer window but the United manager could even try to add a signing this month.

United have striker bid rejected

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Manchester United have had a bid for Palermo's striker Paulo Dybala turned down, according to the Serie A club's president Maurizio Zamparini.

Zamparini told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that he had rejected a bid from United for the Argentinian, insisting that he's worth more than €40m (£31m), though he added he would speak again about Dybala with United "in six months.

Pogba: “I still love United”, while agent hints at move

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Paul Pogba has insisted that Manchester United still have a special place in his heart and that his decision to leave Old Trafford was motivated by Sir Alex Ferguson's reluctance to give him an extended run in the side.

Pogba's acrimonious exit from Old Trafford has been well documented as the Frenchman, frustrated by the lack of first team opportunities, decided to move to Juventus on a free transfer after United declined to meet his financial demands.

Fletcher on WBA’s radar

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Darren Fletcher has emerged as a surprise transfer target for West Bromwich Albion, as the Baggies' new manager Tony Pulis looks to add experience to his squadin the January transfer window.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Pulis had already wanted to signthe midfielderwhen he was in charge of Crystal Palace last season, but he didn't follow up his interest as he quit Selhurst Park shortly before the start of the current campaign.

Youngster agrees United exit

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Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Dinamo Zagreb to sell Angelo Henriquez to the Croatian side for €1m (£780,000).

The 20-year-old joined Croatia's biggest clubon loan last summer and Dinamo's manager Zoran Mamic told Chileanwebsite Prensa Futbol that the striker will make his move permanent at the end of the season.

Januzaj set for loan spell

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Adnan Januzaj is set to be loaned out in the January transfer window as the Belgium international clearly does not feature in Louis Van Gaal's plans.

One, if not the only, positive of David Moyes' tenure at Manchester United, Januzaj has struggled for opportunities under Van Gaal, starting only two Premier League games and playing a meagre 27 minutes from the first week of November, despite the catalogue of injuries that affected United.

Falcao’s future increasingly uncertain

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Jorge Mendes, Radamel Falcao's agent, has admitted he doesn't know where his client will play next season but claimed the Colombian will almost certainly leave United if he's not guaranteed a spot in the starting XI.

Having struggled with fitness issues since joining United on loan from Monaco last summer, the Colombian returned in the squad making four consecutive starts and scoring twice in the process, with his goals against Aston Villa and Stoke earning United two points.

LVG’s philosophy lost in translation

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Lou Macari and Ron Atkinson have criticised Manchester United's performance against Southampton on Sunday, claiming that Louis Van Gaal must ensure his philosophy translates to results on the pitch.

Despite having an almost fully-fit squad for the first time in months, United conjured to deliver arguably their worst performance of the season, failing to register a single shot on goal as Southampton ran out deserved winner, after Dusan Tadic made the most of some typically catastrophic defending.

Carrick reveals disappointment

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Michael Carrick has revealed the disappointment inside the dressing room after United saw their 10-match unbeaten run come to an end against Southampton on Sunday.

United delivered an utterly abysmal display, struggling to unlock Southamtpon's brilliantly organised back four and failing to register a single shot on target, as Ronald Koeman's man leapfrogged on the table to go third.

The halfway point and an opportunity to reflect on United

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Lets be frank here. It isn't great really.

Coming off the back of defeat at home to Southampton there seems to be a fair amount of doubt creeping into United fans. Cards on the table and purely looking at the facts the Christmas period has been unkind. Performances have been uninspiring, the attacking football often turgid or non-existent, the defending appalling and a place in the top four slipping.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs Southampton

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United's 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end against Southampton, as the Reds were totally outplayed by Ronald Koeman's men, who deservedly clinched a 1-0 win.

United looked bereft of ideas, devoid of momentum and struggled to create any meaningful chances, in fact they failed to register a single shot on goal in 95 minutes and produced arguably their worst performance under Louis Van Gaal, who's likely to come under intense scrutiny after this result.

Saints fear the wrath of an Angel

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What a difference a Christmas break makes. A month ago Chelsea had won the league. Southampton and West Ham were going to be in the Champions League. And families across Britain were hopeful that their lives would mean something in 2015.

Fast forward to Monday morning and the Nation is furious they can't wear pyjamas to work while simultaneously drowning in coffee.

Starlet on the move?

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Gazzetta Dello Sport are reporting that promising United youngster, Adnan Januzaj, has become a serious target for Italian giants, Juventus.

The Serie A side are reportedly interested in acquiring the services of Wesley Sneijder from Galatasaray but have grown frustrated by the Turkish clubs refusal to drop their asking price.

United confirm first January signing

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Manchester United have officially confirmed the signing of former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who has signed an 18-month deal with the club with the option to extend it for a further year.

The 32-year-old had been training at Carrington since October in a bid to recover from a serious knee injury that had seen his proposed move to Monaco collapse last summer and has impressed Louis Van Gaal enough to convince the United manager to offer him a contract.

United in De Gea talks

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Manchester United will "accelerate" talks with David De Gea to extend the Spanish goalkeeper's contract in a bid to fend off Real Madrid's interest.

The 24-year-old has only 18 months left on his contract and has not ruled out the chance of returning to Spain, even though he also admitted feeling at home and settled in Manchester, and United are determined to tie De Gea to a long term deal, thus avoiding any offers from Real Madrid.

United confirm Valdes signing

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Manchester United have offered Victor Valdes a two-year deal, with the 32-year old set to become David De Gea's number two at Old Trafford this month.

The former Barcelona keeper has been training with United for the last two months to recover from a serious knee injury that caused his proposed move to Monaco to collapse earlier this season and he's now set to join United as free agent.

Three areas United must strengthen in

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Louis Van Gaal's first six months at Old Trafford have been difficult to judge. It feels as if United are still to fully reap the benefits of the summer spending spree, as injuries have hampered all the new arrivals, forcing Van Gaal to constantly reshuffle his team, though after a difficult start United are unbeaten in 10 games in all competition and sit third in the table.

Rooney scoops award

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Wayne Rooney has been voted Manchester United's Player of the Month for December, as United ended 2014 in third place on the tableon the back of an eight-game unbeaten league run.

With 46% of the votes Rooney finished just ahead of Michael Carrick and Ashley Young, both influential figures during United's streak which included six consecutive wins across the last two months of 2014.

Moyes: “Januzaj reminds me of Cruyff”

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David Moyes has compared Adnan Januzaj to Johan Cruyff, claiming the Belgian is a special player, who's mature despite his young age and desperate to succeed.

Januzaj has had limited opportunities under Louis Van Gaal this season but was arguably the only positive of Moyes' spell in charge at United, as the Belgian established himself as one of the best young players in the Premier League and earned himself a spot in Belgium squad for the World Cup.

United to sell striker in the summer

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Javier Hernandez will leave Manchester United this summer, regardless of what happens to Radamel Falcao, with Louis Van Gaal adamant that the Mexican is now surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Chicharito will be allowed to leave at the end of the season even if United choose not to make Falcao's move to Old Trafford permanent, with the on-loan Colombian striker set to cost the club in the excess of £40m.

Fletcher out to end Cup hurt

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Darren Fletcher has said him and his teammates are desperate to lift the FA Cup this season, 11 years on since they last lifted English football's oldest trophy.

Fletcher was in the squad that beat in the final Millwall in 2004, but tasted the feat against Arsenal 12 months later and was on the losing side against Chelsea in the first final at the new Wembley stadium in 2007.

Gerrard: “I had a United shirt as a kid”

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Steven Gerrard has been pretty much on every single newspaper over the last couple of days, since he announced his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season and relocate to the MLS.

It turns out that the last bastion of proper football, the Liverpool icon and just about to the greatest player to have ever played the sport, wasn't such a keen Liverpool fan when he was younger and even had a United shirt.

Five things we have learnt from Yeovil vs United

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After getting knocked out in the third round last season, United managed to book a spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup but only afterstruggling than expected against League One side Yeovil Town.

It might have been United's 11th consecutive game unbeaten but that was just about the only positive to take away from a trip to Devon.

LVG wrong to complain about fixtures pile-up

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Holland legend and former Barcelona manager Johann Cruyff has said Louis Van Gaal has made a mistake by choosing to criticise the hecticfestive season programme in English football, given he's the one who chose to manage an English club.

Van Gaal said that the number of games teams were forced to play during the Christmas period had a negative impact not only on players' fitness and teams' results but also on the supporters.

All or nothing for United in the cup, says LVG

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Louis Van Gaal has warned Manchester United that they face an "all or nothing" scenario when they face League One side Yeovil Town in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

With seven wins in their last 10 Premier League games, United travel toHuish Park as the overwhelming favourites and the Dutchman has stressed they "will go into the match fully prepared" to avoid any potential upsets.

LVG: “Lucky” United must improve on the road

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Louis Van Gaal has admitted Manchester United were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against Stoke on New Year's Day, as he watched his side struggle against the Potters' physicality.

United fell behind to an early Ryan Shawcross goal and while they fought their back into the game courtesy of Radamel Falcao's second goal in two games, they never looked comfortable and were forced to hang on for large spells of the game.