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STROOTMAN WANTS UNITED MOVE

Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman is thought to have confirmed that he wants to join Manchester United in January or in the summer transfer window. The Dutchman was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in the summer, but it did not materialise due to several reasons. Roma did confirm a few weeks ago that it would take more than £ 75 million in order to persuade them to sell Strootman, who is a vital part of the team. Since Roma have returned to the Champions League, they are unlikely to be in desperate need of funds.

The 24-year-old is currently running around € 30,000 per week, which is vastly insignificant compared to his potential earnings of around € 120,000 per week at United. More importantly, he is keen to link up with his former international team manager, Louis van Gaal, who is in charge of United. The presence of Van Gaal has already helped United persuade key international players like Daley Blind to the club. Strootman’s public confirmation that he wants to leave has not come yet, but he could force Roma into selling him if the Italian club show any resistance once again. Roma have been doing well in the Italian league this campaign and they remain in contention for the title.

“It is just not happening. I have told the papers that they should stop wasting paper. We don’t have any interest in selling Kevin. Obviously as business people when people call us and say ‘we want your player’ you are going to listen to them. You have to do that, that is the business side. That doesn’t mean you are going to make a decision that [an offer of] £75m, bang you hit the bid. That is not the way it is going to work, it is not the way it does work with us,” said Roma’s billionaire owner a few months ago.

Who is the Premier League’s best goalkeeper?

With the Premier League season nearing the halfway point; it’s clear that there are some of the world’s best goalkeepers currently playing in England’s top flight. From the top of the table to the bottom, the Premier League boasts more quality goalkeepers than any other division in European football.

While there has long been a view that goalkeepers don’t really reach their peak until the age of 30, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have all opted for talented young stoppers in recent years and the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Wojciech Szczęsny and David de Gea have all established themselves among the world’s best despite being under the age of 25. (more…)

De Gea set to stay as Spain number-one

While some might have seen Vincente del Bosque’s decision to drop Iker Casillas for David de Gea in Spain’s European Championship qualifier against Luxembourg was because of the Real Madrid keeper’s mistake against Slovakia, there is a strong argument to suggest this was an inevitable move.

While Casillas has endured a tough few years, de Gea has quietly established himself as one of European football’s most impressive young goalkeepers, and the time may have come where the young pretender finally claims his place on the throne. (more…)

Di Maria Expected to perform well

Angel di Maria has become one of the standout players in the Premier League after his £ 60 million transfer from Real Madrid. He is also the most expensive player in the Premier League as result of this transfer, but he has so far been looking a great buy for United. He has featured in only two matches for the Red Devils so far, but di Maria has already contributed in several assists and has also scored a goal. His opening match for United came in the 0-0 draw against Burnley where he was extremely threatening on several occasions.

The real eye-opener came in the 4-0 win over QPR during the weekend. As United struggled to break through a QPR team that was prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure, di Maria came up with a stunning freekick in the 24th min to open his account for United. This instantly relieved a lot of pressure within the home supporters, who then were provided with a stunning performance from the Argentine. He also contributed in a few more goals before being substituted because of fitness issues.

After the match, Louis van Gaal praised the 26-year-old for his immense performance, but has also sent out a warning to the rest of the Premier League by saying that di Maria could improve even more. “When you make three goals and score the first yourself then you cannot play badly. But he had a lot of unnecessary losses [of possession], so he can do better. It’s nearly impossible to do better when you score one goal and help make three others, but I’m analysing the game and I see things we can improve on,” said the United manager. Di Maria was also in stunning form for Argentina in a recent friendly match against world champions Germany.

Rodgers Starts Mind Games Early

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has tried to start of the mind games well before the start of the new season after suggesting that Louis van Gaal should not underestimate the strength of the Premier League. Mind games between managers at the top are quite common. In the past, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez have squared up against each other in this cold war on numerous occasions whether the Scot coming out successful more often than not. Rodgers is reportedly keen to shake up Van Gaal before he starts his new managerial reign.

The Dutchman has so far been impressive managing United in the pre-season. Apart from leading United to success over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup, Van Gaal has also decided to make the club play in a different style. He has been speaking a lot about having won trophies with the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Rodgers, though, says that it is quite a different prospect to win the Premier League where at least five teams will be challenging for the title in the coming campaign. It is not the case with Spanish and German league where only two teams challenge for the title at most.

Rodgers failed to win the league title last season, but it was only because of their disappointing form in the last three matches.

“I think what he’ll find is the competition in this league will be different from any other league that he’s worked in. In a lot of the other leagues there are one or two teams and those are the teams that are expected to win. This is a league where the top team plays the bottom team and on any given day you can lose. You don’t get that a lot in the other leagues. I think the competition will probably take him by surprise and that’s from foreign managers I have spoken to over the years,” said Rodgers.

Meulensteen doesn’t expect instant success

Former Manchester United first team coach Rene Meulensteen believes incoming Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal will need time in order to make his mark at the club.

The 62 year old, who led The Netherlands team to third place in the recently concluded World Cup in Brazil, is expected to take up his position as manager this week but the former coach doesn’t expect he will be able to deliver immediate success. (more…)

WILL SHERWOOD STAY?

Tim Sherwood was appointed as an interim coach of the first team of Tottenham as he replaced Andre Villas- Boas who got sacked back in December of 2013. Despite all of the pressure that Sherwood has been getting recently, he revealed that everything about his new job is a learning curve which he loves to do.

He added: “Any day in management is a learning curve. This has been a baptism of fire to be honest but it’s certainly something that I relish. (more…)

MOYES BACKS MATA

David Moyes has come in praise of midfielder Juan Mata, who scored his first goal for Manchester United in the 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday. This was a major relief for the Spaniard, who came to Old Trafford in a £ 37.1 million deal. He is the club’s record signing at the moment, but so far, he has contributed only a couple of assists. Many have criticised Moyes playing Mata out of position on the wings. He was at his best for Chelsea in a more central role. However, the absence of Robin van Persie due to injury has made Mata return to a central position against Aston Villa.

Most of the time, he was utilised in a free role against Villa. He created havoc by creating and scoring opportunities. The game also marked the first goal for United. After the match, Moyes said that the 25-year-old deserved this goal for the performances he has put in since coming to United. Mata has been one of the best players in the Premier league over the last couple of years, but he found himself on the fringes of the first-team at Chelsea after the arrival of José Mourinho. He was allowed to leave for United in the January transfer window.

“He’s deserved it. His play has been very good. He’s made a difference to the team, he’s helped the team. Goals were one of the reasons we bought him. He’s always scored goals, he’s got a very good goalscoring record. I think he was probably feeling it a little bit – he missed a chance in midweek, missed two good chances against West Ham – so I think there have been signs, the opportunities have been coming for him to score goals,” said Moyes, whose own pressure has been lifted because of this win.


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