Showing posts with label Wout Weghorst. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wout Weghorst. Show all posts

Fatigue catches up with the best United midfield in a decade

At the London stadium, Manchester United team consisting of midfield trio Casemiro, Eriksen and Fernandes tasted its first defeat to West Ham due to an howler from keeper David de Gea in the first half. Bruno Fernandes ranks the best in Europe in terms of xAG, key passes and shot creating actions. Despite starting well and creating a host of chances the forwards Weghorst, Rashford and Anthony failed to convert any. United lost their 4th away match in last five a staggeringly poor set of results that included a club record 0-7 drubbing at the hands of fiercesest rivals Liverpool at Anfield. Its Liverpool who are chasing down United for the crucial 4th spot for qualification to next season's Champions' League. United are only 1 point ahead with a game in hand and most crucially 3 of the remaining 4 matches are at home to Wolves, Chelsea and Fulham.

Fernandes(54), de Gea(53), Rashford(52), Fred(51), Casemiro(46), Martinez(45), Shaw(43), Dalot(40), Eriksen (39) have been part of United's squad that has played the most games of any club in the top 5 leagues across Europe. Also the age profile of players in their supposed peak around 30's has 9 players: de Gea, Casemiro, Varane, Maguire, Eriksen, Fred, Fernandes, Lindelof, Shaw, Martial. West Ham literally out ran United in the second half and were easily making a run with a shot at goal. It was a terrible sight. Substitutions were needed to be made around 60th minute or earlier to have been effective. This dip in second half performance clearly lays out the problem of fatigue. United need to muster all energy to push for 3 wins now else the season will unravel. Repercussions will include a lower budget for squad overhaul and importantly top players like Osimhen will again snub United for European glory.

United have been playing two games per week on Thursday's and Sunday's since Christmas and thanks to their exploit's in FA Cup and League Cup have played 52 games thus far. Bulk of their scoring has come from Rashford alone. Weghorst for all his effort in pressing hasn't been able to score enough goals while Martial has been injured or lacklustre. Since the last international break Fred has had a reduced participation and Casemiro a dip in form. Erik ten Hag picked Lindelof and Shaw in central defense and benched Maguire, who gracefully came on as a substitute whenever called upon. David de Gea discussing his new contract with United and committing blunders at the same time does not auger well for both parties involved despite public backing from the manager with a claim of most clean sheets in the Premier League this season.

United raised their game to beat Brighton on penalties and reach the FA Cup final. Despite being second best, they were able to contain the seagulls and constantly search for answers with timely substitutes which took to penalties. David de Gea miss read all spot kicks and then came Weghorst to cheekily disturb the next taker who missed the target thereby saving the Spaniard's blushes. Erik ten Hag has been able to bench under-performing players in defence, midfield and not in forward or goal keeping positions due to lack of squad depth. Dean Henderson rebelled against the club to be sent on loan, Heaton and Butland have not featured in any of Cup games either tells a stark tale of United living dangerously, after Newcastle recalled Martin Dubravka who had played in League Cup game. United might have to stop City winning the treble in the final.

Maguire, Martial, Henderson, Telles, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Williams, Jones potentially represent a third of squad that needs to be replaced and fill the empty slots in forward positions. Huge task lies ahead for Murtough and team in the summer. All major deals are held up due to takeover saga which has not concluded except that of Shaw and Garnacho. Likes of Rashford, Dalot who may want even bigger pay check if Qatar become the new owners. This will push the renewals to the summer and add work on top of recruitment. News of Glazers who may yet opt to stay either as majority shareholders in partnership with US Hedge Fund companies or in minority with Ineos bid was a big dampener. Supporters have put their weight behind the Ineos bid to remain apolitical.

Jimmy Murphy statue was unveiled in Old Trafford which finally recognises his crucial role in not allowing the club to fold in the immediate aftermath of Munich air disaster of 1958. Sir Matt Busby used to frequently say his best signing was his assistant Jimmy Murphy. Wayne Barton has written a definitive book aptly titled 'The Man Who Kept The Flag Flying' and recently shared the sad news of legendary United fan Tom Clare's passing. #RIPTomClare This comes after the loss of Ian Stirling, the founding member of clubs Fan Advisory Board and liaison officer for Manchester United Supporters Trust. #RIPIanStirling


Larsson like striker option that can be the new Sheringham

Olivier Giroud or Thomas Muller are the only profiles who can match that of Henrik Larsson and both of them are not a possibility. Its clear the type of player Erik ten Hag wants and he has already demonstrated he can implement a style of play to get the best out of a player. Next best options available are Youssef En-Nesyri, Wissam Ben Yeddar, Wout Weghorst and Vedat Muriqi. As outlined previously (January 2020) United in recent past had not reached out to fellow big European clubs for signings. This changed when United got Raphael Varane and Casemiro. Earlier Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who is injured now) had joined United on insistence of Jose Mourinho six years ago. United might strike a deal within 10million for loan or exchange due to excess spent on Martinez and Anthony.

Reviewing possible targets:

  1. Depay - Barcelona - huge salary and contract as he is looking to exit so loan won't work - X
  2. Mehdi Taremi - great stats, proud Asian option, but Porto won't prefer to loan but sell - X
  3. Youssef En-Nesyri - 25 age, Sevilla - great header at World Cup for Morocco - Y
  4. Moussa Dembele - Lyon - tough negotiators - not a good season - not great at holding the ball - X
  5. Wissam Ben Yedder - Monaco Captain so difficult, prev target, great stats - Y
  6. Wout Weghorst - Burnley loan to Besiktas so unlike Blackburn striker will NOT impact their promotion attempt so possible, also he is Dutch and scored at World Cup - Y
  7. Vincent Janssen - Royal Antwerp - exSpurs flop in Premier League - X
  8. Vedat Muriqi - Mallorca - 10m fee as per transfermarkt.co.uk - great stats at whoscored.com, club might prefer to sell than loan but won't be stiff like Porto - Y
Ruled-out:
  1. Ivan Toney - Brentford - under investigation
  2. Asensio - Real Madrid - not natural 9
  3. Olivier Giroud - AC Milan - ruled out due to Zlatan injury
  4. Thomas Muller - Neur injury, Muller becomes Captain instead - Bayern Munich
  5. Joao Felix - not number 9
Other Possibilities:
  1. Marcus Thuram - B Mgldbch 40m fee - new star from world cup
  2. Ben Brereton Diaz - MUFC academy graduate - Blackburn chasing promotion so not likely
  3. Vitinha - Braga forward just 22 - inexperience
  4. Youssoufa Moukoko - need to buy now or agree a free transfer for summer with difficult Dotmund
Else will have to include Harry Maguire (eg Ollie Watkins at Villa), Aaron Wan Bissaka, Donny van de Beek et al as part of deal for loan or exchange. Most recent high profile swap deal involved Alexis Sanchez - Henrikh Mkhitaryan which was a purely financial deal and a footballing disaster. Had made this draft in late December but not published until the news broken by Fabrizio Romano about Manchester United's interest in Wout Weghorst. Weghorst has scored all types of goals, is great in penalty box, holds up the ball to link with his team-mates. Made good impresssion in 2nd half of last season with Burnley not with goals but his play that included an assist against Manchester United in a 1-1 draw.

Ever since Teddy Sheringham experienced the pinnacle of his career at United the urge to sign an experienced striker has always been felt. He scored 46 gems in 153 games across 4 years. Sir Alex Ferguson described his acquisition thus "He was a good finisher, especially in the air, and had the tactical perception and passing skills to release other attackers into scoring positions." which fits the bill now for an attacker needed by Erik ten Hag. Trend was further strengthened by Henrik Larsson's successful three month loan when he was a cult figure amongst players and invested fully in every training session and matches esp at Middlesborough playing in midfield! 

Michael Owen did score in that famous derby win but his Liverpool link and failure of number 7 jersey successors since has mixed responses from fans. Falcao was mostly injured and Louis van Gaal dropped him for a young James Wilson saying "he couldn't play 20 minutes". Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his United debut in Community Shield, Premier League and FA Cup; and had a stellar 1st season despite injury in March which ruled out of starting XI in United's last trophy the 2017 UEFA Cup with Jose Mourinho. Club were generous to reward him an extension despite knowing he will not be available soon due to serious ligament injury. Edinson Cavani had a good first season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but missed most of the second season due to injury denting his impact.

Sheringham for 2-4 year tenure and Larsson for short term loan has since become benchmark for minimum requirements. Prior to joining United, Sheringham had played 521 games scoring 232 goals at the age of 31 without winning any major trophy. 30 year old Weghorst (470 club games, 171 goals) has a chance to sign for United like Larsson but can end like new Sheringham!

Garnacho, Hojlund, Mainoo

INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe not only met with all staff and players but also fans forum and community groups to stress the same message...

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