Man United strong favourites to sign world-class striker, deal will cost £8.6m

Everything indicates that Mario Mandzukic’s next club will be Manchester United, according to reports from Italy.

Man United’s interest in the Croat dates back to the summer, with Mandzukic mentioned initially as part of a deal involving Paulo Dybala and then considered as a target in his own right, although no such move materialised.

Since then, however, United and Juventus have reached an agreement in principle over Mandzukic ahead of the January transfer window.

According to Calcio Mercato, there is very little standing in the way of the striker moving to Old Trafford.

Juventus want €10m (£8.6m) for the 33-year-old – a sum that United are said to be open to meeting in the next window.

And if they are not willing to pay that nominal fee, they ought to have their heads looked at carefully. Here is a player who gives United two things they desperately lack: maturity and goals.

Do the maths, Ed. This one really is a no-brainer.

Woodward confirms Mourinho wanted to sell this Man Utd superstar

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has finally opened on just what happened when it was rumoured Jose Mourinho wanted to sell Anthony Martial.

Back when the news broke, it was reported the club refused to sell him with the Portuguese tactician believed to be in favour of signing Ivan Perisic.

Fans themselves were uncomfortable over the deal, particularly if it involved a straight swap as it was a younger player for an older one close to the end of his peak.

In the end Martial remained at the club and Mourinho was sacked with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer choosing to make him the main striker instead.

It’s certainly a decision that’s remained popular with the United fans and is probably the one call Woodward got right.

Martial unfortunately suffered an injury this season just when it appeared as though he was picking up steam.

His recent return to fitness will have fans hoping he can pick up where he left off but given the length of time he was out for, it’s likely he’ll need some time to get back to speed.

Although Martial’s talent is obvious, if he doesn’t start to prove he can remain fit consistently, he may soon find himself replaced by a better striker.

Woodward reveals his lowest point as Man United CEO

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has revealed the loss to Olympiakos in 2014 was a low point during his career and has explained why he was taking a picture that day.

Back then David Moyes was in charge for his one and only season as he took the club to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

United would go on to lose to Bayern Munich but first they almost got knocked out by Olympiakos in the round of 16 stage.

Moyes’ men lost 2-0 away from home to the Greek side in awful fashion though they managed to overturn the tie at Old Trafford thanks to a Robin van Persie hat-trick.

What infuriated the fans even more during the loss was Woodward being caught on camera taking a picture of the occasion as if he didn’t care.

It was Woodward’s first year in charge since David Gill also left the club at the same time Sir Alex Ferguson did.

Many lay the blame at his door for the failures endured since the legendary Scotsman retired.

Manchester United have failed to win the league since and probably even challenge for it seriously despite Jose Mourinho finishing second in his second season in charge.

Woodward explains why Man United recruitment has been poor in the past

Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hasn’t recently done an in-depth interview where he reveals information previously not available to the public.

The heavily criticised man has opted to have a ‘clear the air’ talk given the club’s position in the table and fans’ frustrations constantly growing.

United’s structure has often been a point of attack by previous managers with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all in agreement with the poor system in place.

Woodward has only now accepted, in reference to the recruitment process, things weren’t set up correctly for success.

The worrying matter for fans will now be why that was the case and what has taken so long for it to be fixed.

Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho were all accused of poor recruitment though they all put the blame on the board’s shoulders.

It’s believed all of them didn’t always get their preferred targets and that the board would often end up signing players far down the list.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s purchases have proven popular with the fans so far but more importantly they haven’t seem random or signed in a scattergun manner.

Hopefully the legendary Norwegian has put an end to the club’s poor recruitment and United can benefit from this new approach.

Attacking 4-2-3-1: Man United can smash Partizan Belgrade with this attack

Manchester United travel to Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday with some much-needed confidence following an impressive 85 minutes against Liverpool.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, whilst clearly limited in quality, demonstrated excellent organisation and application of the Norwegian’s game-plan, coming within minutes of beating the European champions.

However, they face a different task on Thursday as they look to break a winless run away from home which now stretches to 11 games.

Here is an attacking quartet which could cause the Serbian side some trouble on Thursday.

Solskjaer spoke confidently about Jesse Lingard‘s fitness after the game against Liverpool and the Englishman, in turn, should be given a run-out if he passes all the tests.

For a player who has seemingly forgotten to score goals, a solid performance against a team like Partizan – an organised but ultimately limited team – whilst playing down the middle would remind United supporters of his key qualities.

Lingard will be helped by the return of Anthony Martial, who came off the bench against Liverpool and looks set to receive a chance to inflict some damage from the start against Partizan as Solskjaer hands a rest to Marcus Rashford ahead of the meeting with Norwich City.

Why Marcos Rojo is Manchester United’s player of the 2019-20 season so far

Manchester United’s 2019-20 campaign so far ought to be viewed as less of a defeat and more like a set of circumstances whereby any kind of victory is simply impossible.

For all the debate about who is to blame and what needs to be done, what we can ascertain, beyond doubt, is that any concrete, fundamental solutions to Man United’s current predicament exists in the distant future, not to be smelled let alone touched for quite some time.

To paraphrase the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; now is the time for monsters.”

Enter, Marcos Rojo.

United consists of individuals – from directors to players to staff – unsure of what they are meant to be, what they should be, and how to get there. We are living in the climate change era of extremities, of things being out of balance, oscillating one way and then another, and United is a wonderful example of this – a club forever searching for an identity like a dog chasing its own tail.

That is why – and I am not joking here – when Rojo, with 20 minutes left against Astana last month and the score still goalless, decided he would ignore the packed box full of United shirts and instead attempt a rabona pass from an angle that absolutely did not permit it, was and still is my favourite moment of United’s season. It was the poetry that United 2019 deserved.

Plenty has happened since Rojo joined United in 2014 – both at the football club and in the wider world – but the beauty of that moment, for me, was that if he were presented with the same circumstances five years ago, Rojo would have done the exact same thing. Without compunction. And he would have been utterly convinced that it was the right thing to do.

Amid the rubble of this season, with players injuring themselves left right and centre, the Argentine has picked himself up off the treatment table and hit us with both barrels of Pure Undistilled Marcos Rojo™, and I, for one, am seriously here for it.

Rojo looks at you with those deep-set, manic eyeballs, his boot with sharpened studs on your throat, and says: “Any time, any place, mate. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve got NOTHING to lose.”

Somehow, as if through some force field of his own making, Rojo has managed to live through six seasons of the post-Fergie era without even changing in the slightest. Think about who was in that team when he joined: Radamel Falcao, Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Tyler Blackett, Robin van Persie, Jonny Evans, etc. Some have retired, others have deteriorated, others have improved.

But Rojo continues as ever, playing only when better players are injured and flinging himself at opposition defenders with a sense of childlike joy, giving no regard to its potential consequences for the team or indeed his own personal safety.

Even now, despite all that has changed and all this new information that we are struggling to hold in this godforsaken year of our Lord that is 2019, Rojo remains knowledgeable of and loyal to his art in an absolute sense. Much like how Japanese sumos maintain a way of life first established many generations ago, Rojo knows nothing other than his creed of smashing into people harder than they can smash into him.

Being true to who you really are is a gift that only some people have. Pressures from all corners can force you to pigeon hole certain aspects of yourself away.

That is why, if nothing else this season, we can learn something from Rojo, the man who prepares toast in the exact same way that he deals with a 50/50 challenge – by completely obliterating it.

The best photos from Man United 1-1 Liverpool

Manchester United surprised the watching world by coming within minutes of securing an unlikely victory over Liverpool on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to play five across midfield, with Daniel James and Marcus Rashford attacking down the middle, successfully stifled Liverpool’s passing lanes and allowed for the pair to combine for an excellent counterattacking goal just before half-time – albeit with some controversy (but not actual controversy) over VAR.

The home side defended resolutely in the second half, preventing Liverpool from creating clear-cut opportunities, only for a mistake at a cross to afford Adam Lallana an easy tap-in at the far post.

Here are the best photos from what was a pulsating affair at Old Trafford.

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