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.

Granit Xhaka hits back at Arsenal critics after Sheffield United: ‘They speak a lot of bulls**t’

Arsenal star Granit Xhaka has today moved to defend his side, after the Gunners’ abysmal display at Sheffield United saw them downed by a goal to nil.

Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal

Unai Emery’s men travelled to Bramall Lane last night, for their latest Premier League outing.

Arsenal headed into the clash on the back of a fine recent run of form, which had seen the capital giants unbeaten in their last 8 outings across all competitions.

When the 90 minutes were said and done in Sheffield, however, the Gunners were brought firmly back down to earth.

An altogether lifeless display eventually saw the visitors deservedly fall to a 1-0 defeat.

Lys Mousset bagged the only goal of the matchup, after Jack O’Connell’s header back across goal saw the Blades’ hitman afforded the freedom of the Arsenal 6-yard box to prod home.

‘People speak too much’

Arsenal’s defeat, meanwhile, has since seen the mental toughness of the north Londoners called into question once again.

One of those to have been heavily critical of Unai Emery’s men on the back of their latest showing was former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Speaking during a guest appearance on Sky Sports last night, Evra jibed:

‘I used to call them ‘my babies’ 10 years ago, and they are still, when I look at them, ‘my babies’. That’s the truth.’

As such, speaking in an interview of his own earlier today, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was drawn on the suggestion that he and his fellow teammates do not possess the mental tools required to reestablish themselves amongst the Premier League’s elite.

The Swiss international, though, was in no mood to pull punches with his response:

‘We have to stop speaking about mental [issues] or bulls*** like this.’

‘For me it’s the same if you play home or away. You have to win. You have to show big character. You have to show good games and not to find always the same excuse.’

‘A lot of people speak too much. I hear that the first time he (Evra) speaks something against us. I have a lot of respect about him, because he was a great player. But you have to be careful what you say in those situations as well.’

‘It’s not only him it’s a lot of people. They speak a lot of bulls*** about us. It’s always the same.’

‘For me it’s strange because they (pundits) were in the same situation as us, they were players as well.’

‘Maybe sometimes it was good, sometimes it was not so good. But how I say if you speak every weekend, every game, bulls*** like this they speak, they don’t get respect about what they say.’

Quotes via the Evening Standard

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William Jose reveals that he turned down Newcastle United offer

newcastle united

Willian Jose has revealed has revealed that he turned down the chance to join Newcastle United.

The Real Sociedad striker insists he is happy in La Liga with his club, although he admits he does want to play in the Premier League one day.

However, he insists he has no regrets after ‘last year’ knocking back Newcastle .

The Brazilian striker has been with Real Sociedad for just over three years and has been a massive success.

In La Liga he has scored 42 goals and got 13 assists from 95 starts and seven sub appearances.

His performances have attracted plenty of attention but his age may prove to be a bit off putting now for Mike Ashley. William Jose is 27 and turns 28 next month (November).

The striker has been called up for Brazil twice without getting on the pitch and admits that if nothing changes, he may make himself available to Spain.

William Jose talking to Marca:

“The Premier (League) is the best championship in the world but La Liga is not far behind.

“For me, the best team is Real Madrid and then Barcelona.

“I could have been in the Premier (League) but I am in the right place.

“I want to play in the Premier League one day but for now I am happy here.

“I had an option to go to Newcastle last year (but) I am happy at Real Sociedad and I ended up staying (rather than going to Newcastle).”

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Mike Ashley denies offering Jaap Stam the Newcastle United job

jaap stam

In an interview in Holland, Jaap Stam has said that he was offered the Newcastle United job.

Speaking to Voetbal International (see below), the former Manchester United defender says he was approached to take the job before Mike Ashley gave it to Steve Bruce.

Jaap Stam saying that he had just agreed to take the Feyrenoord job, an agreement that he couldn’t/wouldn’t break in order to accept Ashley’s offer.

Now though, Mike Ashley and Newcastle United have issued a denial, claiming that they didn’t offer Stam the job.

The Chronicle saying that an unnamed person at the football club also told them that Mike Ashley and NUFC didn’t instruct anybody else to speak to Jaap Stam on their behalf either.

Whilst Stam would have been a surprise candidate for the job, in reality it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

With the exception of Rafa Benitez, these past nine years have seen a succession of underwhelming appointments.

Mike Ashley’s preference to have a patsy manager/head coach recruited from the lower divisions, so desperate to take the job that they will accept having no responsibility on transfers or anything else of importance.

The previous four appointments (ignoring Rafa Benitez) having had their last jobs in League One (Pardew) and the Championship (McClaren and Bruce), whilst John Carver was promoted by Mike Ashley.

The Mag – Earlier today (Tuesday 22 October 2019);

An interesting new interview with Jaap Stam over in Holland.

The former Manchester United player is currently manager of Feyenoord, who aren’t doing that great.

They finished third in the Dutch league last season and after taking over this summer, they are currently on tenth.

However, Jaap Stam says that he might not have ended up there at all.

The one-time Reading boss took over at Dutch minnow PEC Zwolle in December (2018) but only a few months later was approached by Feyenoord, Jaap Stam agreeing a two year contract with Feyenoord which would start on 1 June 2019, after he had seen out the season witjh PEC Zwolle.

Jaap Stam though has revealed that only a few days after agreeing that deal with Feyenoord, he was approached to take the job at Newcastle.

Mike Ashley and his people said to have offered the former Dutch international the NUFC job when Rafa Benitez still had almost four mnths of his contract remaining.

At a time when supposedly Mike Ashley was doing everything he could to persuade Rafa Benitez to stay…

This very much fits in with the belief of most fans that Ashley had no intention at all of trying to retain the top class manager.

Instead looking around for somebody who was desperate enough to take the NUFC job on the understanding they would have no real power, apart from training and picking  the team.

It has been widely reported that Steve Bruce got the job only after a whole host of other people turned Mike Ashley down, so now it appears we can add Jaap Stam to that list.

Certainly having been sacked at Reading after a run of only one win in 18 league matches (20th in the Championship in March 2018) and ending up at PEC Zwolle, you could well imagine that Jaap Stam would have fit that ‘desperate’ description and willing to accept Ashley’s terms.

Jaap Stam speaking to Voetbal International:

“You have been (well) informed because it is correct.

“Newcastle United contacted me a few days after I agreed (in March) to manage Feyenoord.

“So it was not an option right away.

“I am a man of my word.

“It was beautiful and honorable because the people in England apparently know what I stand for as a coach.”

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Premier League form table ahead of Newcastle v Wolves – Not great reading

The Premier League form table ahead of Newcastle United taking on Wolves.

It seems an awful lot longer than three months ago when Newcastle lined up against Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

NUFC were hammered 4-0 in that pre-season tournament in the week that Steve Bruce was appointed.

After the defeat at Chelsea, Newcastle are 18th in this Premier League form table.

This six game run having one win, two draws and three defeats.

Indeed, the Premier League form table exactly copies the full PL table at the bottom, with only Watford and Norwich worse off than Newcastle.

As for Wolves, they stand eleventh in the Premier League form table, with two wins, two draws and two defeats.

However, that only tells part of the story.

Possibly affected by the number of Europa League qualifying games they had to play, Wolves made a terrible start to the season, losing two and drawing three of their first five Premier League games.

However, they have then won two and drawn two, including that victory at Man City in their last away game.

Indeed in all competitions, Wolves are unbeaten in six, winning four and drawing two.

Steve Bruce will be hoping that the away Europa League game in Bratislava will negatively affect Wolves, as they now look like a team back on the up, whilst Newcastle continue their struggle for both points and goals.

A massive game on Sunday for Newcastle, as the other teams in the bottom five all have home games where they look as though they could pick up points.

Here is the Premier League form table which covers the past six matches for all teams:

Wolves’ last six results with latest one listed first:

Wolves 1 Southampton 1

Man City 0 Wolves 2

Wolves 2 Watford 0

Crystal Palace 1 Wolves 1

Wolves 2 Chelsea 5

Everton 3 Wolves 2

Newcastle’s last six results also listed with the latest result first:

Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 1 Man Utd 0

Leicester 5 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 0 Brighton 0

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 1 Watford 1

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‘Supporting Newcastle United is like being a Brexiteer…’

newcastle united

Supporting Newcastle United is like being a Brexiteer, in that we know what we want…

We have bought our tickets. Dressed in our colours.

Voted (with our feet and money) and are committed to our team. Gone to games home and away.

All based on the pre-season bravado statements with the club saying all is changing for the good.

That we are moving forward.

That our new manager will promote attacking football and the hierarchy endorse this new direction of travel.

Well folks, surprise surprise.

What has been served up is indeed not the same old rubbish.

Oh no, we have now instead found a completely new offering of trash – look at the league table, it does not lie – but even more revealing, just look at our performances .

According to Steve Bruce we were robbed of a result at Chelsea because the officials missed a foul.

Get real – was he watching the same game as everyone else? We were shocking and with possession at some 28%, even when we got the ball we were about as exciting as spent fart.

No skill, no flair, no flamboyance, no speed, no cohesion , and certainly no attacking plan, with an average of less than 30% possession you need all of these accessories in your armoury to be able to counter-attack effectively but we appear to have none.

Having said all that, I do feel sorry for Miguel Almiron, who tried his heart out playing to Steve Bruce’s plan.

However, saddled with a playing partner who at £40m is only possibly equal to the now departed Joselu, gives you an idea of the scale of his problems. Joelinton is slow to think, act and move, with a ponderous first touch just awful to watch, in fact woeful to watch.

Also, why on earth are we playing Andy Carroll who is slower than a snail and whose only skill is to head the ball? Which is great if you have support players and a plan to put pinpoint crosses into the penalty area – we have neither sadly and his substitution for Almiron cost us a point.

Unfortunately, it has to be said that Newcastle United are the most boring team in the Premier League.

The football dross played out before us is inept in its perception and execution, with maybe half of the Newcastle United squad way below Premier League standard – sadly, I also include our manager.

Hidden amongst this football morass we do have some jewels  – the Longstaff boys, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Dummet and Dubravka, to name but a few. However, our future depends on these gems being used in a more enterprising and entertaining way, let’s all hope it happens soon.

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Huddersfield 7/5 to beat Middlesbrough in Wednesday’s Championship contest 

Competition: Championship Market: Huddersfield win Odds: 7/5 @ Bet 365 Handed the chance to climb out of the drop zone, a resurging Huddersfield will welcome Middlesbrough to the John Smith’s Stadium on Wednesday night. Starting with the hosts, snatching a 2-2 draw off of rivals Blackburn over the weekend, Huddersfield have really started to catch the eye since […]

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