In this instalment of our Transfer Roundup, Football Transfer Tavern have gathered three of the biggest stories to have involved Manchester United recently and have provided our thoughts on the reports published.
David de Gea a doubt for Liverpool clash
Manchester United could be without goalkeeper David de Gea against Liverpool this Sunday, according to BBC Sport.
The 28-year-old injured his hamstring playing for Spain in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Sweden and was replaced by Chelsea stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Spain drew 1-1 with the Scandinavians on Tuesday evening thanks to a last-minute goal from Manchester City midfielder Rodrigo.
United have lost two of their previous three league matches, with their latest defeat coming against Newcastle prior to the international break. De Gea was critical of his side after the 1-0 loss at St James’ Park, saying: “The whole season isn’t acceptable for us.
“We have injuries but it’s not an excuse. We are Manchester United. We need to train hard to keep fighting and to get back to winning games.” (via BBC Sport).
De Gea’s absence will be a huge blow for United, who are already massive underdogs for Sunday’s match against Liverpool.
The Reds are on a phenomenal 17-match winning streak in the Premier League, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have won just two of their league games all season, so the last thing they need is for their influential goalkeeper to be ruled out of action.
Juventus set for talks with Mandzukic amid interest from United
The Mirror report that Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has confirmed he is set for talks with Mario Mandzukic regarding his future in Turin.
The 33-year-old has yet to play a competitive match under manager Maurizio Sarri this term, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala all currently ahead of him in the pecking order at the Allianz Stadium.
“With Mandzukic, we chose a quiet time for him to leave but a move to Qatar [in the summer] did not materialise so he stayed with us,” said Paratici, per Football Italia.
“Now we will talk to him and see what happens in January.”
This comes just days after the Daily Express claimed a deal had been struck for the player.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have scored just nine league goals all season – 18 less than rivals Manchester City – so could do with an experienced striker at Old Trafford to help mentor the young forwards they currently have in the first-team squad. Having played for some of the biggest teams in Europe, the former Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid will certainly provide that at the very least.
Having notched 188 goals for some of the biggest clubs in the world over the course of his career, Mandzukic could be a safe bet to introduce goals into a team.
Why United opted against signing Joao Felix
Manchester United considered signing Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix in the summer, but decided against it due to his lack of physicality, report the Atheltic.
The 19-year-old earmarked himself for success last season whilst playing for Benfica, scoring 15 goals and providing nine assists for the Portuguese titans.
His accolades last term saw some of Europe’s biggest clubs sit up and take notice of the rising star, with Atletico Madrid paying Benfica £113m for his signature in the summer – making him the fifth most expensive transfer ever, and second most expensive teenager.
The Athletic claim that United did flirt with the idea of signing Felix in the summer, however, but were put off by his lack of physicality and concerns that he would not be able to cope with the pace and power of the Premier League.
Felix has started his career at Atletico Madrid fairly well, scoring three goals while laying off an assist for Diego Simeone’s men in all competitions (via Transfermarkt).
United’s concerns regarding his lack of physicality are perhaps understandable when you look at the midfielder and assess how much he would have cost the club, though they would also do well to remember that when his fellow countryman, Cristiano Ronaldo, moved to Old Trafford as a wiry 17-year-old back in 2003, people may have had reservations about his qualities.
According to WhoScored, Felix has been dispossessed at least once per game across all competitions this season, which would only see him rank 9th in the United squad in that metric in the Premier League this season. Granted, there may be a difference in the leagues across England and Spain, but Felix is clearly a talent and the idea he couldn’t improve on that trait is somewhat presumptive, especially when you take into Ronaldo’s career trajectory after moving to the Theatre of Dreams.
United fans, what do you make of all this? Let us know by commenting below!
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