Category Archives: Manchester United

LA Galaxy find replacement for Zlatan in Javier “Chicharito” Hernández

After world-renowned striker Zlatan Ibrahimović left the LA Galaxy to return to A.C. Milan, the team officially announced that Javier “Chicharito” Hernández signed a three-year Designated Player contract for the five-time champions. 

The MLS-side were desperate to find an option for their Number 9. After several names were reported to replace the Swede, including his former PSG teammate Edinson Cavani, the club was able to land Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Chicharito played for Guadalajara, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham United, and, most recently, Sevilla. In 308 career appearances at the senior level, he accumulated 115 goals. Along with finding success scoring in some of the best leagues around the world, the Mexican international has won several awards, including two Premier League titles, a FIFA Club World Cup, and much more.

Meanwhile, for El Tri, the 31-year-old has found the back of the net 52 times in 109 appearances. Chicharito has been dominate for his country, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011, the CONCACAF Cup in 2015, and was named the federation’s Men’s Player of the Year in 2015.

Even though Chicharito is not as well known in the world of football like Zlatan, he will still have an impact in filling the seats at Dignity Health Sports Park. With the city’s huge Mexican population, getting one of the country’s most historic players is not a bad way to attract fans to attend the games.

Having arrived from a short stint in La Liga, critics are wondering if the veteran is able to compete in the league. It will be an interesting experiment as the LA Galaxy are on their quest to win their sixth MLS Cup, but first since 2014.

How can Manchester United replace Marcus Rashford for the next few months?

Following this past weekend’s 2-0 defeat to fierce rivals Liverpool, Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer confirmed every United fans worst fears, that Marcus Rashford could face a minimum of six weeks out.

 Solskjaer said during his post match press conference on Sunday:

“He has suffered a bad injury.  It’s a stress fracture, it happened against Wolverhampton during the FA Cup third round replay.”

This injury could hardly come at a worse time for the Red Devils with the return leg in the Carabao Cup looming against Manchester City at the end of the month where United somehow have to overturn a 3-1 deficit.

An FA Cup fourth round tie against either Watford or Tranmere Rovers is also on the horizon and not to mention the resumption of their Europa League campaign against Club Brugge in February.

Rashford himself has up to this point enjoyed his best ever goal-scoring season for the club to date having scored 19 goals in all competitions so far – making him the top goal scorer.

So how does Solskjaer go about replacing his main man for these up coming season defining games?

Strikers currently at United who could replace Rashford

Anthony Martial

The French international is the most senior fit forward currently at the club and is enjoying his best scoring return since his debut campaign for the team back in 2015/16.

Martial has scored 24 goals in all competitions this term however question marks still remain however about his consistency, he did also miss a crucial chance at weekend against Liverpool that could of altered the outcome.

Mason Greenwood

Greenwood has enjoyed a terrific start to his career at Old Trafford and has proven that he is a clinical finisher having reached 10 goals in all competitions. On top of that his left foot has been likened to Dutch forward Robin Van Persie.

He is only 18 and it is his first season playing Premier League football. This in mind, would it be worth Manchester United bringing in another striker to help fill the void that Rashford would leave?

Striker options in the Transfer Market

Former Manchester United right back Gary Neville has previously stressed that his old club needed to replace Romelu Lukaku following his move to Inter Milan in the summer and yesterday Neville said:

“United have to go into the transfer market. They need someone up there with a physical presence and a bit more maturity – they need another body.”

Solskjaer has also stated that they would be open to a short-term solution following their growing injury list.  So who is currently available?

Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan forward’s name immediately jumps out following his transfer request that he has put in this week.  Cavani’s contract at Paris Saint German expires at the end of the season but the 32 year old wants to leave during the January transfer window.

Cavani has scored 195 goals in 269 appearances for PSG, however this season his game time has been limited due to injuries.

He is a proven international striker but could be a gamble due to his inexperience in the premier league and current injury record. So there is the danger of a repeat of Radamel Falcao’s disastrous loan move a few years ago.

Paco Alcacer

Following the arrival of Erling Haaland at Borussa Dortmund the Spanish international’s game time could be further limited so his game time could be further limited at the German side.

Despite his lack of game time Alcacer has still managed five goals in 11 games this campaign and has managed a good goal scoring return at his previous clubs, particularly Valencia.

The 26 year old is another one however that lacks Premier League experience. There would also be further competition for his signature from Atletico Madrid.

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente, unlike the previous striking options has had experience of playing in the Premier League.

The Spanish international has previously appeared for Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur and would also give United a more physical presence up front that they currently lack with their current forward options.

Llorente is also not getting much game time at his current side, Napoli.

At 34 years old however he is the oldest striker on this list and he also is not scoring many goals having only managed three goals in his 16 appearances so far for the Italian club.

Callum Wilson

Another potential striker option is Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. His style is similar to that of Rashford’s and he did score 25 goals in all competitions last season.

Wilson however has struggled for form this season scoring just five times but signing for Manchester United could prove beneficial for both player and club and inspire him to get back to that goal scoring form of the last campaign.

Moussa Dembele

The 23-year-old French forward is having a strong season for Lyon.  Dembele has scored 11 goals in 19 appearances in France Ligue 1 and has previously played for English club, Fulham and has impressed while at Scottish Champions Celtic.

Dembele has previously been linked with the 20 time premier league champions while he was at Fulham.   The French side however will unlikely want to part with their prized asset until the summer at the earliest and there would be the added competition from Premier League rivals such as Chelsea for his signature.

Raul Jimenez

Our final option is a striker already applying his trade in the top flight.  Jimenez has already proved to be an excellent acquisition for Wolverhampton Wanders and the 28 year old has led the line brilliantly for Nuno Espirto Santo’s team, scoring ten times and contributing six assists in 23 games.

The Mexican striker would certainly be an effective target man up front for Solskjaer’s side.  The chances of Wolves letting their prize asset go mid-season however are somewhat remote and United may have to splash out in access of 50 million for his signature.

Summary

The need for United to venture into the January transfer market for an additional striker is certainly apparent, particularly if they want to maintain a realistic challenge for the Champions League places and winning a Cup competition.

Otherwise the Red Devils and their fans could face yet again another season without featuring in Europe’s premier competition.

Amazon prime: a new era for football broadcasting?

As Amazon Prime Video broadcast their first Premier League games this week, is this a preview of things to come?

Image result for amazon package
Not your usual delivery! Amazon take on new Premier League broadcasting deal.

In an agreed 3 year deal, Amazon are set to start out their football broadcasting career with December’s fixtures. This strategic deal comes with aim of the company to see an influx of new customers during the busiest time of the year. For the already members of Amazon Prime, they will benefit from watching for free whereas new customers can enjoy a free trial, with follow up prices at the beginning of permament membership set to increase. A free trial period is a risk taken by operators at Amazon in hope that people will follow up their subscriptions.

If this is the way football media is heading, the effects could be very damaging in terms of reducing live match day attendances. As the variety of subscription services are increasing, it is likely football fans will already subscribe to at least one of the major sports broadcasters in Sky Sports, BT Sport or now Amazon. Alongside the current expense of travelling to away games especially, could this be another factor to prevent football fans from travelling away?

If this is to be the case, in the next ten years there could be rapid change in how the game operates. Football’s commercialisation is continually on the up rise – meaning football clubs always have to look to protect themselves financially. This could mean in future they take broadcasting opportunities into their own hands. Could it be that the clubs themselves start up subscription services such as those of MUFC TV and LFC TV? These already offer some game footage and insider viewing for their subscribers. For supporters this could become a choice between your traditional season ticket or a digital season ticket for home viewing.

Despite this, it is unlikely clubs will endeavour to claim tv rights from the broadcasters just yet, so for now it seems it shall be them battling it out for top spot of football television.

Is Maddison the man for Ole?

James Maddison is continuing to impress at Leicester and is looking more and more like the finished article and one of the elite play-makers in the country. And with United’s current plight, Maddison seems like the perfect fit to come in and save their season.

The attacking midfielder showed flashes of his brilliance last season playing 36 games and getting seven goals and seven assists in his first season in the top flight. With Claude Puel getting the chop in February, Brendan Rodgers has come in and turned the foxes around with some shrewd signings and inventive tactics. Rodgers’ arrival has also seen Maddison step up his game with goals against Liverpool and Spurs as well as an assist against Chelsea, Maddison has become a big game player.

Maddison is Leicester’s most creative midfielder, has a brilliant eye for a pass and can score goals in or outside the box. Add this to his brilliant dead-ball and dribbling skills and it is tough to find an area of his game that needs significantly improving.

Brendan Rodgers’ has pushed Maddison back slightly into a number eight role, giving him more defensive responsibility and requiring him to work for the team more. Maddison has taken to this new role like a duck to water and it has also seen him get on the ball more and dictate play.

United are currently crying out for a creative midfielder with the absence of Paul Pogba, and on paper Maddison seems like the perfect option to bring in. Ole seems to be clinging onto the job by the skin of his teeth and it is almost inevitable that he or whoever is in the Old Trafford hot seat in January will be given money to spend to improve a squad that has looked a million miles away from challenging for the top four this term.

But then begs the question, why would Maddison leave Leicester for United? Right now Leicester have a much better squad and manager than United, and it’d take a minor miracle for United to finish above them this season considering they are seven points behind after ten games.

United have always been able to attract the very best and despite not being in a great place over the past few years, have not lost that pulling power that has seen the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez turn down bigger money to join the Red Devils. And with Maddison being a United fan as a boy, that could be a key factor in whether he makes the move this winter.

Club World Cup, whats new?

The club world cup is undergoing a shake up currently that will see the competition go from seven teams to twenty four starting from 2021. The competition will run every four years and include eight teams from Europe, six from South America, three each from Africa, Asia and North America and one from Oceania, however Many European heavyweights have threatened to boycott.

Being held in the summer months this would significantly impact the European calendar as it would mean players would have to finish a long gruelling season only to have to play more games in the time they should be resting and recuperating.

The European Club Association (ECA) have written a letter to Uefa saying they are firmly against the idea and confirmed that no ECA clubs would be involved. With the potential lack of European clubs this instantly devalues the competition, as how can you have a Club World Cup without arguably the strongest sides in the world?

To further increase the backlash the first edition will be held in China, a place that has seen a multitude of protests and other issues over the past 12 months and right now is in no position to be hosting a global sporting event.

With all its issues and problems, the basic idea of having an expanded Club World Cup featuring all the best teams across the globe to determine who is the best team on the planet sounds good on paper. But logistically the tournament is always going to struggle as long as the different continents have their own football calendars.

The current tournament is well respected outside of Europe and is seen as a very big deal, it has just simply never interested European fans and has often been seen as a distraction to the domestic and Continental campaigns.

After an already shaky beginning can the expanded Club World Cup survive? and possibly outgrow its previous forms?