Journalism

Is De Gea a Keeper?

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 2ND MAY 2017

Rumour has it that United are considering a swoop for newly relegated Jermaine Defoe, offering him the Premier League lifeline of a one-year contract. The rationale behind the proposed transfer is that Defoe would be able to provide both competition and education for the teenage prodigy Marcus Rashford who Mourinho apparently views as the future of the United attack. Defoe apparently has an apartment not far from where Rashford lives and so would also be able to drive him to work when he inevitably loses his licence.

However, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic side-lined with serious knee ligament damage and, besides that, stalling on signing an extension to his current deal, the Red Devils will also be looking to strengthen the forward line in the summer break. Romelu Lukaku has been linked with United over the last few months, but with Everton seeking a reported £100 million for the Belgian striker this looks increasingly unlikely. Mourinho, however is said to be considering an attractive ‘cash plus player’ deal comprising diehard Evertonian Wayne Rooney plus around £110 million.

In other transfer speculation, sources close to United goalkeeper, David (De quiff) De Gea, have said that he is definitely, that is – DEFINITELY – going to sign for Real Madrid in the summer, adding that his move to the Galacticos is a done deal and nothing can stop it now… except maybe some late paperwork. De Gea is reported to be 100% committed to transferring to Madrid…well maybe nearer to 87-90% committed.

Following a 1980’s movie binge including Back to the Future (parts 1 & 2) and The Blues Brothers, Jose Mourinho is said to have enquired about signing Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as a replacement for the ever-so-slowly departing De Gea. There are also rumblings around Europe that the deal for De Gea may involve a player swap, with the name ‘Ronaldo’ being mentioned by certain sources (although it is uncertain at this time whether this refers to the 2016 Ballon d’Or winner or the fat Brazilian who used to be quite good). At a hastily convened press conference in the early hours of Sunday morning, the manager formerly known as the Special One, informed the assembled press and punters in ‘The Horse & Jockey’ public house,

‘I’m putting the band back together…’ The manager is then said to have paused momentarily to take a large swig from a bottle of Grand Marnier before adding, ‘… I’m on a mission from god.’

Superhuman Zlatan

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 2ND JUNE 2017

Sources inform that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made an almost miraculous recovery from a knee injury that would have ended the career of players half his age. So, what is his secret? Witchcraft? Voodoo? Alien technology? Desky Lewis investigates the big Swedish freak of nature.

Born in a region of Sweden with gravity far greater than anywhere else on Earth is what is generally considered to have imbued Zlatan Ibrahimovic with his incredible physical capabilities including almost superhuman levels of strength, durability and stamina and healing ability. Ibrahimovic, as a biological entity, is almost implausible given the parameters of his abilities on the football field.

Under the effects of normal gravity, Ibrahimovic’s reflexes are many times faster than his fellow players; Zlatan is reported to have the ability to catch a speeding bullet (although this assertion has never been independently verified by Barclays Premier League observers).

Due to his denser muscle and bone tissues, Zlatan is almost invulnerable to conventional injuries and is also reputed to be impervious to small arms fire. In addition, Zlatan’s denser musculature gives him the ability to move far greater weights than most, run as fast as a moving car and jump as high as a small to medium height building. Possession of far superior muscular strength and control than most of humanity can help explain the increased perspicacity of both Zlatan’s microscopic and telescopic vision, and, consequently, his ability to see passes that other players cannot.

Many have tried to rationalize Zlatan’s powers, but the fundamental energy source to explain how he powers his abilities continues to defy scientific description and, indeed, the laws of physics. Scientists have suggested that Zlatan may have the ability to absorb the energy created by cheering fans into his body which he is able to store for later use. But, physiologically speaking, just how Ibrahimovic is able to store this energy remains a scientific mystery.

Introducing Jose ‘The Hypnotist’ Mourinho

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 7TH APRIL 2017

In a post-match interview on Tuesday night, United manager Jose Mourinho described Luke Shaw as using ‘his body with my brain’. Quite clearly Mr Mourinho has been employing some sort of mind control on Shaw. This could well be the reason that United are drawing so many matches this season; if Mourinho’s brain is having to concentrate on controlling Luke Shaw then this would obviously leave little processing power for tactical thinking – particularly in the latter stages of matches when no doubt Mr Mourinho’s psychic powers would no doubt be waning.

Perhaps United should have gone for a manager with a bigger head? One would think the obvious choice would have been the man with the biggest bonce in British football – Big (headed) Sam Allardyce. Of course, should ‘Big Face’ have got the nod (pun intended) ahead of the man now being called ‘the Hypnotist’ (by me) there would most probably have been a continuation of the defensive bore-fest employed by professional tortoise impersonator – Louis van Gaal. Big Face may even have built on LVG’s defensive philosophy by employing his famed 7 – 1 – 1 formation, deployed to such tedious effect during his spells with Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn. I guess now we will never know…thank f***k!

However, Mourinho’s current tactic of playing without any defence whatsoever, exciting though it is, does not seem to be paying off quite how he planned so far this season. It may have worked with past United teams whose philosophy was to score more goals than the opposition because, more often than not, they were successful in doing so. But this season, with Pogba hitting the bar more often than George Best in his prime, and a strike force who, without the sublime talents of Mr Ibrahimovic, display about as much penetration as a soft porn film, cannot afford to simply attack at all costs.

All the talk in the media at the moment is of United signing a big name forward for next season, Antoine Griezmann being the obvious target. But perhaps Mourinho should be concentrating on building a defence as solid as castle battlements (complete with ugly gargoyles reminiscent of perhaps Jaap Stam or Steve Bruce) as opposed to the current system that appears to be based on something resembling Swiss cheese.

Ironically, English international defender Phil Jones has been more effective defensively since being out injured; when fit, and playing, opposing teams happily pass the ball to their nimble forwards who would easily skip around Jones – a player blessed with the mobility of a corpse in a tar pit. Jones’ defensive partner, Chris Smalling, came onto a game towards the end of last season which probably saved his United career. His form this season has been adequate, at best. Unfortunately, Smalling has had to return to Castle Frankenstein to have the bolts in his neck replaced and could be out for some time yet. Therefore, Mourinho has no alternative but to field Luke Shaw to try and shore up a defence that appears as convincing as a Donald Trump election promise. Let’s hope Jose’s psychic powers can hold out until the end of the season.

Does Wayne Rooney Actually Exist?

TOPICS:Gary LinekerJose MourinhoManchester United FansWayne Rooney

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 20TH FEBRUARY 2017

Reports surfaced over the weekend that Manchester United falling star Wayne Rooney could still be transferred before the Chinese Super League transfer deadline on February the 28th.

The 31-year-old player, affectionately nicknamed ‘Rooney’ by the United faithful, has not started a Premier League game for the club since mid-December, and despite becoming the Red Devil’s all-time record goal scorer has only managed two goals, so far, this season.

Rooney is keen to secure regular first team football in an effort to prolong his international career, and is reported to be interested in pursuing the interest in him from clubs in China. However, sources at Old Trafford are unable to confirm whether Mr. Rooney knows that China is not actually in Europe.

Many Chinese Super League teams, including big spending Beijing Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, expressed interest in signing Wayne Rooney during the English January transfer window, so news that the player is now ready to move may spark a serious bidding war. A deal that could easily top somewhere around the £35 million a year mark, could well prove be a carrot too juicy for the striker to refuse.

Rooney is already a cult figure in the far east having been the face of Mr. Potato Head Crisps since 2013. However, the one snag that is preventing Rooney from making what is sure to be a money spinning final career move is the fact that the financial muscle sanctioning any such move simply do not believe that Wayne Rooney is a real person.

A Chinese Super League insider who wished to remain anonymous, commented that,
‘The problem is that teams in the Chinese Super League are financed by businessmen who know little or nothing about football. They simply will not accept that someone that looks so much like a potato is an actual living human being.’

In a sense, Rooney is a victim of his own success; had he not agreed to the advertising campaign for Mr. Potato Crisps then he would still be a relatively unknown quantity to the Chinese money men. However, Rooney’s face & head is as recognisable as Mickey Mouse in China as it was used to front a multi-national advertising campaign encompassing countries including China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. Rooney is even the face of Mr. Potato-Head Crisps in Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates where, under their strict Sharia Law, impersonating a vegetable is punishable by death! A fatwa is still allegedly declared on Gary Lineker simply because his ears resemble two oversized Walker’s Crisps.

From a Manchester United point of view, sorting out the confusion as to the existence of Wayne Rooney and sanctioning a move to China sooner rather than later, would make sound financial sense, as the player still has eighteen months left on his contract and could therefore still elicit a significant fee.

United manager Jose Mourinho, is also said to be keen on securing Rooney’s exit, having become ‘disillusioned’ with the player following a half-time bust up during the crunch league fixture between United & Liverpool in January. Sources reported that Mourinho having just explained a complicated change in formation involving a continual switching of attack formation to draw out a compact & committed Liverpool back four; the manager then opened up the discussion to the players, asking if they had any questions. It is at this point that Rooney is reported to have then inquired if Mr. Mourinho knew where babies came from.

Fellaini Transfer in a Hair’s Breadth from Collapse

TOPICS:Manchester UnitedManchester United FansMarouane FellainiSam Allardyce

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 1ST FEBRUARY 2017

It is the news that Manchester United fans have been dreading. The eleventh hour bid by Armenian Champions Shirak Gyumri to tempt Marouane Fellaini away from Manchester in this January transfer window, is in danger of falling through.

The rest of the Premier League is also holding its’ collective breath as the transfer teeters on the verge of collapse, hoping and praying that a compromise can be reached between representatives of both clubs and Mr Fellaini’s agent, Luciano D’Onofrio.

One anxious Premier League manager (who requested that we do not use his real name in this article so we shall refer to him simply as ‘Big S’) clearly nervous at the toing & froing in this transfer saga commented that,

“Fellani is worth around fifteen goals a season to United’s opponents…” The manager, visibly shaken by proceedings, took a moment to compose himself and have a swig at his pint of wine before adding “…for teams like us battling for survival at the wrong end of the table, Fellaini’s own-goals and his gifts to the opposition are priceless. Having a fit and fired up Marouane Fellaini on the pitch in opposition can be the difference between Premier League survival and relegation to the Championship.”

The dispute that threatens to destabilise Fellaini’s move appears to be centred around image rights; Manchester United are claiming that the player signed two separate contracts when he transferred from Everton to United in 2013: The first contract was a straight player transfer worth, a United source claims, around £7.5 million, nothing complicated there. However, a second contract was signed worth somewhere in the region of £20 million for the image rights to Marouane Fellaini’s hair.

Armenian Champions Shirak are reported to be keen to sign the player, who United have said can leave for around £3 million, but are adamant that they do not have the resources to meet the hefty £25 million price tag United are said to be demanding for Mr Fellaini’s hair. Fellaini’s hair’s stock has soared following successive vibrant and full-bodied displays for both club and country, whereas the player, whilst still a force to be reckoned with if played to his strengths, had a pretty forgetful Euros last summer and has only been a bit-part player at United since Jose Mourinho took over as Manager in 2016.

Fellaini has been informed if he wishes to maintain his place in a very talented Belgium national team it is imperative that he plays regular first team football. It is looking increasingly likely as this drama unfolds that if Marouane Fellaini is serious about following his dream of winning a major honour with his beloved Belgian National Team, he and his hair may have to go their separate ways.

The saga continues…

 

Strachan Lined up for Assistant Manager at Parkhead?

POSTED BY: DESKY LEWIS 12TH OCTOBER 2016

After yet another mind numbingly dismal performance by the Scottish International side, pressure is mounting on beleaguered Scotland National manager Gordon Strachan.  Images of Strachan leaked to the press earlier on this morning suggest that the former ginger is looking to jump before he is pushed; in the pictures Strachan can be seen east end of Glasgow, suited and booted, briefcase in hand.

The so far anonymous photographer followed Strachan taking further shots of his actually entering the manager’s office and shaking hands with officials inside before entering and the door being closed. Understandably the rumour mills are working overtime and sources inform that the Assistant Manager’s post in Parkhead has been vacant for some time now, but executives, perhaps tipped off about Strachan’s perilous position within the Scotland set up, refused to advertise the position, instead preferring to hold out in order to get their man.

If successful, an announcement is expected later on today and Strachan could be paraded as the new Assistant Manager of B & Q Parkhead, Forge Retail Park, Glasgow, by close of business.

 

By Desky Lewis on 03/09/2015

Exploring Manchester United transfers past, present & possible

Is De Gea a Keeper?

The saga of David De Gea’s apparently imminent transfer to Real Madrid is at last over…or is it?  United were linked with Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris as a possible replacement and were rumoured to be ready to offer around the £21m mark to land the French international. However, with Lloris was an injury doubt for the new season, and his signing was probably viewed by the cautious Van Gaal as a bit too much of a gamble.

I have always felt that it would be in the best interests of the club for United to take a hit & keep De Gea for at least one more season in order to make serious bids for Premiership & European success. However, can United trust him to give 100% following the collapse of his dream move to Real Madrid at the eleventh hour?

Anders Lindegaard, the 31-year-old Danish goalkeeper despite the remaining year of his contract could have been United’s official number two stopper behind the recently arrived Argentina international Sergio Romero, who has had a solid start to his career at Old Trafford, but he signed for West Brom which leaves Sam Johnstone who was promoted to second back up keeper – a terrific boost for the youngster who was part of the England Under-17 squad that won the 2010 European Championship, playing alongside the likes of Saido Berahino & Ross Barkley who have since become established Premiership players.

But it looks like only a matter of time for Victor Valdes; an expected move to Turkish side Besiktas fell through on Sunday but his well-publicised spat with the manager during which Van Gaal is reported to have said of Valdes, “He doesn’t follow my philosophy. There is no place for someone like that” would suggest that Valdes will be shipped out at the first opportunity.

Manchester United – The Case for the Defence

A rejuvenated Chris Smalling & fellow England international Phil Jones appear to be the only survivors from Davy Moyes’s suicidal back four – Smalling saving his place with a strong end to last season’s campaign and Phil Jones being given a contract extension based on his potential. Van Gaal clearly sees something in Jones that the rest of us have missed over the past two seasons, the majority of his performances in 2014/15 were ponderous at best and Jones & Evans were arguably one of the most disastrous partnerships since Mick Fleetwood and Samantha Fox.

Daley Blind, signed initially to provide defensive cover for the midfield, finished last season as a more than competent left back. However, Van Gaal with a view to developing Luke Shaw in that position, begun playing Blind at centre-back during pre-season and Blind has taken to this change like the proverbial duck to water.

But Blind will face stiff competition in this position from Marcos Rojo who was one of Van Gaal’s rare success stories from last year’s signings. Blind’s style of play and passing ability fits with the Van Gaal philosophy of building attacks patiently from defence. This being said, against certain, more substantial forwards, e.g. Costa, Crouch & Co., Van Gaal may value the strength on the ball & ability in the air of Rojo, perhaps playing Blind just in front of the defence as a springboard for counter attacks.

The one new defensive signing that Van Gaal has made, Matteo Darmian, was probably not top of his defensive shopping list, but is the type of hard working, versatile player who should be a perfect fit in the manager’s system, and indeed, has bedded in well in the right back position in the short time he has been at the club.  

Over the course of the summer United were continually linked with Real Madrid’s 29-year-old defender Sergio Ramos. Attempts were made to bring the player to Old Trafford either as part of a player swap deal involving David De Gea or a direct transfer with Van Gaal looking to pay around the £28m mark. The deal of course never materialised, Ramos eventually signing a 5-year extension to his contract.  

United Need to Tighten up Around the Middle

Morgan Schneiderlin was tremendous for Southampton last season and should prove a very worthwhile acquisition, but I would suggest that, in the short term at least, he will have a difficult task unseating Michael Carrick at the heart of the midfield. However, Carrick is turning 34 soon and although he still has much to offer United Van Gaal may well see Schneiderlin as the future of the club.

Another excellent signing is Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German World Cup winner, a £14.4m capture from Bayern Munich, is a perfect example of the kind of uncompromisingly competitive midfielder that United fans adore.

Widely regarded as one of the finest defensive midfielders in world football, Schweinsteiger should provide the drive & creativity that has been lacking over the past two seasons. And another thing Schweinsteiger has in his locker that has been obvious by its absence from the united midfield is goals. Schweinsteiger has the ability to score all types of goals and that mark of a truly great player – the ability to create scoring opportunities from apparently benign situations.  

Despite some excellent acquisitions United could do with more creativity in the midfield, and Van Gaal may well be back in the market during the January transfer window. A name mentioned in terms of a possible target is Athletico Madrid midfielder Koke (also a one-time target for Chelsea).  

But again, Koke has insisted that he will not leave his home-town club. Koke has been with the Athletico since he was 8-years-old, making his full team debut in 2009 aged just 17. Despite some serious interest from United I would not be surprised if Koke turns out to be those rarest of footballers in the modern game – a one team man.

French International and one-time United player Paul Pogba has also been suggested by some as a good fit for the current United set up. However, the nature of his departure to Juventus of which Sir Alex Fergusson commented of Pogba,

‘I don’t think he showed us any respect at all, to be honest. I’m quite happy that if they [footballers] carry on that way, they’re probably better doing it away from us…’  would suggest that any attempts to re-sign Pogba would be frowned upon from on high to say the least.

Ilkay Gundogan is another name that was mooted as a possible signing. The German international is a fine all-round midfielder, good with the ball at his feet and able to pick a pass out. However, a lack of bite in the tackle might be the reason for Van Gaal’s lack of interest.   A player who has never been known to shy away from a tackle is Dutch international Kevin Strootman.  Known as ‘the Dutch Roy Keane’, one would imagine it would take the United fans no time at all to warm to his all action, box-to-box, uncompromising style of play.  

Van Gaal is a long-time admirer of the Roma midfielder and in all probability would have signed Strootman before now had it not been for a recurrent knee injury. Strootman was one of the first names on the team-sheet in Van Gaal’s Dutch National side until he suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of the World Cup. Strootman underwent knee surgery after further damaging his anterior cruciate ligament during a game against Fiorentina in January so I think that the United Manager, however much he admires Strootman, will wait and see if Stootman can make a full recovery before committing to a serious bid for the player.

Up Front

United reportedly received £44.3million from selling Angel Di Maria to Paris Saint-Germain. I think this was a huge mistake & feel that Di Maria was not given the chance to adapt to the pace & physicality of the English game. He has one of the best midfield pedigrees in world football and I feel that given time he could have proven to the United fans just how good he really is.

Van Gaal had lined up Barcelona winger Pedro as a possible direct replacement for Di Maria; the United boss was looking to pay £20m for the 28-year-old but Barca held out for the full £24m release clause specified in the Spaniard’s contract and Chelsea swooped in and gazumped United. Van Gaal taking his eye off the ball has deprived United of the potentially explosive attacking trio of Pedro, Memphis and Rooney.

Options to sign a top class forward seemed to be running low. Right up until the window closed there were still rumblings in the German press of a last gasp bid by United for German international Thomas Muller – Van Gaal reportedly having a bid of around £50m and the offer of a five-year contract worth an estimated £270,000 per week to the twenty-five-year-old rejected.   

Rumours in the press suggested that Van Gaal might re-ignite his interest in Juventus’s 30-year-old Spanish striker Fernando Llorente? One of Van Gaal’s many complaints last season regarded United’s lack of height -the arrival of the 6ft 5in front-man was seen as a step in the right direction to solving that particular problem.

However, no-one really expected the signing of the Monaco forward Anthony Martial, or to be more specific, the amount of money United were prepared to pay for him an estimated £36m. This huge transfer fee sees Martial usurp another United youngster, Luke Shaw (signed from Southampton last year for £27m) as the world’s most expensive teenage signing.

 

De Gea to Real Madrid Schmeichel to Real Madrid?

The rumour mill has been working overtime this weekend after a Spanish newspaper ran the headline that Real Madrid’s move for Manchester United Goalkeeper David de Gea is a done-deal, a story echoed by Spanish football journalist and pundit Guillem Balagué – recently voted by an independent poll as the most credible source of transfer information in the recent transfer window.

It has now emerged that Kasper Schmeichel, son of United legend Peter, is being lined up as a possible replacement for De Gea. The united keeper will apparently be off to Real as part of a swap plus cash deal for Gareth Bale which could also involve Robin van Persie and Ángel Di María. Javier Hernández’s season long loan at Real could also be made permanent as part of the negotiation.

Others that could be heading for the United exit are Phil Jones and Jonny Evans who have both struggled for form this season. Someone certain to be packing his suitcase is Radamel Falcao after failing to impress whilst on loan from AS Monaco. Chris Smalling had also been tipped for the chop, but in an apparent u-turn he was handed the captains armband by boss Louis van Gaal yesterday which seemed to instil in him a level of confidence that has been lacking for the past two seasons and has maybe rescued his United career.

A surprise recall could be on the cards for Tom Cleverly. Cleverly, who had previously stated that he felt that his career at Old Trafford was over, has been at the heart of a reinvigorated Aston Villa side who, under the stewardship of Tim Sherwood have not only managed to pull themselves back from the brink of relegation in some style, but also reached their first FA Cup final since 2000. After defeating a much-fancied Liverpool team in the semi-final seven-time FA Cup winners Villa will fancy their chances to lift trophy for first time since 1957.