It’s the height of silly season, and naturally Manchester United are being linked with a plethora of players. After finishing top in the Premier League two seasons ago, the Red Devils, under David Moyes, slipped down to seventh last season, missing out on European play entirely.
United, understandably, want to restore themselves to their former glories. Louis van Gaal has been installed at the helm, and after Netherlands’ impressive performances in the World Cup, making it to the semifinals, many are confident in his abilities to lead the team.
But United have yet to bring in a host of players. In fact, the only signings made thus far have been that of midfield Ander Herrera, signed from Athletic Bilbao, and defender Luke Shaw, signed from Southampton. So van Gaal must be looking to bring in more players, right?
Not necessarily. Manchester United are close to securing a spot in the International Champions Cup final, so their preseason is going rather well. When asked about transfer plans during a press conference, van Gaal said: “We still have a month to go [in the transfer window] and we are winning. Maybe we don’t need other players. First I want to see the players who I have and give them an honest chance.”
It’s worth noting that five players have already left Manchester United this summer: Alexander Buttner and Patrice Evra were sold, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić left on free transfers, and Ryan Giggs retired.
Giving players an “honest chance” is a good idea in theory, but really, shouldn’t United be at least considering buying a central defender?
AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes
After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.
The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.
Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.
The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.
Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).
The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…
“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”
We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.
Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.
Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”
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