Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Could PSG, Manchester United solve each other’s problems?

Leave a comment

It’s late on a Wednesday night without the UEFA Champions League, so let’s dance on a theoretical floor, shall we?

One of the more widely-praised transfers of the year came when Manchester United and Arsenal decided to swap problematic players with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez.

While neither has been perfect in their new homes, both have had starring performances and could (should?) fit in neatly come a full offseason worth of preparation.

More swaps like these should happen more often given the glut of managerial changes across major European leagues, with square pegs sometimes finding round holes when the boss arrives in town.

And have we got a sensational swap lined up for you. And no, it’s not Jose Mourinho for Unai Emery (though should it be? Nah, forget it).

If Paul Pogba is to leave Old Trafford this summer, there are scant few teams who could afford his transfer fee. Likewise, Paris Saint-Germain has Financial Fair Play all over its case and cannot simply make moves to better build its team for the Champions League by splashing cash all over the place.

PSG bought the two most expensive players of all-time last summer in Neymar ($281m) and Kylian Mbappe ($181m). The latter is going nowhere unless FIFA intervenes, 19 years old and becoming a more complete playmaker since heading to PSG from Monaco.

The former, well, that’s a bit trickier.

Neymar has been hurt, and while there’s no doubt his absence is the primary reason PSG was eliminated by Real Madrid, his time at the Parc Des Princes has hit more than a few speed bumps, with the Edinson Cavani PK drama and more.

So if Neymar is “worth” $281 million, could he head to United in exchange for a pair of Frenchmen in Pogba and Anthony Martial?

Areola

Alves — Silva– Marquinhos — Berchiche

Verratti — Rabiot

Pogba

Mbappe — Cavani — Martial

It’s imperfect given Alexis Sanchez’s preference to also play left wing, but going to a 4-3-3 like this for Jose Mourinho would allow a certain amount of freelancing for his trident.

De Gea

Valencia — Smalling — Bailly — Young/new LB

Matic — Herrera — McTominay

Sanchez — Lukaku — Neymar

Mixing in Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata off the bench and for Cup games is not a bad luxury, plus we know United is going to splash a lot more cash to improve the center midfield and fullback depth.

There could also be a 3-4-3 of excellent repute here:

De Gea

Smalling — Jones — Bailly

Valencia — Herrera — Matic — Lingard

Alexis — Lukaku — Neymar

Paul Pogba situation nearing endgame

1 Comment

Will Paul Pogba still be a Manchester United player when the summer transfer window shuts on August 9?

Right now it seems highly unlikely.

Pogba, 25, put in a poor display and was hauled off in United’s shock 1-0 loss at home against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, just a week after he delivered a star performance to score twice in a stunning 3-2 comeback win at Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho doesn’t appear to have any time whatsoever for Pogba’s inconsistent form and the relationship between the duo is said to have broken down since the turn of the year, especially on the training ground, as the French international was left out of the team on multiple occasions and criticized publicly by Mourinho.

Recently we heard from Pep Guardiola that Man City had been offered the chance to buy Pogba in January and although that was surprising to hear, when you sit back and add up what is actually going on in this situation it starts to make sense.

It is, quite simply, Mourinho’s way or the highway. Always has been. Always will be.

Yet Pogba isn’t, how should we say, well, “one of the bottle” just like the self-proclaimed Special One. His own emoji, lively hair cuts and plenty of off-the-field appearances leave Pogba open for criticism and it appears that he is in full self-preservation mode at this point.

And here we are. At an impasse and the only way this will get resolved is if either Mourinho or Pogba move on.

Mourinho is going nowhere with a new contract signed in January to extend his stay at Old Trafford, while Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is clearly testing the waters to see who will take Pogba this summer amid reports of Mourinho wanting a huge clear out. As our analysts said in the video above, it almost seems like Pogba is putting himself in the shop window by scoring goals (against Man City) and trying flicks and Hollywood passes whenever he can. That will not impress Mourinho. Not one bit.

With Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw also rumored to be joining Pogba on the way out, when it comes to all three of those players they are hugely talented but there are question marks about their mentality and consistency. That, in a nutshell, is why Mourinho wants them out.

He’d rather have a Nemanja Matic type over Paul Pogba. A Paulo Ferriera over a Luke Shaw. Jesse Lingard over Anthony Martial.

Mourinho has always valued reliability over razzmatazz and that is why Pogba doesn’t fit into his plans and why United’s club-record signing of $130 million less than two years ago will find himself leaving Old Trafford this summer.

Mourinho wields axe: Pogba, other stars to leave Man United

2 Comments

Manchester United are reportedly ready to let Paul Pogba leave this summer.

According to multiple reports the French midfielder will be sold after this season as he continues to clash with manager Jose Mourinho.

Pogba, 25, has only completed 90 minutes in four of his last 11 games for United and was subbed in the second half of their shock home defeat against West Brom on Sunday, although Mourinho insisted that was because he was on a yellow card and he didn’t want to go down to 10-men.

Yet this situation between Pogba and Mourinho has been unraveling for some time as the former was left out of plenty of United squads, then Pep Guardiola revealed recently that Man City were offered the chance to buy Pogba in January, around the same time he was dropped by Mourinho in place of youngster Scott McTominay.

Things have deteriorated quickly for the club-record $130 million signing as he started the season superbly but then injury and a loss of form derailed his campaign. It now seems like Mourinho is ready to move on from Pogba.

As for some of United’s other stars, it is believed that Anthony Martial, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian will all be sold this summer as Mourinho wants a huge clearance as he tries to close the gap on Manchester City who wrapped up the PL title on Sunday.

Looking ahead to United’s clash at Bournemouth on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as their battle for second place rumbles on — United are four points ahead of fourth-place Tottenham and one point ahead of third-place Liverpool — Mourinho said it is an audition for players to be starters for their huge FA Cup semifinal against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday.

“If I play someone against Bournemouth and he is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final,” Mourinho said. “The word is not rotation. This is an opportunity for some people to play and to try to get a place in the team. Some of the guys who played [against West Brom], they don’t have a place in that team. I only know one criteria [for choosing the team]. It is the way you play. This is the only way I can select players. Do you want me to go for the price they cost? Or their salary? Or their beautiful face? The only way is to go with performance.”

It seems like it’s not only Pogba who will be playing for his Manchester United in the final weeks of the season, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera also at risk of losing their starting spot.

Mourinho is on the war-path ahead of a key semifinal clash. If United finish second in the PL and win the FA Cup, that’s not a bad season, but if they finish in fourth and don’t win the FA Cup, it’s not a great season at all despite some progression.

Watch Live: Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United looks for a win which would delay Manchester City’s Premier League title ambitions a bit longer when it hosts (seemingly) relegation-bound West Bromwich Albion on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Daniel Sturridge is on the bench for West Brom, while Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford all begin on the bench for Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. Subs: Pereira, Jones, Rojo, McTominay, Lingard, Martial, Rashford.

West Brom: Foster, Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs, Livermore, Phillips, Brunt, McClean, Rodriguez, Rondon. Subs: Myhill, Yacob, Sturridge, Gabr, Burke, Krychowiak, Field.

Mourinho insists Pogba struggles not related to hamstring injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho vehemently denied that Paul Pogba‘s struggles on the field for Manchester United are not related to a hamstring injury he suffered early in the Premier League season.

When asked if the Frenchman could still be feeling the effects of the injury that kept him out most of September and all of October, the Red Devils boss was stern in his response.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines – Week 32 ]

“It’s nothing to do with his injury,” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United’s match on Saturday against Swansea City. “His recovery was good. He is very fine after the injury. It was a difficult injury, it was an injury that other players, other clubs, other medical assessments – they end in surgery, his option with the medical opinions was not to go to the surgery table and his recovery was really good. He is more than fine in relation to his recovery from the injury which is an area sometimes where you have a recurrence. In his case, not at all.”

The explanation makes sense given that Pogba looked strong in his appearance for the French national team over the international break, scoring a goal and assisting another in a 3-1 victory over Russia that saw the 25-year-old score a goal and assist another. He looked stronger in that match than he has for Manchester United in months, calling Mourinho’s use of the midfielder into question.

When asked about Pogba’s sudden increase in performance while away from Old Trafford, Mourinho snapped back, “I don’t comment on my players’ performances in national teams.”

With N'Golo Kante behind him and Adrien Rabiot by his side, Pogba was allowed more freedom to create as he supported the French attack of Ousmane Dembele, Anthony Martial, and Kylian Mbappe. Pogba assisted Mbappe’s opener in the 40th minute with a perfectly threaded through-ball, and then scored his own off a free-kick with a low bender just over the wall.