Would Thomas Muller improve Manchester United?


Thomas Muller has reportedly had his head turned by the incredible amount of money on offer in the Premier League. Who wouldn’t?

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Following the German international suggesting a lucrative move to England would be hard to turn down and his constant links with a move to Manchester United, plus also turning down a move to Old Trafford in the past, one question popped into my mind: would Muller improve United’s current options in attack?

The answer, on the surface and somewhat predictability from a purely playing standpoint, is yes. But the money Muller would cost (given his interest in economics, let’s discuss it), may not be worth it. Sure, if Muller, 26, arrives for a transfer fee in excess of $100 million and on wages of $500,000 per week, then that is a huge financial outlay by United but if he scores goals and builds partnerships with Memphis, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney which helps deliver United the title or UEFA Champions League glory, he will easily pay off that hefty fee in shirt sales and sponsorship fees United would recoup. Plus, since when have United been shy of splashing the cash as they aim to get back among the big boys at home and abroad?

[ MORE: Behind-the-scenes at Klopp’s unveiling ]

Back to the question of whether or not he would actually improve United on the pitch, and you can’t help but salivate when thinking about a predatory finisher such as Muller playing alongside Rooney’s creativity and the pacey duo of Memphis and Martial providing crosses and through balls from wide positions. Many would argue that Muller would be the missing man in Louis Van Gaal‘s project, a goalscorer who can genuinely deliver at least 20 goals every season, which is something he has achieved at Bayern in each of the past three seasons, while he has scored 131 times in 315 games since LVG promoted him to the first team when he was in charge at the Allianz Arena. That factor mustn’t be overlooked either, as LVG gave Muller his big chance and the Bayern academy product has spoken in the past about how he enjoyed his soccer under the Dutch manager.

If you look at United’s options in attack right now, Rooney as the central striker clearly isn’t working with the England forward only scoring once through the opening eight games of the PL season. Memphis has been in and out of form on the left flank, while Martial is an exciting, raw young talent who cannot be expected to lead the team just yet. Juan Mata has been supporting Rooney, and even though the Spaniard has chipped in with assists and goals, you do wonder if United will be capable to blow teams away 3-0 or 4-0 this season. Of course, if Bayern do not want to sell Muller then that’s perfectly understandable. He is incredibly important to the way they attack and his composure in the final third complements the power of Robert Lewandowski perfectly. However, Muller has had a few rumored arguments with manager Pep Guardiola in the past and given his feelings towards the salaries in England, the German striker — who playing centrally or out wide has scored 31 goals in 67 games for Germany — seems to be warming up to the idea of joining the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil in the PL.

Let’s leave you with the words of Muller, when talking to German publication Welt am Sonntag, as he was asked about the lucrative nature of the PL for any player.

“Ultimately, we should not forget that football is our job, and that’s why people must accept that salaries play a role in our decision-making,” Muller said. “Of course, such salaries [like those in the Premier League] are tempting; to say anything else would be hypocritical.”

Would it be wide of the mark to say Muller would be the final piece of van Gaal’s three-year jigsaw at United? I’d go as far as saying that if the Red Devils manage to land him, their ascent back towards the top of the PL and Europe could be complete.

Transfer rumor roundup: Willian Jose to Spurs, Bournemouth after Croatian CB

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London could get itself another Willian.

Willian Jose, 28, was left out of Real Sociedad’s squad at his request on Wednesday, with the club Tweeting that he’d prefer not to play until his situation is resolved.

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Jose Mourinho said he would not comment on another team’s players, but Willian Jose could help Spurs bridge the gap to Harry Kane‘s return.

Willian Jose has been a double-digit scorer for Real Sociedad in La Liga for the previous three seasons, and is well on his way to another 10-goal campaign. He’s got eight goals in 20 matches this season.

Bournemouth needs defensive help, and is reportedly rivaling Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers for Portuguese giant Toni Borevkovic.

The 22-year-old Croatian has one goal in just over 3000 minutes with the side since arriving from domestic side NK Rudes.

He’s averaging 1.3 interceptions, .9 tackles, and 3.3 clearances per game in league play.

Rio Ave sits seventh in Portugal’s top flight and is managed by former Premier League boss Carlos Carvalhal.

Dropped points in Top Four race point to wild February

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Regardless of whether Wolves end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League season on Thursday, there will be five teams within seven points of fourth place heading into Matchweek 25.

Chelsea has 40, a comfortable-enough six-point lead on Manchester United, Spurs, and Wolves (who meet Liverpool at 3 p.m. ET Thursday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Sheffield United has 33 points.

February, specifically the next three matchweeks, will see the teams inside that group learn a lot more about their fates, and give Chelsea and Sheffield United big opportunities to cement their places in the Top Four and Seven, respectively.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

In the case of the latter, it’s because the Blades are the only team in the bunch who don’t face a Top Four six-pointer; Chris Wilder‘s men will meet Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, and Brighton, while the others will be beating up each other.

Chelsea’s path is fraught, but a big opportunity. The Blues travel to Leicester City before hosting both Manchester United and Spurs. Nine points there would effectively Top Four-proof Frank Lampard‘s side.

By the way, how’s this for a hot take? If any of Chelsea, Man Utd, or Spurs find their center forward or playmaker help in the window, they’ll have a leg up on their Top Four rivals. And, really, is that extra few million pounds worth the spoils of the Champions League? Yup.

Bruno Fernandes is not (yet) with United, and the Red Devils face Wolves and Chelsea in their next two matches. Spurs have City and Chelsea. Tumult is probable!

A draw with Newcastle and loss at Watford dampened Wolves’ hopes of riding into fourth. Beginning with Thursday’s visit from Liverpool, however, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men face three of the Top Seven and then a visit from Norwich City. It’s not over.

And don’t entirely rule out Leicester City from dropping into the fray; The Foxes host Chelsea and Man City, and visit Wolves.

One more nod, however improbable: Arsenal sits 10 points back of fourth but meets Burnley, Newcastle, and Everton over those three match weeks. A perfect run could have the Gunners thinking big (Man City is after that, alas).

Matchday 25
Leicester City v. Chelsea
Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
Manchester United v. Wolves
Spurs v. Man City

Matchday 25
Sheffield United v. Bournemouth
Wolves v. Leicester City
Chelsea v. Manchester United
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur

Matchday 27
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v. Man City
Wolves v. Norwich City
Sheffield United v. Brighton
Manchester United v. Watford

Spurs play Wolves the next week, too!

Mourinho doesn’t have attacking options, but he does have ‘family’

Mourinho on Spurs win
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In this “whole new Jose Mourinho” world, the key word is family.

Mourinho said it six times in his post-match presser after Tottenham Hotspur scrapped to a 2-1 defeat of Norwich City on Wednesday in London.

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Spurs had an early lead disappear when Ryan Sessegnon gave away a penalty to Max Aarons, and Teemu Pukki converted it for a 70th-minute deadlock.

Heung-Min Son scored nine minutes later. It was a win that is good for the whole family.

From Football.London:

“It was fantastic what happened after the 1-1, which happens in a difficult moment for us where I look to the bench and I don’t have attacking players to change the game the team is a little bit fatigued, especially Lucas, Son and of course Lamela. I took him off because he was in trouble and he is a player who is coming from very important and long injury, so very difficult.

“How can we change the game? With the family spirit, the family character and desire.”

Mourinho also praised Giovani Lo Celso‘s work on the wing for attack-short Spurs as “a good experience for the family,” and Paulo Gazzaniga‘s support for returned goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as “a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo.”

I mean, I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.

Clearly, Mourinho is stressing unity and there’s a bit of bunker mentality involved, as the manager mentioned some dicey calls not going their way against Watford, Liverpool, and now Norwich.

Solskjaer: Manchester United ‘looked mentally tired’ versus Burnley

Solskjaer reacts to Manchester United loss
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OIe Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have the answers to what ails Manchester United without Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, and he can’t even fake it.

The United boss could only hang his side’s 2-0 loss to Burnley on sharpness, as the Red Devils out-attempted the visitors by a 24-5 margin.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

United also had 72 percent of the ball, but Burnley’s whole philosophy is cool with you having the ball if you don’t have the lead.

The Red Devils never looked quite ready to grab that, either, from the moment an early Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross sailed through the six absent receiver. From the BBC:

“The boys looked mentally tired towards the end, we didn’t find that creativity,” Solskjaer said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. When you are at Man United you are privileged because you are playing for the best club in the world.

“Sometimes you go through periods like that and it is a test I am sure they are going to come through.”

It’s all formulaic from the Norwegian manager. “The we’re United and it’s a special place” struck all the right chords when he first took the reins at Old Trafford, but the club hasn’t bought much quality since then and it’s ringing hollow as the depth fails to bail them out.

Spoiler alert: He did.

You can accept that Solskjaer is going nowhere and also accept that the whole thing is not going to improve any time soon. United should absolutely be in the Top Four given the failings of Chelsea, but cannot stop tripping over its own feet.