How ‘ruthless’ should Solskjaer be at Man United?

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he is going to be “ruthless” when it comes to ins and outs at Manchester United this summer.

But how ruthless does he have to be?

After a narrow, and undeserved, win against West Ham United on Saturday, Solskjaer admitted that the Hammers got away with one and it once again showed just how much work he has to do at Old Trafford to turn the Red Devils into a genuine force once again.

Here’s a reminder of what United’s new permanent head coach had to say last Friday about potential departures and arrivals this summer.

“It’s going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best,” Solskjaer said. “That’s how ruthless we have to be.  We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward. That means culture in the dressing room, what we do every single day here to make us challenge again… Liverpool and City are too far head at the moment for what we like. We played against a Barcelona team that sets the standard in European football. We’re under no illusion it’s going to be hard work and there will be some tough decisions made by me, Mick [Phelan] and the club.”

Solskjaer’s task has become a lot tougher now his interim tag has been removed, with the Norwegian coach losing four of his last six games in all competitions and United struggling to make the top four and looking like they will crash out of the UEFA Champions League at Barcelona on Tuesday.

But at least he accepts he must be ruthless, as a whole host of players look set to move on this summer.

Antonio Valencia is leaving at the end of his contract, while Ander Herrera also looks set to leave for PSG and Juan Mata appears to be heading out of the door too. Then there is Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo who both seem set to leave, while Alexis Sanchez and United will both want to move on from a nightmare 18-month spell.

So that’s six first team players potentially on the way out, but only one or two are genuine starters. A bigger overhaul is needed. Here’s a look at where United need to strengthen over the summer, as they also need to sort out David De Gea‘s contract situation very quickly or run the risk of losing him too.


Man United lineup for the 2019-20 season

—– De Gea —–

—- New RB —- New CB —- Lindelof —- Shaw —-

—- New DM —- New DM —- 

—- New AM —- Pogba —- Martial —-

—– Rashford —–


Now, Diogo Dalot can replace Ashley Young as the long-term right back, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been handed new deals at center back, and Eric Bailly is around too, but their limitations have been made clear over the years. A new RB and CB are a must. In central midfield the likes of Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic have all had their ups and downs and that is the main area where United need to strengthen. Going forward, they are pretty set, especially with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in reserve. But the main thing here is clear: have a clear-out of squad players this summer and focus on bringing in 3-4 star players.

Which players should be the top targets for United? Solskjaer should aim for young, hungry players who can be at United together for a decade, while some experienced center backs are key. Bur remember: Solskjaer has been keen to promote youngsters from United’s academy whenever he can, so that may also be the route he goes down to freshen things up and Ed Woodward and United’s hierarchy would probably be fine with that given how much money Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have spent over the past five years.

Here’s a look at the players who should be their top priorities:

Palace wins at Newcastle behind Milivojevic penalty

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  • Yedlin takes down Zaha in box
  • Milivojevic converts PK with Palace’s first effort on target in 81st
  • Magpies’ Lejeune stretchered off

Luka Milivojevic scored his 10th penalty kick of the season in a 1-0 defeat of otherwise in-control Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Palace moves 12th with the win and is virtually assured of safety, while Newcastle is four points behind with 35 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The chances were almost exclusively Newcastle save for a Martin Dubravka denial of an offside Michy Batshuayi.

The Magpies attacked down the right and left with DeAndre Yedlin and Miguel Almiron, while Salomon Rondon looked the best bet for an opening goal.

Fabian Schar was also dangerous in the middle, as Newcastle was well in control of the match.

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Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita was a busy man at times, and collected a Florian Lejeune header off an early second half corner.

Almiron cued up Yedlin for a right-footed strike from 17 yards that knuckled just a bit high and wide of the upper 90.

Lejeune then went down with a scary left ankle injury in which he was signaling for a change before he even hit the turf. He was given oxygen before being stretchered off the pitch.

Benteke flubbed a brilliant cross from Andros Townsend on the counter as Palace’s 78th minute opportunity was a rare one.

Yedlin conceded a penalty to Zaha in the 80th minute with a poor challenge on the free-running Ivorian winger.

A late cry for an Aaron Wan-Bissaka handball in the Palace box went unheard, and the Eagles walked away with three points.

Lukaku to join Man United’s summer exodus?

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Romelu Lukaku could be joining the summer exodus at Old Trafford.

With Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, David De Gea and Marcos Rojo linked with moves, plus Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out of contract, Manchester United’s star forward is the latest to be linked with a move away.

His representatives have hardly quashed talk of a transfer this summer.

Lukaku, 25, has lost his starting role to Marcus Rashford in recent weeks, with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard impressing in wide areas under new permanent boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Speaking to our partners at Sky Sports, Federico Pastorello revealed that Lukaku is ‘very open’ to a move this summer.

“At the moment he is very focused on finishing the season,” Pastorello said. “The competition for third and fourth place in England is very tight so let’s see what will happen in the future at the end the season. It’s his second season here and he will still have three years on his contract until the end. Let’s see. He’s someone who loves to know a different culture, a different football.”

“He sees a way to have a career playing in different countries because he would like to win some trophies and prove himself and say to his children ‘I won there and I won there and I won there’ and ‘I was a very good player in all the top championships’ so let’s see, the future is really very open but, at the moment, we don’t discuss about that because really the season is in a big moment.”

Talking about those different countries and culture, Pastorello went on to confirm that Lukaku is interested in playing in Italy, Spain and Germany, and the former is a real option as Serie A is a league he grew up watching. Yet there was also a comment that he appreciates Solskjaer bringing him into the team when he can, as Lukaku how now started seven of United’s last 10 games in all competitions.

But does he have a future at Old Trafford? As a starter, probably not.

Lukaku arrived from Everton in the summer of 2017 with huge expectations on his shoulders and with 42 goals in 90 appearances in all competitions he has delivered plenty of goals. But his all-round play has been criticized time and time again, and with Rashford flourishing in the central role and Solskjaer’s tactics setting United to be a counter-attacking team, it’s clear Lukaku doesn’t really suit that style.

If he leaves United this summer, Lukaku will leave having scored close to one goal every other game, plus winning the League Cup and Europa League. Not a bad haul. United may struggled to get close to the $97 million they paid Everton two years ago for him, but getting around $65-70 million should be doable.

With young talent earmarked to come in under Solskjaer’s watch, the likes of Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Declan Rice have all been mentioned as possible arrivals and getting a large chunk of cash for Lukaku while they can wouldn’t be the worst piece of business United could do given their other attacking options.

Maybe a club like Bayern Munich, who are rebuilding their squad and have an ageing Robert Lewandowski to rely on up front, would be a good fit for Lukaku…

Huddersfield Town relegated after loss at Crystal Palace

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  • Terriers can no longer claim enough points to finish 17th
  • Zaha the clear Man of the Match
  • Milivojevic converts another penalty
  • Palace climbs 16th with 35 points

Wilfried Zaha won a penalty and assisted another goal as Crystal Palace ended Huddersfield Town’s chances at Premier League survival via a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic and Patrick Van Aanholt scored second half goals as Palace

Huddersfield Town escaped relegation last season with David Wagner, but fired the manager this season and has been unable to claw its way out of the basement.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Palace was far superior, but could not find a goal. Zaha was fantastic, and Andros Townsend will be considering himself snakebit.

Zaha tore apart the Terriers with a dribble and pass to a wide-open Townsend, but the former Spurs and Newcastle man zipped an effort well wide of the far post.

Townsend again went wide with a whistling attempt inside the final 20 minutes.

Zaha provided the breakthrough when he won a penalty two minutes later, and Milivojevic from the spot is about as automatic as anything this side of James Milner.

The Ivorian forward wasn’t faultless on the day, dragging a breakaway effort wide of the near post.

But he quickly made amends, setting up Van Aanholt for the second goal with a fine pass (and better finish).

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Transfer Deadline Day Live Blog — As It Happened

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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Once a non-event, the January transfer window has become busier and busier as the teams of the Premier League deem improving their lot for the second half of the season almost as important as the first.

Makes sense, right?

[ MORE: Earlier done deals ]

We’re monitoring things at Chelsea and Newcastle amongst other venues before the window slams shut at 6 p.m. ET.

Be sure to follow the Sky Sports deadline show on NBCSN until 5 p.m. ET before the NBC Sports Soccer crew picks up for three more hours of dynamite coverage.

So here we go.


6:21 p.m. ET — Yannick Bolasie is leaving Everton on loan to Anderlecht for the rest of the season after cutting a loan with Aston Villa short.


6 p.m. ET — The window is closed, but that just means deal sheets had to be submitted to the Premier League. Stay tuned for further announcements.


5:56 p.m. ET — Celtic have pushed another deal over the line in its bid to hold off Rangers and Aberdeen and win another Scottish Premiership title.

Jeremy Toljan will join the Bhoys from Borussia Dortmund on loan, having struggled to get playing time on the Bundesliga leaders.


5:52 p.m. ET — A couple late deals coming through for peripheral PL players.

Everton’s Beni Baningime will go on loan to Wigan Athletic, having seen his playing time pretty much disappear after Sam Allardyce left Goodison Park.

And long time Leicester City man Andy King is leaving the King Power Stadium to join Derby County for the rest of the season.


5:38 p.m. ET — A bit slower now with 22 minutes to go in the window. Of course, moves can be announced after 6 p.m. ET but there is paperwork to be filed…

Will Michy Batshuayi finish his move to Palace? Jacob Murphy to West Brom?


5:11 p.m. ET — A report out of Italy has a couple of eye-popping notes.

DC United has reportedly turned down almost $12 million from Paris Saint-Germain for Luciano Acosta, hoping to get closer to $14m for the 24-year-old former Boca Juniors man.

Acosta does not hold an international roster spot for DC, who saw the playmaker team up with Wayne Rooney to push the Black-and-Red up the Eastern Conference table last season.

Acosta has 19 goals and 27 assists in 103 appearances for DC, and would help PSG plug the hole opened by Neymar’s 10-week layoff.


5:03 p.m. ET — The BBC is reporting that Fulham has landed former West Ham midfielder/defender Havard Nordtveit.

The Norwegian will arrive on loan from Hoffenheim. The 28-year-old has mostly played center back in 11 matches between the Bundesliga and Champions League this season.

Fulham also sold combustible striker Aboubakar Kamara to Malatyaspor.


4:35 p.m. ET — Woah. Michy Batshuayi has apparently reached terms with Crystal Palace in the hopes of a permanent deal.

UPDATE: Sky reports that Palace CEO Steve Parrish says the deal is ON.

The big Belgian striker, 25, would take more attention off of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, and hopefully feed off the crosses of the latter, Patrick Van Aanholt, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

This could be a big, big deal and a stunner of a lower-half signing.


4:32 p.m. ET — Our noted KC writer Andy Edwards has thoughts on an exciting report that longtime USMNT prospect Gedion Zelalem may move from Arsenal to Major League Soccer.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes has a knack for developing young talents, so it’ll be interesting to see whether this is a loan or a permanent deal (should it happen).


4:30 p.m. ET — A note from Major League Soccer, where Toronto FC is ready to splash some cash to replace outgoing megastar Sebastian Giovinco.

Remember, their last few Designated Players include Giovinco, Jermain Defoe, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley…


4:22 p.m. ET — Everton’s potential sale of Idrissa Gana Gueye of Paris Saint-Germain has been quiet, but Sky Sports has broken into their coverage to say that Gana is now the subject of a $34 million bid.

The Toffees still do not plan on selling the industrious center midfielder, but he’s also 29 years old and the Toffees are neither in danger of being relegated nor finding their footing as a European club.


4:07 p.m. ET — Michy Batshuayi is one of the topics of conversation, as the Belgian striker looks to find regular playing time away from Chelsea.

Batshuayi, 25, tore up the Bundesliga on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, but could not find the back of the goal often in a half-season at Valencia.

He’s been linked with moves to Real Betis, West Ham United, and — most unlikely — Spurs, but his wages are reportedly holding up the deal. Speaking on Sky Sports’ transfer deadline show, Sam Allardyce unsurprisingly said West Ham would be the best place for him.


3:49 p.m. ET — Some Americans in Scotland (and America) news.

A pair of players have signed with Celtic, though neither will spend the rest of this season with Brendan Rodgers‘ men.

It looks like MAC Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Gutman was not able to get the proper papers to activate his time at Celtic, as the Indiana University left back and USMNT hopeful has been sent on loan to Nashville SC.

Also signing leaving Celtic on loan is NC State’s Manny Perez, who is off on loan to North Carolina FC.

And there’s a Yank making a move to the Scottish Championship, as 23-year-old Evansville product Ian McGrath makes the move from Nashville SC to Queen of the South.


3:18 p.m. ET — It’s a loan swap deal, but the big piece moving between Monaco and Leicester City is versatile and dangerous Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans.

The 21-year-old has five goals and an assist in Ligue 1 play, and operates in the center of the park.

Going back the other way is Adrien Silva, 29, who just hasn’t settled at Leicester following a paperwork snafu at the start of the 2017-18 season.


3 p.m. ET — A move from MLS to a top European team, but it’s more for the future.

Real Salt Lake’s Taylor Booth is on the move to Bayern Munich. The U.S. U-19 midfielder, 17, joins FC Dallas youngster Chris Richards and Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies at the Allianz Arena.

More info: Here.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN today from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.