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Man United edge closer to signing James

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Daniel James‘ move to Manchester United is almost complete.

According to numerous reports the Welsh winger, 21, is set to undergo a medical ahead of a $22.8 million transfer from Swansea City.

Manchester United have beaten several rivals to sign James, with the speedy winger impressing in the Championship during his breakout 2018-19 campaign.

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK say that James will have a medical at United on Thursday, with the deal to be announced officially next week. They also confirm that the transfer fee is initially $19 million with an extra $3.8 million in add-ons agreed. Sky also state that James had already agreed personal terms.

Is this the kind of player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be signing?

Time will tell if James cane make the step up to the Premier League, but his raw pace and dribbling ability shone through for Swansea last season as they reached the FA Cup quarterfinals and were comfortable in midtable on a shoestring budget.

Solskjaer has said he wants to sign young British talent this summer, and James could be joined by the likes of Declan Rice and Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford. Pace on the counter attack has been one of the hallmarks of Solskjaer’s time in charge of Untied so far and James fits the bill. Already an international for Wales, he is coached by United legend Ryan Giggs at club level and he’s obviously told Solskjaer that James is capable of stepping up to the top-flight.

United have tried signing huge names for massive money in recent years and it hasn’t worked out well for them. Getting smarter in the transfer market, and taking calculated risks like this, has to be the way forward.

When will Ed Woodward be held accountable for Man United failures?

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Six seasons, five managers, three Champions League qualifications, zero Premier League titles.

That is the Manchester United story since they last trimphed over the English top flight in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s final season as Red Devils boss.

The leadership has been chopped and changed many times over, but there is one constant: Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who ascended to his current role in 2012 and was made top operational executive a year later after the departure of David Gill. Since Woodward took full control of the club, Manchester United has spiraled completely out of control, with the luster of 13 Premier League titles almost fully rusted away.

While Manchester United has collected three trophies under his watch, the two most coveted – the Premier League and Champions League titles – have eluded the storied club, instead settling for an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League title (plus two Community Shields, as Jose Mourinho would tell you).

Still, Woodward has somehow escaped heavy criticism for his rocky tenure, with the first-team managers – far more publicly accountable figures than club executives – taking the brunt of the flak for losing streaks, negative tactics, mediocre youth development, and shambolic defending. Yet Woodward remains unscathed, free of full-scale scrutiny while everything he touches turns to ash.

Woodward’s history in the transfer market has been downright abysmal. Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria, Fred, Eric Bailly, and Luke Shaw have all been purchased for enormous sums of money during Woodward’s time in charge, yet none of them have lived up to their financial burdens. It is impossible to truly know what Woodward’s exact role is in the transfer dealings, but as the top operational executive at the club, he is responsible for the consistent failures whether he has taken a hands-on approach or has delegated most of the duties to others. It’s time the buck stops at the top.

Since the start of the 2013 summer transfer window, Manchester United has shelled out a gargantuan $712 million in transfer net spend and the Red Devils are no closer to challenging for the Premier League title than when they began their quest to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. After losing to relegated Cardiff City to close out the 2018/19 Premier League season with little more than a whimper, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it would take “a long time” for Manchester United to be in a position to compete for the league title. The Notwegian boss even dared to warn supporters to temper their expectations; the Europa League would be a reasonable ambition for the time being. Those words from a Manchester United mouthpiece like Solskjaer are a brutal indictment of Woodward and his leadership of the club over the past few years.

When Sir Alex departed, the team admittedly needed an overhaul. The legendary boss somehow squeezed one last triumph out of an old and dilapidated squad, as if fans needed yet another reason to revere the greatest manager the game has ever seen. Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Dimitar Berbatov were all over 30 and on their way out of the club while David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Rafael, Fabio, Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck, and Adnan Januzaj were all 22 years old or younger and looking for guidance and direction as they continued to develop.

Instead, they were met with chaos and instability, as David Moyes, Giggs, Louis Van Gaal, and Jose Mourinho all tried and failed to restore order to the club. None of the managers were given enough time to establish any sense of consistency, and it’s unclear whether any of them were good enough hires that things would have improved if given that luxury. Instead of embracing the period of transition, the club fell into a form of purgatory, hoping to maintain a steady ship while also understanding that things would not be the same. Woodward, a career accountant, may know what it takes to secure a lucrative sponsorship, but eventually they need the on-field results to match the claim of the world’s most popular club, or the financial leverage will wane.

While many players and managers have come and gone over the past few years, Woodward has remained the only constant figure, and the longer the club continues to rot, the more obvious his role in allowing the club to fester. Now, he wishes to bring on a technical director (see: Director of Football) to help with on-field decisions and player acquisitions, a smart choice in delegating the football responsibilities but also another hire to get right. And yet…he’s reportedly looking to hire Darren Fletcher, who literally retired as a player one week ago and has zero executive or managerial experience, in what feels like more of a PR move than anything of actual significance.

With this year’s sixth place finish – the club’s fourth finish outside the Premier League’s top four over the last six years – it is time fans direct their frustration and unhappiness further up the food chain. Ed Woodward must be held accountable for the failures of the club, or the glory days of (actually not that) long ago will become an even more distant memory with every passing year.

Salford City promoted to the Football League

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Salford City’s dream has become a reality.

The team backed by Manchester United and Premier League legends David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, plus billionaire Peter Lim, won promotion to League Two on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

Salford beat AFC Fylde 3-0 in the National League playoff final to clinch their first-ever promotion to the fourth-tier of English soccer. Head coach Graham Alexander took over last summer and was handed a huge budget to guide Salford to promotion.

Mani Dieseruvwe, Carl Piergianni and Ibou Touray scored the goals for Salford, as their incredible rise continues and the United legends celebrated in the stands at Wembley at the final whistle.

Backed by Lim’s money and the expertise and contacts of Neville and Co. behind-the-scenes, Salford have achieved four promotions in the last five seasons to secure their spot as one of the 92 Football League teams for the 2019-20 season.

Salford’s aim is to at least reach the Championship, the second-tier of English soccer, as the Lancashire club aim to become one of the best supported teams in the Manchester area as they offer something completely different to the giants of Man United and Man City nearby.

Sir Alex Ferguson to manage Man Utd in anniversary match

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The 20th Anniversary of Manchester United’s treble, to the day, will see Sir Alex Ferguson managing the club.

This, of course, is for a single night only, as the Red Devils celebrate their 1999 treble with a testimonial of sorts against Bayern Munich, who it beat 2-1 to win the Champions League on May 26, 1999.

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“I’m really looking forward to what will be a special day at Old Trafford. It will be great to catch up with some familiar faces and a great opportunity to support the work of Manchester United Foundation,” Ferguson said.

Players for the game are not confirmed but imagine the possibilities: Peter Schmeichel was across the field from Oliver Kahn. Lothar Matthaus had to deal with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers started or were in the 18.

Keep in mind that Solskjaer scored the winner for Ferguson’s United that day at the Camp Nou, as the Red Devils scored twice in stoppage time for a remarkable comeback win.

Paul Scholes appointed Oldham manager

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Paul Scholes is the latest legendary English midfielder to head into management.

Scholes, 44, has been appointed as the new manager of fourth-tier Oldham Athletic, with the Manchester United legend taking charge of his boyhood club until at least the summer of 2020.

With Steven Gerrard in charge at Glasgow Rangers and Frank Lampard leading Derby County, Scholes is also swapping punditry for the managerial hotseat and says he has “a lot of passion” for Oldham.

Why is he now moving into management?

“I just feel ready. There have been times in the past where it has been an option for me,” Scholes told the media on Monday. “I wanted to come into this with my full coaching badges, I have watched the team closely. I think this is a good team with some really good players. With the squad we have I think we should be pushing for promotion.”

This job has been lined up for Scholes for some time, but due to his involvement as a part-owner of fifth-tier Salford City alongside his former United teammates the English Football League had to look into the matter and scope out any potential conflict of interests.

Scholes has stepped down as a director of Salford City, but still keeps his 10 percent stake in the club. With everything now squared away, Scholes’ main aim will be to push Oldham up the League Two table as they currently sit nine points off the playoffs with 16 games to go.

Oldham owner Abdallah Lemsagam told the club website that Scholes will have his “100 percent backing” as the Latics manager.

“Paul has won everything there is to win in football. He is a man who will bring a lot of footballing knowledge and his hunger to succeed in management will be there for everyone to see,” Lemsagam said. “It’s no secret how much he has wanted this job in the past and how much he loves this club, so I’m very happy to bring him into our family at Oldham Athletic. Paul will have my backing 100 percent and hopefully we can work together to bring success back to this club.”

His coaching career saw him help out with the youth and reserve teams at United towards the end of his playing days, and he then helped out Ryan Giggs during his interim spell in charge of United in the final months of the 2013-14 campaign.

Scholes won every single major trophy in the domestic game in England during his glittering career with Man United. He won two Champions League titles, 11 Premier Leagues and played 718 times for the Red Devils, as well as winning 66 caps for England with 14 goals on the international stage.

Most recently he has worked as a pundit for both ITV and BT Sport and is known for his dry sense of humor and savage takes on all things United, and especially Jose Mourinho in recent times.

Scholes’ remit will be simple: turn Oldham into promotion contenders in League Two.

Nobody is expecting Scholes to return Oldham to the Premier League (their last appearance in the top-flight was a two-year stay from 1992-94) but if his old teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets the United job permanently then you can be sure plenty of United’s best youngsters will be heading to Oldham on loan for the 2018-19 campaign.