Tyler Blackett

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Two Manchester United youngsters find new clubs; One for good

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Championship club Reading hasn’t kept a clean sheet since an Opening Day win, and has turned to a Manchester United defender to fix that.

The Royals have signed Tyler Blackett, 22, to a three-year deal. He ends his United career with 12 appearances, 11 in the Premier League, and a trio of loan spells (Celtic, Blackpool, Birmingham City).

MORE: Ranking PL early season expectations

Also leaving Old Trafford, albeit only for a year, is promising defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. He’s off to Wolverhampton, who sits third in the Championship after four matches.

The Manchester-born 19-year-old made 14 appearances last season for Louis Van Gaal, having been with the club since he was a 6 year-old.

From the BBC:

“My aim is to play as many games as I can, gain experience and go back and challenge for a place in the team because Jose Mourinho has told me I’ve got a future there,” Borthwick-Jackson told BBC WM.

“I had interest from Premier League clubs and other Championship clubs but I wanted to come here and help the club get back to where they belong, which is the Premier League.”

Borthwick-Jackson was tossed into the fire by Louis van Gaal after a rash of defensive injuries hit United last season, and didn’t embarrass himself.

Done Deals: De Bruyne joins Manchester City in busy day for Wolfsburg


With the close of the transfer window quickly approaching, check out what deals have been completed as teams look to build up their rosters before the Sept. 1 deadline.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

The biggest transfer news of the day (and the summer) was Kevin de Bruyne’s move to Manchester City. With the Premier League club offering $85 million to Wolfsburg for the winger and guaranteeing him massive wages, the much suspected move was finally confirmed this morning.

After being named the Bundesliga Player of the Year last season with ten goals and a league-record 21 assists, the Belgian international will now play alongside David Silva and Raheem Sterling in the City attack. Have fun with that, Premier League defenses.

With City shelling out $75 million for Sterling earlier this summer, the club has now completed two of the ten most expensive transfers in history in just over a month.

[ RELATED: Jurgen Klinsmann announces 23-man USMNT roster for upcoming friendlies ]

Wolfsburg lost another winger today, with Ivan Perisic leaving the German club for Inter Milan. The financial terms of the move have not been released, but the Croatian international has signed a contract keeping him at the San Siro until 2020.

Despite losing two key attackers, Wolfsburg added some defense, confirming a deal for Dante from Bayern Munich. The Brazilian international won three Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy at Bayern, but will get more consistent minutes as a starter with Wolfsburg. Bayern Munich also signed 19-year-old Kingsley Coman from Juventus to a two-year loan deal.

[ RELATED: La Liga & Serie A roundup — Week 2 ]

Valencia signed defender Aymen Abdennour from Monaco, a player who had been linked with Chelsea. Mourinho was hoping to bring the center-back to Stamford Bridge with the chances of a move for John Stones dwindling, but the Tunisian international will now play in La Liga.

Celtic has signed Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett on a season long loan deal. The 21-year-old made ten appearances in the Premier League for United last season, but will get more first-team experience with the Scottish champions.

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Walcott helps Arsenal level late to stay in third


Arsenal appeared second-best for much of the first half, but a late goal off the foot of Theo Walcott past substitute goalkeeper Victor Valdes gave the Gunners a strong road draw to keep them in third place.

The match started sluggishly, although Manchester United began with most of the early half-chances with Falcao and Marouane Fellaini proving a handful, despite poor with the final ball. Arsenal looked to play on the break, and had an opportunity with 20 minutes gone as Per Mertesacker launched a long-ball for Olivier Giroud up top.

The first half-hour was a tactical chess match, but it came to life on the 30-minute mark as Manchester United took the lead at home. Ashley Young chipped a cross to the far post, and Ander Herrera was there to rip it home past David Ospina who was late to track.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

That was all Old Trafford would see in the first half, as the game settled back into where it had been before the goal. The home side finished with 62% possession in the opening 45 minutes and it felt like more. However, Arsenal’s defense held strong and frustrated the Red Devils attackers.

With Wayne Rooney injured and watching from the stands, Manchester United crosses repeatedly fell to defenders in the box. After a promising first half, Falcao was relatively invisible early in the second, and he came off for Robin van Persie. Just past the hour mark, Arsenal looked for another counter-attack and Alexis Sanchez found Giroud but the Frenchman was smothered well by United goalkeeper David de Gea while free on goal.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

The game then burst open for a moment Santi Cazorla mistake ruined another great Arsenal chance before De Gea distributed the ball to start a United break, but Hector Bellerin was there to save the Gunners with a tackle after a heavy touch from Young.

A host of substitutions came on with 17 minutes to go, and confusion reigned for a moment as David de Gea went off the field with no warning, and he would eventually head to the tunnel with an apparent injury. Former Barcelona star Victor Valdes would come on to make his Manchester United debut.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

That would come into play just seven minutes later as substitute Theo Walcott took a long ball on the right flank and worked Tyler Blackett to the touchline before hitting a tight-angle shot past a falling Valdes to equalize. The goal was ruled an own-goal as it took a slight deflection off Blacket to direct it on net. Arsenal took control and nearly struck again a minute later but Giroud missed his one-timer wide from close range. Van Persie had a late opportunity of his own on the other end minutes later, but powered his shot high off the bounce.

Without the full three points, the Gunners are eliminated from contention for second place, but the draw is still important as they maintain a two-point lead over Manchester United for third place in the table. Third place earns a spot in the Champions League group stage, while fourth must play a play-off matchup, which now features a team from a stronger league thanks to the new rules.


Manchester United: De Gea (Valdes 74′), Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Rojo (Blackett 73′), Mata, Blind, Herrera, Young, Fellaini, Falcao (Van Persie 61′).

Goals: Herrera 30′

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin (Walcott 72′), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla (Wilshere 73′), Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis (Flamini 90′), Giroud.

Goals: Blackett (og) 81′

Manchester United has “one fit center back” for West Ham this weekend

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Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is having enough trouble winning games at Manchester United, and now he’ll have to do it with youth team products on the pitch.

Marcos Rojo is reportedly the only United center back fit for business this weekend, with Tyler Blackett (suspension), Phil Jones (hamstring), Jonny Evans (ankle) and Chris Smalling (leg) all dinged up.

[ MORE: Cameron returns to Stoke training | Battle for the ‘next Courtois’ ]

A BBC report says Daley Blind or Darren Fletcher could be options for LVG on Saturday at Old Trafford, but the manager did not point in that direction.

From the BBC:

Van Gaal said: “All three of my right-sided centre-halves are out, so I’ll have to go to the youth system.”

Potential candidates to play include Tom Thorpe, 21, and Paddy McNair, 19.

Neither under-21 captain Thorpe nor McNair, who joined United as a midfielder three years ago, have played for the first team.

Smalling limped out of training on Wednesday and, with Luke Shaw expected to make his debut at left-back following his £28m summer arrival from Southampton, Rojo is likely to move to centre-half against the Hammers.

“I won’t take risks with players – they have to be fit,” said Van Gaal.

A Mancunian, Thorpe (pictured) has represented England at each level between U-16 and U-21. He made six appearances on loan for Birmingham City last season, but has yet to appear for the first team.

And Sam Allardyce’s West Ham team is no longer the “pack-it-in” bunch with little offensive flair, as the arrival of Alex Song has provided stability behind attackers like Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho.

Could be another big score line for a United match, though some supporters are certainly thinking their center back play couldn’t get much worse after last weekend’s 5-3 come-from-ahead loss to Leicester City.

Premier League transfer window grade: Manchester United

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Window Shopping: Skeptics of Manchester United’s chance to qualify for the 2014-15 Champions League saw January as a crucial transfer window for the Red Devils. After much-ballyhooed failures at the summer deadline saw the team miss out on Athletic’s Ander Herrera and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao, the defending champions navigated the fall with multiple areas of need. If they were going to fight back from seventh to fourth, United would need to address both their defense and midfield.

That didn’t happen, though the club did break its record transfer. Juan Mata’s purchase now claims that honor, with the Spanish international liberated from Chelsea’s bench after United shoved $61 million into Roman Abramovich’s pockets. Though Mata’s first two games have produced mixed results (the Red Devils splitting games against Cardiff and Stoke), nobody can say Ed Woodward and David Moyes sat on their hands while United’s top-four hopes faded.

Whether United’s management acted wisely is another matter. The team didn’t heed cries to buy in defense, but given the squad’s options, health (not money) might be the better cure. In midfield, however, the Red Devils have persisted with Alex Ferguson’s policy of neglecting the team’s most biggest flaw. While Mata will surely help Manchester United’s attack, it’s unclear how he’ll address the team’s more glaring holes.

Players In: Juan Mata (Chelsea, $61 million), Jesse Lingard (Birmingham City, return from loan), Michael Keane (Derby County, return from loan)

Players Out: Anderson (Fiorentina, loan), Fabio Da Silva (Cardiff City, undisclosed), Wilfried Zaha (Cardiff City, loan), Federico Macheda (Birmingham City, loan), Thomas Lawrence (Yeovil, loan), Sam Byrne (Carlisle, loan), Ryan Tunnicliffe (Fulham), Samuel Johnstone (Doncaster, loan), Thomas Thorpe (Birmingham City, loan), Larnell Cole (Fulham, undisclosed), Will Keane (QPR, loan), Tyler Blackett (Birmingham, loan), Charni Ekangamene (Carlisle, loan)

RECAP: All the deals on deadline day

Grade: C+

Getting Mata goes a long way toward a good grade, but United overpaid. Based on this weekend’s loss at Stoke, they also seem willing to move the Spaniard out of his best position, casting Mata as an extremely talented but overpriced player for whom United are unable to carve out a position. Mata may excel wide and justify every pounds spent. He may also leave Red Devils’ fans wondering what $61 million could have done in midfield and defense.

It’s still difficult to argue United haven’t gotten better in the winter window, which it why I’ve given them a passing grade. But given their needs, the Champions League stakes, and their resources, the Red Devils could have done more.