• Selling merchandise around the world is their (Glazers) business and it relies on the team’s performance on the pitch.
• I heard a whisper that Frank Lampard’s Chelsea might be interested (in PSG's Edinson Cavani) so I contacted my sources at the club and was told yes, Lampard is indeed looking at the situation.
I watched Manchester United’s woeful effort against Burnley on Wednesday evening and can report that this mighty club are in serious trouble. As I looked around the ground there were large areas of empty seats and a significant number of fans walked out in disgust after 80 minutes. The fans intense dislike of the owners brought shouts of ‘Stand up if you hate the Glazers’ and it brought more fans to their feet than anything United did on the pitch! As club legend, Rio Ferdinand said after the game: “There are young kids in the country and around the world who are not going to be wearing United shirts. They are not going to want to come here and see the quality of football we saw tonight.”
And that is what will hurt the money-obsessed Glazers and the Chief Executive Ed Woodward more than anything. Selling merchandise around the world is their business and it relies on the team’s performance on the pitch. Thousands were waving their now-famous green and yellow scarves, invented and produced as anti-Glazer slogans… even United’s arguably most famous player David Beckham has been seen to wear one. So far the fans have not turned on manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer but it can only be a matter of time. The crowd put it perfectly as they chanted: “We want United back.”
Mourinho’s words haunt Moura and Son
I was at Tottenham this week and asking the question of why the team had not scored in 195 league minutes since Harry Kane got injured. That figure changed to 233 minutes before Dele Alli managed a goal against lowly Norwich on Wednesday. Defender Toby Alderweireld says that the team is improving every week under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. However, he admitted the goals have dried up. When I pressed further it appears that both Lucas Moura and Heung-Min-Son have been lacking in confidence since Mourinho said that both of them were inadequate as complete goal-scoring strikers. It is one reason why Spur’s might just get out the cheque book and enter the race to sign Edinson Cavani from Paris St Germain.
PSG’s Cavani for the Premier League?
When a player of Edinson Cavani’s goal-scoring ability becomes available, every top club sits up and takes notice. Edinson has told PSG that he wants to leave. Atletico Madrid have offered him an 18-month deal worth nearly £13million. The 32-year-old has said he would like to take the offer but now there might be another on the table. I heard a whisper that Frank Lampard’s Chelsea might be interested so I contacted my sources at the club and was told yes, Lampard is indeed looking at the situation. Atletico are in the driving seat having negotiated with PSG and they need a player who has scored 198 goals since 2013. Cavani was originally offered to Tottenham who backed away but are now without Harry Kane so they too are possibly in line to enter the bidding war. Manchester United have lost Marcus Rashford for the foreseeable future and they too are considering an offer. Atletico look to have the deal sewn up and Cavani’s mother and father have both said their son prefers a move to Spain. However, you never know what happens in football and we could see this exciting striker in the Premier League very shortly.
Arsenal have left-back solution at home
Arsenal do not have lots of money to spend in the transfer market. It was pointed out to me at the Emirates Stadium this week that searching for an expensive left-back might not be necessary. The Gunner’s scouts have been tracking Layvin Kurzawa at Paris St Germain. However, they could have a solution right on their doorstep. Bukayo Sako is 18 years-old, fast, solid and can also fly up the wing, rather like Andy Robertson does for Liverpool. He has played five times this season and given a good performance each time. Mikel Arteta said this week: “He is someone who has not been brought up to play a full back’s role but more a winger. However, he is really trying to do it as best as possible. You can see he has many strengths to play in that position.”
De Gea under pressure
Regarded as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, David de Gea is coming under constant pressure to repeat his performances of the past but he seems to be lacking confidence. Even the United faithful are loudly criticising their Spanish goalkeeper. There is a big argument that he was fouled by Virgil Van Dijk when the Liverpool defender beat him to the ball in the defeat at Liverpool. But it was his weakness to show strength and grab the ball which led to Van Dijk’s disallowed goal. Meeting high balls seems to be his current problem. Chelsea, Barcelona, Watford, Liverpool and even Portugal have scored from De Gea blunders this season and the 29-year-old’s position is under some threat from excellent number two Sergio Romero and I have heard that manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer might give him a run in the first team.
Champagne celebration goes flat at Hammers
West Ham’s David Sullivan and David Gold expected to celebrate 10 years of ownership before the match against Everton last weekend. The champagne was left on ice however because supporters had other ideas about how to celebrate. They organised mass protests against the owners and want them out of their club. The fans are now meeting at this very moment to organise more protests in order to make the owners face them and hear their grievances.
John Stones shows his vulnerability
Another player under pressure is Manchester City’s John Stones. His mistake last weekend against Crystal Palace cost them victory. Even Pep Guardiola took the unusual step of criticising his defender after the game and he was still clearly unhappy when the team arrived for post-match analysis on Monday. Stones is a good player who is still learning but the problem is that Liverpool have run away with the Premier League title and having players who are still learning will not win back the title for City. The return of Aymeric Laporte is heaven-sent for Guardiola and Stones will find it difficult to get back into the team.
Crisis at Bournemouth
Bournemouth is one of those clubs that everyone likes. The smallest club in the Premier League, situated in a south coast seaside town with friendly supporters and a family atmosphere. For years Bournemouth, have punched above their weight. A few years ago they nearly went out of business and were in the fourth tier of English football. They nearly fell bankrupt and being relegated out of the football league. Manager Eddie Howe has been in charge for 11 seasons and brought the club through those lower divisions. They also have a decent record in the top league. This season, however, things are not going so well. Following a disappointing run of defeats, Howe now finds his team fighting a relegation battle. Even in the club’s perilous position down in the bottom three, I would be very surprised if he faces the sack because everything done at Bournemouth goes through Howe. He is part of the framework of the club. When away supporters were moved to a different part of the ground to give home supporters greater vocal presence it was his idea. All transfers are approved by him. Bournemouth have always been a free-scoring team under his tactics but the goals have dried up this year.
Howe said: “We have always had the ability — even if we have conceded first — to come back and win games. That is probably where the feeling has gone missing, the creativity and that feeling we are going to score. We have to do better in that respect.” At present, Howe is relieved that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has cooled his interest in poaching his star centre back Nathan Ake and he thinks the Gunners are distracted by the possibility of signing Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng. Perhaps their 2-0 midweek win over fellow south coast rivals Brighton will signal a return to better times.
Norwich sneak in a new signing
Poor old Norwich looked doomed to Championship football next season as they are six points behind fourth from bottom West Ham United. One ray of light was the almost unnoticed signing of Ondrej Duda from the Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin. Duda scored 11 times last season and you would imagine that Norwich manager Daniel Farke would be more in need of dedicated defenders. However, Duda slotted into the team and in his first game, controlled the midfield against Bournemouth and set up the Canaries 1-0 win.
Virgil to the rescue
Hope Street is in the centre of Liverpool and it houses a hotel where Liverpool players often stay before a big match. Last weekend’s encounter with bitter rivals Manchester United drew bigger than usual crowds to the hotel and around 400 gathered outside hoping for autographs on shirts, boots and books and of course to speak with the players. One little boy, about eight-years-old, was being crushed by the crowd pushing forward and was crying in terror. A security guard spotted him, pushed into the crowd and lifted him over bollards and to safety but the little boy was frightened. This was witnessed by star defender Virgil Van Dijk, who immediately went over to the little boy and comforted him. After a few seconds, the boy stopped sobbing and was smiling as his hero stood holding his hand as they chatted. Virgil received the thanks of many in the crowd and has won over even more fans showing that he is not only a top player but also a top man.
Joke to finish…
I write this with apologies to Manchester United fans…the latest joke going around the Premier League clubs is that Marcus Rashford suffered a double stress fracture to his back because he spends so much time carrying the rest of the United team in every match.