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Man United chief Ed Woodward’s strong comments as Everton draw adds to woes

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In the wake of Manchester United’s draw with Everton on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced more scrutiny over his position.

However, those hoping for a change of manager are set to be left disappointed. 

Ed Woodward already made it clear last month that the Norwegian was the right man for the job, despite the club blowing hot and cold during his tenure.

Manchester United took the lead against Everton through Anthony Martial.

The France international had gone eight months without a goal but, after a neat assist from Bruno Fernandes, blasted the ball past Jordan Pickford.

Yet while United looked dangerous going forward, they then conceded after Demarai Gray outmuscled Fred.

Andros Townsend levelled for the Toffees, scoring his fifth goal in nine matches following his arrival from Crystal Palace.

And though United huffed and puffed, they were unable to take all three points.

In the aftermath of the contest, some fans on social media called on Solskjaer to lose his job.

The Red Devils have failed to win three of their last five matches across all competitions, losing ground in the race for the Premier League title as a result.

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However, those hoping for a change are set to be disappointed.

United chief Woodward, who will leave his post at the end of the year, said last month that the club were backing Solskjaer in his mission to guide them to the glory they crave.

“We significantly strengthened the squad over the summer, with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton,” he said.

“These signings have demonstrated our continued ability to attract some of the world’s best footballers to Old Trafford, and our firm commitment to helping Ole deliver success on the pitch.

“While squad-building is a constant process, we are more confident than ever that we are on the right track.

“This was made possible by the strength of our operating model, with sustained investment in the team underpinned by robust commercial revenues.

“We have been clear in our strategy to build a squad with a blend of top-class recruits and homegrown talent, comprising a balance of youth and experience, with the aim of winning trophies and playing attacking football the Manchester United way.

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“Everyone associated with Manchester United can be proud of the resilience we have shown through the challenges created by the pandemic and we look forward to the rest of the season and beyond with great optimism.

“As we review our financial results for the 2021 fiscal year, there is little doubt that those 12 months were among the most challenging in the history of Manchester United.

“While the financial impact from the pandemic is visible, our continued underlying strength is also clear to see and everyone associated with the club can be proud of the resilience we have shown through these most testing of times.

“The most important part of this recovery is the return of fans to Old Trafford and it has been fantastic to see and hear the stadium full for the first time in almost 18 months.

“On the pitch, the team has made a strong start in the league, and everyone at the club is feeling excited about the rest of the campaign.”

See also  What Cristiano Ronaldo told Man United team-mates about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer future

So while Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane may be available, United won’t be hiring them anytime soon.

Woodward also made it clear that the Red Devils’ strong financial position had helped them weather the storm of the pandemic.

But he also warned football was at a crossroads, with spiralling wages and transfer fees putting a massive financial burden on many clubs.

“It is not an accident that we have been able to invest this summer at a time when many clubs have been retrenching,” said Woodward.

“This reflects the strong commercial model we have built over many years, ensuring that our spending is always underpinned by revenues that we generate ourselves.

“However, while we are confident in our relative strength, it remains clear that football as a whole faces major financial challenges caused by years of material inflation in wages and transfer fees, exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic.

“We are committed to working within the Premier League, the ECA and UEFA to promote greater financial sustainability at all levels of the game.”

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

See also  Report: Man United ready to agree £50,000-a-week deal to sign star who earns highest salary at club

Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

See also  What Cristiano Ronaldo told Man United team-mates about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer future

Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

See also  Manchester United-linked player 'furious his club over transfer stance'

For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

See also  Man United respond to Barcelona asked star to be included in sensational swap deal for Frankie de Jong deal as the the 'very close' to be completed now

With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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