Let’s start with the bad new, shall we? Most of us were more than a little annoyed at Chris Smalling for injuring United teammate Phil Jones in training. Jones has been largely decent this season, and the Reds are hardly blessed with a plethora of fit and capable defenders. Smalling though, was not satisfied. “You think breaking Jones’ toe was bad enough? Pfft. Hold my beer.” He did not say this, but he did manage to injure himself in England training as well. Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ. Let’s hope Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly take better care of themselves over the next week or so. The need for defensive reinforcements in the summer is highlighted yet again.
One of those reinforcements may come in the form of Atlético Madrid’s José Giménez. According to The Mirror, both United and Liverpool are keeping an eye on the 22 year-old Uruguayan center-back. He’s young, but he has all the qualities to be a top defender, and he’s had a proper education under the tutelage of Diego Simeone, while playing in Europe’s best defense. The biggest stumbling block may be Atleti’s unwillingness to do business with United twice in one summer - no points for guessing who the other Rojiblancos target might be.
Another center-back that United may take a look at this summer is Burnley’s Michael Keane, once of this very parish. The Mail reports that Keano will have his pick of big English clubs this summer: Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, and Manchester United are all keeping tabs. Manchester City are also interested. Keane, of course, came through the ranks at United, only to be allowed to leave for pittance by Louis van Gaal, who - to the bemusement of anyone who had watched even a single reserve game - decided that Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett were better prospects. That worked out well, then.
The backline isn’t the only area in which José Mourinho will attempt to strengthen, though - the attack needs some spiffing up as well. Enter Antoine Griezmann, who is
probably joining maybe not joining definitely joining. The MEN now say that a deal for Griezmann is “on the verge of completion,” which is almost surely not true. Griezmann may well join in the summer, but a world record transfer between two big clubs is no straightforward matter. Expect this one to drag on unbearably for some time.
Bad news for Reds in Austin. It seems that the Texas capital was the original planned venue for the pre-season Manchester derby, but a deal couldn’t be agreed in time. A new location - possibly still in Texas - should be announced soon.
England, France, and the Ivory Coast are apparently battling it out to secure the international future of United youngster Joshua Bohui. The 18 year-old striker is London-born to an English mum and Ivorian dad, but has yet to signal his intention over which country he plans to represent. France are probably sticking their noses in because they’re short of pacy, exciting young attackers.