You know what they say - you can never have too many Dembélés. And if one gifted, lightning quick young French striker suffers a dip in form, don’t bother trying to raise his confidence or develop his game. Sack him off, and move on to the next one. And if the next one is too expensive (we’re looking at you, suddenly-€100m-rated Kylian Mbappé), don’t lose heart - there’s always another one that you for whom you can overpay slightly less. Which brings us to Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé.
José Mourinho reportedly has his sights set on Dembélé, either as an alternative to Antoine Griezmann, or as a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimović. The teenage striker can apparently be stolen away from Dortmund for the low, low price of £50m. What a steal! He cost a quarter of that when acquired from Rennes less than a year ago, but we’re long past expecting United to show sense in the transfer market.
Speaking of potential replacements for the maybe-or-maybe-not-LA-bound Ibrahimović, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is going to cost a bloody fortune. The Liverpool Echo say that Everton are prepared to hold out for an eye-watering £100m transfer fee for the Belgian big man. Lukaku is under contract for two more years, but he has no intention of re-signing, so Everton may be overestimating their leverage here.
There are other reports that Mourinho wants both Griezmann and Lukaku to flank Ibrahimović in a new-look attack next season. The terrible newspaper in which this was reported call it the “scariest front three in world football.” Which is a quite a ludicrous statement. We’re not even sure they’d be the scariest front three at United training.
Ashley Young, who now joins Marouane Fellaini with a 100% win record as Manchester United captain, is unsure of his future at the club. Young, who has just over one year left on his contract (we had honestly thought it was up this summer), said the following when asked about his future:
“I have always said that I want to play as much as possible. What the future holds I am not too sure. I am just concentrating on each game and when the manager calls on me, I will give 100 percent and look to play as well as I can. I am looking to play as many games as I can between now and the end of the season. That is what I am concentrating on now. That is the main focus for me and then we will see what happens."
Young has grown into a senior figure in the dressing room, as well as a valuable utility player. That said, there’s a good chance he may decide to move on this summer in search of regular football.
Ander Herrera may have just put in arguably his best performance in a United shirt, but he’s not resting on his laurels. In the program before the match on Sunday, Herrera spoke like a man with steely-eyed focus.
“The next month and a half is the most important time of my career. That is the way I think and that is the way I see football. Also, when everyone is telling you you’re having a great season, you’re having a very good game, you’re playing very well, I don’t think it is good for yourself so I don’t listen too much. I want to be focused on what is coming and that is very important. I want to play in the Champions League next season.”
And despite having the adoration of the Old Trafford faithful and the trust of the manager, he’s not taking anything for granted.
“I will always be thankful but football changes. We have great players and Manchester United has the capacity to sign big players, so I cannot sleep. I have to keep working, performing and giving what the manager wants me to give.”