There’s a little bit of a hint that Anthony Martial has returned back to France to be with his missus as she gives birth to their child without the agreement of Manchester United. While it’s not unreasonable for Martial to want to return, or for him to have done so, if he hasn’t been granted permission then it hints at trouble between Martial and Jose Mourinho. Mourinho seems willing to sell Martial if he goes to a club outside the Premier League, but beyond Real Madrid and Juventus there aren’t too many clubs who could afford his transfer fee or his salary. And with the absolute bozo that is Ed Woodward, there’s also no guarantee that he won’t be replaced by Leroy Lita and some desiccated Savlon.
Mourinho has had a jaunty pop at Jurgen Klopp. Mourinho has pointed out that the Liverpool manager has changed his mind on the way money is spent, given he has just spent a fortune, and Mourinho has pointed out that if you spend well then it’s better than leaving the money to do nothing in the bank. He is putting a little bit of pressure on Liverpool to perform, but he acknowledges that they have still bought well and that should serve them well for the season, and perhaps it’s a way to put the pressure on Woodward and the Glazers, who refused to give the last three managers the players that they wanted and needed.
United are reportedly closing in on Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. At 25, he’s young enough to receive a Mourinho education in offside and the dark arts, but there should be worries about his technical ability. His runs into midfield during the World Cup were fun, but there was no indication that he’s especially adept at picking a pass. Nonetheless, he is an improvement upon every single central defender United currently have, and should be brought in on that basis. He should cost around £65m, but it’s not our money (nor is it the Glazer’s, the scoundrels).
Martial might be included in a deal for Toby Alderweireld, as Spurs ask for £55m from United for any deal. United have alternatives, including Maguire, but they might also move for Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar. They desperately need at least one central defender and just as important, perhaps, is making sure that Daley Blind is not the only mediocrity who is going to be shown the door. For too long, the squad has been a minefield of absolute cack, and Mourinho is best when he has a solid defence to rely on, rather than provocative misery.
Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are on holiday together as they enjoy some rest after the World Cup. There are still a fair few players who have yet to return from international duty and that might hamper United’s start to the season after they have had so little activity in the transfer window, and there are still players to be sold on who are taking up roles during friendlies.
Mourinho has praised Matteo Darmian, who was captain against AC Milan last night. He has said he’s a decent bloke, but that he wants to live. However, with Inter Milan and Juventus both interested, Mourinho made it clear that he would not allow him to go for a low offer, and that with two players injured at right back, and Ashley Young on holiday, there is only a choice between Victor Lindelof and Darmian in that position. The fact remains that Darmian has limited use and appears far better when in Italy, so we can still expect him to do one.