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Who is this £25m-rated teenage Ligue 1 ace being chased by Man United? Here is all you need to know

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Man United Opinion: Red Devils should make a move for William Saliba

According to the Daily Mail, Man United are interested in signing 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba from Saint Etienne in the summer, with reports claiming that the youngster has caught the eyes of several top clubs across Europe.

Saliba, who only turned 18 earlier in March, is currently valued at around £25 million by Saint Etienne and the French club would demand that he is loaned back to them for at least another season. (h/t Daily Mail)

The teenager has enjoyed a wonderful breakout season in the Ligue 1 this term, making a total of 13 appearances in all competitions, including 7 starts in the league.

Well, it is pretty obvious that if an 18-year-old is valued at £25 million, with Man United showing interest, then there must be something in the player which makes him really special. So, let us get a deeper insight into one of Ligue 1’s brightest defensive prospects- Saint Etienne’s William Saliba.

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Background

Born in Bondby, a commune in the north eastern suburbs of Paris, France, Saliba started playing football as a kid and was coached by Wilfried Mbappe- the father of Kylian Mbappe.

He joined Saint Etienne’s youth set up in 2016 and signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2018. Saliba made his senior debut for Saint Etienne in a 3-2 victory over Toulouse in Ligue 1 last September.

A regular for France at the youth level, Saliba has a won a total of 21 caps for his nation till the U19 level.

Style of Play

Currently standing at 6ft.4 inches with a towering frame, Saliba is already a tall and powerful defender and one would expect him to gain a few more inches in the years to come. As mentioned above, Saliba is a strong and powerful centre-back who likes to stamp his authority with his physicality and aerial ability.

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However, the youngster hasn’t attracted interest from Man United just because of his big frame. Very strong in the air and quick across the ground, Saliba has shown maturity that belies his tender years in terms of composure, discipline and decision-making at the back.

Young defenders in the same mould often show a tendency to dive into reckless challenges and let the team down with occasional mental freezes but Saliba is really an exception.

Saliba has developed a good understanding of the game very early in his career, often making the right choice between going into a tackle or standing on his feet to intercept.

Well, he is equally good at both, getting himself into the right position to make tackles, while also positioning himself perfectly to anticipate the key passes from the opposition in the final third.

It is very important for modern-day defenders to be comfortable with the ball at their feet and Saliba ticks that box as well. He has worked on his ball-playing abilities and currently boasts of a pass accuracy percentage of 84.2 in the Ligue 1.

The 18-year-old has averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 2.2 clearances and 1.3 aerial duels this season, figures which are impressive for a young player. In fact, he has completed 21 of his attempted 27 tackles in the league so far, whilst picking up just a single booking.

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What does the future hold?

William Saliba is making plenty of noise in his debut season in Ligue 1 and Man United’s interest in the player is enough evidence of the fact that he is an immensely talented player with loads of potential.

If a move to Old Trafford does materialize in the summer, Saliba would probably be loaned back to Saint Etienne to further his development.

Making the step up to the Premier League would present a big jump both in terms of quality and intensity, something which might stall his progress. He needs regular minutes to hone his skills and staying in Ligue 1 for another full season could work wonders for him.

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To conclude, Saliba looks destined for big things and has the potential to be a household name in Europe in the next five years or so.

Borussia Dortmund

Manchester United can move on from Matic by signing this 23-year-old German midfield prodigy and here’s why

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Manchester United Opinion: Why Man United should go for Julian Weigl?

According to a report from the Daily Star, Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told the club hierarchy to offload star midfielder Paul Pogba so he can reinvest the funds in improving the squad.

Pogba, 26, has refused to commit his future at Old Trafford in recent weeks and admitted last weekend he was contemplating a ‘new challenge’, amidst interest from Juventus and Real Madrid. Manchester United have maintained their stance of not selling the World Cup winner this summer but the Daily Star claim Solskjaer is ready to sanction a move.

The Red Devils have only given the Norwegian manager a summer transfer kitty of £100million to spend after failing to qualify for the Champions League, the report adds. They hope to make Aaron Wan-Bissaka their second signing of the summer following the arrival of Daniel James from Swansea City. But Solskjaer knows he needs many more players to complete his squad for next season and is ready to sacrifice Pogba to bolster the funds available to him.

Pogba, who is valued around £140m by United, is keen to leave Old Trafford this summer and challenge for major honours elsewhere. So, Solskjaer will be keen to sign a midfielder to replace the Frenchman. In fact, the 46-year-old tactician would need at least a couple of midfielders having lost Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini since joining the club in December.

Back in January 2018, the Independent claimed United were interested in signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl. However, a move didn’t materialise then and Weigl stayed at Dortmund.

The German midfielder’s form has taken a slight dip in recent times, resulting in him falling down the pecking order last season under Lucien Favre. He managed only 25 appearances across all competitions, predominantly playing in central defence. Even if Weigl has struggled in the last 18 months or so, United must rekindle their interest in the 23-year-old this summer.

Once regarded as one of the finest midfield talents in the world, Weigl could be the perfect replacement for Nemanja Matic, who has looked somewhat past his best for the Reds. The Germany international is also an exceptional passer of the football and is very comfortable in possession, whilst excelling when breaking up opposition’s play. He has plenty of energy and always looks to pass forward, making him a perfect fit for Solskjaer’s style of play at United.

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Weigl is vastly experienced, regardless of his tender years, and he would bring real quality competition to the central midfield department at Old Trafford. The 23-year-old should be the perfect player to partner Scott McTominay in central midfield next term, with Fred and Andreas Pereira having done very little to warrant a starting berth.

Verdict

At the age of 23, Weigl is still young and in the developmental phase of his career. His form has been patchy in the last couple of seasons at Dortmund, but that should not deter United in splashing the cash to sign him ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

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Bournemouth

Man Utd’s £50m pursuit of this 21-year-old playmaker starring for PL rivals would be a solid move by Solskjaer

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Manchester United Opinion: Why Man United should sign David Brooks?

According to a report from The Sun, Manchester United are eyeing a £50m swoop for Bournemouth playmaker David Brooks.

The Wales international, 21, joined Bournemouth last summer in an £11.5m move from Sheffield United on a four-year contract. He enjoyed a fine debut campaign in the top-flight last season, scoring seven goals and assisting seven times and was awarded with a new, long-term deal in March.

David Brooks is the latest name to be linked with Manchester United, who are expected to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wholeheartedly in the summer transfer window after a disappointing sixth-placed finish last term. The United manager is plotting a major rebuild of his squad with a particular focus on signing young, exciting and hungrier British talents.

Before signing off for the summer, Solskjaer said he wanted all of his new signings on board and ready to start training when the squad returns on July 1. Yet, the Red Devils have just made one signing so far in the summer transfer window, with Daniel James joining the club from Swansea City.

With Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku declaring their desires to leave Old Trafford this summer, David De Gea out of contract next summer and yet to sign a contract extension and the likes of Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have released by the club, further additions of the requisite quality are the need of the hour.

Things must change thick and fast for United and they must not hesitate in splashing the cash to sign David Brooks from Bournemouth. The Welshman impressed in his debut season with the Cherries and could be the player to improve United’s attack next season.

A technically gifted and tactically versatile player, the 21-year-old caught the eye with his work-rate, energy and versatility—playing in the no.10 role, out wide and in a deeper midfield role. That’s exactly what makes Brooks so valuable, as the 21-year-old can fill in at any attacking role very effectively. The no.10 role allows him to assert his creative dominance on the field, helping link the play with midfield and attack.

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The ex-Sheffield United man is excellent from dead-ball situations and has a hammer of a left foot with which he can score long-range screamers. He is only 21 and is a very exciting talent, who has massive potential to develop.

Verdict

Manchester United have a rich history of nurturing young talents into world beaters and Brooks—a boyhood Red Devil—might see this as an opportunity to help the club take back to where they belong. Even if Bournemouth aren’t willing to let go of the Welshman, Solskjaer and co. must do everything possible to lure him away to Old Trafford.

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Manchester United

Manchester United offering a new deal to this 22-year-old England U21 star would get them a successor for De Gea

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Manchester United Opinion: Man United must offer fresh terms to Dean Henderson

According to a report from Mirror, Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson is set to agree on a new deal after an impressive loan spell with the Sheffield United. The report also claims that the England U-21 goalkeeper will be loaned back to the Blades for the upcoming season.

Impressive performances with the Blades and the Three Lions

Henderson played a great role behind the Blades’ promotion to Premier league in the recently concluded season.

In the long run, the 22-year-old kept 21 clean sheets, the highest by a Championship goalkeeper and have conceded only 41 goals.

Furthermore, his contribution for the Three Lions team turns out to be nothing short of greatness as he put up a stellar display against France in Euro U-21 competition. Despite ending on the losing side, Henderson pulled off a series of fine saves and also denied an opposition’s penalty.

De Gea’s uncertain future at Old Trafford

It has been that kind of season for United’s No 1, David de Gea, not only in terms of his lacklustre performances on the field but also with his wages issues with the club.

The Red Devils are reluctant to meet his high wages demands thereby allowing the 28-year-old to have second thoughts about his future. The ex-Atletico Madrid man’s contract at Old Trafford ends next season, with PSG and Real Madrid tracking his situation.

Is Henderson the right one to succeed De Gea?

The Spaniard’s situation has forced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to sort out the replacements and the names like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Jasper Cillessen emerged on the wishlist.

Even, the Norwegian manager has tabled the idea of promoting Sergi Romero, who has been serving as United’s second string shot-stopper for years.

And United don’t have to look outside while they are having an option off the shelf named Henderson. The English youngster holds every trait to succeed De Gea as he has already shared a glimpse in his previous loan spells and with the Three Lions U-21 side as well.

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My Verdict

Henderson has been depleted with the first team chances owing to his subsequent loan spells at various English clubs since his move to Old Trafford.

And the Red Devils sending him out on another loan spell while he is at this zenith doesn’t sound wiser. If there is a player who needs to inherit De Gea, then it has to be Henderson.

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