“So take a good look at my face, you see my smile looks out of place, if you look closer it’s easy to trace, the tracks of my tears.” – Smokey Robinson and the MiraclesWinning the FA Cup should have been a moment of respite for Louis van Gaal. In his final year in charge the Dutchman oversaw an unspectacular campaign at Old Trafford, serving up soporific football and little inspiration, dramatic tumbles in the presence of Mike Dean aside. Even after becoming the first United manager to lift silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, all the post FA Cup chatter was about the Iron Tulip’s imminent dismissal. Indeed, Van Gaal reportedly first got wind of his firing from his wife Truss who had read about it on the BBC Sport website. The Dutchman hadn’t even left Wembley.
So, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has re-signed for United and is back to finish what he started! I can’t wait for him to return, umm by the way when is that?
Well, if reports are to be believed he’s looking to play against Tottenham Hotspur when the Londoners visit Old Trafford on 28 October. To put that into context he suffered serious ligament damage in his right knee against Anderlecht in April and usually the recovery time is nine months to a year. United’s new number 10 could be playing football six months after sustaining a potential career ending injury.
“This is the end, beautiful friend, my only friend, the end” – The Doors.It’s pretty safe to say that Adnan Januzaj’s United career can be filed in the ‘not quite good enough’ drawer. There’ll be a sense of bitterness, if there isn’t already, that a highly talented academy graduate will be moving on to pastures new, and perhaps a justifiable sense of anger that the Belgian didn’t kick on after his breakthrough season. Yet, perhaps the most appropriate feeling is one of sadness.
Legend goes that a broken fax machine was all that kept David De Gea from his purported dream move to Real Madrid back in 2015. The detailed account is, naturally, slightly more complex with documents being sent right at the very end of the transfer window and in the end not being processed through FIFA channels in time. Both clubs played the blame game before De Gea, surprisingly, signed a four-year deal. Now he may finally be on his way.
Poor Luke Shaw, it appears nothing can go right for the youngster. Even the title of ‘most polarizing Manchester United player’ was snatched from his grasp when Jesse Lingard put pen to paper on a new four-year deal. Then, after helping to rescue a point against Everton, his contribution was round mocked. “Shaw’s Shanked Redemption” was Raphael Honigstein’s response to the full-back’s hacked right-footed effort that led to United’s last minute penalty against the Toffees.
At the season’s start the suggestion that José Mourinho would start with both Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan would have been summarily dismissed. The notion that the pair could be picked in the same team has seemed fanciful for much of the campaign. After all, Mata and Mourinho shared a chequered history together at Chelsea, while Mkhitaryan was frozen out of the first team picture altogether for a large chunk of the season. Yet, the duo could be the club’s most important combination as United enter the business end of the season.