Youngsters stake a claim for number 10

Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj

There is, it seems, something attractive about youngsters with a complex identity. In 2014 Adnan Januzaj settled, after no little debate in at least three countries, for a place with the Belgian national side. Januzaj burst onto the scene as one of the few players to emerge with genuine credit through the failed David Moyes […]

The curious case of Ilkay Gündoğan

Ilkay Gundogan

A few months ago it looked certain that Ilkay Gündoğan would be heading through the exit door at Signal Iduna Park and into the arms of the red half of Manchester. At one stage Sky Germany even reported a transfer done – pending a medical that never materialised. Soon the rash of media reports went cold and the story […]

Schweinsteiger adds new dimension to Van Gaal’s burgeoning squad

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Three transfers concluded, how many more to come this summer? Manchester United’s confirmation that Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is to join from Bayern Munich adds to a growing sense of momentum at Old Trafford. The player may be creeping towards his 30s, but Schweinsteiger is legitimately one of the world’s finest central midfielders – and […]

Van Gaal builds from the back but cannot neglect United’s attacking front

Matteo Darmian

Manchester United’s impending capture of Torino right-back Matteo Darmian is the first in what could be three defensive acquisitions this summer; the Italian international may even join before Louis van Gaal’s squad leaves, next Monday, for a short tour of the United States. It is a sound purchase in a window that promises a more […]

Pre-season preview 2015/16

Louis van Gaal

It has been just 43 days since Manchester United last played – a drab scoreless draw against Hull City at the KC Stadium. Yet, Louis van Gaal’s return to work last week signaled the start of United’s “preparation time” ahead of the new season, which begins when Tottenham Hotspur visit Old Trafford on 8 August. […]

United must heed Cesc education

Sergio Ramos

July 15, 2013. The ides, it turned out, of Cesc. Ed Woodward, freshly appointed as Manchester United’s new executive vice chairman, made his first big move in the transfer market that day: a £25 million bid for Barcelona’s Cesc Fàbregas that was swiftly rejected. Woodward’s was a pursuit that ended in failure; just one in a […]

Van Gaal could ape Barça’s tactical approach

Barcelona, Suarez, Messi, Neymar

Barcelona won everything under Luis Enrique this season: La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. And yet Enrique’s side is far more pragmatic than Pep Guardiola’s “Dream Team.” Perhaps it is because the current squad, as good as it is, does not match up to Guardiola’s side. Or maybe Neymar and Ivan Rakitic do not […]

United in search of a formula to match Barça’s brilliance

Lionel Messi

If Saturday night’s Champions League final confirmed anything – Barcelona’s European hegemony over the past decade excepted – it is that Louis van Gaal has plenty of work to do at Old Trafford this summer. Last season’s fourth place finish takes United back into the continent’s premier competition, but few will argue with the notion […]

Rant’s Premier Predictions 2014/15 revisited

David De Gea

Each year Rant predicts the season ahead. Manchester United’s performance, the winners, the losers and the individual stars. There have been mixed results over the years – check out 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14. This year is no different. It has been a mixed season for United, with Louis van Gaal leading something of a renaissance at Old Trafford by qualifying for the Champions […]

United’s finest: ‘Rolls Royce’ Rio retires

Rio Ferdinand

“Excellence,” wrote Greek philosopher Aristotle, “is an art won by training.” Indeed, this is a doctrine held true by many in the game for whom hard work and a little talent has brought ample reward. Rio Ferdinand trained hard too; a professional to the last. Yet, he also boasted such a natural elegance on the pitch […]