Tag Mame Biram Diouf

Tag Mame Biram Diouf

From striking riches, to striking woes

December 5, 2011 Tags: , , Opinion 18 comments

Sir Alex Ferguson began the season with seven strikers; the Scot could end the year with just three, and none of them currently in scintillating form. Injuries leave Ferguson with just two senior strikers for Manchester United’s visit to FC Basel in the Champions League this week – Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck – but potential departures may reduce the Scot’s options even further come January. It is a concern for which there is no easy fix as United continues to grind out single-goal results.

Javier Hernandez’ sickening and unfortunate injury during the Reds’ 1-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday has reduced the Scot’s attacking options, with Michael Owen also on the sidelines until the New Year, and Dimitar Berbatov missing the next fortnight after suffering a recurrence of an old ankle injury against Crystal Palace. The early injury to Hernandez, who rolled over on his left ankle and is believed to have torn ligaments, will keep the Mexican out of action for at least a month, according to Ferguson. But that could be an optimistic prognosis; those who have suffered similar injuries, including Robin van Persie and Jack Rodwell in recent seasons, spent far longer on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Owen, who strained his left hamstring in United’s 2-0 Champions League win over Otelul Galati at Old Trafford, is unlikely to play again this side of a busy Christmas programme. With Berbatov set to miss matches against Basel and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ferguson will fall back on Welbeck, who has only just returned from injury, to partner the misfiring Rooney in Switzerland.

Still, Ferguson chose to reflect on the positives from United’s controlled but ultimately narrow victory over Villa on Saturday evening.

“I thought we deserved the victory. We had great possession at times and I think we were a bit wasteful with chances we had in the second half,” said Ferguson of United’s victory at Villa Park.

“But a win away from home at Villa Park – which is always a difficult place to come – is a good result so we are happy. I think we should be finishing games off and I’d like to do that, but the one good thing is our concentration levels away from home. I thought we controlled the game. Some of our football was good, there were some good performances from the lads and there was a good rhythm in our game. Yes, we could do better in the finishing department but I think consistency will help us in terms of confidence.”

Injuries will do little to help United’s attacking rhythm though, with Ferguson’s side having scored just once in each of the last seven Premier League games since derby defeat to Manchester City in October. It is a period in which Rooney has failed to hit the net, although the 26-year-old Scouser has frequently been deployed in central midfield.

Attacking injury problems could open the door to Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda. Yet, neither made the bench for United’s fixture at Villa, or indeed, has started a game in the Premier League this season, and Ferguson is expected to sell or loan the pair come January. With just 16 matches remaining in the reserve season it will aid neither man to remain at the club.

“The problem is the type of reserve league we have now, it’s really a youth league, and that is a big problem,” added Ferguson after defeat to Palace last week.

“It bothers me in the sense that the level of training we do was let down. For us it was Rafael’s first game, Darron Gibson’s first game, Mame Diouf’s only played four games this season, Macheda only his third game. That’s not enough football to play in the quarter-final of a League Cup I’m afraid. That caught us and I was surprised of the level of fitness of Crystal Palace against us. In terms of match play we were certainly short.

“[Loans] work well for all young players to get game time and that’s what we are looking at for Macheda and Diouf, they need game time, there is no question about that. Every young players wants to play and we have to give them that opportunity.”

Yet, while Macheda remains in Ferguson’s long-term plans, it is surprising Diouf has any future at the club nearly two years after joining for around £3.5 million. In that period the Senegalese striker has made nine United appearances, scoring one goal. In between joining and last month’s disaster against Palace there was the unsuccessful loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, where Diouf scored six times in 26 games. Three of those came in a Carling Cup tie against then Championship side Norwich. Ferguson is unlikely to make any return on the investment.

Macheda, meanwhile, played only his second senior match for the club in the past year against the Championship side. The Italian is still only 20, but suffered for a six month loan spell at Sampdoria, with i Blucerchiati relegated to Serie B at the end of last season. These likely departures leaves Ferguson hoping that his injured senior strikers return soon, and that they hit the ground running.

Four left in United limbo

September 3, 2011 Tags: , , , Opinion 10 comments

A quartet of fringe players, each included in Manchester United’s Premier and Champions League squads this week, may seek to move out of the club on loan once the window opens next week. Although the English summer transfer season closed at 11pm last Thursday night, with no dramatic last-minute deals brokered by Sir Alex Ferguson, players can move to the Championship and certain overseas markets from 8 September. Darron Gibson, Tomasz Kuszczak, Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda may seek temporary opportunities elsewhere, having seen no action to date this season.

Indeed, of the quartet only Macheda is unavailable for permanent transfer, with some surprise that Gibson, Kuszazck and Diouf were unable to find new permanent homes this past summer. Gibson and Kuszazck spent pre-season with United’s reserves, while Diouf was afforded minimal opportunities with Ferguson’s first string on tour in the US. None of the quartet has featured in Ferguson’s squads for Premier League matches to date.

While an ankle injury suffered by Darron Gibson may have ended Aston Villa’s reported interest in the midfielder, the Irishman is unlikely to find a route to Ferguson’s first-team squad, let alone team in the coming weeks. Although the Scot failed to add a marquee signing to his central midfield resources over the summer, Tom Cleverley’s outstanding form so early this season has removed any requirement for Gibson to remain at Old Trafford. Quite why a £6 million move to Sunderland broke down in July remains a mystery, with Sunderland briefing journalists that the Irishman’s wage demands were too high but Ferguson claiming the Wearside club had changed its offer.

Meanwhile, Kuszazck’s inability to find a new club leaves the Pole third choice behind David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard. A mooted transfer to West Bromwich Albion ended when former United stopper Ben Foster joined the Midlanders. CSKA Moscow then failed to follow up a reported interest in the former Hertha Berlin ‘keeper with a concrete offer. The 29-year-old ‘keeper has made just 61 appearances in all competitions during five seasons at Old Trafford; it is almost inconceivable that Kuszazck will add a 62nd appearance to that total.

Then there is Diouf, whose loan spell at Blackburn Rovers last season yielded just three Premier League goals in 26 appearances for Steve Kean’s outfit. No wonder, perhaps, that there have been no takers this summer. Two goals against New York Cosmos during Paul Scholes testimonial appeared to offer the Senegalese striker a glimmer of hope but with seven strikers in Ferguson’s squad the £3.5 million January 2009 acquisition can only hope for sporadic opportunities in the Carling and FA Cups this season.

Macheda faces a different challenge of course, with Ferguson seeking to retain the striker in the long-term. But it is now three seasons since the Italian burst onto the scene with match changing goals against Villa and Sunderland and the youngster must surely now play to progress. Yet there appears to be little chance of the Rome-born player breaking into Ferguson’s first team plans as Danny Welbeck has done to such great effect this season. Indeed, it is a major surprise that United was seemingly unable to find the striker a loan move this summer, with Newcastle United reportedly interested. And while it is likely Ferguson prefers the player to move within England, the Premier League is no longer an option until 1 January 2012.

Each of the quartet was selected in United’s UEFA Champions League squad this week, which includes 24 of a possible 25 players on the ‘A’ list. Ferguson added a further 10 to the ‘B’ group, including first team regulars Fábio and Rafael da Silva, and Welbeck. However, with the Scot able to add unlimited ‘homegrown’ under-21 players to his match-day party talented yougsters including Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba could be included at a later date. Homegrown players are those who, regardless of nationality, have been trained by United or another club England for at least three years between the age of 15 and 21.

But inclusion is unlikely to proffer any of the quartet significant match time, relegating Macheda to minor cup competitions and the remainder of the trio to, perhaps, even less than that unless a move away is found. In that there is a significant challenge. After all none of the quartet, bar perhaps Diouf, is a Championship-level player and of the major European leagues only Turkey’s window remains open – until 5 September.

UEFA Champions League Squad

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Tomasz Kuszczak, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos*, Sam Johnstone*

Defenders: Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidić, Fabio*, Rafael*, Sean McGinty*

Midfielders: Anderson, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-Sung, Michael Carrick, Nani, Ashley Young, Thomas Cleverley, Darren Fletcher
Antonio Valencia, Darron Gibson, Matty James*, Davide Petrucci*

Forwards: Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernández, Danny Welbeck*, Federico Macheda*, Mame Biram Diouf, Will Keane*

* B List

Diouf and Tosic set to leave

June 15, 2010 Tags: , Shorts 7 comments

Between £5 – £8 million will flow into the Glazers’ financial black hole when Serbian winger Zoran Tošić is sold today Russian outfit CSKA Moscow. Tošić, who spent much of last season on loan at Cologne in the Bundesliga, joined Manchester United in a £17 million deal alongside fellow Serb Adem Ljajić 18 months ago.

United pulled the plug on the £10 million Ljajić deal in January claiming work permit problems, while Tošić’s move to CSKA will see the club make a return on its initial investment.

Although Tošić has stated a preference to remain in Germany, financial considerations almost certainly dictated that a move to the Bundesliga – save for a late bid from Bayern Munich that did not arrive – was not viable. CSKA, incredibly still backed by the Russian Ministry of Defense, have no problem meeting United’s fee or the player’s financial demands.

Tošić, 23, made just five substitute appearances for United in his time at the club, with United taking a £3 million loss on the player.

“We made him an offer to stay,” said Cologne director Michael Meier.

“But the sums of money put before him make it hard for any German club to compete. But, in the end, there are only winners in the deal.

“We stayed in the league thanks to Tošić, Zoran was able to show his form and is at the World Cup and Manchester United can achieve their asking price.”

Another player on the move – on loan at least – is Senegalese striker Mame Biram Diouf, who has failed to make an impact at the club since his arrival from Norwegian side Molde in January. Injury, competition for places and time required to settle in a new country have limited Diouf’s first team chances to just five appearances, scoring once against Burnley at Old Trafford in January.

With Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, Federico Macheda, Danny Wellbeck and new signing Javier Hernandéz on United’s books, Sir Alex Ferguson has plenty of forward options for the new season. The Daily Star reports Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers interested in taking the 22-year-old forward on loan for the season.

Other players set to leave on loan this summer are the aforementioned Wellbeck, who may return with Matt James to Preston North End, and French winger Gabriel Obertan who is heavily linked with a short-term move to Glasgow Rangers.

A slew of other fringe and youth players will also leave on loan in the coming season.

Profile: Mame Biram Diouf

January 14, 2010 Tags: Opinion 6 comments

Senegalese striker Mame Biram Diouf made his Manchester United debut as a late substitute against Birmingham City last weekend. Diouf, 22, signed from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club Molde in the summer before being loaned back. The striker, who now wears Carlos Tevez’ number 32, scored 33 goals in 75 games for the Norwegian club.

Diouf’s signature, captured for a reported 50 million Kroner (around £5 million), followed a two year pursuit by Sir Alex Ferguson’s scouts of the powerful international.

“He has adapted very well to our training regime and has looked very impressive,” Ferguson told Inside United magazine last week.

“He is quick, very good in the air and a good striker of the ball. Overall, he is a really good centre-forward and he will play a part this season.”

Daka-born Diouf made his international debut against Democratic Republic of Congo in August last year, although the forward misses out on the Africa Cup of Nations after Senegal failed to qualify for the finals.

Time will tell whether Diouf is the next Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or the next Manucho but for now Mame, good luck!