Manchester City And Chelsea Have Identified Weaknesses And Strengthened Them. Manchester United Have Identified Strengths And Strengthened Them, (Slightly)

Posted: July 30, 2017 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Transfers
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It is still too early to judge the success or otherwise of this transfer window as far as City, United and Chelsea are concerned.

Chelsea fans will argue that they have strengthened in positions where strengthening was required and Manchester City fans will say exactly the same about their club.

In Chelsea’s case, and depending upon who you choose to believe, either Diego Costa had already decided he was going to leave, or Antonio Conte had already decided Diego Costa was going to leave. Either way a striker was a pre-requisite in this window.

Enter Romelu Lukaku as expected. But hang on, cue Manchester United and super agent Paul Pogba and the expected “Lukaku to Chelsea” headline never appeared. Instead he went to United and Alvaro Morata, who was expected to sign for United, went to Chelsea. Confused? You will be!

The result was the same and Chelsea got their required striker. The other position with a vacancy was centre back due to the departure of John Terry to Aston Villa. Antonio Rüdiger was pretty quickly signed up and the hole was filled.

Manchester City removed some deadwood in the way of old full backs who were long past their use-by date and replaced them with newer models. They also identified, for the second time in Pep’s short reign, a problem in the goalkeeping position which they addressed, for the second time in Pep’s short reign, this time by breaking the world record fee for that position in the hope that, by doing so, they would get one who can actually make saves as well as dribble.

The spending for these two teams is not necessarily over but, if they do decide to go with what they have, then they need not be concerned that any positions of weakness have been overlooked.

The same cannot be said of Manchester United. José Mourinho, along with a few million fans, identified goalscoring in general as a problem last season.

Due to the unfortunate injury suffered by Zlatan Ibrahimović which has either ended his United career or delayed it’s restart, getting another striker was important but not as imperative as other positions.

At present, all he has done is replaced his top goalscorer with another striker who is likely to take over as his top goalscorer. Everything else remains the same with the exception of Victor Lindelof who, as a new addition at centre back, is hardly likely to have much effect on the “goals scored” column of the table.

He is most certainly an upgrade on Chris Smalling who, with any luck, will be with another club by the start of the new season. The problem here is that United didn’t concede that many goals last term. The defence, though often makeshift, performed very well throughout the season and, whilst agreeing that positions of strength should be further strengthened where possible, it should not have been seen as a priority, partcularly when weaker positions have been ignored.

Midfield was also not a big problem in that plenty of chances were being created during games, they just weren’t being converted into goals and although we agree that United should have been able to defend some of their 1-0 leads better than they did, this did not point to a deficiency in creativity.

So a holding midfielder, whilst welcome, is not an urgent necessity.

To date then, United have replaced a striker who was scoring goals with a striker who will score goals and, probably more importantly, is younger. They have also replaced an average centre back, (assuming Smalling is sold), with a good centre back.

There are, however, still problems at full back which need addressing. A decision needs to be made on Luke Shaw. Either he is good enough or he isn’t. When fit he should be given a run in the team or he should be sold. Matteo Darmian still hasn’t convinced the majority including, you would suspect, his own manager, and his best position needs to be agreed upon or he needs to go.

Antonio Valencia, whilst a willing and able stand-in full back, is not a permanent one. To start with he cannot defend and his positional play leaves something to be desired. Quite often he is the last defender playing the opposition onside and a few goals have been conceded because of this.

Daley Blind does not have the pace required of a full back nowadays and Marcos Rojo is better at centre back.

So at least two new full backs should be prioritised during this transfer window.

If this doesn’t happen and United go with what they have then they are virtually as they were last season. The only differences are that for Ibrahimović, we now read Lukaku and for Smalling or Jones we now read Lindelof.

Where is that strengthening?


  1. RedMe says:

    José did his list, Ed coudn’t do the shopping. Chelsea will miss Costa.


  2. AGBA NICK says:

    i agree with u, the left back needs to be taken care of.


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