TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Manchester United struggled against Copenhagen...
...and that's bad news for Ed Woodward.
In their 1-0 win against Copenhagen, Manchester United were the better team from the hour-mark onwards - yet before they struggled to break down a well-organised but - bar Rasmus Falk - fairly limited side.
Yes, United finished the game with 14 shots on target, but those stats do not represent a fair reflection of the flow of the early part of the game.
And, truth be told, that fits the pattern of United's season, particularly before the acquisition of Bruno Fernandes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have - generally - found it easier against better teams, who by nature of being better and forward thinking, leave space behind them.
However, when it comes to the task of breaking down well-drilled, well-organised defences United can be found wanting.
This is not to say United don't have an array of excellent, technical footballers in their starting eleven; the frontline of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have guile in abundance, but, as a squad, they lack depth in that area.
- Borussia Dortmund confirm Jadon Sancho Man Utd move off
- Romelu Lukaku scores for ninth Europa League game in a row as Inter Milan progress
Jadon Sancho would represent an excellent addition and provide a varied threat to United's offering. This was a fact before the Europa League quarter-final against Copenhagen. However, the performance United put up only strengthens Borussia Dortmund's hand. United don't just want Sancho, they need him if they have designs on mixing it with those sat at the top table of English and European football.
The deadline set by Dortmund passed on August 10 with sporting director Michael Zorc insisting that Sancho would stay at the club but it is a long way until October 5. United are reportedly unwilling to match Dortmund's £108m asking price but after United's early travails last night that asking price might have just gone up again.
Liverpool still moneyballing
The reason behind Liverpool's excellence is manifold. They have a great manager, and a great squad. However, underpinning that excellence is excellent recruitment.
And they are at it again, it appears. They needed a left-back; so early into the transfer window and before pre-season starts, they have addressed a weakness within their squad by signing Kostas Tsimikas.
The 24-year-old, three-cap Greece international has Champions League experience and stylistically is a perfect understudy for Andy Robertson, and, according to reports, cost £11 million or roughly one Dejan Lovren to Zenit St Petersburg.
Anyway, here he is, happy as, on Liverpool's website expecting future domination from the Reds.
“I’m very happy, I’m very proud to be here. For me, [it’s] the biggest club in the world. It’s an honour to be here and I will give my best.
“With a lot of work and focus on what I do and what the coach wants, and every day working hard in training, I can be on the highest level.
[I want] to achieve [our] goals. To win the league again and also to win the Champions League.
Aaron Ramsey to Real Madrid you say
Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting that Real Madrid and Juventus are considering a swap deal between Isco and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal. Juventus. Real Madrid. In that order.
The Athletic chronicle the many successes of Francis Cagigao, Arsenal's former head of international scouting, who set the wheels in motion for not only Cesc Fabregas but also players like Gabriel Martinelli.
As well as Fabregas, Arsenal brought in the likes of Fran Merida and Jon Toral from Barcelona. They tried for more: four months before he agreed a deal with Manchester United, Gerard Pique had been in advanced talks with Arsenal. It’s one of the great regrets of Wenger and Cagigao’s careers that work-permit regulations extinguished a possible move for Lionel Messi.
It is a festival of both snooker and football with the World Snooker Championship quarter-finals rocking and rolling, Kurt Maflin v Anthony McGill, Mark Selby v Neil Robertson, Judd Trump v Kyren Wilson, Mark J Williams v Ronnie O'Sullivan all in action.
In the football, Shakhtar face Basel and Sevilla entertain Wolves.
Ben Snowball is on holiday so someone will be here but that's being kept under wraps...