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Kevin Strootman to undergo surgery on new knee problem

Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman will undergo knee surgery this week as he waits to discover whether he suffered ligament damage during the weekend’s Serie A game against Fiorentina.

Strootman was substituted after 34 minutes of the 1-1 draw after taking a knock to the same knee that was operated on last year. The knee ligaments will be assessed when Strootman returns to his native Netherlands for a procedure to remove an excess of tissue from the joint, and he took to Twitter to say he expected to be “back to my old level” soon.


On Thursday, a statement on Roma’s official website said tests carried out earlier this week had revealed the buildup of tissue, adding:

“It has been suggested to remove this through an arthroscopy.

“The operation will be performed tomorrow [Friday] in Amsterdam and, at the same time, it will be possible to evaluate the state of the ligaments.”

Strootman has made only six Serie A appearances since returning to action but has been linked with a move to Manchester United, with Roma president James Pallotta saying the Old Trafford club would have to pay a “huge” fee to sign him.

United manager Louis van Gaal knows the 24-year-old well from his time as Netherlands coach, and is reportedly keen to sign him once he has made a full recovery from his knee problems.



Old-Trafford-NewManchester United season ticket holders have been told to pay £50 to watch Cambridge United try and cause an FA Cup shock at Old Trafford, or risk being banned from the clash with Sunderland, reports the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils’ hierarchy have decided that fans who don’t attend the FA Cup fourth round replay against League Two Cambridge should have their season tickets suspended, according to the Daily Mail.

The Mail also claims the club has written specifically to those who have yet to fork out on a ticket for the televised clash, telling them they will not be able to attend the home fixture against Sunderland if they don’t buy one.

The club operate a system in which season card holders agree to buy extra tickets for cup matches – although there are opt outs for League Cup games while under 16s can decide against FA Cup matches.

Those that do not purchase the correct tickets incur an automatic one-match suspension. The club claim fans are made aware of this before they buy season tickets, and in buying the ticket agree to the rules, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The FA Cup tie with Cambridge, which sees the return to Old Trafford of former player Luke Chadwick, will take place on February 3rd.


Bale: I don’t see myself at Manchester United

bale-trophyStrong words from Real Madrid star Gareth Bale who says he is happy in the Spanish capital and insists he has no thoughts of leaving the European champions any time soon. The Welsh attacker has scored ten goals in 16 La Liga appearances this season, is under contract until June 2019.

Bale has been strongly linked in recent weeks with a move to Manchester United. However, the 25-year-old told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser:

“I don’t see myself at Manchester United.

“In a recent interview I was asked if I was not happy at Madrid, but I told them that I am very happy here. I have many years left on my contract. I feel the support and love of the fans at the Bernabeu. I hope I can continue to work in order to prove what I’m capable of doing on the pitch, and to win as many trophies as possible.

“The fans are amazing. I love it when we play at home. I’m having a good time, we are winning trophies, and I want to continue to do this here, at Real Madrid.”

Since joining Real from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2013, Bale has won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey. Real currently lead the league standings and are also alive in the Champions League, where they will face Schalke in the Round of 16 next month.

“The reason why we have won so many titles is because everyone rows in the same direction,” Bale said. “During training, during games, everyone plays at a very high level.”

Everything at Real is planned to detail, according to Bale.

“We have tactical meetings to see who takes free-kicks,” he said. “If it’s on the left, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo, if it’s on the right then it’s me. It usually works well.

“Now that Cristiano may not play, (likely to face a two-match suspension for being sent off in Saturday’s game at Cordoba), I hope I can take the free-kicks in order to have the opportunity to score more goals.”

Bale already turned United down once when he moved to Real Madrid in two years ago. Will he do it again if United come in with a world record breaking bid this summer? And just as importantly, will Real Madrid be able to turn down a £120 million bid?


Jesse Lingard nearing full fitness following knee injury

Jesse-LingardManchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is nearing his way back to full fitness as he aims to break into the first team according to Manchester United Official Website.

The 22-year old has recently returned from a knee operation and was on the bench for Manchester United’s third round FA Cup victory over Yeovil at the beginning of January.

Lingard was speaking following the Manchester United under-21 victory over Liverpool on Monday night and the youngster, who started in manager Louis Van Gaal’s first league game in charge against Swansea back in August, is looking to catch the eye of the manager once again.

Speaking to manutd.com, Lingard said,

”I think I’m very close now (to full fitness). I started the Norwich game and played about 70 minutes but began cramping up. I had a behind-closed-doors game and played the full 90 minutes in that, and another 90 minutes here, so I feel really good.

“The physios and backroom staff worked with me from day one to get the knee right. I don’t think the boss wanted to rush me into any games really, especially as he said I would come back at the end of the December when, in fact, it was the start [of the month]. I thought the boss didn’t want to rush me and now I feel it’s the right time to get back playing.”

Lingard spent large parts of last season on loan in the Championship. Between September and December of 2013 the Englishman played 13 games for Birmingham City where he scored six goals and registered three assists in his short time there. In what was an impressive few months in the midland Lingard ended up as Birmingham’s fourth top scorer in the whole season losing just three times when he was on the pitch.

He was then sent out again on loan to Brighton and Hove Albion from March till the season end where he continued to impress with four more goals and three more assists in his 17 league games on the south coast.

Now his injury worries are over Van Gaal may call on the talented youngster once again as they look to solidify their position in the league and look for Champions League qualification next season.


United Reject PSG Bid For Adnan Januzaj

Adnan-JanuzajAccording to several media outlets, Manchester United have apparently turned down a bid of over £20 million from Paris Saint-Germain for Adnan Januzaj.

The Ligue 1 champions approached United about the possibility of taking 19-year-old Januzaj on loan to the Parc des Princes this month and after United turned that down, they returned with a bid for Januzaj, who has been a peripheral figure under Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal this season, starting just five games in all competitions.

Januzaj’s agent Dirk de Vriese told the French football website that Mercato, that it was Van Gaal that blocked a possible exit.

“Yes, PSG have shown themselves to be interested this winter.

They directly contacted Manchester United for information.

“Louis van Gaal announced that Adnan cannot leave this winter, either permanently or on loan.

“The coach considers him as an important player for squad. He is counting on everyone. It seems like a final decision, I don’t think that it will change.”

Januzaj rose to prominence last season during David Moyes’ doomed Old Trafford reign and has been earmarked as one of the best young players in world football.


fa-cup2Manchester United’s tour of the lower divisions of English football is set to continue with the news that United will travel to either Preston North End or Sheffield United next in the FA Cup, if they can get by Cambridge United’s in their fourth-round replay.

Louis van Gaal’s men take on Cambridge in the replay at Old Trafford on Tuesday 3 February and their prospective opponents will also meet again on the same evening. Sheffield United came back from conceding the first goal to draw 1-1 away on Saturday and will now be fancied to progress on home turf at Bramall Lane, even though they are currently four places below Preston in League One.

The Blades, currently managed by Nigel Clough, have been cup experts in recent times. They will host the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final against Tottenham this coming Wednesday night – after losing the first leg only 1-0 – and last season they reached the last four of the FA Cup before bowing out 5-3 to Hull City in a thrilling match at Wembley.

If the two favourites do go through, it would set up the fifth FA Cup tie between the Uniteds of Sheffield and Manchester, with the previous four also being played at Bramall Lane in the space of six years. The Reds won there in 1990, 1994 and 1995, but lost 2-1 in the fifth round of 1993. The last meeting in any competition was in April 2007, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side triumphed 2-0 at Old Trafford en route to claiming the Premier League title, having won 2-1 in South Yorkshire earlier in the season.


Van Gaal and Woodward At Odds Over USA Summer Tour

statue-of-libertyManchester United manager Louis van Gaal has had his first falling out with the club’s hierarchy after a disagreement over the team’s preseason tour.

The Dutchman is said to be unhappy with the idea of United having a repeat of last summer’s USA tour, which saw them play games on both the East and West Coast.

Van Gaal’s squad played five matches in 12 days against LA Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool

According to the Express, LVG will pressure Man United’s officials to reduce the intensity of their summer touring plans, as van Gaal insists games on the East Coast are enough.

Cities under consideration by United are said to include New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, although no firm decisions have been made on where the Reds will play.

Despite his opposition to lengthy travel, Van Gaal understands United’s need to fulfil global sponsor obligations and a compromise is likely to be reached with one fewer tour game than last summer.

United’s summer tour will be curtailed anyway, with the new season starting a week earlier than usual on August 8 and the Community Shield at Wembley on August 2.

Van Gaal’s side are set to enter the International Champions Cup, just as they did last year, a tournament involving eight teams playing all over America.

Manchester City have entered the Australia edition of the tournament, along with Real Madrid and Roma. City play Roma and Real on July 21 and 24 in Melbourne.


Nani Thinks He Is Coming Back To United

NaniNani has revealed Manchester United want him to stay at Old Trafford despite spending the season on loan at Sporting Lisbon, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The 28-year-old moved to Portugal as part of the deal that saw Marcos Rojo join United in the summer.

But the winger, who has a deal until 2018, insists he has been assured his long-term future is in England.

Nani said: “The club know my value and I know they want me to stay.

“It was me who made the choice to leave the club and it was a good decision by me because I knew if I stayed one more season at Old Trafford, it would be very hard for me.

“I just need someone to believe in me, trust me and my qualities, and give me an opportunity to show them on the pitch.

“It’s an experience I wanted a lot and needed as well because the last two seasons at Manchester United I had so many injuries and I was very upset with a lot of things that happened to me.

“I was missing my family and friends and I wanted something new. The only opportunity I had to be happy, and Manchester United to be happy as well, was this one.”

Sorry Nani but I don’t think we will ever see him in a United shirt in a competitive game. Do you think Nani will be back at United next season?


Van Gaal Blames Everyone But Himself For Cup Performance

lvg-new2Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal complained “every aspect” of the match went against his team after Cambridge deservedly earned a FA Cup fourth-round replay at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal and his distinguished visiting side endured an uncomfortable evening at the R Costings Abbey Stadium in a goalless draw which will live long in the memory for Cambridge, the lowest ranked side remaining in the competition.

“Every aspect of the match is against us,” Van Gaal said.

“We have to come here, the pitch is not so good, but that can influence also that you play in another playing style.

“The opponents are always giving a lot more than normal. And defending is always easier than attacking.

“Then you have seen the referee (Chris Foy). It’s always the same. Everywhere I have coached these games – and I have coached them also with other clubs – it’s always the same.”

Van Gaal refused to expand on his appraisal of Foy, but was critical of his side’s first-half showing, believing they played Cambridge’s game, rather than their own.

He added: “We made the same error as against Yeovil Town and against QPR, that we played in the same playing style as the opponent and that we don’t have to do.

“It was a pity we had to wait again till half-time, but I the second half I was pleased.

“We didn’t score and I have to give also the credit to this club, of course, because Cambridge United played very well, very well organised, with the heart. They have fought till the end.

“We are still in the cup and that’s the most important thing. I’ve seen lots of times big clubs losing against such opponents.”

Josh Coulson might have scored following pin-ball in the United box in the first half, while Chris Dunn saved from substitute Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria in quick succession to earn a replay in Manchester which will provide a major financial boost for the Us.


United Lucky To Still Be In The FA Cup

lvg2-mufcGiven the shock results on Saturday, Manchester United should consider themselves fortunate to still be in the FA Cup as United will head back to Old Trafford for a fourth-round replay after being held to a 0-0 draw by Cambridge United on Friday night.

The clearest chance of the game fell to United striker Radamel Falcao in the second half, but the on-loan Colombia superstar was denied by a fine save from Cambridge goalkeeper Chris Dunn.

Fans of the club from the university city were left to plan a trip to the Theatre of Dreams, less than a year after they returned to the Football League following nine years as a non-league outfit.

And while United’s dreams of a first FA Cup success since 2004 remain alive, the extra fixture is a game that manager Louis van Gaal could do without.

Van Gaal’s curious eve-of-match admission that watching United play in a 4-4-2 formation gave him a “twitchy ass” meant the visitors’ team-sheet was awaited with more anticipation than usual.

They lined up with a back four and a midfield diamond, while Wayne Rooney was absent from the squad amid reports of a foot injury, but on a bitterly cold night in eastern England, it was the home side who made the early running.

Right-winger Ryan Donaldson in particular caught the eye, crossing for Tom Elliott to head over and seizing on a dangerous loose pass from Phil Jones, only for his heavy touch to allow the United defender to clear.

At the other end, Dunn saved with his legs from Daley Blind, but the best chance of the first half fell to Cambridge defender Josh Coulson, who headed just over after he had inadvertently blocked a goal-bound header from team-mate Michael Nelson.

Van Gaal had warned United about Cambridge’s aerial threat prior to the game, but the 11-time cup winners looked vulnerable at set-pieces nonetheless, while in attack they struggled to stretch the play.

Angel di Maria, back in central midfield, had several attempts from long range, but failed to extend Dunn with any of them, prompting inevitable chants of “What a waste of money!” from the home support.

United began to force Cambridge back in the second half and after Adnan Januzaj had worked Dunn at his near post, the Cambridge goalkeeper produced an excellent save to thwart Falcao, who had been released by Michael Carrick.

With just over 20 minutes to play, Van Gaal made a double change, sending on Robin van Persie and Ander Herrera for James Wilson and Marouane Fellaini.

Van Persie squandered a chance to put United ahead when, from an awkward angle, he hooked Di Maria’s bouncing ball over the bar, while Dunn produced a sharp low stop to thwart Di Maria in stoppage time.

Former United midfielder Luke Chadwick received a warm reception from both sets of supporters after entering the fray for Cambridge as a late substitute, but it was the home fans who cheered loudest at the final whistle.