Tag Archives: Manchester United

Man Utd sink as Vilhena vindicates Feyenoord to victory

A shock win for Gio van Bronckhorst’s Feyenoord over Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Thursday night gave the Rotterdammers the perfect start to this season’s European adventure reports Steven Davies.




A single strike from Feyenoord playmaker, Tonny Vilhena saw the Rotterdam giants record a memorable victory over a poor Manchester United side in Group A of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening.

Despite the fact that, due to previous issues regarding crowd trouble during their last UEFA Europa League campaign and in particular over the two legged knock-out tie with Roma in February 2015, Feyenoord were forced to reduce the capacity of their imposing home, employ considerably more stewards and erect a 10 metre high catch net around the playing surface, little could dampen the raucous atmosphere generated for the visit of one of the world’s biggest clubs to Rotterdam – evoking memories of Feyenoord’s glorious past when the continent’s biggest and best were annual visitors to De Kuip.

Despite their illustrious history, the UEFA Europa League (or the UEFA Cup as it was previously known) is one trophy Manchester United have never won – something their hosts have on two occasions, with their most recent triumph in the competition coming under Bert van Marwijk in 2002.

Yet, any thought of winning the competition for Jose Mourinho’s men was most definitely put on the back burner – the Manchester United coach opting to rest a slew of first choice players for the game in Rotterdam, having previously stated an intention of operating two separate teams in an effort to balance the rigors of domestic and continental competition during the first half of the campaign.

Being able to rotate a squad and yet field a side that included names such as Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford was a luxury that Feyenoord coach, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst couldn’t afford – the home side fielding ten of the eleven that dispatched ADO Den Haag at the weekend to maintain Feyenoord’s 100% start to the Eredivisie season as Terence Kongolo returned at the expense of Lucas Woudenberg.

By contrast, the visitors came into the tie off the back of a disappointing home defeat at the hands of their cross-city rivals and had a point to prove to their new manager – who won the competition as coach of Porto in 2003.

But it was the home side who came out of the blocks first – Steven Berghuis testing the handling of United ‘keeper, David de Gea from the edge of the area in the 11th minute before Tonny Vilhena attempted a speculator from similar range on the quarter hour. The visitors replied by troubling de Gea’s opposite number, Brad Jones with a tame Paul Pogba free kick a minute later.

Despite mounting pressure from the hosts, it was the visitors who carved out the best chance of the half when Matteo Darmian broke free down the left and squared for Anthony Martial who skewed a right footed effort from the edge of the area inches wide of Jones’ left hand post with 24 minutes on the clock.

A game of cat and mouse ensued as the second half began – both sides exchanging long range efforts that only served to trouble the ten foot high catch nets encircling the playing surface..

Any suggestion that Mourinho was content with the situation was dispelled when the United boss made a triple change just after the hour – introducing Ibrahimovic, Memphis and Young in the hope of taking all three points back to Manchester.

However, it was a Feyenoord substitute that would fashion the first effort to pose any real danger in the second stanza – Bilal Basacikoglu getting free down the right and firing a low drive that had de Gea scurrying to cover his left hand post with 73 minutes gone.

Having replaced Watford loanee, Steven Berghuis – who had lost the early spark that had driven the home side forward during the first period – the 21-year-old took it upon himself to reignite a contest whose embers had previously begun to flicker and fade.

With eleven minutes remaining, Basacikoglu again found time and space down the right and played in Nicolai Jorgensen who broke the United offside trap and squared for Vilhena who side-footed the ball past de Gea from just inside the area to give the Rotterdam giants a lead their first half play had merited.

Rocked by the goal, the visitors continued to huff and puff thereafter but their star-studded line up ultimately fashioned little to trouble Feyenoord’s Australian stopper, Jones – an Ibrahimovic free kick from just outside the area which was well held by the Feyenoord glovesman as the game entered added time being the best the men from Manchester could muster as Feyenoord added another chapter to their illustrious history in European club competition while in the process maintaining their 100% start to the season with a top of the table clash with PSV in Eindhoven next up for the league leaders on Sunday afternoon.

Man of the Match: Eric Botteghin



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Depay or Wijnaldum? Did Manchester United buy the wrong player from PSV?

PSV had perhaps their best team for years last season and clinched the Eredivisie with relative comfort, with Memphis Depay and Gini Wijnaldum taking most of the plaudits. Both managed to secure a move to the Premier League, but they have had differing fortunes in England. The former has struggled and has lost his place in the side to the homegrown Jesse Lingard, which shows how Depay has under-performed this season. Meanwhile, Wijnaldum has been a revelation for Newcastle, despite their struggles as a side. He has stood out as a complete midfielder capable of taking his Eredivisie form into the Premier League, which begs the question, why weren’t there bigger clubs in for him last summer? And did Manchester United buy the wrong player from PSV last summer asks Jake Jackman.

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Manchester United wanted to add some attacking talent to their squad over the summer and opted for Depay, who was excellent last season for PSV, scoring 22 goals and getting 5 assists. However, Manchester United don’t play out and out wingers, which has prevented Depay from settling in. Also he is only 21 years old and perhaps Manchester United underestimated how much time the Dutchman needed to reach his best form. He has scored just two goals in 17 league appearances and has looked like a weak link at times, especially against Stoke when the first goal was down to his poor touch.

The one time dominant force of English football haven’t managed to get a balanced partnership in central midfield, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin being very similar, and none of them offer that attacking impetus from deep, which makes the team one dimensional in attack. This is why I feel Georginio Wijnaldum would have been a better fit for Louis van Gaal’s side this summer, as he can play in central midfield, and he is a forward-thinking player, who would have given their midfield another dimension. It’s odd that the club didn’t at least try to sign Wijnaldum, considering that the manager knows him well from his time as manager of the national side.

Another reason why Wijnaldum would have been a better fit is that he has been involved in transferring clubs before, and he is far more experienced than Depay. This has allowed him to be better prepared for moving to a new league, which is evident in his immediate impact. He has nine goals and three assists for Newcastle, and he still has 16 games to play. The Dutchman has a great chance of securing a big goal tally for the season, which is rare for a midfielder in his debut Premier League season. He has the potential to be one of the most complete midfielders produced in the Netherlands since Wesley Sneijder. Although he would have had less freedom at Manchester United, he would have been a better fit than Memphis Depay and would have been a big improvement on their current midfield options.

It is concerning to see the failures of Depay this season and Manchester United doesn’t look a good fit for him. Hopefully he manages to make an impact in the second half of the season as he has a lot of talent and it would be a shame for his confidence to be hit so soon after his big money move. If he doesn’t do any better before the summer, he should try and look for a move away from Old Trafford, unless van Gaal departs as it doesn’t look like he will ever have sustained success under his former national team manager. In hindsight, Depay should have moved to a smaller club, in order to bridge from PSV to a huge Champions League club, like Wijnaldum has.



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Hector Moreno on Luke Shaw: “I am so sorry”

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed that Luke Shaw has suffered a double leg fracture in tonight’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to PSV in Eindhoven. PSV defender Hector Moreno has expressed his sorrow on causing the injury writes Will Burns.

The perpetrator of the tackle, Mexican central defender Hector Moreno was interviewed by Dutch TV channel SBS6 after the game and discussed the situation. Immediately after the challenge, Moreno was visibly shocked.

“I wanted to play the ball” said the PSV defender. “Initially, I hoped it was not serious, but I was afraid that it was”.

Moreno, himself fractured his tibia in a World Cup game for Mexico against Holland in the Brazil last summer: “I know how it feels, I know how difficult such a thing is. I feel very bad about it, I am so sorry. I wish him and his family the best.”

Philip Cocu took to defending Moreno in his post-match interview:“He is a player who never enters into a challenge with the intent to injure anyone. Afterwards he focused on the match, but it does something to you, when you see something like that. I hope it’s not too bad.”

Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal also expressed his opinion on the injury of Shaw and was obviously upset: “He came as an 18-year-old boy to Manchester United and had a very difficult first season. Just now, he has made an excellent start to his second season and this happens. When he came into the dressing room, he had an oxygen mask on and he was crying. I hope he returns this season.”


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PSV spoil Memphis’ return to Eindhoven






It was a night marred with a horrendous injury to Luke Shaw, but PSV will treat this as a night to remember, a great return to the Champions League with an unlikely victory against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United writes Will Burns.

As the teams emerged this evening, the atmosphere was electric and for good reason. The Philips Stadion had not seen Champions League football since the 2008/09 season when current head coach Philip Cocu was actually on the pitch at that time for PSV. This time he was leading from the sideline and grabbed a vital victory in Group B of the Champions League.

With Memphis Depay returning ‘home’ of sorts, Louis van Gaal handed a first start to £58m man Anthony Martial in the lone striker role for the Manchester United. The Red Devils came out with a high press, especially on Andrés Guardado, hustling the midfielder from the off. The match failed to get going and the visitors were forced make an early change after quarter of an hour when Luke Shaw suffered a suspected broken leg.

The left-back was moving at pace and made a great run into the PSV area, he was then met head-on with a strong challenge from Hector Moreno. The Mexican defender immediately moved away from the area looking distressed which explained to all it was a bad one. Shaw was replaced by Argentine international Marcos Rojo after a six minute delay to comfortably remove the England defender from the pitch. No booking, no penalty, no foul was given by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli – Moreno left his feet in the challenge and was lucky to still be on the pitch.

The compassionated fans applauded Shaw off and the minutes surrounding the injury gave the stadium a real subdued feel. Once the game got going again, PSV pressed dangerously with the speed of Luciano Narsingh and Maxime Lestienne causing some trouble but the flag of the linesman was raised more than often halting the play.

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Although the game was playing at a good tempo, we had to wait 38 minutes for our first chance as Chris Smalling nodded wide from a Juan Mata free-kick. In the second chance of the game, three minutes later, we had the opening goal. Daley Blind sliding in former PSV favourite Depay, whom overpowered Santiago Arias, slipping his challenge with great footwork and slotted home with a goal that the attendance has seen time and time before.

The former PSV hero could have grabbed his second just a minute later. Mata gifted Depay a ball which sent the winger wide and subsequently dragged his shot the wrong side of Zoet’s post. The hosts were on the ropes and Smalling, somehow found himself through on goal and forced a strong stop from Zoet to keep the score at 1-0.

The lead only lasted six minutes as Cocu’s men grabbed a fortunate equaliser on 47 minutes. Lestienne with a whipping corner and defender Moreno easily rose over Matteo Darmain and the Mexican’s effort skimmed off Blind’s head to nestle into the net.

The second half began an even contest with both sides using swift attacks to build chances but neither goalkeeper were trouble initially before Narsingh gave David de Gea no chance with PSV’s second goal.

As they threatened in the first half, PSV’s famous counter attacking football gained them the unlikely lead. Great awareness from Guardado spotted the troublesome Lestienne sitting on the high defence of United. The Belgian received the ball and sped down the left and crossed at the back post for the unmarked Narsingh nod home from yards out and the Philips Stadion erupted.

Van Gaal’s side should have been level soon after, Bastien Schweinsteiger lofted a wonderful ball over the PSV back four, putting it on a plate for Mata, but the Spaniard failed to control the ball and the Eindhoven jeers and cheers sounded out to sarcastically congratulate him.

The visitors dominated and hunted the equaliser but lacked options in the final third. Van Gaal added Marouane Fellaini into the mix replacing Ander Herrera but the big Belgian, like on Saturday in United’s 3-1 win over Liverpool; he did not have any affect.

United’s energy waned and the long balls were being booted forward as PSV got men behind the ball and rode out the unlikely win.

It was great performance for PSV who finally deliver some good news for the Eredivisie and Dutch football in general. The Eindhoven side had done their country proud tonight and on the final whistle they celebrated like they had lifted the trophy, not just a victory in their first game.


PSVZoet – Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Brenet – Hendrix, Pröpper, Guardado (Schaars 72) – Narsingh, De Jong, Lestienne (Locadia 86).

GOALS: Moreno 47, Narsingh 57.

BOOKINGS: Arias 55, Moreno 60, Bruma 71.

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea – Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw (Marcos Rojo 24) – Schweinsteiger, Herrera – Young (Valencia 86), Mata, Depay – Martial.

GOALS: Depay 41.

BOOKINGS: Smalling 67.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Joshua Brenet (PSV)



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Manchester UnitedPSV Eindhoven are set to venture into the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2009 and their first opponents are one of the most successful clubs in the world. Manchester United have claimed the European Cup silverware three times as well as winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1991 and arrive in Eindhoven on Tuesday to face Philip Cocu’s men.

Memphis Depay, PSV’s record sale of any player in their history, arrives home to face his former side and will look to make an impact which he has failed to do so far in the Premier League. The 21-year-old winger, however did help the Red Devils qualify for the group stages notching twice in part one of the Playoff round against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.


Manchester United defeated bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday evening however, in all fairness it was a poor game including an atrocious first half. There was no creative spark for Van Gaal’s side, which looked like they lacked energy and passion. Apart from left-back Luke Shaw getting forward there was very little to admire from either side.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the powerful big Belgian Marouane Fellaini was used as makeshift centre-forward in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney but failed to make an impression. Although, United were the home side, they seemed to be restricted by their tactical straitjacket enforced on them without Rooney, but still against a poor Liverpool side, who have only scored three goals all season, they still ran out 3-1 winners.

The second half showed an improvement from the Old Trafford outfit mainly due to new sense of urgency that half-time substitute Ashley Young (replacing Depay) brought on with him. Former Ajax man Daley Blind scored a good goal just after the break, although Brendan Rodgers’ men did not look switched on to close the Dutchman down.

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One thing Van Gaal has constructed in Manchester is a well-organised defence, even though some second-half chances from the Reds made the back four look uncomfortable under pressure. The inexperienced Joe Gomez gave away a penalty to set-up Ander Herrera to make it 2-0 and after Christian Benetke (Liverpool) grabbed a consolation with a perfect overhead kick, a young Frenchman appeared off the bench to send the 75,347 into raptures.

The £58.8 million price tag was deemed as ‘ridiculous’ by Van Gaal prior to Saturday’s game, but 18-year-old Anthony Martial, a window signing from AS Monaco, killed the game off in style and paid off a tiny bit of monstrous fee. With great composure the teenager, making his debut, had veteran defender Martin Skrtel retreating before placing a shot into the Liverpool net.

PSV could trouble United come Tuesday night with their precision passing and speed off the counter. Look for Maxime Lestienne to stress out Darmain in the right-back position and Luuk de Jong should prove to be a handful, especially if the much smaller Daley Blind is sitting in central defence.

Manchester United will be without Rooney through injury and Van Gaal may look to the young Martial to make his first start and gain further confidence after his dream start.


Great tactician. Disciplinarian. Legend. Can all be words to describe former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal, who has one Champions League medal himself with the Amsterdammers. The 64-year-old stepped into the Red Devils’ hot-seat after David Moyes failed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, when the famous Scotsman retired in 2013.

The clipboard wielding Dutchman has had little success in his tenure in Manchester so far, but this is indeed a transitional period for the 20-time league title winning side, where Van Gaal is bringing in his own players, own formation and own style of football to the Premier League.

KEY PLAYER: Memphis Depay

If Memphis Depay is going to pick his game up, surely the Philips Stadion is his perfect stage to perform this act. The 21-year-old is physically strong, fast and skilful so has all the credentials to be a top player but looks to having a tough time adjusting in the Premier League. Obviously, PSV head coach Philip Cocu knows the player very well and will look to Colombian right-back Santiago Arias to control Depay and keep him quiet. Arias will find it hard to discover a tougher task in his career, although as he proved in Saturday’s 6-0 win away to SC Cambuur, Depay may have to do some defending of his own.


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PSV’s Champions League fate

Phillip Cocu’s PSV Eindhoven are all set for their bow in this seasons’ UEFA Champions League. The Dutch champions, who were the first club from the Netherlands to participate in the competition in 1992, were drawn against Manchester United, Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow in Thursday’s draw in Monaco. They will be looking to secure a place in the last sixteen writes Sam May.

Having played in the competition 149 times to date and winning the tournament in 1988 beating Benfica 6-5 on penalties, PSV come with a wealth of experience and will be looking to emulate the success they have had in recent years. Their most recent success was reaching the play-off round when they played AC Milan in what would be a great achievement for the club, the first leg of the tie finished 1-1 at the Phillips Stadion but the return leg differed with Milan being out-right 3-0 winners.

PSV, who have won the Eredivisie title 22 times, play their opening match at home on the 15th September 2015 against Louis Van Gaal’s new look Manchester United side. The former Oranje head coach will return to his homeland hoping to spoil to the party. The first matchday will also see former PSV player Memphis Depay play against his former employers, the 21-year old pacey winger, who has made eight appearances in the competition, scoring three goals, will be looking to add to his tally when he returns to the Phillips Stadion. It comes just after he won the Eredivisie championship a few months before with Cocu’s men. It will also be a return for Daley Blind; the former Ajax player will receive a tasty reception on his arrival.

Memphis didn’t take long to spice up the occasion after taking to Twitter straight after the draw was announced stating: “well, well, we meet again”. However, the Dutch club didn’t take long to respond stating: “Were always happy to have you here. Keep in mind were unbeaten at home against Manchester United so don’t expect too much”.

Albert Stuivenberg one of Van Gaal’s trusted lieutenants will also return to his fellow country as will goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, performance analyst Mex Reckers, chief fitness coach Jos Van Dijk and chief scout Marcel Bout.

PSV’s key to progression…

Jeroen Zoet – Recently linked with Crystal Palace, the young 24-year shot stopper, who came through the youth academy, helped clinch the title in 2014-15 with a number of outstanding displays. The goalkeeper is good in the air and also with the ball at his feet.

Hector Moreno – Signed from Espanyol this summer, the 6ft centre back comes with a wealth of experience having played for Mexico in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. His physical prowess means he has the ability to lead from the back, command and organise the defence.

Jetro Willems – He represented the Netherlands at Euro 2012 becoming the youngest ever player at a European Championship. Now in the Netherlands first team, the 21-year old was once a target for Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scotsman was looking for ‘the New Evra’ but the move didn’t materialise.

Adam Maher – Signed on a five-year contract from AZ in 2013 for €6.5m, he is a skillful 22-year-old defensive and attacking midfielder, who is the youngest player ever playing at a Dutch club to score a goal in the Europa League and UEFA Cup.

Andres Guardado – The Mexican 28 years of age, was named Eredivisie player of the season for the 2014-15, he was formerly of Valencia and is a fast left-winger who has an eye for goal cutting in on his left foot.

Luciano Narsingh – The 24-year old, is a versatile attacking midfield player who can play through the middle and on both wings. He scored the final goal as PSV defeated Heerenveen 4-1 to help win the Eredivisie title this season.

Luuk De Jong – Remember him? He will probably want to forget his short spell in England with Newcastle United. On 2nd August 2015 he scored a double to help PSV clinch the Dutch Supercup. The number 9 will be hoping to get off the mark in season Champions League.

Another Dutch Compatriot

Bas Dost will also return to the Netherlands when his Wolfsburg side take on the Eindhoven side on Tuesday 3rd November 2015. The 26-year-old Dutch International, who is currently Wolfsburg’s third-choice striker, had a decent spell with the Bundesliga side last season. He came through the ranks at FC Emmen and Heracles Almelo before moving to Heerenveen in 2010 and then on to the Bundesliga club in 2012.


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Man Utd linked with Ajax keeper, club say not for sale

With strong reports in previous months linking David De Gea with a move back home to Spain, Louis Van Gaal has been scouring the continent for his replacement. Surprisingly, Manchester United already have Victor Valdes who many believe should fill the void should De Gea move to Real Madrid writes Darren Harrison.

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Furthermore, fresh reports are linking Van Gaal with a move for Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, somebody he has worked closely with during his spell managing the Dutch national team. It may come as a surprise to many to see fresh reports linking Cillessen with a move to United, especially for a fee of around £25 million pounds. Subsequently, United goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek, also worked with Cillessen during his spell as goalkeeping coach of the national team, this could be one of the reasons Van Gaal is looking at Cillessen to replace De Gea.

On the other hand, Ajax manager Frank De Boer is reluctant to let his goalkeeper leave, Cillessen has most recently been voted best goalkeeper in Dutch football and Ajax club player of the year. Marc Overmars, sporting director for the Amsterdammers spoke to De Telegraaf and stated the stopper was not for sale: “Not even for £25 million”.

Although unlikely after Overmars’ comment, if Cillessen leaves Ajax, potential replacements for the keeper may come closer to home. Mickey van der Hart recently spent time on loan at Go Ahead Eagles, while FC Groningen stopper Sergio Padt may be a better replacement for Cillessen, having impressed for Groningen this season and broke into the Dutch under 21 squad, Padt could possibly be identified to replace Jasper Cillessen should he leave the Amsterdam club this summer.

Name-Darren Harrison

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How does PSV replace Memphis Depay?

The announcement last week of the transfer of Memphis Depay to Manchester United has left PSV with a significant hole to fill.  Luckily for PSV, they have money in the bank now in order to try and fill this hole.  We all know and appreciate Memphis’ talents and he might be one of those once in a generation footballers but PSV need to ask the question “How do we Replace Memphis”? Even with Memphis leaving, PSV still have a very talented side but they will certainly miss the X-Factor that he provided.  Replacing Memphis will be a hard task but there are some options at PSV’s disposal.  Rogier Waalder looks at the candidates:

Jesus Manuel Corona (FC Twente)

One of the only players in the Eredivisie this year who catches the eye as much as Depay does, is the Mexican winger Jesus Corona, who plays for FC Twente.  A very tricky and skilful winger, he certainly has the ability to turn a game like Memphis does.  He has scored 13 goals in his 32 games this season and his dribbling, first touch and technique are in the same class as Memphis.  He does lack the power and free-kick abilities of Memphis but is only 22 years old.  FC Twente will be holding a fire-sale in the summer to clear their debts and so Corona is very much on the market.  A big stumbling block, though, is his wage demands with a recent poll showing that 85% of PSV fans do not think he is worth the reported 1 million EURO salary that he is after.

Sam Larsson (SC Heerenveen)

Swedish international Larsson is a new arrival to Heerenveen this season, after joining from Goteburg in the off-season.  He has proven to be yet another potential Scandinavian jewel that the Heerenveen scouting team has delivered over the years.  Has all the same hallmarks as Corona but represents a more powerful, cheaper option.  Larsson has contributed 8 goals and 6 assists in his 20 games this season. Heerenveen have already offered him a new contract, but he has refused to consider this at present.  He has a contract until 2018 so Heerenveen aren’t in any rush to sell but PSV might be tempted to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Ricardo Kishna (Ajax)

Yes he plays for Ajax presently and yes this is probably the biggest obstacle in Kishna going to PSV, but transfers between PSV & Ajax are not unheard of.  Kishna is a year younger than Memphis and despite his young age has already proven that he can light up the Eredivisie.  His flair, trickery, dribbling and pace are very comparable to Memphis and he has a return of 5 goals and assists from 20 matches this season.  This current Dutch youth team player only has 1 year to run on his Ajax contract, so he could force the issue if PSV make a serious play for his services.

Elvis Manu (Feyenoord)

Plays for Feyenoord, so again some question marks surrounding a desire to sell him to PSV but he also has the hallmarks of someone who could replace Memphis.  A 21-year old natural Left Winger, Manu has had a good season for Feyenoord with 14 goals in 34 matches, including some great performances in the Europa League.  Manu has great pace and strength but his overall technique and consistency would need some improvement to reach Memphis levels but definitely a great raw talent.

Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar)

Berghuis has been a standout performer for AZ this season with 10 goals in 22 appearances.  The former Twente youth player can play on either wing or as Striker and has excellent technical and passing abilities.  He has a strong desire to succeed (much like Memphis does) and would arguably be the cheapest of the options presented thus far.  He probably isn’t quite at the standard that Memphis is but would be a good squad player, in conjunction with another big name signing.

Bilal Ould-Chikh (FC Twente)

If PSV are looking at a longer term prospect that they can bring up to Memphis’ standard then Ould-Chikh might be their guy.  Only 17 years old he has already played 15 full games for FC Twente this season.  An out and out winger with great technique, pace and dribbling abilities Ould-Chikh certainly has the potential to rival Memphis one day.  FC Twente might be needing cash to satisfy their creditors at the moment, but surely they’ll want to hang on to their star prospect and try and build a team around him.

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)

Januzaj has been on the outer at Manchester United since Van Gaal’s arrival and was rumoured to have been offered as part of any deal taking Memphis to England.  It doesn’t look like this has eventuated but a cashed up PSV could do a lot worse than taking the talented Belgian to Eindhoven, even if it is on loan.  Even though he has not scored in the Premier League this year, the footballing world is very aware of Januzaj’s abilities with a ball at his feet and his technique and flair do rival those of Memphis.  He is on a massive salary at Man Utd and this is why a loan move but be the best for both teams, particularly as Memphis will certainly be a direct rival for Januzaj.

Serge Gnabry (Arsenal)

Another potential loan option is the Arsenal youngster, Serge Gnabry.  Like Januzaj Gnabry burst onto the scene last season before injury curtailed his plans and has had limited game time since.  He may be best suited to a spell in the Eredivisie, whilst also getting guaranteed Champions League action.  Gnabry has fantastic physical attributes and his attacking tendancies would be very well suited to this PSV side.

Ola John (Benfica)

For a 22-year old John seems to have been around for a long time, and certainly his club movements would indicate the same.  Currently at Benfica, the lure of returning home to PSV may be one that suits John as he looks to break back into the Dutch national team setup.  Another out and out pacy winger John could be the perfect provider for Luuk de Jong.

Filip Kostic (Stuttgart)

22-year old Serbian Kostic played 2 seasons in the Eredivisie with Groningen before earning a move to Stuttgart in the off-season.  He has played reasonably well in a struggling side with 3 goals and 7 assists thus far.  He has tremendous cross abilities and is also an accomplished finisher.  If Stuttgart do get relegated this season this might be enough to convince Kostic to return to the Netherlands and the lure of Champions League football.

There are some options available internally at PSV at present headlined by the wantaway Zakaria Bakkali and the raw but very inconsistent Florian Jozefzoon.  A long term potential replacement is the exciting young Steven Bergwijn, who made his Eredivisie debut on the weekend at the age of 17. Bergwijn is very highly thought of at PSV and has tremendous pace and acceleration.  If his technical abilities continue to develop over the next few seasons he is definitely one to watch.


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Can Man Utd’s new boy live up to his expectations?

Memphis Depay. A name which suits this 21-year-old, because it has strength, grace and you just can’t forget him. And the media makes sure this won’t happen with their numerous articles around the wonderboy based on Facebook-likes and vague social media posts. After all, the odds are looking good for the United fans. Mainly because of his connection with fellow Dutchmen and ex-coach Louis van Gaal writes Martijn Hilhorst.

‘LvG’ worked with the right-footed left winger at the World Cup in Brazil, in which Depay became the youngest Dutch scorer ever (at a World Cup). However, Louis van Gaal only made inquiries over the player’s availability last summer but decided to keep track of his progress rather than make a move. After 21 goals in the Eredivisie and his rising star we could state that his was a costly decision by the United manager.

The self-titled ‘Dreamchaser’, which is tattooed on his chest, have been compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and he could one day live up to this standard. According to Ed van Steijn, the man who scouted Ronaldo for United, he is better than the Portuguese was at his age: “If I compare him to a young Cristiano Ronaldo at the time, then Depay has more strings to his bow. I like him better’. And his coach Cocu also adds on the pressure by comparing him with his colleague at the Dutch squad: ‘Whether he can be as good as Arjen Robben? I think so.”

But can he live up to these expectations? When it comes to football ability, you can never tell for sure at this age, but mentality-wise without a doubt. In this aspect of football he is right up there with Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Constantly improving his technique and physique and being highly frustrated when it won’t go his way.

Memphis on the ball and beginning to to dribble is truly a heart raising event. His physical superiority does not limit his technical abilities which is rare – akin to his eagerness. But those moments of magic are often replaced by losing possession, shooting from impossible corners and being too irritated. His consistency is something Depay needs to work on. In the Dutch competition it’s okay to have an off-day, but not on the level he sees himself playing at.

The semi-finals of a WC, single-handedly making PSV champions after this seven years with winning the competition and on his way to become top goal scorer in the same league. Depay is only 21 years old, but he has been extraordinary and magical in many games for the Netherlands and his club PSV. Who wouldn’t want a young mix between Arjen Robben and Cristiano Ronaldo for around £25m?

To hear more of my views on Depay, watch the latest edition of Stretty News TV below…


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Van Gaal clinches Depay’s most coveted signature

Premier League giants Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Memphis Depay from Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven subject to a medical which will take place this weekend. The right-footed left winger will sign until the summer of 2019 with the option for another year. It’s believed that PSV received around £22 million for the Dutch international reports Martijn Hilhorst.

Depay have been playing wonderfully this season for PSV and is currently the top scorer in the Eredivisie with 21 goals (two more than colleague Luuk de Jong). ‘Memphis’ is just 21-years-old, but has already been compared to big stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben.

Depay was heavily linked with moves to Liverpool and Paris Saint Germain, but eventually choose Manchester United instead, where he will play under his former coach at the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal.

Depay on his move: “Time to set my goals again on winning trophies with Manchester United. I always say; dream, believe, achieve. I was dreaming and believing of becoming the champions of the Eredivisie with PSV and we achieved it. I’m extremely grateful towards PSV and all the fans for believing in me”.

Depay started at PSV when he was just 12-years of age, he made his debut in 2011/12 and scored 38 times in 88 Eredivisie matches since then. He also played fifteen times in the Dutch national squad, including the World Cup of 2014 in Brazil. His new coach, Van Gaal, let him make his debut for ‘Oranje’ in October 2013.


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Louis van Gaal: When will it all go right at Man Utd?

It’s the 13th of July, and The Netherlands have just brushed aside the hosts to secure third place at the 2014 World Cup. Yes, a team largely unfancied before the tournament to progress past the group stages, and was called the weakest Dutch side ever to go to a World Cup, had managed to finish third. How had this happened? Well yes, it was largely due to the individual brilliance of Arjen Robben, but let’s not kid ourselves, the main man behind the success was Louis Van Gaal writes Fin Crebolder.

20130810 - Louis van Gaal

Throughout the tournament he showed tactical flexibility to adapt to all problems he faced, from crushing the reigning World and European Champions in the opening game by playing a very non-Dutch 5-3-2, to changing his goalkeeper purely for a penalty shoot-out. These bold decisions of course paid off and increased his popularity and credibility throughout football. He had also recently been confirmed as the new Manchester United manager, and the United fans couldn’t wait for him to start, they were confident he would bring back the glory days that had disappeared for the previous season.

Fast forward just over two months, and Van Gaal has not had an ideal start. Despite a 4-0 win against QPR, he has still had a worse start to the season than his predecessor, David Moyes. His first four games were all unimpressive. A shock 2-1 defeat against Swansea at Old Trafford, followed by uninspiring draws against Sunderland and Burnley, and a humiliating 4-0 defeat to MK Dons, raised many questions about Van Gaal’s credentials for the job. However, it’s easy to forgot that for the first three Premier League games of the season Van Gaal was not able to pick his favoured team, due to injuries and the lack of signings.

The fact that in the first game where he had all his first team players signed and available, his team managed to dismantle QPR with ease is enough to give Man United some hope, and Van Gaal, as he’s admitted himself, has always struggled to get off to good starts wherever he has managed, due to his unique style and philosophy, which players can often take time to get used to. However, at all of these clubs, despite poor starts, he has always ended up delivering, and if he manages to keep his players fit and happy, then Man United should be back in the Champions League by May, and maybe, just maybe, this time next year, the giants of football will be fearing “The Gaalacticos”.


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Daley Blind confirmed as Manchester United player

Manchester United have announced the signing of Daley Blind from Ajax for a transfer fee of £14 million writes Ravindra Patel. The Dutch international joins United on a four-year deal with an option of a further year.

Daley Blind in the Man Utd shirt – image courtesy of ManUtd.com

Daley Blind said: “I have been at Ajax since I was seven years old and I will always have very fond memories of the club and of my time there.

“Louis van Gaal is a tremendously talented coach, I have worked with him at Ajax and also for the Netherlands national team and I cannot wait to work with him at the biggest club in the world.”

“It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United.


Louis van Gaal said: “I am delighted Daley has signed for the club.

“He is a very intelligent and versatile footballer that can play in many positions.
”Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team.”

The 24-year old came through the Ajax youth system where he made his debut in 2008 for the Amsterdam club. After winning four Eredivisie titles in a row with Ajax, Blind was name Dutch player of the year for the 2013/2014 season.

Blind has won 19 caps for the Netherlands and was selected by Van Gaal to go to the World Cup in Brazil. The former Ajax man impressed making two assists in the Netherland’s opening game against Spain, which they won 1-5 and scoring against Brazil in the third place play-off. The versatile player who can play left-back, left-wing back and defensive midfield will be inline to make his debut after the international break against QPR at Old Trafford.


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What can Man Utd fans expect to see from Daley Blind?

After a few weeks of rumours it is finally a done deal. Daley Blind will make to the move to Manchester United for a number which floats around £14m (around€18m) plus bonuses and a percentage of a future fee if Blind ever leaves United. The versatile Dutch international will be the fifth major signing from Louis van Gaal. Only, what kind of player is Daley Blind? Martijn Hilhorst explains.

When Blind became an official squad member for Ajax in 2008/09, the opinions were divided. Some felt he was not good enough, while others saw the potential in him.  As a young kid, he eventually played a total of five league matches that season and Ajax manager of that time, Martin Jol was not convinced. The following season he was loaned out to FC Groningen where he played left and right full-back and this brought some staggering performances. After a great spell in Groningen, many clubs wanted to loan him, but Blind decided he wanted to stay at Ajax to earn his place in the team. This was a bold move and he emerged successful in the challenge until the winter when he failed to play but then Jol was fired in December 2010. His successor was Frank de Boer.

‘Frankie’ immediately said that Vurnon Anita (now of Newcastle United) was not a left-back, but a defensive midfielder. Daley became the second choice after Urby Emanuelson and six months later , Urby was sold to Serie A giants AC Milan. Therefore, Blind became first choice as a left-back in which he played for a few seasons until the 19th October of 2013.

In an away fixture against FC Twente, he was selected in the defensive midfielder role and with just nine minutes remaining, he provided the assist in a 1-1 draw. After that season (2012/13) he was named Ajax’s ‘Player of the Year’ and the season following even the Eredivisie’s ‘Player of the Season’ but enough of the ‘chit-chat’, what are his qualities and his (minor) flaws?


Daley Blind is known for his versatile way of playing.  For example, during this summer’s World Cup campaign for the Netherlands, coach Louis van Gaal decided to use him as a central defender and left-back which he performed well. He possesses great intelligence and awareness, always turning the right way, knowing when to clear the ball or take a breather and he combines this decision making with key passes during the match. Everyone remembers the ball he floated in for Robin van Persie in the 5-1 hammering of Spain. That is a perfect example of a courageous cross which not a lot of players would have delivered so perfectly. The biggest aspect of his game is his passing.

In the last years couple of years, I haven’t seen a ‘DM’ anywhere in the world (expect for Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets) who has such a brilliant composure on the ball. When your build up play is dreadful, give it to Daley, he will create a brilliant through ball to one of his fellow midfielders or forwards.

Although, he has got a few flaws. He is not a ruthless defensive midfielder like the Premier League may be used to, and he is to slow for the left-back position but bear in mind that Louis van Gaal is the manager! He is able to change the game, making people understand that his philosophy is one to follow. Where many United players are having trouble with adjusting to his 5-3-2 formation, Blind could lead the way. Ajax players are known for their intelligence and technical abilities so he is a perfect fit as a DM.

Agreed, he was named Eredivisie’s ‘Player of the Season’ in the 2013/14, but do not expect a fancy player which will solve everything at Manchester United. You can expect a player who will control the play, dictate the tempo and protect the defence.

The Red Devils will have one easy solution now – just give it to Daley and he will lead United to victory.


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