The Hard Tackle takes a look at the key news stories surrounding Premier League giants Manchester United from the day.
Manchester United endured a frustrating evening as they mounted a late comeback to hold Stoke City to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, although Wayne Rooney breaking the club’s goalscoring record gave cause for some celebrations.
With the Red Devils preparing for the key EFL Cup semi-final 2nd leg at Hull City, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Old Trafford.
Rojo Returns From Injury
Manchester United and Jose Mourinho were handed a defensive boost on Monday, as Argentina international Marcos Rojo returned to Manchester United training. The defender has been missing ever since the Red Devils’ 4-0 dismantling of Reading in the FA Cup 3rd Round earlier this month.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 23, 2017
The Argentine has, since, missed Manchester United’s EFL Cup semi-final first leg win over Hull City, and the draws in the Premier League against Liverpool and Stoke. Having witnessed Saturday’s stalemate with Stoke from the stands, he’s available for selection on Thursday.
That comes as a boost for Manchester United, with the Red Devils starting to look a little susceptible at the back. With Manchester United entering a crucial phase of their season now, Rojo’s return is sure to please Mourinho.
Zlatan: Rooney Deserves More Appreciation
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he fails to understand why club captain and teammate Wayne Rooney is so underappreciated and undervalued. The Swedish superstar has taken English football by storm, scoring 19 goals in all competitions while Rooney has struggled for large parts of the season.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 21, 2017
As reported by ESPN, Zlatan said: “He’s a complete player. Off the field he’s a real leader and on the field he’s just complete. He works very hard, he’s got a good attitude and spirit. Everybody knows what Wayne is. But this country has to appreciate him. I don’t see any other strikers like him today. And still you’re not happy.”
Rooney became Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer on Saturday as he saved his side the blushes, with a sublimely struck free-kick to ensure a last-gap draw against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
PSG: No Depay Move
Moving on to some transfer news, Paris Saint-Germain did not make a move for Memphis Depay, with the club’s director of football Patrick Kluivert denying any attempts were made to convince the Netherlands international to join the French champions instead of Lyon.
Speaking with L’Equipe, Kluivert said, “I know Memphis very well. I spoke with him but did not try to sign him. I am very glad he is playing for Lyon now. I did speak with him but it was not an attempt to try to get him.”
Depay made the switch from Old Trafford to Parc Olympique Lyonnais last week, as the French club secured a €16 million plus €9 million deal with Manchester United to sign the Dutchman’s services and club president Jean Michel-Aulus had earlier said that there were other clubs in the fray for Depay.
Manchester United In The Hunt For Guedes
Meanwhile, SL Benfica manager Rui Vitoria decided to not include forward Goncalo Guedes in the squad to face Tondela last weekend, and that decision has now sparked Guedes’ exit rumours, with both Manchester United and PSG interested in bringing him to their clubs.
The 20-year-old Guedes has sparked interest from a number of clubs in recent months, thanks to the hype around his talent. The winger has scored seven times this season while assisting seven more goals, also earning his maiden international call-up and making two appearances for Portugal.
The likes of Arsenal and AS Monaco have been regularly linked with Guedes in recent times, but it was Manchester United and PSG that have shown the most concrete on interests in the Portuguese. It now remains to be seen whether the two clubs make a move for Guedes in the coming days.
A Summer Approach For Gareth Bale In The Offing?
Finally, it looks like Manchester United are set to make yet another move for a long-term target, with reports indicating that the Red Devils are ready to go head-to-head with an outrageous €200 million approach for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale.
The 27-year-old Welsh superstar has well and truly established himself as a key figure at the Santiago Bernabeu, ever since his move to Real Madrid, scoring 65 goals while grabbing 50 assists in 139 appearances for Los Blancos.
This season, however, Bale’s influence for Real Madrid has been hampered by a devastating ankle injury which has ruled him out until March. And it looks like the two Premier League giants are all set to break the transfer record to recruit Bale from Real Madrid.