Man United’s plan to close gap on Liverpool & Man City & friendly scrapped as Michael O’Neill tests positive for Covid

Man United’s plan to close gap on Liverpool & Man City

A few days ago we reported on Chelsea’s 3-year plan to overtake Liverpool and Man City in the Premier League.

That plan, as revealed by the Athletic’s David Ornstein, is:

Year one: Stabilise and forge a cohesive unit with a young squad.

Year two: Challenge for honours.

Year three: Win those major honours.

Of course, Chelsea have already made some significant moves to boost their squad for next season.

Hakim Ziyech is in the bag, as is Timo Werner. While the Blues are now concentrating on signing Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

But Chelsea aren’t the only Premier League side looking to win the title once again: Man United are making similar plans, report ESPN.

According to reporter Mark Odgen, United are plotting their strategy to close the gap on Liverpool and Man City this summer too.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United walks off at half time during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Burnley FC at Old Trafford on January 22, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Man United’s gameplan: Spend, spend, spend

Cutting to the chase, ESPN believe Man United hope to narrow the gap on Liverpool and City through additions in the transfer market:

United have money to spend this summer and have deep pockets.

Despite announcing last month that the club’s net debt now stands at £429.1m, they are also operating with cash reserves of £90.3m, so United are well placed to take advantage of a market that will inevitably see transfer fees plummet in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

A word on Liverpool’s finances.

Following Jurgen Klopp’s admission that Liverpool pulled out of the Timo Werner deal for financial concerns, the Athletic’s Liverpool podcast, The Red Agenda, have confirmed that there’s likely to be few additions at Anfield before the start of next season.

Athletic reporter James Pearce has said:

In terms of tweaks to the squad this summer, it’s going to be minor.

Man City, meanwhile, might not have the same financial constraints as Liverpool, however they are facing their own significant problems following their 2-year UEFA ban for breaching FFP rules.

Dortmund’s English midfielder Jadon Sancho celebrate scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt, in Dortmund, western Germany on February 14, 2020. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP) / RESTRICTIONS: DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham & Donny van de Beek

When it comes to possible Man United signings this summer, ESPN note that Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Donny van de Beek are all targets:

Sources have told ESPN that United are front-runners to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho and are also leading the pack in the race for 16-year-old Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham.

With Paul Pogba increasingly unlikely to get a move away this summer and Ajax’s Donny van de Beek another possible arrival, Solskjaer could have formidable midfield options at his disposal next season.


Man United friendly scrapped as Stoke manager Michael O’Neill tests positive for Covid

Manchester United have been dealt at Covid-19 scare after a friendly against Championship side Stoke City needed to be called off at the last minute after Potters manager Michael O’Neill tested positive for Covid-19.

United had lined up a game against Stoke as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team prepare to return to Premier League action.

The Red Devils take on Tottenham on Friday, June 19.

Stoke City have issued the following statement:

Stoke City can confirm that manager Michael O’Neill has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus following the latest round of testing on Monday (June 8).

O’Neill had tested negative in the previous five rounds of testing.

He will now follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation, whilst continuing to be in regular virtual contact with his coaching staff and players.

Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of training as the Potters prepare for their game against Reading on June 20.

The BBC have confirmed that the Man United vs Stoke game was called off “at the last minute”.

Stoke had “already travelled to United’s Carrington training ground before the match was hastily called off.”

However, the good news for Man United is that none of their players came into contact with any players from Stoke.

Meanwhile, Stoke City will now be concerned for the health of their manager, and fearful that the virus could have been transmitted to other members of their squad.

Michael O’Neill, who is the former Northern Ireland manager, is 50-years-old.


Also see: Man City vs UEFA: Man United stand to benefit from CAS decision as source tells the FT ‘City have no evidence’.

Man United may sign Real Madrid target Donny van de Beek & what happened when Paul Pogba faced off against Bruno Fernandes.

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