Man United News and Transfer Talk: Ibrahimovic, Manolas, Pochettino, Sir Alex

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It’s the last international break of the season, so there are no matches of real note to discuss right now. However, there’s still plenty of news out there, so let’s take a spin through the inter webs and see what’s buzzing in Man United cyberspace.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave a special, wide-ranging exclusive to the Daily Mirror, and what he had to say is sending reverberations in football communities world wide. Ibrahimovic says Old Trafford should build around Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba going forward, and that the obsession with the club’s golden age, the Sir Alex Ferguson era, is holding them back.

“Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson,” Ibra said.

zlatan ibrahimovic

“They are saying if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that. Ferguson would do it like this. Everything was Ferguson. If it was me, I would say I don’t have Ferguson anymore. And I come here and I want to make my own history, I want to make my own story.

“So I do not want to hear what happened before. I want to do it in the present. You come in with a new mentality. Ferguson has his place in history at this club but now the club continues. It has to find its own identity and it is difficult.”

It’s certainly food for thought. Moving forward, who will lead United into the future? It will almost certainly be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he’s the only real managerial candidate right now, but if it’s not him, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is supposedly the front-runner.

Pochettino had some major praise for United, but feels they are still not at the level of FC Barcelona, the Red Devils’ next opponent in the UEFA Champions League and a side that Pochettino just faced twice in the group stages.

mauricio pochettino

“I think the Manchester United team have been built during the past few years to win big things,” Pochettino said, “but winning important competitions such as the Champions League or the Premier League always depends on small details.

“Of course they have the players that are capable of making things difficult for Barcelona, but I think Barcelona are one step higher than Manchester United.”

United and Spurs comprise half of the English teams that advanced through to the UCL quarterfinals, and the Premier League itself comprises half of the final eight that are still alive in the European competition.

Poch believes it is the Catalan club, not Manchester City, or any other British side, who are the current favorites in Europe.

barcelona-barca-pedro

“If there is a favorite team to win the Champions League, it is Barcelona,” the Argentine added.

“Ernesto Valverde is doing a great job. Then they have players of an extraordinary level. And then they have Leo Messi. Then you have teams such as Manchester City or Juventus that will always have chances to win the competition because they are teams designed to do that.”

Finally, we close with some United transfer talk on this Tuesday. As you might expect, it revolves around the central defender position. A new report from Calciomercato claims United will look to upgrade at centre back with move for AS Roma and Greece international Kostas Manolas.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.comand Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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