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Lukaku out, Rojo out, Darmian out – Man Utd desperate to cull squad

first_img“Announce Maguire,” they say. “Announce Fernandes.”Manchester United fans, as with most sets of supporters, are having their appetites whetted by the prospect of additional signings ahead of the new Premier League season.Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes are potential incomings to follow Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but it could yet be United’s ability to offload some of their unwanted squad-fillers which makes the biggest statement this summer. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The first-team group at Old Trafford is beginning to look increasingly bloated, with the exits of Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia on free transfers being their only departures so far – this despite there being little over a week before the UK transfer window closes.Meanwhile, the return from loan spells of Axel Tuanzebe, Joel Pereira and Timothy Fosu-Mensah has provided extra cover in positions in which they are already well stocked.The question now is just how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deals with a depth chart which looks far too crowded in a number of areas.He currently has four goalkeepers, meaning one of Lee Grant and Pereira will have to go somewhere else for the next year in order to maintain an effective three-man unit in that department.Meanwhile, there are plenty of possible departures to consider in the back line. The likes of Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo have been touted for exits for a number of summers now but have so far remained at Old Trafford. With the Italian, in particular, it is beginning to feel like United should cut their losses and just allow him to go to the first bidder for the sake of getting him off the wage bill. Marcos Rojo Manchester United 2018-19Darmian is arguably fifth-choice at best as both right-back and left-back, with Wan-Bissaka, Ashley Young, Diogo Dalot and Fosu-Mensah all ahead of him on his favoured flank and Luke Shaw, Young, Dalot and Rojo preferred options on the left. Fosu-Mensah himself could easily be culled too, with his loan spells at Crystal Palace and Fulham having not been fruitful and Tuanzebe an available right-back option in an injury crisis.Rojo, meanwhile, has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Tuanzebe and Phil Jones to contend with for a centre-back spot even before Maguire potentially arrives, leaving the Argentine to reportedly consider leaving United this summer.Man Utd possible teamIf Maguire is signed, there will become a desperation to cut numbers at the heart of the defence as well as at full-back. Are Smalling and Jones so indispensable that at least one of them couldn’t be cut? Both have signed new deals in the last eight months, but surely if there is to be a new direction promoted at the Theatre of Dreams they are the types of players the club could do with moving on?Further up there is an abundance of wastage too. The promotion of Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong to the senior ranks means Solskjaer has plenty of alternatives available to him even if United cash in on Romelu Lukaku and somehow get Alexis Sanchez off their wage bill.Man Utd possible teamThe Reds have, of course, been in talks to sell Lukaku to Inter with Juventus also interested, while in an ideal world they would have been able to find a buyer for Sanchez. For now both remain at the club, but there will not necessarily be a need to replace either given the stock available to the Norwegian and if it takes them until the continental summer deadline at the end of August to entice a buyer then so be it.Solskjaer himself has admitted they don’t necessarily need a huge target man on their books for the foreseeable future. “The way we hope we are going to play, it doesn’t have to be a six-foot four-inch striker,” he said during the club’s recent tour in Australia. And as such, the likes of Marcus Rashford, Greenwood, Anthony Martial and James should provide enough options in the number-nine position even should the two bigger names be cut from the squad.The illustrative line-ups above include none of Joel Pereira, Grant, Fosu-Mensah, Andreas Pereira, Jones, Rojo, James Garner, Tahith Chong, Lukaku or Darmian, emphasising the unnecessary depth all across the squad.So while the inevitable questions about further additions linger, there should be just as much focus on how United go about trimming the fat in their first-team squad too. Keeping 25 players happy is tough at the best of times, so Solskjaer will be far from happy if his current 32-man squad isn’t substantially condensed by the end of August.last_img read more

In Cairo Ban urges parties to Gaza conflict to end cycle of

“We are here to stand with the people of Gaza who have endured a terrible summer of suffering,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks to the Cairo Conference on Gaza attended by the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and several foreign ministers including of Egypt, and Norway. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson announced today that the UN Chief will visit Gaza on Tuesday to help advance reconstruction efforts. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the recent 51-day conflict, along with more than 70 Israelis. Almost one-third of Gaza’s population was uprooted from their homes and entire neighborhoods were flattened. The Secretary –General recalled how in 2009, the international community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh in the wake of another devastating war in Gaza. “We pledged our support. We expressed our commitment. We resolved to rebuild. And yet here we are again. The cycle of building and destroying has continued– only worse,” said Mr. Ban. This time around, dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were destroyed or damaged. UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties. Eleven staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict.Meanwhile rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza continued to be fired indiscriminately causing fear, panic and suffering, said Mr. Ban. Children of Gaza who have not yet reached grade three have already lived through three wars.To effectively respond, the UN and partners in Palestine are working with the Palestinian Government to develop the “Gaza Crisis Appeal”. The “UN Support Plan for the Transformation of the Gaza Strip” amounts to about $2.1 billion for early recovery and reconstruction efforts. But ultimately, the successful reconstruction of Gaza requires a strong political foundation, said Mr. Ban, adding that the comprehensive reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo on 25 September was a promising first step. Mr. Ban pledged UN support for the Government of National Consensus as it manages Gaza’s reconstruction needs and said he was encouraged by the recent historic Palestinian unity government meeting in Gaza led by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.Promoting an environment conducive for peace must include an investigation into potential violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Mr. Ban added. It was equally important to make the most of the opportunity presented by the upcoming Cairo talks, strengthen the ceasefire to return to broader peace talks and refrain from unilateral actions which only exacerbate tensions and resentment.“Gaza remains a tinderbox,” said Mr. Ban, reiterating the need to address the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.All parties must come together to chart a clear course towards a just and final peace — including achieving a full lifting of the blockade, ensuring Israel’s legitimate security concerns; and establishing two States living side by side in peace and security. “I do not want my successors or yours to make conferences such as this a ritual: building and destroying– and then expecting the international community to foot the bill,” the Secretary-General said. read more

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