Champions League 2019/20: How Many Players Each of the Contenders Still Need to Sign This Summer

?Suns out, funds out – the European big boys are really starting to flash the cash in the sweltering summer heat.

Ludicrous nine-figure fees litter the transfer gossip columns and ludicrous nine-figure fees are actually being paid! A number of elite clubs have boosted their hopes of lifting the Champions League trophy in the spring of 2020 with some mega-money signings, but the wheeling and dealing is far from over.

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Look at the main contenders for the prize and it becomes clear that some have sorted their squads ahead of next season, whilst others are in desperate need of new recruits if they hope to be crowned kings of the continent come May.

Here’s an assessment of where eight top teams are at and whether their current recruitment is up to scratch.


Juventus

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?Juve have assembled a phenomenal squad and need not spend any more on expensive new arrivals. Midfield pair Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot have both been lured to Turin after their respective contracts ran out, adding to an array of talented players that have joined on a free.

That’s the middle of the pitch sorted, then. The competition for places in the engine room is simply frightening, whilst the colossal figure of Matthijs de Ligt will add considerable steel to the backline.

With Moise Kean continuing to develop, Federico Bernardeschi looking electric and that man Cristiano Ronaldo spearheading the attack, new coach Maurizio Sarri is in an excellent position to bring the first Champions League to the Bianconeri faithful this century.

Left back is the only slight concern and that’s probably only the case if Joao Cancelo leaves.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 0


Barcelona

Nelson Semedo

In similar fashion to Juventus, their Catalans counterparts have already beefed up a terrifying squad ready to make amends for their infamous collapse at the hands of ?Liverpool in May. However, they are not quite as well covered across the park as the Italians.

Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann add class and grace to the midfield and attack, while Neto is a solid backup to first-choice keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Splitting hairs, full back is probably the weakest position for Barça now, with Nelson Semedo an obvious chink in the ?Barcelona armour.

The Portuguese can make the entire defence appear frail with his frustratingly poor positioning, whilst a tendency to let his head drop is unacceptable. Compare Semedo with his fellow full-back Jordi Alba on the opposing flank, the Spaniard amassing 17 assists last term.

Full back is arguably the most important position in the field in the modern day, yet La Blaugrana have yet to find another remotely like Alba. Imagine the carnage were they to have someone with his skill-set bombing up and down the right, too.

With Marc Cucurella re-signed before heading out on loan, a backup to Jordi Alba wouldn’t go amiss either.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 1


Real Madrid

Luka Modric

Eden Hazard for £100m plus add-ons, Luka Jovic for £53m, Eder Militao for £45m, Ferland Mendy for £43m, Rodrygo for £40m… do Real really need to make another purchase?

If they are to mount a serious challenge for a 14th European Cup next campaign, then the answer is yes – they need one more. 

It sounds extremely odd to say this, but current Ballon d’Or holder Luka Modric isn’t good enough, or at least not for crunch clashes with the likes of Juventus.

The playmaker will be 34 years-of-age in September and his powers are evidently on the wane as he nears the end of his career. 

One more marquee signing, one more brilliant midfielder, is what Los Blancos need to have a shot at reclaiming their throne. Paul Pogba, anyone?

How Many Signings They Still Need: 1 


Manchester City

Josep Guardiola

The astute signings of Rodri and Angelino have strengthened Manchester City’s obvious areas in need of extra bodies but there is still a need to find someone to fill the sizeable hole left by club captain and legend Vincent Kompany has gone and there is now a sizeable hole to fill. Nicolas Otamendi is hardly the best replacement available if Pep Guardiola wants to get that elusive ?Champions League triumph.

Speculation that they would move for Harry Maguire or de Ligt has proved false, though that is no issue; there are plenty of centre-backs about, including ?Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld. 

Despite City’s approach for Juve’s Cancelo, another full back is a luxury they probably do not need. A striker, though, would do mighty fine. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have each struggled with fitness in recent years, and the latter is really a wide forward by trade.

Still, there’s no need to fork out any eye-watering fees, a capable forward – rather than some ready-made world-beater – is all that is required to allow both of the South American duo a breather in domestic action from time to time.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 2 


Liverpool

Divock Origi

In order to make a strong defence of their title, ?Liverpool need only to tinker with their squad, not revolutionise it. In fact, their starting lineup is splendid, but they ought to add depth to avoid burnout with the extra Super Cups and World Club Cups on the schedule in the months to come.

One key area for recruitment is left back, with the Reds losing the much-maligned Alberto Moreno to Villarreal this summer. To avoid James Milner having to fill in, Jurgen Klopp should really be eyeing up a reliable, specialist understudy for Andrew Robertson. 

The return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is near enough a new signing and injects bucket-loads of energy into the midfield, while Rhian Brewster is a player the Kop have waited to see in action for some time. However, the Merseysiders could do with bringing in one more backup forward having also lost the lethal – albeit injury-prone – Daniel Sturridge.

Oh, and Philippe Coutinho? If I were Klopp, I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 2  


Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer

The early signings of Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard and Jann-Fiete Arp look as shrewd as any across Europe but Bayern Munich still have some work to do this summer.

First and most controversially: I don’t care how good Manuel Neuer used to be, he needs to go. 

The margins for error are tighter here than anywhere else and the goalkeeper has made too many of them. If you want to give yourself a chance of winning the Champions League, you select players on form, not reputation.

Likewise, Jerome Boateng is an accident waiting to happen and ?Bayern would be well-advised to find a more suitable partner for the rock that is Niklas Sule. That could be Javi Martinez, though his presence in the centre of the pitch is essential.

Finally, Die Roten must take the weight off of Robert Lewandowski’s shoulders as the Polish hitman nears the age of 31. Thomas Muller can’t do that after he was switched to a deeper role, but there are many ?Bundesliga strikers who would be willing to play second fiddle at the Allianz Arena.

Jean-Philippe Mateta is one such player that comes to mind, the Mainz man collecting 14 goals and nine assists in a distinctly average side.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 3


Atletico Madrid

Alvaro Morata

?Atletico have made a net profit of nearly £100m in this transfer window, but that isn’t what wins you trophies. Spending that money may help towards that end, however.

Mario Hermoso has ?joined from Espanyol to cover left and centre back, but they would ideally have a fleet-footed flyer for the former. Otherwise, they are considerably underpowered after losing Lucas Hernandez to Bayern.

Rodri too has departed and whether Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera can fill his boots remains to be seen. Perhaps a player like Blaise Matuidi, who may be squeezed out at Juventus following the arrival of Rabiot, would be an ideal addition to Diego Simeone’s hard running side.

It is also pivotal that Atleti find a target man to partner teenage thriller Joao Felix. Diego Costa was dire in 2018/19, Alvaro Morata has little confidence left and Simeone has a huge wad of cash to use on bringing in better personnel up top.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 3


Tottenham Hotspur

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With Tanguy Ndombele added to the first team so far this window, Mauricio Pochettino’s side already look stronger than they did last season.

Even if Alderweireld leaves, Spurs are fine at centre back given the continued improvement of Juan Foyth and the capabilities of one-time record signing Davinson Sanchez.

It’s a different story at full back, though, after Kieran Trippier upped sticks and switched ?Premier League for ?La Liga. Serge Aurier won’t not win you the League Cup, let alone the Champions League.

Of course, the big name seemingly on his way out of north London is Christian Eriksen. Taking on the creative duties for Mauricio Pochettino should be Giovani Lo Celso, the Real Betis midfielder having long been linked with a move to Tottenham.

The little name on his way out – on the other hand – is Fernando Llorente, who’s contract expired in July. He had his doubters, but the Spaniard made a decent alternative to anything else at Pochettino’s disposal, which is a solid option to have when Spurs are struggling to break down their opposition.

How Many Signings They Still Need: 3


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Fiorentina vs Arsenal Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Arsenal and Fiorentina face off on Saturday as both teams prepare for the 2019/20 season with their next match in this year’s International Champions Cup taking place in North Carolina.

This will be the first time these two teams have faced each other since their group stage matches in the 1999/00 Champions League, mainly due to both teams’ fluctuating levels of success when it comes to European competitions.

This will be Arsenal’s second match in the ICC after they defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 on Wednesday, and Fiorentina’s second after their 2-1 victory against Mexican titans Chivas de Guadalajara at Toyota Park on Tuesday.

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Here’s 90min’s preview for this next clash in the International Champions Cup.


Where to Watch 

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?When Is Kick Off?  ?Saturday 20 July
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?23:00 (BST)
?Where Is It Played? ?Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina
?TV Channel/Live Stream           ?Premier Sports 1 and ESPN+          
?Referee ?TBC


Team News

?Arsenal are still without Spanish wing-back Hector Bellerin who’s been out since January with a  ruptured cruciate ligament, ?but he still made the journey with his team on their tour of the US. The Gunners are also without captain Laurent Koscielny who refused to join his teammates on their summer tour as he looks for a move back to France.

Arsenal named a 29-man squad for this tour so expect many changes throughout most games in the competition, while Fiorentina were only brought into the ICC at short notice, replacing Roma who have to play qualifiers for the Europa League, so La Viola may not be as prepared.

Two of La Viola’s players have recently come back from injury in the form of Cristiano Biraghi and Bartlomiej Dragowski, while star man Federico Chiesa has only recently returned from international duty with the Italian Under-21 team and has some time off before rejoining the squad. 


Predicted Lineups

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?Arsenal ?Leno; Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Willock, Burton; John-Jules, Ozil, Saka; Nketiah.
?Fiorentina  ?Dragowski; Biraghi, Milenkovic, Ranieri, Venuti; Eysseric, Benassi, Dabo; Sottil, Simeone, Saponara.

Head to Head Record

Arsenal have only played Fiorentina twice competitively in the illustrious history of their clubs. This came in the first round of group stage matches of the 1999/00 ?Champions League?, with Arsenal losing 1-0 at home to Fiorentina thanks to a goal scored by Gabriel Batistuta, while the reverse fixture ended in a scoreless draw. 

Gabriel Batistuta

Those games ultimately sealed Arsenal’s fate in the group, as they finished one point behind second placed Fiorentina, resulting in their rather successful UEFA Cup run in which they reached the final only to lose to Galatasaray on penalties. 


Recent Form

Both teams come into this match having won their previous game in the International Champions Cup.

Arsenal may still have thoughts of the 4-1 thrashing at the hands of ?Chelsea in the Europa League final in the back of their minds, whilst Fiorentina narrowly avoided relegation last season after a cataclysmic run of results saw them finish the season three points above the drop zone.  

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Arsenal will look to continue their winning streak after beating Colorado Rapids and ?Bayern Munich.

Here’s how each side has fared in their last five games.

?Arsenal ?Fiorentina 
?Arsenal 2-1 Bayern Munich (18/7) ?Fiorentina 2-1 Guadalajara (17/7)
?Colorado Rapids 0-3 Arsenal (16/7) ?Fiorentina 6-1 Real Vicenza (14/7)
?Boreham Wood 3-3 Arsenal (06/7) ?Fiorentina 21-0 Val di Fassa (10/7)
?Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal (29/5) ?Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa (26/05)
?Valencia 2-4 Arsenal (09/5) ?Parma 1-0 Fiorentina (19/05)

Prediction

Arsenal will want to keep their winning streak going so confidence can grow for a team that was severely lacking it after that night in Baku. Fiorentina on the other hand will want to show they’re better than what their second half of last season showed and a win against Arsenal could prove that. 

This will be a respectable challenge for both teams ahead of their next campaign in the coming months, and with the prospect of silverware on the line at the end of this competition, both teams will want to start their seasons on the right foot. ?

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Fiorentina

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Nicolas Pepe: Lille Owner Talks Up Supposed Liverpool Interest as Arsenal & Inter Make ‘Firm Bids’

Lille’s owner and president has claimed that Liverpool have been in contact with Nicolas Pepe, although no bid has been made, while reports in France suggest the winger is weighing offers from several clubs.

One of this summer’s hottest transfer targets after scoring 22 goals and registering 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season, 24-year-old Pepe has been linked with the great and good of European football this summer.

Lille value Pépé at €80m, including add-ons, and are fully intent on making the most profit possible if their star player is to depart this summer.

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According to L’Equipe (via GFFN), Lille has now received ‘firm bids’ from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter, while Napoli and Atletico Madrid remain in the running.

However, the truth to those claims is up for debate. Despite L’Equipe’s report suggesting a deal could be completed soon, Lille’s owner ??and president Gérard Lopez seemed to dismiss the notion that Liverpool, at least, have put any bid on the table.

He told ?RMC Sport, relating to the Reds’ interest: I know there have been discussions with the player, not with us as a club”.

While Liverpool may well have been in touch with Pepe and his representatives, the talk in England suggests a summer move from Anfield is highly unlikely.

Jurgen Klopp has continued to maintain that ?no major investment into the playing squad will be made this summer, while in-the-know journalists maintain the Reds have no interest in the Ivorian or would only make a bid if one of their current front three were to depart. 

This fuels suspicion that Lopez is using the French press to feign interest from the European champions as a means to raise the price for Pépé, in an attempt to fully capitalise on the winger’s inevitable departure from the club.

Relating to the other two named clubs in L’Equipe’s report, ?Inter’s main summer target seems to be Romelu Lukaku as Antonio Conte’s new side look to walk the tightrope that is Financial Fair Play. The infamously cash-strapped Arsenal, on the other hand, may be priced out of a deal as they look for ?cheaper targets like Everton Soares.

However, a possible transfer to Merseyside is still on the table for Pépé, with ?Everton apparently showing ?significant interest in acquiring the player previously.

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Louis van Gaal: The Stubborn Master Who Won 15 Major Trophies at 4 of the World’s Greatest Clubs

Louis van Gaal is number 22 in 90min’s Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next five weeks.?


Love him or hate him, and it is that black or white, Louis van Gaal is one of the great figures of modern football history: a stubborn idealist, an enigmatic personality, but above all, a serial winner.

For Van Gaal, two seasons at Manchester United that brought down the curtain on a 25-year career in 2016 covered all three. He was ruthlessly committed to his philosophy – ultimately to his detriment with a lack of correct personnel to implement it; the media and fans struggled to work out his marvellous eccentricities; and he delivered the club’s first major trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in the shape of the FA Cup – the club’s first in the competition for 12 years.

Louis van Gaal,David De Gea

Cruelly, you are only remembered as being as good as your last job and Van Gaal often doesn’t get the recognition his career deserves after those two years in Manchester failed to yield a Premier League title challenge, or anything resembling one, or a finish higher than fourth.

The club was, for want of a better phrase, in crisis. There was no overarching plan, no structure, and no ability to suitably aid the manager in the transfer market.

Was it simply a case of right place, wrong time for Van Gaal? Perhaps.

The Dutch master remains fiercely proud of his stint at Old Trafford, as though he has a personal checklist of the most prestigious clubs in Europe. “I worked at the number one team in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and now also in England,” he told BBC Sport in March 2019.

For this is a man who been there and done it all, time and time again, starting afresh in a new country and conquering the new just as he did the old.

Louis van Gaal

An Amsterdam native, Van Gaal’s playing career was fairly unremarkable. Moving from the amateur ranks, he began his senior career with Ajax at a time when the club was the best in world. He never played for the first team and spent his best years at Sparta Rotterdam. But it was back at Ajax upon retirement in 1987 that his coaching career began, first as an assistant.

Van Gaal landed the top Ajax job in September 1991 and by the end of his debut season in charge the club had won a major European trophy in the shape of the UEFA Cup. That side featured a young Dennis Bergkamp, but it was what Van Gaal would go on to achieve at Ajax in the following years that made him a legend and secured his legacy.

His greatest strength was always player development, placing his faith in young talent to help them unlock their true potential. With Van Gaal at the helm, Ajax gave birth to a golden generation to rival all golden generations, and one that conquered Europe.

AJAX AMSTERDAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SIEGER 1995

Clarence Seedorf made his debut for Van Gaal’s Ajax aged just 16. Patrick Kluivert was barely 18, Marc Overmars was signed at 19, and Edwin van der Sar was a regular in goal at 22. An 18-year-old Edgar Davids made his debut three weeks before Van Gaal took over, but the midfielder, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Pitbull’ by his mentor, was kept in the side.

Ajax won the Eredivisie title in 1993/94 to qualify for the Champions League the following season. That young side, led on the pitch by experienced pair Frank Rijkaard and Danny Blind, the latter a former teammate of Van Gaal’s in Rotterdam, also retained their Dutch crown in 1994/95, going unbeaten in the Eredivisie and scoring 106 goals in 34 games, and took things to the next level by claiming Ajax’s first European crown in 22 years, since the days of Johan Cruyff. Kluivert remains the youngest ever scorer in a European Cup/Champions League final.

Then world champions after beating Gremio in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, Van Gaal and Ajax won a third straight Eredivisie title in 1995/96 and returned to the Champions League final, where only a penalty shootout defeat to Juventus denied them a second triumph.


Career Honours?
?UEFA Cup (1991/92)
?KNVB Cup (1992/93)
?Eredivisie (1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 2008/09)
?UEFA Champions League (1994/95); runner-up (1995/96, 2009/10)
?UEFA Super Cup (1995, 1997)
?Intercontinental Cup (1995)
?La Liga (1997/98, 1998/99)
?Copa del Rey (1997/98)
?Bundesliga (2009/10)
?DFB Pokal (2009/10)
?World Cup third place (2014)
?FA Cup (2015/16)

Van Gaal has infamously fallen out with a lot of people over the years, yet his bond with others is so strong and many of those who played under him revere him. “Finland has shaped me as a footballer, but Van Gaal added the last fifteen, twenty per cent. He was demanding and honest. He saw everything,” former Ajax great Jari Litmanen said in 2015.

Speaking to talkSPORT in 2019, Wayne Rooney described Van Gaal as “…tactically the best I have worked with – in terms of setting you up in a shape defensively and everyone knowing their roles,” putting the Dutchman ahead of even Sir Alex Ferguson in that regard.

After his Ajax team was broken up, partly by the new Bosman ruling, Van Gaal moved on to Barcelona in 1997. His success was instant, winning back-to-back La Liga titles, one as part of a domestic double in his first season.

That three year spell at Camp Nou saw an infamous spat with 1999 Ballon d’Or winner Rivaldo over his position on the pitch – a grudge which resulted in the Brazilian being released when Van Gaal returned in 2002 – but it also gave rise to the careers of future club legends Xavi and Carles Puyol after both were handed first team debuts. Van Gaal’s second spell at Barcelona would later see Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes also make their respective debuts.

TEAM FC BARCELONA

Van Gaal’s return to Barcelona, coming after a failed stint with the Dutch national team which resulted in failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, was not as successful as his first. He returned briefly to Ajax as technical director, before becoming coach at lesser known Eredivisie side AZ.

Remarkably, he led the team to the Eredivisie title in 2008/09 – the sixth domestic league title of his career. The previous season had been a bad one and Van Gaal was actually planning to resign in 2008 until a number of AZ players urged him to stay on.

After AZ, came Van Gaal’s return to the elite bracket when Bayern Munich came calling. Despite a slow start, he proved to be a popular figure and delivered the Bundesliga title in his first season. A DFB Pokal followed. And while defeat in the 2010 Champions League final denied Bayern an historic treble, Van Gaal had won seven league titles in three different countries.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, transformed from inconsistent winger to near flawless central midfielder, and Thomas Muller owe Van Gaal particular gratitude for his time in Germany.

Bayern Munich's midfielder Bastian Schwe

After finishing at Bayern and prior to moving to England, Van Gaal got a second chance to lead the Dutch national team. This time, his measured tactics, designed to minimise his players’ weaknesses and maximise their strengths, worked perfectly and took his team all the way to the 2014 World Cup semi-finals, finishing third against all expectations – the group stage had included a masterful 5-1 demolition of Spain – the holders had no answer to the Dutch system.


?Teams Managed Years?
?Ajax ?1991 – 1997
?Barcelona ?1997 – 2000
?Netherlands ?2000 – 2002
?Barcelona ?2002 – 2003
?AZ ?2005 – 2009
?Bayern Munich ?2009 – 2011
?Netherlands ?2012 – 2014
?Manchester United 2014 – 2016?

Van Gaal was ultimately treated rather terribly by Manchester United as the club negotiated with his successor behind his back for months. His disappointing spell in England, fuelled by failings of the club itself, is an unfortunate blot on an otherwise truly remarkable career.

Still, it couldn’t keep him down. As Van Gaal himself said to the BBC: “To win the FA Cup when, for six months, the media has a noose round my neck, is my biggest achievement.”


Number 50: Marcelo Bielsa – El Loco’s Journey From Argentina to Footballing Immortality in Europe

Number 49: Vic Buckingham – How an Englishman Discovered Johan Cruyff & Pioneered Total Football

Number 48: Claudio Ranieri: A Ridiculed Tinkerman Who Masterminded One of Football’s Greatest Ever Achievements

Number 47: Bill Nicholson: Mr Tottenham Hotspur, the First Double Winning Manager of the 20th Century

Number 46: Sven-Goran Eriksson: The Scudetto Winning Shagger Who Never Solved the Lampard-Gerrard Conundrum

Number 45: Sir Alf Ramsey: The Man Behind the ‘Wingless Wonders’ & England’s Sole World Cup Triumph

Number 44: Antonio Conte: An Astute Tactician Whose Perfectionist Philosophy Reinvented the 3-5-2 Wheel

Number 43: Kenny Dalglish: The Beacon of Light in Liverpool’s Darkest Hour

Number 42: Massimiliano Allegri: The Masterful Tactician Who Won Serie A Five Times in a Row

Number 41: Sir Bobby Robson: A Footballing Colossus Whose Fighting Spirit Ensured an Immortal Legacy

Number 40: Luis Aragones: Spain’s Most Important Manager, the Atleti Rock and the Modern Father of Tiki-Taka

Number 39: Herbert Chapman: One of Football’s Great Innovators & Mastermind Behind the ‘W-M’ Formation

Number 38: Carlos Alberto Parreira: The International Specialist Who Never Shied Away From a Challenge

Number 37: Franz Beckenbauer: The German Giant Whose Playing Career Overshadowed His Managerial Genius

Number 36: Viktor Maslov: Soviet Pioneer of the 4-4-2 & the Innovator of Pressing

Number 35: Rafa Benitez: The Conquerer of La Liga Who Masterminded That Comeback in Istanbul

Number 34: Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman’s Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro

Number 33: Luiz Felipe Scolari: How the Enigmatic ‘Big Phil’ Succeeded as Much as He Failed on the Big Stage

Number 32: Jupp Heynckes: The Legendary Manager Who Masterminded ‘the Greatest Bayern Side Ever’

Number 31: Vicente del Bosque: The Unluckiest Manager in the World Who Led Spain to Immortality

Number 30: Arsene Wenger: A Pioneering Who Became Invincible at Arsenal

Number 29: Udo Lattek: The Bundesliga Icon Who Shattered European Records

Number 28: Jock Stein: The Man Who Guided Celtic to Historic Heights & Mentored Sir Alex Ferguson

Number 27: Vittorio Pozzo: Metodo, Mussolini, Meazza & the Difficult Memory of a Two-Time World Cup Winner

Number 26: Jurgen Klopp: The Early Years at Mainz 05 Where He Sealed His ‘Greatest Achievement’

Number 25:Mario Zagallo: Habitual World Cup Winner & Sculptor of Brazil’s Joga Bonito Era

Number 24: Bela Guttmann: The Dance Instructor Who Changed Football Forever (and Managed…Just Everyone)

Number 23: ?Valeriy Lobanovskyi: The Scientist Who Dominated Football in the Soviet Union


Let’

Manchester United vs Inter Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Manchester United will begin their International Champions Cup campaign against Inter on Saturday at the Singapore National Stadium, following victories in their first two pre-season fixtures – and it’s set to be an exciting matchup. 

The clash will be the first time the two sides have met since United beat Walter Mazzarri’s Inter on penalties in the International Champions Cup in 2014. United come into the game having used 23 players in both of their first two pre-season matches, whereas Inter have only played the one fixture so far.  

Despite it being a pre-season fixture, there is much anticipation as sub-plots have begun to form. The saga surrounding Romelu Lukaku’s reported desire to leave Manchester United for Inter only adds to the excitement. 

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Check out 90min’s preview of the upcoming International Champions Cup fixture below. 


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? ?Saturday 20 July
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?12:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played?? ?Singapore National Stadium                   
?TV Channel/Live Stream?      ?MUTV
?Referee?  ?TBC

Team News

The Red Devils are expected to welcome back ?David de Gea, after he missed the Leeds triumph through illness. Luke Shaw picked up a knock in the Reds’ victory over Perth Glory, but returned to training and is expected to be available for the upcoming match. ?Lukaku is believed to have a knock and was left out completely against Leeds once again, however ?rumours continue to persist regarding a transfer to Inter. 

Nemanja Matic lasted just 33 minutes against Leeds before being taken off, suggesting his fitness is not quite up to scratch as of yet. Solskjaer has used 23 players in both of his first two pre-season matches, so the competition is high in the squad. 

Inter, meanwhile, have named a 27-man squad for their trip to Asia, including new signing Nicolo Barella.


The Italian was granted a work permit and may play a role. Elsewhere, Radja Nainggolan has been offered another chance, after being excluded from tactical drills in Lugano along with Mauro Icardi. Icardi has not made the squad however, as his future remains up in the air. 

Inter are without Lautaro Martinez as well, meaning their attacking options are limited. Samuele Longo may not feature as his future is being discussed, but Matteo Politano has overcome a thigh strain and is expected to play some part in their upcoming fixtures. Diego Godin, Matias Vecino and George Puscas will join up with the squad soon, but aren’t available here.


Predicted Lineups

?Manchester United De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Martial, Lingard, Greenwood; Rashford.
?Inter  ?Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar; Perisic, Sensi, Valero, Barella, Candreva; Esposito, Colidio.

Head to Head Record

The two clubs have only competitively faced each other four times, and United boast the better record. These four meetings were both two-legged Champions League ties. 

The first meeting was in the 1998/99 season, where United beat I Nerazzurri on their way to claiming the treble. The second re-match came in 2009 as the Red Devils once again swept aside the Italian side over two legs. 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 98/99

The most recent fixture between the two sides came in the International Champions Cup back in 2014. The two sides were level at the end of the 90 minutes, before ?United took it on penalties. 


Recent Form

New manager Antonio Conte will be hoping to close the gap on ?Juventus and make a push for the Serie A title next season. The club finished fourth last time out, marginally pipping Milan to the final Champions League qualification space. 

I Nerazzurri won their first match of pre-season in Switzerland – a 2-1 victory of Lugano on 14 July in the Casinò Lugano Cup. 

Anthony Martial,Jesse Lingard,Ashley Young

On the other hand, United will be hoping to crack the top four next season. The Red Devils kicked off their pre-season with a 2-0 victory against Perth Glory, before ?easing past bitter rivals Leeds in Australia. 

They will now travel to Singapore as Solskjaer’s men look to gain some invaluable minutes and momentum heading into the new season.

Here’s a look at how both clubs have fared in their previous five matches. 

?Manchester United  Inter ?
?Manchester United 4-0 Leeds United (17/7) ?Lugano 1-2 Inter (14/7) 
?Perth Glory 0-2 Manchester United (13/7)  ?Inter 2-1 Empoli (26/5)
?Manchester United 0-2 Cardiff City (12/5)           ?Napoli 4-1 Inter (19/5)
?Huddersfield 1-1 Manchester United (5/5)      ?Inter 2-0 Chievo (13/5)
?Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (28/4) ?Udinese 0-0 Inter (4/5)                 


Prediction

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United come into the game with great confidence, having swept aside Leeds in fine fashion. Equally, Inter will take heart from their first pre-season match in Switzerland, and will be hoping to push on and improve on that performance.  

Mason Greenwood

It is expected to be a tight match, but United have one more game under their belt and appear to be showing good early form. Additionally, the exclusion of Icardi and the unavailability of Martinez leaves Conte with few attacking options. For these reasons, the Red Devils will be expected to take this one. 

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Inter

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