United draw Benfica, Basel and Moscow while The God of Manchester returns

Afternoon Bulletin

UNITED LEARN FATE

Manchester United was drawn into Group A of the Champions League alongside Portuguese Champions Benfica, Swiss Champions Basel and Russian giants CSKA Moscow. United will begin the campaign on September 12th by welcoming Basel and end it with the visit of Moscow to Old Trafford. Despite the widespread belief that the group is an easy one, United failed to progress to the knockout stage back in 2011-12 when the club was paired alongside both Benfica and Basel.

ZLATAN PENS NEW DEAL

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put pen to paper on a new one-year deal at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic took a 50% pay cut to stay on United’s books (an achievement claimed by Agent P). The Swede will don the No.10 jersey as indicated earlier and called it an upgrade on his former No.9 kit. Ibrahimovic is still a few months away from the field and will continue rehabilitation as an official United player.

LEMAR WANTS UNITED

Arsenal’s No.1 transfer target Thomas Lemar ahead of the transfer deadline prefers a move to United rather than one to North London. While Wenger has all but conceded defeat in his side’s chase for the Frenchman, United may take the plunge for a widely rated prospect in the European game. United were considering hijacking the deal for Arsenal earlier this week but with United’s front men in such flowing form Mourinho called off the proposed transfer.

LUKAKU’S RESPONSE TO CRITICISM

Romelu Lukaku has called Thierry Henry the best thing to happen to him. Lukaku who has worked with the likes of Drogba, Anelka, Eto’o and Torres named Henry as his favourite mentor. Lukaku who was criticised by Henry after his performances in the first two games of the season, said: “Thierry for me is the best. Every day whether it is positive and negative I take it in my stride because I know what is expected from the top level. Working with him in Belgium I really take my time with him asking questions, I don’t take him for granted, I sometimes ask him questions for two hours. I will get the information that I need and take it on board.”

CONTRACT RENEWAL SEASON

It’s contract renewal time at Old Trafford as many as 9 players are out of contract at the end of this season. With United having ‘finished’ their transfer window, Ed Woodward and his team will be looking to tie down the important cogs of Mourinho’s squad to new long term deals. Players like Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Luke Shaw are all out of contract in the summer but United have the option of triggering a one-year extension on most contracts. The players out of contract at the end of the season are: Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Juan Mata, Sam Johnstone, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Andreas Pereira.