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Rooney can shoulder responsibility as Manchester United's lead striker

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal addresses the growing rumours of Angel Di Maria nearing a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

The departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao over the summer mean the goalscoring burden falls firmly on Wayne Rooney at Manchester United once more. Manager Louis van Gaal talked up the possibility of signing a "surprise" striker before the transfer window comes to a close, and while that may still come to fruition; United, at the time of writing, head into the season with Rooney as the primary frontman.

Supporters, though, needn't be too downbeat about it. While the prospect of signing...

 By Michael Cox

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey aims to be a future captain of the Gunners

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is keen to add his first piece of silverware of the season ahead of the Community Shield against Chelsea.
Aaron Ramsey's, left, perseverance through multiple injuries has served him well as he's emerged as a key player and leader for Arsenal.

Every summer, there's a consensus that Arsenal need new players: sometimes goalkeepers, sometimes defenders, sometimes midfielders and sometimes forwards. But we're always told they need something else, too: leaders.

That's more difficult, because you can't solve that problem overnight in the transfer market. Becoming a leader is generally a gradual progression, a quality that comes with experience at a club after years spent earning the respect of your peers.

For Arsenal, the usual wearers of the...

 By Michael Cox

Qualifying for Europa League via fair play will soon be a relic of football

Andy Carroll and West Ham qualified for the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League through their fair play record.

Most Premier League squads have spent the past fortnight globetrotting on lucrative preseason tours while finding time to work on fitness levels. West Ham United, however, will play their fifth competitive game of the season on Thursday, in a Europa League qualifier against Romanian club Astra Giurgiu, having already seen off the mighty duo of Andorrans Lusitanos and Birkirkara of Malta.

European football is a wonderful bonus for West Ham in their final season at Upton Park, before their three-mile...

 By Michael Cox

Samir Nasri talks to ESPN FC about Man City, Manuel Pellegrini, Marseille

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has said that Raheem Sterling is capable of playing in a number of positions, and that Yaya Toure still has an important role to play in the team.
Manchester City had reason to celebrate a first ever Premier League win at Stoke's Britannia Stadium.
Samir Nasri is primed for a strong season in 2015-16 after Man City's last campaign ended without a league title.

Manchester City's Samir Nasri is highly unusual among modern footballers, for two very different reasons.

First, he's forthcoming with opinions. This is a player who, for example, who was confronted by paparazzi while on holiday in Los Angeles this summer and ended up having a discussion about the FIFA crisis, one in which he welcomed FBI intervention. Few other footballers dared utter a word about the saga.

Second, Nasri is a relentless football watcher. One of the notable things about professional...

John Stones should consider Chelsea switch to boost England prospects

The ESPN FC team analyse Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez's war of words in regards to recent reports linking Chelsea with John Stones.
Everton defender John Stones has been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer.
Everton defender John Stones has been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer.

Everton's John Stones has been earmarked as a long-term successor for Chelsea captain John Terry at Stamford Bridge and it was reported the Blues had a £20 million bid for the England international rejected last week.

Given his current ability and potential to improve, it's no shock Everton are not prepared to entertain offers below the £30m mark for Stones, while Gary Cahill says the youngster should consider a move to Stamford Bridge.

Of players aged 21 or under, Stones was's...

 By Michael Cox

Arturo Vidal could be Pep Guardiola's key signing at Bayern Munich

The ESPN FC crew discuss what Arturo Vidal would offer Bayern Munich's midfield should he join the German giants.

Of the many footballers changing clubs this summer, none are better than Arturo Vidal. The likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Robin van Persie and Andrea Pirlo are revered but on the way down. Perhaps only Carlos Tevez rivals Vidal as a top-quality player making a big transfer this season.

The fact three of these players are leaving Juventus summarises what a huge rebuilding job Max Allegri faces over the next month. But the real intrigue comes from Vidal's transfer to Bayern Munich.

It's unusual...