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Sir Alex joins LinkedIn

The Toe Poke

Chris Smalling and Daley Blind impress at the back for Manchester United

The ESPN FC crew react to Manchester United's 4-0 thrashing of Club Brugge, which Craig Burley insists is a smokescreen and only hides United's issues.

Heading into the season, the primary concern with regard to Manchester United's ability to mount a serious title challenge was an apparent weakness at the back, particularly in key centre-half positions.

A tally of 37 goals conceded in the 2014-15 campaign was certainly not a poor return -- and only five more than the league's best defence of Chelsea -- but none of Louis van Gaal's central defensive options had ever truly convinced.

The fact that eight different players started at least two league...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Barcelona raising Neymar buyout to Messi levels after Man United interest

The ESPN FC crew respond to your questions on how the La Liga teams in the Champions League will perform, what transfers will occur before deadline day and more.

As always, Transfer Talk has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest rumours and gossip. See all the latest deals here.

TOP STORY: Neymar buyout going up after United interest

Not many people truly believe Manchester United will land Neymar this summer, though Barcelona seem to be suitably irked by the continued rumours that they feel the need to ensure the forward's future lies at the Camp Nou.

The Daily Mail reports that Barca will offer the Brazil captain a new five-year contract...

 By Tim Vickery

Man United interest in Barcelona's Neymar still a long shot for now

The ESPN FC crew respond to your questions on how the La Liga teams in the Champions League will perform, what transfers will occur before deadline day and more.

Barcelona have just sold Pedro to Chelsea. Still under FIFA suspension, they are unable to buy in anyone until next January. So, unless there are pressing financial reasons, which does not seem to be the case, the idea that they would sell Neymar -- for any price -- at this stage would seem to be pure fantasy.

Manchester United surely know all of this. So why have they been pursuing the player? The most likely explanation is that they are playing a long-term game.

Neymar has never revealed any...

 By Andy Mitten

Ander Herrera enjoying life at Man United after difficult first season

Wayne Rooney bagged a hat-trick in his side's convincing 4-0 victory over Club Brugge which sees them qualify for the Champions League.
Wayne Rooney ended his goal-scoring drought in style by netting a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 victory over Club Brugge.

Ander Herrera's goal in Bruges on Wednesday night wasn't a last minute winner away to Liverpool or Manchester City but the Basque-born midfielder wasn't going to let the opportunity slip to celebrate with the enthusiasm of a fan playing his only game for their team.

After scoring against an injury-hit Bruges team who'd gone unbeaten in their previous 10 European home games, Herrera ran towards the 2,000 travelling United fans on the upper tier of the Jan Breydal Stadium and slid towards them on...

Manchester United still light up front despite Rooney renaissance

Wayne Rooney's hat trick brought a 10-game barren run to an end in Manchester United's Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge.

Drought? What drought? Wayne Rooney's midweek hat trick brought to an end an 878 minute barren spell and booted suggestions that the 29-year-old might be over-the-hill straight into the dustbin. Manchester United have no need of a world class striker, they have one already. Beep. Beep. Identification accepted. You may proceed to the title race.

Or perhaps not. As Han Solo might have said it, "Good against the Belgians is one thing. Good on a weekly basis in the Premier League? That's something...