Manchester United are nine points away from securing their place in next season’s Champions League. There’s been clear signs of progress under Erik ten Hag’s stewardship and the club’s former number nine Louis Saha believes that they can challenge for the Premier League next season. Louis also spoke to Betfred regarding rumours linking Casemiro with an exit from Old Trafford, Nemanja Vidić‘s recent comments on Wayne Rooney and Manchester City’s treble prospects.
With Manchester United tightening their grip on a top four finish yesterday with a win over Aston Villa, do you believe Manchester United could challenge to win both the Premier League and Champions League trophies next season?
“Manchester United are making significant progress under Erik ten Hag. The issues regarding the future of Cristiano Ronaldo are a thing of the past, there’s the chance of a potential change of ownership and things are looking very positive for the future. Hopefully they can guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League soon. Winning the Champions League will be pretty hard, but they can challenge for the Premier League title next season. They’ve shown quality going forward and they’ve shown that they’re capable of keeping plenty of clean sheets.”
Casemiro was linked with a shock move to Bayern Munich this week. Now regardless of whether you believe there’s any genuine possibility of this move happening or not, are you a bit worried that there’s speculation regarding Casemiro’s future so soon into his Manchester United career?
“When it comes towards the end of the season, speculation like this is usually driven by the player’s agent. Casemiro is a top player and there’s always going to be speculation regarding his future because of how good he is. I’m not worried about him leaving this summer and I don’t believe that Bayern Munich will provide a greater challenge for Casemiro than the challenge of taking Manchester United back to the top. His situation is great at Manchester United and he has a brilliant contract, so I’d be very surprised if he was to push for a move in the summer.”
We asked you in the previous interview about David de Gea’s future at Manchester United. You told us that De Gea needed competition for the number one spot at Old Trafford, so if you were to choose a realistic goalkeeper for Manchester United to sign this summer, then who would you choose?
“It’s a tough one. What I’ve seen of Manchester United’s progression this year and what their style of play has shown me is that the goalkeeper playing out from the back is very important to Erik ten Hag. Erik will want a goalkeeper that’s a very good goalkeeper firstly, but he’d want them to be equally as good with their feet too.
“I’ve always been very impressed with Robert Sánchez from Brighton. I don’t know if he’d be happy about being a number two at Manchester United, but he’s a player that could adapt to Erik ten Hag’s style. There’s a lot of great goalkeepers out there and many of the best are very good with the ball at their feet.”
David Raya is one goalkeeper in particular that’s been linked with a move to Old Trafford and he’s also said to be of interest to Chelsea too. Do you believe he’s good enough to make the step up to one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs?
“He’s a Spanish international goalkeeper and if he was to move to Old Trafford as competition for David, then he would be a guaranteed good signing as he’s shown he can already play well in the Premier League. However, I don’t see this moving happening as Manchester United could have two goalkeepers that are competing for the same spot at club and international level, so one of them is going to be potentially unhappy on two fronts if they’re out of the team.”
How happy are you with the news that Alejandro Garnacho has signed a new contract at Manchester United until the summer of 2028?
“I’m very delighted. He’s a terrific prospect for the future that’s capable of providing many goals and assists. I believe he’s going to mature even faster than we expected, he’s got a great manager and he’s in a team that plays very well as a collective. He knows what he needs to improve on and he’s such a big prospect.”
Your former teammate Nemanja Vidić recently claimed in an interview with Rio Ferdinand that Wayne Rooney should have achieved more in his career and didn’t have the right mentality to go further, when comparing his mentality to Cristiano Ronaldo’s. Do you agree at all with this sentiment and where for you does Wayne rank amongst the best players you’ve ever played alongside?
“Wayne Rooney is one of the best players I’ve ever played with and I had a terrific relationship with him. I understand where Nemanja was coming from, but Cristiano is an animal and not many players share his routine, so it doesn’t mean that Wayne had a poor mentality or anything like that. Wayne Rooney had a tremendous career, an excellent record at any team he played in and he would break his leg for his teammates. You can’t ask for much more from a player.”
Do you believe there’s been improvements in Jadon Sancho’s displays for Manchester United in recent times?
“I’m still frustrated despite the fact he’s improving. There’s patches of his game where he understands what he’s missing and he needs to be more arrogant when he’s in possession. It’s frustrating as the guy’s got so much quality, but the goal against Tottenham will be very important for his confidence. A player with the skills he possesses needs to show them off regularly and Manchester United invested so much money in him as they would have expected him to improve their title prospects. Next season is going to be very important for him and I’m sure he can start to play like he did when he was at Borussia Dortmund.”
Do you believe it’s time for Harry Maguire to leave Manchester United?
“Harry has coped really well with all the scrutiny he’s been facing and I’m a big supporter of his. However, there are elements of his game that he really needed to improve and that’s not happened. The Sevilla game was evidence of that. If he were to leave then he may be able to begin enjoying his football again and I’m sure there’s a better platform for him somewhere to show how good he can be and give him the opportunity to play more regularly. I can’t see him playing regularly at Manchester United.”
You’ve previously stated your admiration of outgoing Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram. He’s been linked with moves to both Arsenal and Chelsea, but considering he’s available on a free this summer, do you believe Manchester United need to hijack any move either of those sides makes to ensure he doesn’t head to a Premier League rival for nothing?
“I don’t believe Manchester United have to hijack a move for anybody. Manchester United can attract the right players if they really want to sign them. Manchester United now have a set system under Erik ten Hag and they should only look to sign players that can fit into it. Marcus is a player that I do believe could fit into this system as he has the capacity to do all the hard work and is capable of scoring goals. He’s a terrific prospect.”
Manchester United are said to have joined Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Leicester City’s James Maddison. Would you like to see James make the move to Old Trafford?
“I have a lot of respect for James Maddison and it’s a shame to see him playing in this current Leicester City side that have really struggled this season. As a Manchester United fan, I want the club to have players that have full confidence in themselves and I believe James is a player that could have an impact at the club. He’s a top player but I’m not sure he’s a player that will play for Manchester United week in, week out. That’s the only question mark around this move.”
Atalanta’s Rasmus Højlund, who has 9 goals in all competitions for his club this season, has drawn comparisons to Manchester City’s Erling Haaland. Rasmus is only 20 years old and piquing the interest of both Real Madrid and Manchester United and considering that Manchester United famously missed out on signing Erling Haaland to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, do you believe they can’t fail to miss out again if Rasmus is anything at all like the Premier League’s top goalscorer?
“Erling Haaland was scoring about 30 goals a season when he was at Borussia Dortmund and I believe there’s only a few elements where you can compare Rasmus to Erling. Manchester United don’t have to feel as if they need to sign him because he’s dubbed ‘the new Haaland’. Haaland at 20 was a far more developed player than Rasmus is now and if Manchester United want to sign a player then they’re going to only buy them if they’re capable of fitting into Erik ten Hag’s system rather than signing them off the back of a comparison to a great player. Rasmus does have a very big future ahead of him, but I’d prefer the club to sign Harry Kane this summer instead.”
Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins has been in magnificent form this season and has 14 Premier League goals to his name so far. Do you believe clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester United, two teams that are in need of a centre-forward this summer, should consider Ollie as an option?
“The only thing I’d question about whether Ollie could play for one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs is whether he can play as well as he has been doing consistently. I’m worried that he wouldn’t provide a guaranteed solution as the primary striker for Manchester United, for example. He’s really improved over the last few months, but if you’re a club that wants to compete on all fronts, you should target a forward that’s on another level and can be a guaranteed success. I say this with no disrespect as I believe Ollie has been mighty impressive this season.”
Do you believe Tottenham deserve to keep Harry Kane this summer?
“I’m sure Harry is very appreciative of everything Tottenham’s done for him and it’s disrespectful to say that the club shouldn’t deserve to have a player or not. I do however believe that now is the right time for Harry to pursue another challenge but I don’t believe he will act disrespectfully towards the club if he tries to leave Tottenham this summer. Harry is almost 30 years old and still has four or five years at the top, so hopefully both parties can come to a smart solution for the player. I would personally love to see him move to Manchester United.”
Which three teams do you believe will be relegated from the Premier League this season? Do you believe Everton could be one of them?
“It’s sad to say but yes, I do believe they could be one of the teams that goes down this season. They don’t score enough goals and they need to start picking up points from somewhere with only four games remaining. It’s so difficult to predict exactly which three teams will be relegated as it’s so close at the bottom of the table.”
Do you believe Manchester City will be treble winners? And how sad will it be to all of those connected with Manchester United if they achieve it?
“To be totally honest as a Manchester United fan, I really admire the way Manchester City play. I do believe that Manchester United can get back to the top, but it will be a shame for the fans if Manchester City are to win a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble. Erling Haaland already has 50 goals this season, which is incredible and I have no problem with seeing the best team win. Winning the Premier League and FA Cup alone would be a brilliant achievement and winning the Champions League is a very difficult feat for anybody. All I hope is that Manchester United can soon get to the same level that Manchester City are at and they could even put an end to their treble hopes if they beat City in the FA Cup final in June.”
PSG and Brazil superstar Neymar is linked with moves to both Chelsea and Manchester United at present. Now regardless of whether you believe the speculation or not, how much of a coup do you believe Neymar would be for the Premier League in general? Do you believe he’d be a success in England?
“It would be great for the Premier League to have Neymar playing in England because he’s such a terrific player. He’s very entertaining to watch but I can understand the question marks that can come from having a player like Neymar at your club. I’m just a big fan of the player on the pitch but I don’t believe he’s lived up to expectations in his last three or four seasons with PSG. I wouldn’t want to see him in a Manchester United shirt considering the exaggerated media attention a superstar like him would attract. The team structure is so important and still fragile at times. But I certainly believe he’d be a great addition to the Premier League.”