Sancho and Van de Beek’s troubles in focus – Friday’s biggest stories

Robin Bairner
Jadon Sancho, Manchester United, 2021/22

Manchester United were the talk of the summer transfer window after an incredible summer saw them capture Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

While Varane has started solidly enough and Ronaldo is, well, Ronaldo, the plight of former Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho has been clear.

The England attacker has yet to register a goal or an assist since arriving at the Old Trafford club. While this is alarming to some, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate says he is not surprised by the former Manchester City youth is struggling in the Premier League.

It is worth pointing out, however, that Ronaldo has not been immune from criticism either.

Staying at Old Trafford, Donny van de Beek has been trying for a year to settle successfully into the squad. Having barely been given a chance by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, he was branded “a sulker” by the manager following an incident in midweek that saw him react angrily to not featuring at all in a narrow win over Villarreal.

Also in Manchester, Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Liverpool rival Jurgen Klopp, explaining that the German is the reason he is “still in the business”.

The Reds, meanwhile, are interested in Bayer Leverkusen attacker Moussa Diaby.

Arsenal addition has 'Ronaldo mentality'

Takehiro Tomiyasu playing for Arsenal, 2021/22

New Arsenal signing Takehiro Tomiyasu has been branded as a player with “the Ronaldo mentality” by Andre Pinto, who worked closely with the Japan star in Belgium.

But while one player is on the up at the Emirates Stadium, Eddie Nketiah must be considering his future plans given that he has been frozen out of the squad time and again this season.

Another player having a rough time is Chelsea's Timo Werner, who is struggling for game time. Does he have a future at Stamford Bridge?

Elsewhere in Europe, the headlines continue to be made in Spain, where Real Madrid’s shrewd work in past transfer windows has paved the way to allow them to sign Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland next summer. Nevertheless, they are not necessarily favourites to sign the Norwegian.

And things remain miserable in Barcelona, where Ronald Koeman remains under intense pressure ahead of a weekend meeting with Atletico Madrid.