Peter Crouch: It’s been an embarrassing summer for Man United

But Marko Arnautovic could've done a job for them

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I played with Marko Arnautovic at Stoke and I haven’t seen him in a few years, but when I played with him he was good enough to play for any club in the world.

If you saw him in training then you’d have said he should’ve been playing for Liverpool or City or any big club. I even said to him back then that he should be playing at a higher level.

He’s been a very good player and if United supporters saw him play more they might think differently about him. West Ham and Stoke fans certainly know how good he could be on his day.

I’ve no doubt he’d have been an asset to United in their squad, but obviously I understand the frustrations of supporters.

They won’t be enthusiastic about signing a 33-year-old striker who was recently playing in China, especially when their local rivals have brought in a 20-year-old who’s the hottest property in the world right now.

Add that to other players, such as De Jong seemingly not wanting to go there, and then the defeat to Brighton on the opening day, and it’s quite sad in some ways.

It’s been an embarrassing summer for Man United really.

There’s no sense of a clear plan for them.

Chelsea Transfer Targets

I’d worry there’s a bit of that at Chelsea too this summer, though nowhere near the same extent.

De Jong and Aubameyang are both very good players and could be exciting signings, but I just worry slightly about the cost and the wider plan for them.

When I see Man City and Liverpool’s transfer targets I always feel like there’s a clear plan.

You can even see that with Spurs now with Conte there.

These clubs are signing hungry young players.

You’d wonder if De Jong or Aubameyang will be hungry to win if they sign for Chelsea.

When top players like this become it’s because their current club wants to offload their wages.

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I worry about the mentality behind signing them – it feels like ‘let’s just get these big players in’.

They are two classy players and will improve the squad, of course, and they’ve signed well with Sterling and Koulibaly joining, I just have that doubt about the long-term cost.

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 01: Peter Crouch of Liverpool heads on goal during the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on May 1, 2007 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Trent trampled by Mitrovic

I used to love those ones as a striker though, where the ball is hung up at the back post to attack and the fullback is standing underneath it while you’ve got a run on him.

Nine times out of ten Mitrovic scores a chance like that no matter what the fullback does.

But I still think Trent’s got to do more to put off the attacker.

Gary Neville was always brilliant at defending those situations.

As soon as I’d jump up he’d know how to nudge me to put me off balance that little bit to make the difference.

I’m sure if you asked Trent Alexander-Arnold now could he have done more, he’d say the same.

Tyrone Mings

Villa captaincy distraction

The captaincy issue feels like an unnecessary distraction at this time of the season for Villa.

Things have been said in the media and it’s become an issue, but it is the manager’s prerogative to change the captain. Tyrone Mings wasn’t picked by Steven Gerrard for the job and he wanted to choose his own.

I’m not sure what’s happened exactly and there’s speculation about whether Tyrone Mings reacted in the right or wrong way to the change, but it’s up to him to try to fight his way back into the team now.

Whatever happens, Villa ought to be solidly mid-table this season despite the opening day loss. I’m not sure they should expect to get higher than that though.

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