Connoisseurs of Italian football are still shaking their heads in disbelief at the prospect of Juventus swapping Paulo Dybala for Romelu Lukaku. For Manchester United though, it would appear to be a no-brainer.Lukaku has become a £75 million ($91m) makeweight at Old Trafford, with his 42 goals in two seasons not proving enough to persuade Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he should be favoured over Marcus Rashford in the number-nine position. As a result, the Belgian has become desperate for a move. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? And with United unconvinced by the proposals presented by an Inter side on a tight budget, the prospect of adding a player of Dybala’s quality is understandably tempting. Discussions remain at an early stage so far, but the Reds are surely the only winner if this deal makes it over the line.Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 formation needs a more convincing number 10 than Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata or Andreas Pereira – the three players to have been employed there during pre-season so far – with many of their better chances on tour being created from wide positions and most of their more laboured and ponderous play coming in the centre of the attacking third.As such, Dybala is a ready-made addition. His ability to evade tacklers and create play from in behind the front man has made him one of the most exciting forwards in the Italian game.That is not to say he is a guarantee of success for United though, with a million different reasons why this is a move which might not pan out as desired.Dybala had a promising but inconsistent three-year spell with Palermo after arriving in 2012, with his propensity to go through long slumps having become a concern for some followers of the Rosanero.After he moved to Juve in 2015 he immediately fitted in as a senior player and revelled in becoming a key man following the exits that summer of Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal. However, there still remained that same tendency for him to go off the boil for lengthy periods in a season even before the 2018 arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo bumped him out of the picture somewhat.Having switched to a 4-3-3 to suit Ronaldo it became impossible for Juve to get the best out of Dybala since the Argentine is not really suited to either wide position. Ultimately, the new reality resulted in a lack of game time for Dybala and the player has been a more irritable presence in Turin according to some close to the club.It has been a similar story so far at international level, with his inability to play at his best when chosen in the same XI as Lionel Messi having developed into a huge issue. He has just 24 caps to his name and has scored only twice, with his appearances in major fixtures having been restricted due to his inability to adapt. For Ronaldo at Juventus, read Messi with Argentina.United fans will understandably be wary of the story of an Argentine attacker becoming disgruntled at being phased out of his favoured role at a continental giant and arriving at Old Trafford to much pomp and circumstance. The same thing happened in 2014 with Angel Di Maria at Real Madrid and it was only a matter of months before that saga went south.For Dybala to be a success at United, he will need to have the right attitude. He will need to buy in to the project Solskjaer is building and the work ethic which goes with it. United have been all about the high-energy press right from the front, and the 24-year-old cannot be a passenger in that regard.He can be the man to unlock packed defences, but United will be just as keen that he doesn’t become the player who helps opponents to get through their press and set up counter-attacks. There must be no sulking a la Di Maria, or such as his own past few months at the Allianz Stadium, even if a move from a serial Serie A champion and regular Champions League challenger to a slumped giant playing in the Europa League is a backward step rather than a forward one.If Dybala treats this is as a chance to prove that Juventus are wrong for being so open to the idea of him leaving, then United should be on to a clear winner. Either way, having a somewhat inconsistent talent of the level of Dybala has to be a step up on Mata, Lingard or Pereira when it comes to options in the slot behind the front man.Swapping a dispensable big-money Lukaku who has netted once in 20 United games against top-six opposition for a potential match-winner in Dybala? United should do everything they can to get this deal done.
by David Hodges, The Canadian Press Posted Aug 3, 2017 9:22 am MDT Last Updated Aug 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Toronto stock index falls in broad-based decline, loonie little changed TORONTO – Losses in several sectors resulted in a moderate decline on Canada’s main stock index Thursday while the loonie was little changed.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 73.67 points to 15,191.96, with energy, base metals, industrials and financials the biggest losers.One bright spot for the energy sector was Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ), which reported higher second-quarter profits compared with a year ago. Its stock rose $1.31, or 3.39 per cent, to $39.90.Otherwise, crude prices have stalled, weighing on oil and gas stocks, said Todd Mattina, chief economist and strategist at Mackenzie Investments.The September crude oil contract gave back 56 cents to US$49.03 per barrel. It settled above the US$50 mark on Monday, but has since retreated.“Energy is having a tough time cracking the $50 threshold,” said Mattina.In New York, markets were generally flat. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 9.86 points to 22,026.10, its seventh straight record close, while the S&P 500 index slipped 5.41 points to 2,472.16 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 22.31 points to 6,340.34.The quiet trading day came as the Institute for Supply Management delivered a disappointing report on how U.S. services companies did in July. The group said its services index slipped to its lowest reading in 11 months as production, orders and hiring all slowed down.On Friday, stock markets will look for direction from two important reports when both Statistics Canada and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics release the jobs figures for July.“A lot of investors are looking to those reports for signs of where the economic cycle is going and how that might influence the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada in their next interest rate decision,” said Mattina.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.50 cents US, down 0.12 of a cent.Elsewhere in commodities, the September natural gas contract lost one cent at US$2.80 per mmBTU, December gold was down $4.00 to US$1,274.40 an ounce, and September copper was unchanged at US$2.88 a pound.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @DaveHTO on Twitter.