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Cristiano Ronaldo may block Man United from hiring Antonio Conte as their next manager

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Cristiano Ronaldo once reportedly blocked Antonio Conte from becoming Juventus manager two years ago.

And, amid claims the Italian is interested in the Manchester United job, that’s worth keeping in mind. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already under pressure from supporters after overseeing a nightmare 2-1 Champions League defeat to BSC Young Boys earlier in the week.

Manchester United were poor against Young Boys on Tuesday night.

They went into the game on a high after battering Newcastle, with Ronaldo then scoring early in Switzerland after a sumptuous pass from Bruno Fernandes.

However, after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s red card, the game then turned with the visitors able to turn the result around.

In the aftermath, some have called for Solskjaer’s head to roll – especially given the 48-year-old’s poor record of seven defeats from 11 matches in the competition.

And Gianluca Di Marzio recently indicated Conte would happily take over at Old Trafford, saying: “He would only accept a winning project.

“So I don’t think he would accept Arsenal and that is why he said no to Tottenham.

“I think he would only accept if say Manchester United called.”

Before we continue, we have to make it clear that United aren’t presently considering sacking Solskjaer.

They feel the Norwegian has made substantial progress during his time at the club and gave him a three-year contract back in the summer in recognition of his achievements so far.

Yet with Conte available, he’s sure to be linked to United every time they experience a setback.

And one player who may object to his potential appointment in the future is Ronaldo.

It was reported two years ago by La Repubblica (via AS) that Ronaldo didn’t want the Italian to take over at Juventus following Massimiliano Allegri’s departure.

It was stated the veteran ‘made a negative gesture’ when asked on his opinion over any hypothetical return for Conte.

Instead, he supposedly suggested Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho as possible replacements for Allegri instead.

Yet that didn’t happen, with Juventus ultimately opting to hire Maurizio Sarri – before sacking him 12 months later.

Ronaldo’s apparent objection to Conte taking over in Italy means he may not be enthused by the possibility of the Italian replacing Solskjaer at United.

So he’d best hope the Norwegian achieves the results everybody wants him to, in order to avoid that happening.

Meanwhile, Dimitar Berbatov has addressed calls for United to axe Solskjaer.

And he’s insisted it’s far too early in the season for that type of talk.

“Seven defeats in 11 Champions League matches under Ole Solskjaer is not good enough for United,” he said.

“I get that but sometimes there is more to football than the statistics show.

“Is Solskjaer’s job at risk after the defeat in Switzerland?

“Come on, you can’t be serious.

“United have played four games in the Premier League and won three of them.

“One defeat in the Champions League does not put Ole’s job in jeopardy. I don’t see any point in discussing Solskjaer’s future so early in the season.

“United have a strong squad, have made excellent signings who are bedding in, and we should judge them at the end of the group stage, not after one match.”

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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