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Man United board have Erik ten Hag appointment endorsed in fresh Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blow

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Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has endorsed his old side’s interest in Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman has worked wonders at Ajax in recent years, helping them dominate the Eredivisie and impress in the Champions League. And, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling, talk of a potential move to Old Trafford has arisen.

Manchester United have fallen apart under Solskjaer in recent weeks.

Their season started well enough under the Norwegian, with the Red Devils winning three of their last four matches.

However, ever since a poor defeat in the Champions League to Young Boys, Solskjaer’s side have struggled.

They’ll go into next weekend’s Premier League showdown with Watford on a run of six defeats from their last 12 matches across all competitions.

And with United struggling, talk of a potential managerial change has arisen.

Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers appear to be frontrunners for the post, despite their commitments to Paris Saint-Germain and Leicester respectively.

But Ten Hag, too, has been linked having helped Ajax re-establish themselves as a European force.

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They’ve won eight of their 12 matches in the league so far, while also winning all four of their Champions League games.

And, now, United have had a potential pursuit of Ten Hag endorsed by club legend Ferdinand.

Ferdinand won six Premier League titles during his spell at Old Trafford and feels that, should Ten Hag be given a chance to prove himself, he’s got the coaching ability to succeed.

“For any manager coming in to a new club, it’s almost like you’ve got to show people why you’re there immediately,” Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel.

“I use Antonio Conte as a good reference point for that.

“Whenever he joins a new club, there is no negotiables and he tells them, ‘this is what’s happening, this is what I am, if you’re not with me you can go.’

“I think that’s the type of attitude and the type of mentality that separates the good managers from the top managers.

“You’ve got to be able to go in there and command a whole dressing room full of egos, personality, characters. That’s the job of anyone coming in.

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“Now I don’t know Ten Hag personally but he’s doing a fantastic job at Ajax. Let’s remember that Ajax isn’t a small club.

“They’re a massive club, the biggest club in Holland.

“Yes, it’s different and the landscape is different but it’s still a huge club that he’s got to work with and the expectation levels there every day are to win.

“That’s something that will be there every day and would be there if he was to come to Manchester United.

“Anyone who comes in, they’ve got to be able to deal with people. That’s the art of a fantastic manager.

“You’ve obviously got to get it right tactically but motivating people on a daily basis to produce the goods is a huge part of it.”

Ferdinand’s comments come just days after he’d expressed a belief Solskjaer should leave his post as manager.

“He’s done actually what he’s been brought in to do,” he said last week.

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“He’s come in and given the fans hope again, made the fans want to come back and watch your team again.

“He’s done that. He has done a great job in that sense. But is he going to take us to win titles? Is he going to make us challenge to win a Champions League?

“You need the foundations that have been built to fall back on when you are lacking that confidence.

“When you’re thinking a five, a 10-yard ball that is normally easy becomes a difficult ball – the foundations get you through that. We (United) ain’t got that.

“The football club will be living here and breathing here longer than any individual. It’s what’s best for this football club.

“I just feel that maybe it might be time now for the baton to be handed over.

“Who can take us on now? And I think Ole would leave now with his head held high.”

Chelsea

Tuchel hands 22-year-old his first Chelsea start – predicted starting XI against Leeds this weekend

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Chelsea will look to get back to winning ways in Sunday’s game against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Blues dominated proceedings in the London derby against Spurs last week, however only came out of things with a point following Harry Kane’s late equaliser.

Thomas Tuchel operated a fluid and unique system at Stamford Bridge, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount especially thriving in the new look system.

However, the Blues could turn back to the recognised back three this weekend, with our predicted lineup for the game against Leeds.

GK and Defence

Edouard Mendy made a brilliant save just before Spurs’ late equaliser at the end, and his position in the squad is more than secure for this one.

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With there still being no breakthrough on the Wesley Fofana front, Cesar Azpilicueta will return to the starting lineup as captain at Elland Road.

Fixtures are yet to pick up in the early stages of the season, so Thiago Silva should still be fresh and okay to participate again.

The centre-backs will be completed by Kalidou Koulibaly, who showed his quality again in an emphatic display against Spurs.

Midfield

Reece James scored almost instantly after being moved back to wing-back on Sunday, and the Blues will look to get the attacking best out of him on Sunday.

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Jorginho may have been at fault for the first conceded goal last week, although his great performance will still see him start again against Leeds.

Injuries have ruled N’golo Kante and likely Mateo Kovacic out of the game, there is a big choice to be made to partner the Italy internatonal. While Ruben Loftus-Cheek starred against Spurs, Conor Gallagher will be chosen to partner in midfield, being handed his first start for the club.

Marc Cucurella will look to build on his impressive performance last week with another start against Leeds, with Ben Chilwell still not quite at match fitness.

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Attack

The Chelsea attack will have a familiar look to the last two weeks, with Mason Mount occupying the free-roaming role in the attack against an opponent he has had a lot of success against before.

Raheem Sterling will try again in his quest to open his Chelsea league account, with him missing a glorious chance last week.

Kai Havertz is another man who missed a great opportunity to win the game for the Blues at the weekend, although his work in the front three was enough to see him start again.

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Atletico Madrid do not want to pay €40 million for Barcelona attacker

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Atletico Madrid are in a precarious situation in regards to their ownership of Antoine Griezmann.

The Spanish giants had signed the Barcelona forward on a two-year loan deal last summer. The contract included a mandatory purchase option worth €40 million if the player features in 50% of the matches with a minimum of 45 minutes between the games across two seasons.

Last season, Griezmann featured in 82.5% of the matches, meaning Atletico Madrid may have to virtually leave him out on the bench throughout the 2022/23 campaign if they are to avoid paying the fee for the Frenchman in 2023.

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However, with Luis Suarez leaving the club, Atletico Madrid consider Griezmann a viable part of the club’s attacking unit and Los Colchoneros must get the best out of him, if they are to regain their lost status in the title race in this new season.

At the same time, the club are not too keen on meeting the mandatory €40 million purchase clause set on Griezmann’s contract. This has been reported by Mundo Deportivo which suggests the club are looking to reduce the overall valuation of the clause.

While Barcelona are yet to respond to Atletico’s overtures, there is a clear indication that the capital club have no intention to pay anywhere near the €40 million for the services of Griezmann, who was barely even a starter for Diego Simeone’s men last season

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The Frenchman was even left out on the bench in Atletico’s opening game against Getafe. However, coming on as a substitute in the final half an hour, the attacker was able to break his scoring duck by netting the third goal in a 3-0 victory.

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It will be interesting to see whether the little cameo compels Simeone to start him in future matches, although his performances should not deter Atletico Madrid from their attempts to lower the price tag of the star striker.

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Chelsea

Barcelona star’s move to Chelsea is now ‘heating up’ – report

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be close to securing a move to Chelsea from FC Barcelona, with the move now heating up, reports Victor Navarro on COPE.

Aubameyang joined Barça only eight months ago, arriving as a free agent from Arsenal in January. He helped the Catalans finish second in La Liga last season and finished the campaign as the club’s joint top scorer in all competitions along with Memphis Depay

And, Barcelona could now lose both their top scorers this summer. Depay is closing in on a move to Juventus, having reportedly agreed a two-year contract with the Italian giants.

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And now Aubameyang could be on his way to Chelsea imminently, with the move ‘heating up’ recently. The Blues have made the 33-year-old Gabonese striker their top target after losing both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel enjoyed a successful relationship with Aubameyang during their time at Borussia Dortmund and is now pushing for a reunion.

Reports earlier on Thursday indicated that Chelsea were planning to submit a formal offer for the former Arsenal captain imminently.

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Now, Victor Navarro is claiming that the two clubs are negotiating over the transfer of the 33-year-old, with all parties intent on getting the move over the line.

Barcelona need to get rid of players so that they can register Jules Kounde and make more additions, with a new right-back and left-back on the club’s agenda.

The departure of Depay alone will not be enough to register Kounde. And with Frenkie de Jong unwilling to leave and no offers arriving for Sergino Dest yet, Aubameyang’s exit seems the best option for Barça.

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The ex-Arsenal superstar has fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou this season following the arrival of Robert Lewandowski. A move to Stamford Bridge could see him become the first-choice striker and enjoy regular game-time.

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