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Man United boss Ralf Rangnick has three players who must be dropped for Aston Villa clash



Manchester United go into Monday evening’s FA Cup clash with Aston Villa looking to prove a point.

It’s been a dire season so far, with the club struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. Defeat at home, in a competition which still means so much, would represent catastrophe.

United thought results and performances would both improve under Rangnick following their decision to sack Solskjaer at the end of November.

Yet while they started life under the 63-year-old with victories over Crystal Palace and Norwich, they still appear disjoined.

United saw their season stoop to a new low under Rangnick last Monday when Wolves beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford courtesy of a late strike from veteran Joao Moutinho.

Now, they’ll lock horns with Aston Villa looking to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

If United need motivating, they need only look at Steven Gerrard in the opposite dugout.

The former midfielder enjoyed a glittering spell at Liverpool, often scoring against and hurting the Red Devils in the process.

But United can’t rely on just that to emerge victorious. Instead, they need all of their players operating at the peak of their powers to reign supreme.

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So, with that being the case, Rangnick should be brave and take three players who started the Wolves defeat out of his side.

The first is Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Solskjaer signed the right-back from Crystal Palace back in the summer transfer window of 2019, believing he’d be a substantial hit.

While Wan-Bissaka has often been good defensively, however, he leaves plenty to be desired from an attacking perspective.

And given he’s dropped off alarmingly, it’s time for Rangnick to reinstate Diogo Dalot to the side.

Dalot doesn’t always convince defensively but, when it comes to going forward, the Portugal international represents a substantial upgrade.

Therefore, Rangnick should gamble by going with the former Porto star – especially at a time where Wan-Bissaka has become such a liability.

A second player who the German needs to take out of his side is Nemanja Matic.

United look lethargic in the middle of the park and especially so when the former Chelsea star is unleashed.

Matic was once one of the best defensive midfielders in world football but, as he enters the twilight years of his career, those days are over.

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The Serb lacks the speed and intensity to become an undroppable and it’s time for Fred to be put back into the team instead.

As well as Matic, Jadon Sancho is another problem player at the current moment in time.

Solskjaer spent three years pursuing the former Borussia Dortmund star, with the club’s own interest dating back to when Jose Mourinho ruled the roost.

Yet Sancho, so far, hasn’t proven to be worth the wait.

The England international has scored just once in the Premier League this season and twice across all competitions.

For a forward who cost in the region of £73million, that simply isn’t good enough.

And given Sancho’s selection has seen Bruno Fernandes demoted to the bench, the Portuguese playmaker deserves to come back into the side.

Fernandes, like many of his team-mates, has suffered a dip in form since Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hollywood homecoming back in the summer.

However, the former Sporting Lisbon star is worth sticking with. When he’s on top form, he’s one of the best players on the planet.

Meanwhile, speaking ahead of the game with Villa, Rangnick spoke out on what the FA Cup meant to him.

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“When I was a young student at Stuttgart University, I spent the year, as you know, in England, in Brighton, as a guest student at Sussex University,” he said.

“I played at the same time as a player for a small Sunday League team, Southwick, and their farewell gift when I left back for Germany at the end of that year was a ticket for the Cup final at Wembley: West Ham against Arsenal.

“I think it was 1980 or 1981. I very much relish that experience still if I think about the atmosphere there.

“There were 30,000 West Ham and 30,000 Arsenal supporters, they had prepared individual songs for each individual player. ‘There’s only one Liam Brady,’ I remember, for example.

“So, they had a special song for each player; each player, when this song was sung by supporters, was just standing in that corner where the supporters were.

“It was a very special atmosphere and, as I said, it was obviously the old Wembley stadium and, of course, it would be great for us to experience that atmosphere in May, or whenever the Cup final is being played.”


Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report



As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

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Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m



Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m



Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

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With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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