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Man United boss Ralf Rangnick ‘makes another new appointment’ after Chris Armas, Sascha Lense

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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has made another appointment, according to reports.

The German was brought in following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the end of November. Not content with bringing Chris Armas and Sascha Lense, he’s eager to turn results at Old Trafford around.

United pondered chasing Mauricio Pochettino but, in the end, opted to bring in Rangnick instead.

While the club have shown some signs of improvement, however, results and performances have still failed to live up to expectations.

This is the biggest job of Rangnick’s career, with the 63-year-old previously doing well at RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim and Schalke in the past.

Armas and Lense have already been brought in as the German looks to get United back to where they used to be.

And the Daily Mail say Rangnick has now recruited journalist and broadcaster Raphael Honigstein as a personal media adviser until the end of the season.

That’s when Rangnick will move upstairs and become a consultant to the United board.

Honigstein has taken a six-month sabbatical from The Athletic to provide ‘advice and briefing notes’ to Rangnick.

He will continue to do broadcast work for Sky Germany, but won’t be involved when it comes to United games.

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Rangnick supposedly made the decision due to the volume of media interest in his appointment and the fact he negotiated his move to United without an agent.

It’s yet another sign of the 63-year-old looking to make his mark.

He’s already changed the role of Eric Ramsey, the club’s first-ever set-piece coach who was hired back in the summer.

Under Solskjaer, the 29-year-old was often given regular time to work with the squad.

That would normally entail him coaching them 30 minutes after specific sessions, while he was also given the authority to take charge of certain drills.

Ramsay’s opportunities to work on set pieces have ‘become reduced’ since, however, though he has taken on extra responsibilities following the departures of the likes of Michael Carrick, Martyn Pert and McKenna.

He now helps warm defenders up before matches, which was one of McKenna’s roles prior to his departure.

Meanwhile, speaking earlier in the campaign, Rangnick opened up on the appointments of Armas and Lens.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised [that United didn’t have a sports psychologist],” he said.

“I know from Germany there are quite a few clubs who do not work with a sports psychologist. But, for me, it is absolutely logical.

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“Every club has different experts for goalkeeping, for physical performance, for different areas of the field – defence, midfield, offence.

“The team of experts at some teams is probably bigger than the number of players in a squad.

“If you then consider the brain, the head, the way players, staff members or coaches think is the most relevant one, then for me it is only logical to have the best possible expert from that area in your staff.

“This is what it’s all about, to help the players think the right things and not think the wrong things.

“To develop players, the brain should help the body perform at the highest possible level.

“This is part of the jigsaw, of the puzzle. It’s important for any top club, and Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world – have the best possible people, and they should at least have all those little pieces available.

“It shouldn’t be the case that in certain areas we don’t have anyone. I strongly believe that every club in the future should have someone in this department.

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“Players at this level are under pressure to deliver and perform at the highest possible level. At times they might need help and might need somebody to speak to.

“That should not always only be the manager or head coach. It’s important for the players to know there is a neutral person, an expert, to whom they can address in situations where they might need a helping hand, or even somebody to just listen to them.

“In Germany, we had the case of Robert Enke, who committed suicide when he was still the German national team goalkeeper. If you look at this aspect of the game, it’s important to have somebody in your staff.

“Sascha watches every training session, he’s part of every meeting, he’s part of the staff and he speaks regularly with players.

“Of course, it is not obligatory, we do not force players to speak to Sascha, but they know he’s there.

“He’s a smart and decent guy, and he’s top in his job, I know that because we worked together at Leipzig for three years. The players will find that out very soon, if they haven’t already.”

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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