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Man United boss Ralf Rangnick’s top transfer priority remains clear despite West Ham win

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Manchester United climbed into the Champions League spots with a 1-0 victory over West Ham on Saturday evening.

The performance will have provided manager Ralf Rangnick with a lot of food for thought, but he shouldn’t let the three points derail his transfer plans.

The game looked destined to finish goalless until Marcus Rashford popped up with a late winner with one of the last kicks of the game.

The second-half substitute tapped home from close range after Edinson Cavani broke free down the left and squared a neat pass across the face of the goal.

There was a lot to like about the performance from Rangnick’s point of view, especially considering how his side limited the Hammers to very few opportunities and contained the likes of Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.

Plenty were impressed by the role Bruno Fernandes played whilst deployed as a No 8 in the Red Devils’ three-man midfield, though it must not prevent Rangnick from pressing on with his prior plans to sign a midfielder.

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It is no secret that United are keen to bolster their ranks in the centre of the park and have been linked with top quality playmakers such as Jude Bellingham of late, and the pursuit of another midfielder should not be halted due to Fernandes.

The former Sporting star has certainly benefitted from being able to make his presence felt all over the pitch rather than just centrally, though he has had to adapt his game and shoulder some of the defensive responsibility.

But Fernandes has shone in the midfield alongside Fred and Scott McTominay, both of which have not shown enough ability to suggest that they are at the required standard for United to be able to compete for silverware.

The pair struggled previously under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, although have had good performances individually, they haven’t made great strides since the appointment of Rangnick.

If United are to close the gap on rivals Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea then they will need a minimum of two world-class midfielders in the centre of the park – as the aforementioned clubs do – and therefore Fernandes needs improvements around him.

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The 27-year-old has scored seven and assisted five so far this season whilst deployed as a No 10, but most recently struggled to adapt to Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system and therefore has succumbed to a spot on the bench on occasions.

But the Portugal international has clearly shown enough ability to make the former RB Leipzig boss veer away from his tried and tested formation as he has now chosen to move to a 4-3-3.

If the Red Devils can acquire the services of a more defensive-minded midfielder, with West Ham’s Declan Rice springing to mind, then Rangnick may have the core of a squad that his successor can push up the table with.

Speaking about the switch in formation and thus the role of Fernandes earlier this week, the German boss said: “I think most of the top teams in Europe and also in England play in a 4-3-3.

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“I think for him it’s better than being pinned to a No 10 role because he can make himself available in different areas of the pitch, not only the centre of the pitch.

“He’s not a wing player but I think in this No 8 position he can find the places himself. I think he can sniff the moments in which areas we need to play the ball to him. He can make himself available and therefore I think this position is perfect for him.”

It would be very easy for the higher powers at Old Trafford to think they’ve found a quick fix to their midfield woes, but that is far from the case. Instead, they must look at how they can improve the players surrounding the playmaker if they are to return to their glory days.

It remains to be seen what talent United can attract between now and the end of the window.

Chelsea

Man Utd ready to agree net £34million+ contract for signing, guarantee stability for decades – AS

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Manchester United are serious about signing a world class star in the form of Casemiro and reports suggest that they are ready to agree a mammoth contract to convince the player.

As per today’s version of AS (news image provided below), the Real Madrid superstar is really tempted by the offer made by the Red Devils.

https://www.facebook.com/102767799225674/posts/102769009225553/?substory_index=0&app=fbl

The famous Spanish news source have mentioned that Man Utd have tabled a five year deal that will make the midfielder earn a net salary of more than £34million (40 million euros).

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Casemiro is now in a massive dilemma. United’s offer is so succulent that it guarantees the midfielder and his family’s stability for ‘decades’.

On the other hand, by accepting such a contract, the Brazilian international will have to give up on immediate sporting glory.

Moving to Old Trafford would mean swapping Champions League for Europa League and it is a hard decision to make for someone who is currently a European Champion and has won the continent’s premier competition five times.

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AS claim the situation must be resolved soon. If Casemiro gives the green light to leave, then Real Madrid would demand a fee of at least £68million (80 million euros) to sell him.

https://www.facebook.com/102767799225674/posts/102769009225553/?substory_index=0&app=fbl

The Samba star is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world but the Los Blancos have already prepared for the future by signing youngsters like Camavinga and Tchouameni, who can effectively play in the DM position.

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At Old Trafford, Ten Hag does not have a specialist holding midfield star and someone like Casemiro will largely improve the squad. However, the question is, should Man Utd spend £68million to sign a player who will turn 31 next year?

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Chelsea

Charlie McNeill called up to Manchester United first team training

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Erik ten Hag has called up Charlie McNeill to first team training, with the young striker pictured in training on Wednesday.

The call up is a great way for McNeill to make an impression on the Manchester United manager, amid a tricky start to the season.

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McNeill was an unused substitute in Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly in at Old Trafford against Rayo Vallecano.

This was the closest the young striker has come to the first team, and he was back with the under-21s to start the season

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McNeill was a substitute in United’s most recent under-21 fixture, with Spanish striker Mateo Mejia preferred.

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But it was McNeill who got the nod to join Erik ten Hag’s most recent training session, where he was pictured alongsie Christian Eriksen, James Garner, Scott McTominay and Tyrell Malacia

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Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante: Chelsea injury news and expected return dates before Leeds United

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Chelsea take on Leeds United on Sunday afternoon in a highly-anticipated Premier League bout at Elland Road.

The Blues have endured a turbulent start to the Premier League season; Thomas Tuchel’s side kicked off the new campaign with a 1-0 win over Everton despite a somewhat unconvincing performance,

before welcoming Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge, where an impressive display was dampened by a controversial stoppage-time equaliser.

Now, the west Londoners will be looking to translate a good performance into three points. So, with that in mind, here’s all the latest Chelsea injury news for Tuchel to contend with.

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Now, the west Londoners will be looking to translate a good performance into three points. So, with that in mind, here’s all the latest Chelsea injury news for Tuchel to contend with.

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Mateo Kovacic

One player that Tuchel won’t have at his disposal is central midfielder Kovacic, who is suffering from a slight knee issue at this moment in time

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What Tuchel said: “[Kovacic] has issues with his knee, always a little bit of a reaction. We decided to take a step back and increase treatment time to reduce the stress that comes from training to have a normal reaction before we start again. Everybody else is available

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