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Man United chief John Murtough ‘has two midfield targets’ for 2022 summer transfer window

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Manchester United have two midfielders in mind for next summer’s transfer window, according to reports.

John Murtough is currently in charge of recruitment at Old Trafford, with Ed Woodward then signing off deals.

And despite four players recently arriving, the Red Devils have more intentions to bolster their squad.

This was a good summer for United, who moved with speed and efficiency to bring in four fresh faces.

Tom Heaton moved back to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Aston Villa, 11 years after he’d moved on during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge.

Jadon Sancho then followed, with the England international touching down from Borussia Dortmund in a huge £73million deal.

Raphael Varane was next, moving from Real Madrid.

And, on deadline day, United officially confirmed the emotional return of Cristiano Ronaldo – who rejoined the club from Juventus.

However, fans weren’t entirely happy.

Many wanted the club to sign a midfielder, too, with the likes of Fred and Nemanja Matic struggling for consistency in the middle of the park.

But that didn’t happen, with the club instead being content to go with what they’ve currently got.

However, while that’s the case, United Muppetiers claim Murtough is eyeing Declan Rice or Yves Bissouma when the transfer window reopens next summer.

Rice has flourished for West Ham over the past two years, helping the Hammers secure Europa League football last term.

And Bissouma has been in fine form for Brighton ever since his move from Lille in January 2018.

United are planning to go after both players next summer, it seems.

And whether they’re successful in strengthening their midfield, after failing to do so this summer, remains to be seen.

Speaking in July, former United star Paul Parker endorsed his old side’s interest in Rice and expressed a belief he’d be a good Old Trafford hit.

“If you’re going to talk about impact [of transfers], I think he could maybe be the most important one and could make the difference in a really-good partnership compared to an average one,” he told MEN Sport.

“The way he plays, the authority he plays with, he nicks balls off people’s toes, he very rarely gets booked.

“United don’t really have anyone like that, the only one is ageing, Nemanja Matic, there’s no-one else in that role who can play.

“You can through Fred into the mix and he can go and do a job but he isn’t disciplined enough to do it.

“Scott McTominay isn’t a Manchester United midfielder player, if you’re looking to win things consistently, he’s not the player to play in a holding role because he doesn’t know how to play in that role.

“At this moment in time, he’s not ready for that but Declan Rice is.

“He’s young, he’s emerging and he’s already an old head on young shoulders.

“He’s absolutely the person to do that. If you look for someone abroad, you have to worry about them settling into the Premier League.

“Rice can do the job sitting in front and breaking up play.

“What he can do as well is get forward into the box, he can change the game by opening his legs up and running with the ball.

“I’ve seen him play a lot at West Ham and I’ve seen enough of him to know that he can do the job.

“As well as that, if you’re in a little bit of trouble, he can go and do a really good job at centre-half as well.”

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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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