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Man United have a new partnership which Cristiano Ronaldo will love

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was eager to throw Scott McTominay straight into the mix following his successful groin surgery such is his importance to the Manchester United side.

His performance at the London Stadium showcased the clear faith the Norwegian has in the Scot, though it also raised the unsolved question which underpins his development.

McTominay and Fred were both at fault for failing to close down Said Benrahma for the West Ham opening goal but the Scotland international showcased his fine attacking nous with some lethal line-breaking passes and driving runs as the game went on.

The issue is the academy graduate remains in an identity crisis for United in that they need him to develop into a defensive mastermind but that he, and Solskjaer, still persist in an attacking capacity.

It is clear to see McTominay makes this United team a whole lot more balanced, the key now is identifying who his best midfield partner should be.

Jesse Lingard’s perfect response

Jesse Lingard was unfairly cast the villain after a dire team display in midweek, but this time he was a saviour thanks to a moment of sheer magic to secure all three points.

Prior to the match David Moyes revealed that any permanent move for the England international in the summer transfer window had been blocked by Solskjaer, it only made the manner of the goal that bit harder to taken given the role they played in restoring his confidence with a loan move earlier this year.

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Lingard’s entire United career has been formed on proving his doubters wrong and his latest crowning moment was another perfect example of the stellar professionalism which has seen him favoured by so many managers.

He might not have the key role he wants after an impressive calendar year but at United he still has a crucial role to play as a reliable performer from the bench.

Silencing the critics

It seems ridiculous now but there were a number of critics who actually feared Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo would be an incompatible partnership for United this season, but they are proving to be a very good match.

World-class players will always find a way to adapt to their surroundings, such is their qualification to fill the title, and Fernandes’ form over the past week is further proof of his new status within the game.

While the duo have not always clicked at international level there is clearly room for them both to be at their best for United, even if Fernandes is now predominantly the creator rather than the match-winner.

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Deep down he might miss being the poster boy of this United side, but it is a sacrifice worth making now United have another phenomenal star who is the final piece needed to final add silverware to his collection.

United already know how Declan Rice would fit in

It was billed as an audition for Declan Rice to show United what they are missing and his performance on Sunday afternoon showed exactly what he would offer them – but also what he wouldn’t.

Rice, 22, will likely to be one of the key names in the next summer transfer window as he slowly creeps closer towards the expiration of his current West Ham deal in 2024.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.manchestereveningnews.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Fman-utd-ronaldo-west-ham-21613233&cre=bottom&cip=47&view=web

This summer United fans cried out for a new defensive midfielder but it is quite clear Rice is not the deep-lying anchor who many feel is needed to transform this side and allow them to adopt a 4-3-3 set-up on a regular basis.

Instead the England international would be a deluxe upgrade on the likes of McTominay and Fred, meaning he would still be best deployed in an axis rather than burdened with the sole defensive role.

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United have a new partnership Ronaldo will love

If United are to achieve success this season it will be their summer signings who receive most of the praise, but any title bid also will rely on those already at the club matching their output from last season.

Integral to that will be the performances of Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba on the left wing, a duo who have gradually grown to form a new lethal partnership out wide.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.manchestereveningnews.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Fman-utd-ronaldo-west-ham-21613233&cre=mr-bottom&cip=1&view=web&ignoreMetaDataCheck=true

Pogba has himself expressed a desire to play with attacking freedom and in his left wing role he has been granted such a wish with Shaw more than happy to fill the vacant space whenever the Frenchman drifts elsewhere.

Another bonus of their link-up play is that Pogba can deliver balls into the box by cutting into a central channel while Shaw offers a threat from the byline with his own overlapping runs.

Two very different creative outlets from the same wing is exactly what Ronaldo longs for in his role as a lethal centre-forward.

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Three Man United youngsters impressing Erik ten hang in training, with new boss shocked by one

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Erik ten Hag has only been coaching at Manchester United for a couple of days – but there are already three youngsters reportedly impressing their new boss.

The Dutchman has a good record of promoting youth players into the first team, which is something he did so well at Ajax.

And there is a trio of teenagers at Old Trafford who want to follow in the footsteps of Sergino Dest, Jurrien Timber, Ryan Gravenberch and Noa Lang, who were all given opportunities by Ten Hag in the first team of his former club.

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The Sun report that Zidane Iqbal is one of those, having signed a new contract at the Premier League side earlier this summer.

The 19-year-old, who made his first-team debut against Young Boys in the Champions League last December, has ‘shocked’ his new boss, who could be set for more minutes under the Dutch boss.

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Argentine winger Alejandro Garnacho is another who has caught Ten Hag’s eye in training, after scoring twice in the FA Youth Cup final against Nottingham Forest last season.

Garnacho, 18, trained with the Argentina senior squad earlier this year, having made two sub appearances for United.

He was also given Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick ball after his treble against Norwich.

Hannibal Mejbri, 19, made a number of appearances towards the end of last season – including a fiery performance in the club’s heavy defeat to Liverpool.

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And he is another academy graduate who Ten Hag could throw into the first-team fold, especially with Ronaldo reportedly wanting to leave the club.

To expect any of that trio to immediately replace the wantaway superstar would be unrealistic.

But, give it a few years, and United could have the next Ronaldo on their hands.

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Erik Ten Hag demands Man Utd ‘be fast’ about getting £43m signing over the line

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Erik ten Hag has told Man Utd to hurry up over a potential deal to sign Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez, according to reports.

The Red Devils are looking for a new centre-back this summer to give Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane some competition.

Man Utd have been linked with a number of defenders but a potential transfer for Martinez seems to have legs with a number of respected journalists revealing Ten Hag’s interest in a deal.

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The Argentina international was one of Ajax’s best players under Ten Hag last season with the 24-year-old playing 37 times in all competitions for the Eredivisie champions.

Ajax have been holding out for €50m (£43m) for Martinez but reports yesterday indicated they are ‘willing to cooperate’ with Man Utd after the Red Devils put an offer of €41m plus €4m in add-ons on the table.

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And that will be music to Ten Hag’s ears with journalist Fabrizio Romano claiming that the Dutchman has told Man Utd ‘to be fast’ over sealing a deal for Martinez with competition coming from fellow Premier League side Arsenal.

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It is understood that Martinez is ‘pushing to leave Ajax’ this summer and Ten Hag wants the Argentine as his next signing after Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia.

Arsenal are described as ‘still there’ in the race for Martinez but Romano adds that Man Utd boss Ten Hag ‘wants him strongly’.

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Barcelona do not want to sign Ronaldo, Lewandowski is the priority

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Following the meeting between Barcelona and super-agent Jorge Mendes on Monday, there has been non-stop speculation that the Catalans have been offered a chance to sign Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 37-year-old is intent on securing an exit from Old Trafford this summer, just a year after returning to his old stomping ground.

The lack of Champions League football and the failure to sign any players so far have been cited as reasons for the Portuguese maverick to seek a move.

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There have been talks with Chelsea, while a move to Bayern Munich has also been mooted. And following the meeting between his agent Mendes and Barcelona president Joan Laporta, it is being heavily speculated that Ronaldo has been offered to the Blaugrana.

However, as per a report from journalist David Bernabeu Reverter, there is zero chance that Barcelona will sign Ronaldo this summer.

The Spanish journalist claims that Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski remains the utmost priority for the Blaugrana this summer and their stance on the matter is non-negotiable.

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Barça have been pursuing Lewandowski for months and even have a three-year contract agreement in place with the Poland captain.

However, Bayern Munich’s unwillingness to negotiate with the Catalans is proving to be a major hurdle.

In spite of that, the Blaugrana remain intent on signing Lewandowski and are not considering bringing in Ronaldo, as per the aforementioned update.

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Despite being 37, Ronaldo remains in tremendous shape and scored 24 goals in all competitions last season. However, he has a rich history with Real Madrid.

The Portugal captain is Los Blancos’ all-time leading goalscorer and a club legend. So, it is hard to fathom that a move to Camp Nou can materialise.

As things stand, at least according to what David Bernabeu Reverter’s sources are stating, Lewandowski is the absolute priority for Barcelona.

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