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Man United have their own ‘Andres Iniesta’ ready to help Ralf Rangnick after deadline day

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Manchester United appear to be short on forwards ahead of Friday night’s clash with Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

Anthony Martial and Amad have both left on loan, while Mason Greenwood won’t feature for the club again for the foreseeable future. Now, Ralf Rangnick is poised to place his faith in Jesse Lingard.

Lingard had been hoping to leave United behind on transfer deadline day, with Newcastle and West Ham both admirers of the 29-year-old.

But he was denied the chance to depart Old Trafford and, with his contract winding down, is now poised to stay until the summer where he’ll become a free agent.

Regarding United, they’ve been condemned for holding Lingard back. Especially given his lack of minutes under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick this term.

Yet, now, Lingard has a chance to show he deserves to stay at United. At the very least, that his departure come the summer will be their loss and his gain.

United have, for a long time, appreciated Lingard’s talents – regardless of his game time.

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Rene Meulensteen, who kept a close eye on the forward during his own time at United, once went as far to compare Lingard to Andres Iniesta.

In February 2020, the Dutchman said: “Jesse had various loan clubs and then he came back.

“And I think Louis van Gaal was the manager at the time and Louis was very big on bringing young players through and Jesse got the chance to suddenly play in the first team and so did [Marcus] Rashford.

“That’s the luck that you need and certain managers can see it.

“Jesse always had attributes in his game as Iniesta had for Barcelona.”

Until January of last year, Meulensteen was mocked for his comments.

Lingard went nearly the whole of the 2019/2020 campaign without scoring or assisting, only finding the net in the 2-0 victory over Leicester on the final day of the season.

But the United star, ever since a successful loan spell at West Ham, has now rebuilt his reputation.

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Upon landing Lingard, David Moyes insisted he was onto a winner – despite the criticism the England star had been receiving at the time.

“I’ve seen him play as a young boy, when he was still a wide player on the right, and I’ve seen him play off the left,” Moyes said at the time.

“He’s played for England as a No 10, he’s played for England as a No 8, and I actually think if we needed him as a False nine, he could do that as well.

“We’re bringing in that versatility, I’ve wanted to try to get an energetic team at the moment and Jesse has been known for his work-rate and effort.

“So I think he’ll fit in nicely with what we’ve got.

“I hope he brings us a little bit of quality too, and a winning mentality from Manchester United.”

Lingard did exactly that.

The United star was brilliant during his spell at the London Stadium, netting nine times from 16 Premier League matches.

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Lingard also clocked up four assists and earned a recall to the England squad for the first time since 2018.

But his continuous absence from the United first-team, to this point, has been a mystery.

It’s not that Lingard has been poor or inconsistent. Like Donny van de Beek, he’s barely been given a chance.

With just nine Premier League appearances so far, it’s now down to Rangnick to get him fully firing and back to his West Ham best.

Lingard was impressive off the bench as United beat the Hammers 2-1 in September, scoring a dramatic late winner in the capital.

And it’ll be down to him to help fire the club into next season’s Champions League.

If United can get Lingard back to what he was a year ago, they may just be able to save their season around.

Play him. Because the alternative is another year in the Europa League – and yet another bump in an already rocky road. 

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Man United facing two-way transfer problems as Erik ten Hag looks to offload six stars

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Manchester United are focused on trying to bring in at least three new signings before deadline day to halt a season already mired in crisis.

But offloading existing players has become just as problematic for United as persuading new names to join Erik ten Hag’s abject side, which currently sits rock-bottom of the Premier League.

United want to get rid of at least six players – Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, James Garner and Brandon Williams – before deadline day in a fortnight’s time.

But so far there have been no takers for United’s cast-offs, with many on such exorbitant wages or simply not considered good enough for other clubs to decide to take them on.

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Although United managed to sell Andreas Pereira to Fulham for £8.5million and send Alex Telles out on loan to Sevilla for the season, shifting other players to raise funds is proving tricky.

Bailly, who failed to even make the nine-man bench for ten Hag’s first two United games, has been told he can leave, but no club has so far made a firm move for the 28-year-old defender.

West Ham, Marseille and Monaco have all expressed interest in the Ivory Coast international, but with two years left on a deal worth £100,000-a-week, Bailly’s wages are proving a stumbling block.

Those clubs interested in Bailly want to take him on loan, with United continuing to pay a significant chunk of his wages. It is a similar story with most of the players United want to jettison.

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United, in contrast, want a permanent sale, to raise revenue to reinvest in the players ten Hag needs to bolster his squad after beginning his tenure with defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

Bailly’s situation is indicative of the lack of effective leadership at United, which has seen the club hand lucrative, long-term contracts to players who have barely featured in recent seasons.

In the case of Bailly, he signed a contract extension in April 2021, keeping him at United until 2023, with the option for a further year. Yet since signing that new deal, Bailly has made just eight Premier League appearances and has not made a competitive appearance for United since December last year.

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It is a familiar story with Jones, who in February 2019 penned a new deal until 2023, with an option for an extra year, but in that time has made just 21 appearances. There has been little interest in Wan-Bissaka, bought from Crystal Palace for £50m in 2019 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but who has been told by ten Hag to find a new club.

Yet while United are struggling to persuade players to come to Old Trafford, getting them out of the door is proving just as taxing, symbolic of a club in decline and without any coherent strategy.

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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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Man United enter ‘final negotiation’ to sign £64,000-week-star

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Manchester United are in final negotiations with Barcelona to sign USA defender Sergino Dest, according to Spanish publication Sport.

The Red Devils are keen on bolstering multiple positions before the transfer deadline, and a new right-back is said to be among priorities.

Earlier this month, it was claimed that United are prepared to accelerate Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s exit in order to secure the services of Dest.

It is now reported that United are in the final phase of negotiations with the Blaugrana for Dest, who started his playing career at Ajax.

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There has been talk over a loan deal with an obligation to buy, but the Catalan giants are quite clear that they want €20 million (£17m) to offload him.

Dest was initially reluctant to leave Barcelona, but has now changed his stance. The 21-year-old is said to welcome a reunion with Erik ten Hag.

Dest would be an ideal right-back for Erik ten Hag

United lacked creativity from the right-back position last term. Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka failed to register a goal or an assist in any competition.

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The trend has remained the same this season. Dalot is now the first-choice, but the Portuguese has started the new campaign in a relatively poor fashion.

Hence, there are no surprises that United are looking to land Dest. The United States star has not lived up to his expectations at Barcelona, but was impressive at Ajax.

Under Ten Hag, he made his debut for the Amsterdam giants in 2019/2020. He had a solid maiden campaign with eight goal contributions from 38 appearances.

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A reunion with Ten Hag at United could bring the best out of him. Graduating through the Ajax system, he should be familiar with the playing style under the Dutchman.

At £17m, it seems a no-brainer signing for United. He has not even entered the prime of his career, and won’t command big wages. He is currently on £64,000-a-week.

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