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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.

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.

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.

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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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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