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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may unleash a warrior in West Ham clash

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes have dazzled, Raphael Varane looks a great acquisition and Mason Greenwood has set pulses racing with some fine performances so far.

Their midfield, however, has been a cause for concern.

Manchester United’s results this season have been good. Especially when compared to 12 months ago.

After a gruelling end to the previous campaign, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side started badly. Really badly.

A 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford was poor, but nothing on the 6-1 hammering Tottenham then dished out weeks later.

After their first five games, they had just seven points on the board.

But things this time around are different. After just four games, they already have 10 points – with a draw against Southampton the only blotch on their record.

Their midfield is still lacking, especially when it comes to the bigger teams they’re hoping to challenge for the Premier League title.

Though United have won matches, it hasn’t always been convincing. Against Southampton, Wolves and Newcastle in particular, it’s left much to be desired.

But, now, things could be about to change.

United’s Twitter account posted in the week that Scott McTominay was back in training, having recently had surgery on his groin.

The Scotland international’s presence, so far, has been missed.

United’s best display of the campaign was on the opening day, in a 5-1 victory over Leeds that set pulses racing inside Old Trafford.

That day, they looked the complete outfit. But, since then and McTominay’s injury issue, things have changed.

Fred is decent enough, but lacks the energy levels of his Scottish team-mate. Likewise Nemanja Matic, whose best days appear to be the stuff of the past.

McTominay had recently hinted he was ready to take to the field again.

And that could happen against West Ham on Sunday, with Solskjaer revealing both the midfielder and Alex Telles were ‘looking good’.

“Scott and Alex have joined in training fully. They look good,” he said.

Solskjaer did seem to suggest the pair would still need some time to get back up to speed.

“Of course we need to have them go through a few sessions before we can consider if they’re going to be available,” he added.

But the Norwegian loves to spring a surprise on match days.

And with McTominay fit again, the temptation to throw him in for such a difficult showdown is obvious.

West Ham’s biggest strength in their midfield, with David Moyes putting an enterprising outfit together over at the London Stadium.

And that’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see McTominay involved.

The Scotland international brings something different to this United side, offering them a new dimension in both attack and defence.

And he’s got the courage of a warrior, regularly throwing himself into matches with the utmost professionalism.

Certainly, the club still need to sign another midfielder.

But McTominay can help paper over the cracks for the time being and his return to training is a substantial boost as they hunt the Premier League title. 

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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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