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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick looks set to lose a brilliant double act

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When Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba back in the summer transfer window of 2016, Jesse Lingard immediately took to social media to welcome back his close friend.

The duo were a fine double act at academy level, famously helping the club win the FA Youth Cup in 2011. Now, however, Ralf Rangnick looks set to lose the pair in the foreseeable future.

Manchester United always knew Lingard and Pogba would one day go on to become two fine players.

That was obvious from a young age. Yet for all their talent, it’s failed to work out for the pair over at Old Trafford.

Lingard, when he burst onto the scene under Louis van Gaal, appeared set to play a big role. He was at his best under the Dutchman, before then blowing hot and cold under Jose Mourinho.

There have been moments of magic, of course. Such as his splendid volleyed winner against Crystal Palace in the 2016 FA Cup final.

His solo goal against Leicester in the Community Shield mere months later was good, too.

And Lingard regularly tormented Arsenal, leading to fans to call the Emirates Stadium the 28-year-old’s own personal dance floor.

When Lingard returned from a positive loan spell at West Ham earlier this year, many expected him to kick on again.

For all his talent, however, United have been unable to get the best from him in the same way David Moyes did.

Lingard’s contract expires in the summer and, while he’s been encouraged by Rangnick’s appointment, a parting of the ways seems to be on the cards.

It will sadden some within the club who have watched him grow and evolve over the years, coming through from the youth teams to the first-team set-up.

But it’s for the best. In this United team, there’s no platform to shine, no chance to steal the spotlight.

If it’s not Cristiano Ronaldo, it will be Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford. The quartet, while inconsistent at times, are all superior options – or so it seems.

And Lingard is now expected to leave at the end of the season. He can negotiate with foreign clubs next month, should he wish to pursue a new adventure in a different country.

Then, there’s Pogba.

Like Lingard, he was part of the United side who claimed FA Youth Cup glory a decade ago. Also like his team-mate, his time at the club is over.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer indulged Pogba, often covering for the France international and his infuriatingly erratic displays.

Pogba, on his day, is unplayable. One of the best midfielders in world football, without a shadow of a doubt.

But his day isn’t often enough. Too many times, his talent hasn’t shone through.

There’s a sense that when United eventually achieve success again – their status as a super club suggests this drought will only be temporary – Pogba will be the poster boy of the difficult years.

Of course, signing him in 2016 was a no-brainer.

But Pogba’s stock has fallen and it’s telling Fred and Scott McTominay get into the team even when he’s fit.

Lingard and Pogba were part of a brilliant United youth side. The pictures of them together, as teenagers, are sweet.

Yet this brilliant double act has never fulfilled its potential. With the pair both primed to become free agents in the summer, it’s time for everybody to start all over again. 

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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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