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Manchester United could discover their next permanent manager this weekend



When you’re a club as enormous as Manchester United, every decision you make will polarise the fanbase, such is the broad depth of opinions held by their following.

Right now, that is no more apparent than in regards to the search for a new permanent manager, a decision which could well shape the next decade at Old Trafford.

A whole host of names are being linked with the role at the end of the season, though it is Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino who are the two current frontrunners for the position.

There does not seem to be a unanimous favourite among fans, and no matter who United do pick, a large section of social media supporters will be quick to voice their displeasure if the candidate they are backing is eventually overlooked.

The only thing supporters seem to agree on is that change is needed at the end of the season, though interim manager Ralf Rangnick might well harbour his own intentions of keeping his current job on a permanent basis.

Things have hardly been spectacular since the German arrived to steer the ship through very choppy waters, but by the end of the month, fans might well be hoping he gets more consideration for the role.

Rangnick could hardly have picked an easier set of matches to get to grips with life at United, yet despite the favourable opposition, the team has consistently struggled to assert their dominance. This weekend’s game against Man City will be the toughest test of his tenure so far, and arguably the defining result of his reign.

While things have been rather slow under the German, United have at least shown some signs of steady progress. They are unbeaten in eight Premier League games, the longest current run without defeat in the competition (W4 D4) and they’ve opened the scoring in seven of these eight games, with the other finishing 0-0.

There is still plenty of room for improvement, but unlike under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there is noticeably more control in matches now and a clearer idea of what United are actually trying to accomplish.

With better finishing, United could already have a firm grip on fourth-place in the Premier League; it is important to note that Rangnick is not necessarily to blame for their profligacy in the final third.

Since Rangnick took charge, no team has created more chances in the Premier League than United’s 160 — though four teams have scored more goals than they have in this period. United’s wastefulness might be alarming, but there is at least some mitigation in the fact that they have been without the suspended Mason Greenwood and the injured Edinson Cavani for much of this run, severely diminishing the options available in attack.

The last time United faced City, they were embarrassed at Old Trafford in one of the final games of Solskjaer’s reign, as Pep Guardiola’s side played as if it were merely a weekend team-building exercise rather than a proper day of work.

An improved performance on Sunday is essential, and if they manage to go toe-to-toe with their noisy neighbours, then Rangnick’s stock will only increase.

For all the steady improvement under the caretaker manager, there has always been the huge caveat of the quality of their opposition. This weekend, they face the toughest test available.

As the fanbase continues to argue the cases for and against Ten Hag and Pochettino, Rangnick could be about to reveal his strongest evidence yet.


Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag




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




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




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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