Rumour Has It: Man Utd to appoint as Rangnick interim boss, Chelsea chase Chiesa

By Sports Desk November 26, 2021

It has been a turbulent period for Manchester United, but they appear on the cusp of solving one issue.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gone, struggling United need a new manager and while Mauricio Pochettino seems to be the dream appointment, the Red Devils are reportedly closing in on a short-term solution.

Ralf Rangnick.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TURN TO RANGNICK ON SHORT-TERM BASIS

Manchester United are set to appoint former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick as interim manager, according to The Athletic, ESPN and widespread reports.

After sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United outlined their plan to install an interim boss until the end of the season amid reported long-term interest in Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag.

There had been reports United could turn to Pochettino immediately but a deal to prise the former Tottenham boss from Paris proved difficult.

Instead, United have offered Rangnick a six-month contract at Old Trafford, where the 63-year-old German is set to take up a consultancy role once his interim tenure ends.

Rangnick is currently head of sports and development at Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Chelsea are plotting a move for Italy star Federico Chiesa, who is still on loan from Fiorentina. Juventus are set to sign Chiesa permanently at the end of the season, though he is wanted by a host of clubs, including Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

- United have emerged as a possible destination for in-demand Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, reports the Daily Mail. Vlahovic is wanted by Manchester CityAtletico Madrid, JuveInterArsenalTottenham and Bayern but the Red Devils are believed to have joined the race.

Barcelona could sell Memphis Depay to help in their efforts to prise Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, per El Nacional. Depay only joined Barca on a free transfer at the start of the season, but the financially stricken LaLiga giants are among the long list of Haaland admirers. Haaland has been linked with CityUnitedReal MadridBayernLiverpoolChelseaJuve and PSG.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Stefano Pioli will sign a new contract with Milan on Friday. The Rossoneri head coach is set to extend his deal until June 2023, with the option of a further season.

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    Senegal have been criticised by brain injury association Headway for their handling of Sadio Mane's head injury in the Africa Cup of Nations win over Cape Verde.

    Liverpool star Mane received a nasty blow to the head in a collision with Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha, who was sent off after a VAR review of the incident, during Tuesday's last-16 tie.

    Mane received treatment on the field but was allowed to stay on and subsequently curled in a brilliant opener for Senegal, who went on to win 2-0.

    The forward was taken off shortly after and was then taken to hospital for further assessment.

    A photograph – posted on the official Africa Cup of Nations Twitter account – revealed that Vozinha visited Mane in hospital after the game.

    Sharing the photo on Instagram, Mane told his 9.1million followers: "All is well. Thank you all for the messages."

    However, brain injury association Headway have criticised how Senegal allowed Mane to play on following the collision.

    "On the face of it, this seems to be yet another example of football putting results ahead of player safety," said Luke Griggs, deputy chief executive of Headway, in a statement released on the association's website.

    "This was a sickening collision that clearly left both players in enough distress for a concussion to have surely been considered a possibility at the very least.

    "At that point, the principle of 'if in doubt, sit it out!' should have resulted in Mane being substituted without another ball being kicked.

    "The image of the player collapsing on the ground and having to be helped from the pitch after scoring his goal should tell you everything you need to know about the impact and the effect it had had on his brain.

    "Yet again, the desire to win is seen as being worth serious risks to players' health. It is simply shocking that this continues to happen.

    "This is now a real test of leadership for The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and world governing body FIFA – particularly if Senegal declare Mane fit for Sunday's quarter-final.

    "If football wants to be taken seriously when it comes to concussion, it simply must take action to enforce and strengthen its protocols."

    In the Premier League, concussion substitutes have been introduced that enable teams to take a player off if they have sustained a head injury, without giving up one of their three allocated changes.

    Neither FIFA nor CAF had commented on the incident at the time of publication.

  • Bayern will do 'everything' to keep Lewandowski but Sule set to leave Bundesliga champions Bayern will do 'everything' to keep Lewandowski but Sule set to leave Bundesliga champions

    Bayern Munich will do "everything" to keep Robert Lewandowski for "as long as possible", but Niklas Sule is set to leave the club at the end of the season.

    Lewandowski's contract expires at the end of 2022-23 and there have been suggestions Bayern could look to move the Poland star on this year to free up room for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

    That is despite the 33-year-old having just won The Best FIFA Men's Player Award for the second year running, his 34 goals in all competitions this season at least 10 more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.

    Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn suggested on Wednesday that the Bundesliga champions have no plans to let Lewandowski leave.

    "He is an absolute phenomenon," Kahn told reporters. "Not just for the goals he constantly scores but for the level at which he has been playing for years.

    "Of course, we will try to keep Robert with us. He's a kind of insurance for us, with his way of playing football. We will do everything we can to have Robert with us for as long as possible."

     

    Sule, however, appears destined to leave the Allianz Arena after rejecting Bayern's offer of a new contract.

    The centre-back, 26, has missed just two games in the Bundesliga this season and is reportedly of interest to Chelsea and Newcastle United, who could offer greater salaries.

    "Negotiations with Niklas have dragged on for a very long time," Kahn said.

    "We made him an offer, but he didn't accept it, as he told us. I think [club president] Herbert Hainer wanted to leave the back door a little ajar.

    "Now we know what the situation is. This has happened over the past few days. I think you have to take into account that there are a lot of conversations going on. At some point, a player makes his decision.

    "I think it was a very good offer. We have economic limits within which we must move. He's one of the best central defenders out there right now. I think we showed him that appreciation.

    "Ultimately, it's the player's decision."

    When asked if Bayern would look to sign a replacement, Kahn added: "We always look at all the options. We have a lot of options when it comes to the centre-back position.

    "We have Lucas Hernandez in central defence, an excellent centre-back in [Dayot] Upamecano, young talent in Tanguy Nianzou. [Benjamin] Pavard can also play there."

     

  • Juninho sees no reason why Neymar and Vinicius cannot play together for Brazil Juninho sees no reason why Neymar and Vinicius cannot play together for Brazil

    Brazil duo Neymar and Vinicius Jr could thrive in the same starting XI, despite both forwards preferring to play in the same position, according to Juninho.

    While Neymar is out injured, Vinicius has been called up for Brazil's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay over the coming week.

    Vinicius has only made nine appearances for Brazil and is yet to score for his country, only starting twice – against Chile in September and Argentina in November respectively.

    Up until this season, the Real Madrid winger had struggled for consistency, but under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti, he has thrived for Los Blancos.

    Only Karim Benzema (33) has more direct goal contributions for Madrid in all competitions than Vinicius, who has scored 15 times and provided eight assists.

     

    Neymar, meanwhile, has had another stuttering season with Paris Saint-Germain, making just 14 appearances in all competitions and completing 90 minutes only nine times.

    However, should he be fit, Neymar will no doubt be Brazil's main man heading to Qatar in November.

    With Vinicius in such fine form, though, his place in Tite's squad also seems a certainty, and asked if the attackers - who both play predominantly from the left wing in a 4-3-3 formation - could feature together, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) director Juninho believes there is no reason why not.

    "The two of them can play together," Juninho told Spanish radio show El Larguero.

    "Vinicius shows his quality at Madrid and is beginning to show it for the national team now.

    "He's improving every game. Now he's been playing very well for a while.

    "Like [Philippe] Coutinho or [Lucas] Paqueta, they can also play together."

    Juninho may be convinced Neymar and Vinicius fit into the same side, but neither would be suited to playing in a central role in Tite's preferred 4-3-3 system, while both are at their best when given the freedom to drift inside from the left, rather than the right.

     

    Neymar is having a poor season in terms of end product. He has only scored three goals (and one of those was a penalty) and provided as many assists, while he has also underperformed his expected goals (xG) of 4.3, suggesting his finishing has been below par.

    Vinicius, on the other hand, has outperformed his xG (12), averaging a goal every 169 minutes for Madrid.

    The 21-year-old has also created 64 chances in comparison to Neymar's 28. However, when assessed per 90 minutes, the former Barcelona star crafts 2.1 opportunities, which is not far behind Vinicius' 2.3.

    Neymar is also a more proficient dribbler, completing 3.6 dribbles per 90 minutes in comparison to Vinicius' 3.4, while he also creates 0.5 big chances per 90, as opposed to the Madrid man's 1.6.

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