Manchester United are making the right changes to their transfer strategy – Sport Media News

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The peaks and troughs of Donny van de Beek’s season spiralled wildly last week. His old Ajax coach, Erik ten Hag, is gaining momentum ahead of his potential appointment by Manchester United, Van de Beek was down to start for Everton at West Ham, sustained an injury in the warm-up, Everton lost and then Ralf Rangnick shed light on United’s next intended recruitment reboot.

“We come back to DNA, speed, physicality, tempo, what do we need?” Rangnick rhetorically asked. “This team does not lack technical players, it can do with more physicality.

“It has to be a bit in the DNA of a player, to be honest. It is difficult to change, shall I say a technically great player into a physical, aggressive player, and we have a lot of people who are technical players.”

Rangnick cited United’s lack of physicality behind their defeat to Atletico Madrid last month and the fortuitous draw with Leicester when Bruno Fernandes jumped out of a challenge with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall for Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal. “They tackled us away twice within two seconds,” Rangnick frowned.

Van de Beek only started playing for Everton in February and has already committed seven fouls, averaging more than one per game. In his sole standout performance for United at Watford, he crunched into Ismaila Sarr, forcing him off.

That second-half, Van de Beek’s most complete outing for United, blended silk and steel. There was a goal and a defence-splitting pass Cristiano Ronaldo failed to convert at 2-1. Eager to impress in his first start under Rangnick, Van de Beek, who gained muscle mass in pre-season to disprove the theory he was lightweight, attempted a season-high four tackles.

Van de Beek’s fortunes seemed to be changing when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drove into Carrington to film his exit interview the day after the Watford thrashing. Yet the Dutchman underwhelmed in his one start under Michael Carrick and Rangnick had little hesitancy in letting him leave on loan.

The dichotomy of Ten Hag’s familiarity with the player and Rangnick pressing the importance of physicality leaves Van de Beek in limbo. He could not be an automatic pick on the strength of performing for Ten Hag in games more than two years ago and he has done less than compatriot Memphis Depay in a United shirt.

Darren Fletcher is a dubious technical director but he has seen Van de Beek in training and could be an objective voice. Some teammates felt Van de Beek’s training performances merited more playing time but his mentality was weaker – exposed by his attempt to settle into the comfort zone of Everton in August. It is now uncomfortable at Goodison, with Everton 17th.

Rangnick is overstating United’s technical proficiency. Of the midfielders and forwards, Fernandes is a moments player, capable of creating something out of nothing innovatively, but incapable of controlling games. Paul Pogba has the aptitude but rarely the application. In a bloated squad, Fred is the truest representation of a technical player.

The Old Firm derby chewed up Amad, spat him back out and he has not started in the Scottish Premiership since. Anthony Martial was described as off the pace in the tranquility of La Liga on Sunday night, Victor Lindelof is vulnerable against battering rams and United’s most physical full-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, is a benchwarmer.

With United close to waving the white flag on Champions League qualification, Rangnick has started to look beyond this season. He highlighted how impressively Arsenal had recruited ahead of a campaign devoid of European football and has recommended United target hungry players seeking a progressive career move.

That approach is similar to United’s recruitment reboot of 2019 when they prioritised players enraptured by the prospect of playing for the club. United deliberately eschewed big names but quickly regressed, fleetingly considering Paulo Dybala to offset Romelu Lukaku’s departure. The next year, Edinson Cavani touched down on deadline day and last year Cristiano Ronaldo did.

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As laudable as Solskjaer’s strategy was, it was unsuccessful and the emphasis on British players was misguided and idealistic. The approach under Rangnick’s guidance is bound to be more continental.

United’s pull in the market will plummet if they have Europa League or Conference League football to offer. They have to use that to their advantage – no pursuing lost causes, getting led down the garden path or providing a retirement home for another armchair striker.

A midfielder and forward are priorities, with a full-back under consideration as well a centre-back, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones open to leaving. A centre half with the profile Bailly arrived with in 2016 would be preferable, minus the brittleness.

Declan Rice, of interest to United and interested in United, has the potential to develop into a dominant box-to-box midfielder as Yaya Toure did when he joined Manchester City. Christopher Nkunku, a midfielder-cum-second-striker for RB Leipzig, would flesh out the spine.

Nkunku would pose a threat to Fernandes, never mind Van de Beek.

The Manchester United dressing room is split over the possible appointment of Erik ten Hag as the club’s next manager.

The Manchester Evening News revealed Ten Hag is United’s preferred candidate last month – prior to his interview with the club – and United would only have to pay Ajax £1.7million to release Ten Hag from his contract.

A number of United players are excited by the prospect of being coached by Ten Hag and feel he would improve them, but sources close to other players say Ten Hag is viewed as an ‘underwhelming’ choice by some of them.

Mauricio Pochettino was the favoured pick among the majority of players two months ago but the club hierarchy is edging towards Ten Hag to become United’s second Dutch manager after Louis van Gaal. Ajax, who enjoy a warm relationship with United, are prepared to let Ten Hag leave a year before his contract is due to expire.

Disenchantment is still rife in the United squad, with the mood worsened by Saturday’s fortuitous 1-1 draw with Leicester City. United dropped to seventh in the Premier League table after West Ham beat Everton on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino was the favoured pick among the majority of players two months ago but the club hierarchy is edging towards Ten Hag to become United’s second Dutch manager after Louis van Gaal. Ajax, who enjoy a warm relationship with United, are prepared to let Ten Hag leave a year before his contract is due to expire.

Disenchantment is still rife in the United squad, with the mood worsened by Saturday’s fortuitous 1-1 draw with Leicester City. United dropped to seventh in the Premier League table after West Ham beat Everton on Sunday.

“Manchester United is a great club with great fans. But I can only repeat myself: My full focus is completely on Ajax. We are already planning for the new season.”

Rangnick indicated the club had interviewed more than one candidate for the managerial post, believed to be Pochettino. “I know they have spoken to some people but so far we haven’t spoken about the experience and the impressions they have got from those meetings.

“It’s not an issue for me. For me, it’s important to focus on the next games.”

Here are your Manchester United morning headlines for Tuesday, April 5.

Manchester United players slammed

Manchester United’s supporters have reacted to the news that there is a dressing room split concerning the possibility of Ajax boss Erik ten Hag becoming the club’s next permanent manager.

As revealed by the Manchester Evening News , there is a split within the first-team squad about the Dutchman picking up the baton from Ralf Rangnick. It is understood that a number of players are excited by the prospect of working with the 52-year-old, but sources close to other players believe appointing him would be ‘underwhelming’.

Ten Hag has been interviewed for the job and is United’s preferred candidate to take over this summer. He has overseen a terrific job at Ajax in the last few years and has earned the opportunity to take charge of one of Europe’s big-name giants.

Phil Jones insists he is ‘ready to play again’ following his successful injury return for United this season. The 30-year-old went nearly two years between playing competitive matches before he shone in the Premier League defeat against Wolves back in January.

Jones impressed as he made his first appearance for the club in 712 days to complete a remarkable return from injury when it had looked like his professional career might have been over. A month later, Jones was also given a half-hour run out as United lost on penalties to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, though he has yet to play again for the club in the two months since that defeat.

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Here are your Manchester United evening headlines for Monday, April 4.

Manchester United fans highlight Anthony Martial problem

Manchester United supporters have raised concerns over Anthony Martial as his struggles for Sevilla continued at the Nou Camp against Barcelona on Sunday night.

Martial started and played 82 minutes as Sevilla went down 1-0 against the rejuvenated La Liga giants. Pedri settled the scores for Barcelona as they moved up to second place with a sixth straight league victory. As for Sevilla and Martial, they are four without a win in the league and have slipped to fourth.

Having found game-time hard to come by this season, the Frenchman was granted a temporary switch during the January transfer window and impressed on his home debut against Elche. Generally, though, the 26-year-old has so far been unable to replicate that initial impact.

The Manchester United dressing room is split over the possible appointment of Erik ten Hag as the club’s next manager. And the Manchester Evening News revealed Ten Hag is United’s preferred candidate last month – prior to his interview with the club – and United would only have to pay Ajax £1.7million to release Ten Hag from his contract.

A number of United players are excited by the prospect of being coached by Ten Hag and feel he would improve them, but sources close to other players say Ten Hag is viewed as an ‘underwhelming’ choice by some of them. Mauricio Pochettino was the favoured pick among the majority of players two months ago but the club hierarchy is edging towards the 52-year-old to become United’s second Dutch manager after Louis van Gaal.

Manchester United supporters have raised concerns over Anthony Martial as his struggles for Sevilla continued at the Nou Camp against Barcelona on Sunday night.

Martial started and played 82 minutes as Sevilla went down 1-0 against the rejuvenated La Liga giants. Pedri settled the scores for Barcelona as they moved up to second place with a sixth straight league victory. As for Sevilla and Martial, they are four without a win in the league and have slipped to fourth.

Having found game-time hard to come by this season, the Frenchman was granted a temporary switch during the January transfer window and impressed on his home debut against Elche. Generally, though, the 26-year-old has so far been unable to replicate that initial impact.

Martial has yet to score for the club in La Liga and missed a short spell due to a muscular injury. At times the striker has been criticised for his performances by Julen Lopetegui, as the Spaniard seeks to get the best out of a man who cost United around £50m in 2015.

It proved to be a frustrating Sunday night for Martial against Xavi and his Barcelona side. However, on another night he might have earned the away team a penalty when a right-footed attempt struck reported United target Ronald Araujo on the arm, only for those appeals to be waved away.

Araujo and former United defender Gerard Pique generally kept Martial and his teammates quiet, though, as United supporters moved to share their views. Here is a selection of comments taken from Twitter.

Wayne Rooney would choose Mauricio Pochettino over Erik ten Hag to become Manchester United’s next manager.

Ralf Rangnick’s interim tenure is now coming to an end and United’s search for a new manager is well underway. United have interviewed Ten Hag for the position and Pochettino remains greatly admired by those within Old Trafford.

Ten Hag and Pochettino, currently in work at Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain respectively, are the leading candidates for the job, but United fans have made their preference for Ten Hag known in recent weeks. The MEN conducted a survey to gauge fan opinion and Ten Hag received 65 per cent of votes from a total of 21,000 readers, with just 5 per cent of supporters wanting Pochettino.

Rooney has now explained he disagrees with that verdict. The former United star admitted on Monday night that he would prefer Pochettino to be given the job ahead of Ten Hag.

“If I’m choosing between one of the two, that’s who I’d choose, I’d go for Pochettino and give him time. Managers now, they need time to come in and actually put their blueprint on the club and the team. If you gave him time, I think he’d do well. In my opinion, he’s a top manager.”

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Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has been urged to leave the Reds to make a “formidable partnership” with David Beckham at Inter Miami in the MLS.

Fortunes for both United and the newly formed American franchise have been equally disappointing as they both have suffered in their respective leagues. Inter Miami – managed by former United full-back Phil Neville – more so as they sit at the foot of the table, whereas Ronaldo has struggled to soften the damaging slump and continuous decline of late.

The 37-year-old missed Saturday’s draw with Leicester City through illness. Much of the speculation surrounding the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is whether he will see out his term on his second stint in the Premier League, as they stare down the barrel of Champions League disappointment. Garth Crooks believes he still has a purpose elsewhere.

He wrote in his BBC Team of the Week column: “I am a huge admirer of Ronaldo. His professionalism is beyond reproach and he has more than fulfilled the expectations required of a 37-year-old player in the toughest league in the world. However, he is still a young man who needs a purpose in life.

“The United States might be the place to establish that purpose. David Beckham and Ronaldo would make a formidable partnership in Miami.”

Ralf Rangnick has explained why he decided to change Harry Maguire’s position for Manchester United’s draw with Leicester on Saturday evening. United were held to a 1-1 draw by the Foxes at Old Trafford as their top-four hopes took another major blow.

One of the few positives to come from the game was the performance of club captain Maguire, who responded in style after having been booed by England fans during the international break.

The 29-year-old put in a fine showing against his former side, and he did so while playing in a slightly different role than the one he previously occupied.

Maguire was moved from his favoured role as a left-sided centre-back to that of a right-sided one, which granted him greater passing opportunities.

Rangnick was impressed with how the England international coped in the slightly different role and suggested the tactical tweak would be here to stay going forward.

“Since I arrived, we have been discussing this because he prefers to play on the left side although he is right-footed,” Rangnick said after the match.

“And now I saw him play for England last week, when he played in a back four on the right side, that’s why I decided that he should play on the right side which is better for him anyway when we open up the game from our backline for him as a right-footed player.

“I think it’s a lot easier for him to play from there.”

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