Manchester United are seventh in the Premier League table but their month is likely to end without any incomings due to the size of their squad – News Sport Update

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Any incomings remain unlikely at Manchester United this month as they near the halfway stage of the January transfer window.

The expectation entering the month was United were unlikely to reinforce their squad unless one of their summer targets became attainable.

United have a bloated squad of 29 players and failure to trim it in the summer has contributed to the relative inactivity so far this month.

A midfield addition has been prioritised for the summer and United are also expected to target an attacker amid the likelihood of several senior forwards leaving.

United commenced their recruitment plans for the summer in September but are not due to appoint a permanent manager until the end of the season. Whoever succeeds interim manager Ralf Rangnick would have a veto on any suggested targets.

Rangnick is already advising United on their recruitment strategy before he officially assumes his consultancy role on July 1. United are finalising their shortlist of targets with a view to executing deals from February onwards.

Outgoings are still possible, with Anthony Martial allowed to leave on loan provided United’s demands are met. United want Martial’s wages to be covered in full and are seeking a loan fee of around £6million, having already rejected an offer from Sevilla.

Teenage winger Amad could head out on loan and Dean Henderson is believed to be agitating for a loan move after starting just twice all season. The Manchester Evening News reported on Monday Henderson’s squad omission for the Aston Villa FA Cup win was related to his future.

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Donny van de Beek is open to leaving as he has not started a meaningful Premier League game since December 2020, but United have limited options in midfield and Paul Pogba is expected to be sidelined with a thigh injury until late February. Juan Mata would consider any offers as he approaches the final five months of his deal.

The MEN reported last month Pogba and Jesse Lingard, both out of contract in June, are expected to run down their deals. Edinson Cavani assured Rangnick last week he would stay until the end of the season.

Eric Bailly is another United player ready to move this year but a winter transfer is highly unlikely as he is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast in Cameroon. United’s situation at centre-back is also dicey as Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones have had significant injury lay-offs this season.

Axel Tuanzebe, Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi have secured loans so far this month. Tuanzebe switched loans from Aston Villa to Napoli, while Laird relocated from Swansea to Bournemouth, and Mengi joined Birmingham.

Wayne Rooney does not expect to secure a deal to bring Manchester United youngster Amad to Derby County on loan.

The Derby boss, and United’s all-time leading scorer, has been keen to take the Ivorian for the remainder of the season, although competition for the teenager is fierce.

There are other Championship clubs keen on reaching an agreement, while Dutch side Feyenoord are also interested having missed out on a summer deal due to an injury to Amad.

Italy is also an option for the 19-year-old, where he made his breakthrough playing for Atalanta before securing his move to Old Trafford last year, and Borussia Dortmund have now reportedly entered the race.

Ralf Rangnick has granted Amad permission to leave United during the January transfer window, with his playing time limited during his first full season at the club.

Rooney has been working hard to try and take the winger to Derby, although the former United forward now looks to have given up hope.

“He is a Manchester United player and obviously he is a player of interest from a few clubs, I know that,” Rooney said, as reported by Derbyshire Live.

“Obviously I keep close tabs on some of the young emerging talent, not just from Manchester United but from other clubs and there are various players we are looking at in terms of what players can we bring in to improve the squad, what players can we bring in to play and give us the best chance of staying up.

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“He is a player who of course I like him. If you are asking me is he going to be with us at some point in January, then that is very unlikely.”

United remain keen for Amad to gain some match experience during the second half of the season, and have insisted any club that makes a loan offer will need to guarantee meaningful minutes for the teenager.

Amad has made just one senior appearance this season, having recovered from a thigh injury which prevented him heading to Feyenoord last summer.

The Ivorian has started just three games for United since he arrived at the club last January, having agreed a deal to move to the club on deadline day of the 2019 summer transfer window.

Cristiano Ronaldo has responded to Luke Shaw after he shared concerns over mentality in the Manchester United dressing room.

After stepping into the breach to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – initially until the end of this season – Ralf Rangnick saw his unbeaten start ended by Wolves on January 3.

Joao Moutinho settled the scores on that occasion as Ronaldo captained the team, and after the match Shaw delivered an honest and open verdict on current issues at Old Trafford.

Indeed, the England international claimed there was some division in the United camp and his revelation has since been followed by suggestions that several players are ‘unhappy’ at the club – while Ronaldo seemingly agrees with one key point made by the defender.

During his Sky Sports post-match interview, Shaw said: “I didn’t think we were all there together.

“You look at the players we have, we have unbelievable quality but, sometimes, quality is not enough.

“We need to bring the intensity and more motivation. Inside the dressing room we know what we want, but out on the pitch we need to give 100 per cent. To win these types of games we all need to be 100 per cent committed. It is tough and disappointing.”

In a wide-ranging sit down with the same broadcaster, on Shaw’s togetherness plea Ronaldo said: “It’s the key [being together]. Not only the players. It’s for all the staff, coaches, physios, doctors, players.

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“This is a squad and it’s like a second family for all of us, so we have to be together.

“We are in the same boat. We knew it since the beginning. [It’s a] New Year so we have to believe it’s possible. As I have mentioned before, we have a long way to change – but I believe that we are going to have a good season.”

Tottenham have been warned that Antonio Conte “will walk” if Manchester United look to prise him away from north London.

Despite only joining the club in November, the Italian’s future at Spurs has been pulled into sharp focus after his side’s limp defeat to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Tottenham were comfortably beaten 3-0 across two legs, missing out on the opportunity to end their 14-year wait for a trophy.

The defeat highlighted their need to make additions during the transfer window, with Conte having revealed he had held talks with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici to outline his targets.

Spurs though have not been a side to splash the cash over the years, calling into question just how much backing Conte will receive, and raising fears over his future.

Those fears haven’t been helped by the fact United are on the lookout for a permanent manager, with Ralf Rangnick currently in charge on an interim role until the end of the season.

The former Juventus boss was linked with Old Trafford before heading to Spurs, although former Tottenham midfielder believes he will be swayed by an approach from United this time if he isn’t backed in the transfer market.

“I look at Antonio Conte, and I haven’t seen his interviews after [Wednesday]’s game, but the last few I’ve seen of him he looks defeated,” O’Hara told talkSPORT.

“He’s not the same on the side as he was when he first came in. He looks like he’s lost the passion a little bit. He’s looking at the side thinking ‘what chance have I got’. He’s having to play Doherty left wing-back again.

“The players we’ve got out there – Emerson Royal we’ve signed him, Bryan Gil we’ve signed him this season, it’s not good enough.

“Daniel Levy, if he doesn’t buy and doesn’t bring in some top quality players then Antonio Conte will walk.

“He will walk, I’m telling you. If Manchester United phoned him tomorrow and said ‘we want you’, he would seriously think about leaving.”

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Despite Conte’s name re-entering the conversation over who will be the next United boss, he remains an outsider to step into the hot-seat at Old Trafford.

Mauricio Pochettino remains the favourite, while Erik ten Hag is close behind as United look to make a decision on who will lead them beyond the current season.

Ralf Rangnick spoke to the press on Friday afternoon as he looked ahead to Manchester United’s upcoming Premier League trip to face Aston Villa.

United began the week with victory over Steven Gerrard’s side in the FA Cup and head into the match with the tricky task of trying to replicate the feat away from home on Saturday evening.

Villa are winless in their last 22 home league games against United (D7 L15) since a 3-1 victory in August 1995. It’s the longest winless home run one side has had against another in English Football League history.

Rangnick issued early team news ahead of the match with Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Harry Maguire and Phil Jones all in contention to return. Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are both suspended for the match at Villa Park.

Ralf Rangnick admits Manchester United are still striving to settle on a formation and indicated they could change shape more often during games.

United began in a 4-2-2-2 formation in five of Rangnick’s first six matches in charge but their lack of pressing became apparent and they suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Wolves last week.

In the second-half of the loss, United switched to a back three to mirror Wolves and in the FA Cup third round win over Aston Villa United started in a 4-2-3-1 before changing to a diamond in the second-half.

Rangnick felt United gained control against Villa by moving to a narrower shape to counter Villa’s 4-3-3 and the teams face each other again in the Premier League at Villa Park on Saturday.

Manchester United expect to have four players back for the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Harry Maguire has missed the last two matches through injury and Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Phil Jones were absent for the FA Cup win over Villa on Monday night.

The quartet trained on Thursday and interim manager Ralf Rangnick is confident they will all travel to Villa for the tea-time kick-off.

Ralf Rangnick intends to keep Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek at Manchester United beyond the January transfer window.

Henderson and Van de Beek informed Rangnick of their desire to leave on loan just before the window opened due to a lack of playing time.

Van de Beek, 24, has started just four times this season and Henderson, also 24, has made only two starts.

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United are unbeaten in their last 22 away games against Aston Villa (W17 D5) since a 3-0 loss in the League Cup in October 1999. In English football history, only Liverpool (23 vs Sunderland between 1959 and 2002) have had a longer unbeaten away run against an opponent when both sides have been played in the top four tiers at the time.

We should also get a response to the comments made by Cristiano Ronaldo this week.

The Portuguese gave his view on many aspects of the club and it will be interesting to hear if Ralf Rangnick agrees.

Ralf Rangnick will likely be quizzed about Donny van de Beek again today.

MEN Sport revealed yesterday that Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund have both been sounded out about a potential loan move this month.

Any move would require United’s blessing, however, and with Rangnick uncertain about his midfield options at the moment that is unlikely to happen.

United will be without the services of Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay tomorrow.

The duo are both suspended for the match against Aston Villa.

We could get an update today on Ralf Rangnick’s plan to cope without them.

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