Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Manchester United had planned to give Michael Carrick until mid-December before making a breakthrough with Ralf Rangnick – ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest. PLUS: They ousted Old Trafford, who could yet get another chance under the interim boss.

Jump to: En Utd fringe stars put exit plans on hold | Gerrard, AI and a villa master plan | Barcelona fears Premier League interest in Araujo | Klopp would like Juventus’ Ramsey | Chelsea relaxed over rumors of Mount exit

United move quickly to secure Rangnick

Manchester United dropped plans to give caretaker Michael Carrick as many as six more matches after Ralf Rangnick emerged as the excellent candidate during interviews to find the club’s interim manager, sources told ESPN.

Carrick was asked to prepare for a longer term with management than expected, with the club setting an original date for Brighton at home on December 18 as the goal of a temporary appointment – and promising to only speed up plans for a temporary if a star option appeared. Rangnick has agreed to take over until the end of the season following a breakthrough in discussions with the 63-year-old, who is set to leave his position as sporting director of Lokomotiv Moscow.

– Exclusive interview: Rangnick speaks to ESPN
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Caretaker Carrick, who is set to oversee United’s trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday, had the United hierarchy’s confidence in managing the team during a busy season. The trip to Stamford Bridge marks the first of six matches in 16 days after the 2-0 win over Villarreal to secure the Champions League knockout qualifier on Tuesday. The club wanted to wait longer before appointing a temporary one, despite being criticized – even ridiculed – for the way they had approached cases after Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s dismissal.

Sources said the “market forces” had left United with no option but to follow the strategy, saying the club were not in the fortunate position that Liverpool and Chelsea enjoyed when they appointed Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, respectively, with both coaches without work. and available when changes were made to the management department at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.

Football director John Murtough held talks with former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, and Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui was also contacted as the club carried out a thorough search for an interim manager. Sources close to Rangnick said he initially distanced himself from the idea that he could be interested in a job at United, but a breakthrough came when a consulting role was offered as part of the deal. Part of Murtough’s role at United in recent years has been to build a relationship with key figures in football around Europe, and he enjoys a good relationship with Rangnick, where the pair also held talks in 2019 on football development plans.

The club’s first choice for the permanent position is Mauricio Pochettino, but that decision was made before Rangnick’s arrival. The terms of Rangnick’s advisory role after the temporary managerial job ends have not been clarified, but sources added that he is expected to play a leading role in the election of a permanent successor to Solskjær. – Mark Ogden

Martial, Van de Beeks second chance

Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial have put their January transfer plans on hold ahead of Rangnick’s impending arrival, sources told ESPN.

Caretaker manager Carrick had been eager to stress to the squad that each member has a clean slate after Solskjær’s departure, and Van de Beek and Martial were encouraged by their selection for the 2-0 win over Villarreal, and will now reconsider their options ahead . of Rangnick takes over. Despite interest from a host of other clubs, they prefer to find regular matches at Old Trafford and the pair will see how they fit in over the next six weeks before deciding whether to push for a change or not.

Jesse Lingard’s future is still unclear, with the midfielder free to speak to the clubs in January, as his contract expires at the end of the season. Rangnick, however, bases his coaching philosophy on high energy and high pressure – he is known as the “Godfather of counterpressing “ in Germany, and Klopp mentions him as an influence on his career – an attitude that fits into Lingard’s style of play, and which can still give him one last chance to bet on playing time.

United remain committed to keeping the majority of the squad together, especially after qualifying for the knockout rounds of the Champions League, which is set to begin in the new year. The draw for the round of 16 finals will take place on 13 December.

United’s FA Cup campaign also starts in January, although a poor start to the season under Solskjær has increased the pressure on the second half of the campaign, as the club looks to at least finish in the top four and retain their place in the Champions League next season. – Rob Dawson



Julien Laurens explains why Steven Gerrard switching Rangers to Aston Villa makes a lot of sense.

Gerrard’s new signature at Villa: Artificial Intelligence

Steven Gerrard is trying to make an artificial intelligence tool his first signing as Aston Villa manager, sources told ESPN.

Gerrard made an immediate impact at Villa Park by guiding the team to a 2-0 win over Brighton in their first game in the lead on Saturday after leaving Scottish champions Rangers to start their Premier League managerial career with Villa.

The former Liverpool and England captain has made his mark on his new club by taking ketchup, soft drinks and hot chocolate off the menu in the player canteen at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground.

Sources told ESPN that he is eager for Villa to adopt Zone7 AI injury prevention, which proved to be a key factor in last season’s title win with Rangers. Simply put, the clubs send their training and match data to Zone7, which analyzes them using an algorithm and sends back daily emails with information about players who may be on their way close to the so-called “danger zone” in terms of susceptibility to injury. .

ESPN reported in February that clubs in Europe and Major League Soccer had embraced the system, and after signing up for the algorithm-based technology on the recommendation of Ibrox performance manager Jordan Milsom at the start of the 2020-21 season, Rangers reported a 52% reduction of injuries last season compared to the previous campaign. Rangers also reported a 36% reduction in injuries per game. match in the previous season and a 21% decrease in the number of days lost due to injury.

– Artificial intelligence: How clubs seek to predict injuries

More than 50 clubs worldwide now use Zone7’s AI program. Many want to remain anonymous in an attempt to protect any competitive advantage that the tool can provide – football clubs are notoriously protective of such proprietary data – while others simply do not want to discuss advantages or disadvantages they have discovered while using it. Despite repeated attempts by ESPN to talk to Real Salt Lake and Toronto, none of the MLS teams responded to queries.

Sources said Gerrard is trying to get the system in place at Villa as soon as possible in an attempt to make his team fitter. – Mark Ogden



After Barcelona’s pointless draw against Benfica, ESPN FC’s Ale Moreno explains why fans should not expect drastic improvements yet.

Barcelona’s Araujo fears while Premier League clubs watch

Barcelona fear that interest from the Premier League’s top clubs in Ronald Araujo as well as the center – back’s salary demands could complicate their contract renewal negotiations with him, sources told ESPN.

Liverpool and Manchester United have been closely monitoring Araujo’s development and Barcelona want to secure his future as a priority, with plans to offer him a five-year deal where his existing contract expires in 2023.

Sources said, however, that during the initial discussions with the player, there is a concern at Barcelona that they may not be able to meet the conditions he requests. Barcelona’s financial crisis has deepened after LaLiga cut another € 300 million from their spending limit this season, and they have recently confirmed losses for the 2020-21 season of € 481 million, while the debt is around £ 1.3 billion.

Liverpool and Manchester United have the financial power to beat what Barcelona can afford if they decide to push their interests forward. Sources added that Liverpool are particularly keen on Araujo, and scouts have seen him throughout 2021.

Barca stars Pedri and Ansu Fati recently renewed their contracts, which included 1 billion. £ release clauses and they want to secure midfielder Gavi as well as Araujo: two players considered to be the key under new coach Xavi Hernandez.

The club wants to avoid a similar situation as they experienced with Ilaix Moriba this summer. The Spanish midfielder had a year left on his contract and refused to sign a new deal, leading to his transfer to RB Leipzig for € 16m. plus additions.

Araujo, 22, arrived at Camp Nou in 2018 from the Uruguayan side River Boston in a transfer worth € 1.5 million. plus € 3 million. – Adriana Garcia and Moises Llorens

Juventus are hoping Klopp builds on Ramsey’s interest

Juventus are hoping that Jurgen Klopp’s admiration for Aaron Ramsey will lead to a bid from Liverpool for the midfielder in January, sources told ESPN.

The 30-year-old is under contract until 2023, but Ramsey could be made available for transfer after struggling to break into the first team since his arrival.

Sources told ESPN that Klopp has long held Ramsey high and considered formalizing this interest when the Wales international left Arsenal for Juventus in 2019. Liverpool have lacked midfield figures after injuries exacerbated Georginio Wijnaldum’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Several Premier League clubs have been linked with Ramsey, including West Ham, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Leicester City, and Juventus are hoping Liverpool will add themselves to that list in the coming weeks as the Serie A club are looking for competing clubs to drive the fee up to secure the player.

Ramsey has always been determined to make a success of his time in Serie A, but he has made five appearances in a total of 112 minutes since Massimiliano Allegri took charge this summer. – James Olley



Craig Burley and Kay Murray discuss the future of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner after both were linked with Barcelona.

Chelsea are calm over Mount rumors

Chelsea have not yet opened new contract negotiations with Mason Mount, but all parties are relaxed about the situation, contrary to reports in Spain that Real Madrid were interested in him, sources told ESPN.

It had been suggested that the midfielder was unhappy at Stamford Bridge, specifically over his role in the squad, but sources claim that Mount enjoys a healthy relationship with head coach Thomas Tuchel and is focused on further success with the Blues.

Negotiations have not yet begun on a new deal, but the 22-year-old has two and a half years left to run on his existing deal and the club believe there is no rush at the moment.

Talks are expected to begin later in the season as Chelsea first prioritize talks with several players whose contracts expire next summer, primarily Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva. – James Olley


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