After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

Paul Pogba's future with Manchester United remains up in the air.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of this season and deferred contract talks with United.

The midfielder is reportedly open to offers with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola shopping him around.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENTER POGBA PURSUIT

Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Pogba, reports Fichajes.

The Magpies are hoping to land the 28-year-old France international on a free transfer, although it is unclear if he would entertain the move to a club that is currently battling relegation, albeit Newcastle will hope that will be different next season.

Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked with Pogba, who could also opt to stay at Old Trafford.

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's Harry Kane will not decide on his future until the end of the season, after trying to join Manchester City last year, reports The Standard. Kane is currently not interested in discussing a contract extension with Spurs.

- Madrid have tabled a final offer for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland claims Sport. Haaland has been pursued by several top clubs including PSG, Barcelona, United, Chelsea and Manchester City.

- Marca claims that Barcelona will swoop for Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen should he become a free agent this upcoming off-season.

- The Daily Star claims that Donny van de Beek will push for a permanent move away from Manchester United to Everton if his loan spell goes well.

- Milan are interested in Tottenham winger Steven Bergwijn, reports Calciomercato.

Everton manager Frank Lampard is excited to get to work with Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli, adamant the latter can rekindle his best form.

Alli signed for Everton from Tottenham on Monday, with official confirmation coming just under 12 hours after Lampard himself was revealed as their new manager, while Van de Beek arrived on loan from Manchester United having struggled for game time at Old Trafford.

England midfielder Alli has signed on what is initially a free transfer, though the fee will rise to £10million after 20 appearances and perhaps as high as £40m based on performance-related add-ons. He told Sky Sports he just wanted to be "happy playing football again" after a difficult end to his Spurs career.

Alli burst onto the scene under Mauricio Pochettino in 2015-16 and then scored 22 goals across all competitions the following season.

He averaged a goal every 182 minutes that campaign, following that up with 29 direct goal involvements (14 goals, 15 assists) in 2017-18.

Alli has netted only three times since the start of 2020-21, though that does not perturb Lampard.

"Dele and Donny are separate cases. I just look at the player and they're both very talented," he told a news conference. "They're both fantastic.

"I've gone up against them in different ways in the past and was very impressed. It's sometimes good to get a player who has a point to prove, they come here with a good hunger to try and show themselves, I trust in their talents and them as people.

"I watched Dele come through, fantastic player. He's had difficult times, I would make no bones about that, nor would he, but there can be so many reasons for that and my job now is to start with a fresh slate, have him in an environment that suits and supports him, but to push him and extract that player that we know is there.

"All the attributes, talent and technique are still there, and I think we're much more aware that there are many factors that can effect in life, sport, how happy you are or why it might not work in the right way.

"I just have to find the best environment for Dele. It's harder when he's such a big name and top player to do it quietly but our job is just to allow him to express his talent."

Alli emphasised that working under Lampard – Chelsea's record goalscorer – was a major draw in his move to Everton. 

"I think we're different, it's an easy comparison in terms of goalscoring midfielders," Lampard replied when asked if he saw similarities in Alli's playing style to how he played.

"I think I started a bit deeper whereas Dele started in a slightly higher position, particularly in his early years [playing] off Harry Kane, but I do think he's versatile. I'm very interested to work closely with him to try and bring out the talents he has."

Neither Alli nor Van de Beek can feature for Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday, though Lampard stressed there is a clear idea of how to use both players, who both are at their best in more attacking roles.

He added: "Donny is someone who can link play, receive the ball in intelligent areas, has the confidence to receive, play and move the ball, it's a different profile of player.

"Dele also has his own versatility but we highlighted it as an area where we need an uplift. But they're players, particularly Dele as he's a permanent [signing], that we see a big future for. We had a clear idea of why we brought them both in."

Donny van de Beek is expecting "to learn a lot" from new Everton boss Frank Lampard after completing a loan switch to Goodison Park from Manchester United.

The Netherlands international has been given an opportunity to kick-start his career with Everton in the second half of 2021-22 following a frustrating time at United.

Van de Beek failed to start a single Premier League game for the Red Devils this term and has started just 19 games in all competitions since joining from Ajax in September 2020.

To put that into context, 19 others have started more games for United over that period, with Bruno Fernandes leading the way (76).

Indeed, only once has Van de Beek started back-to-back games for the Red Devils in all competitions – against Istanbul Basaksehir and Southampton in November 2020.

But the 24-year-old believes he can enhance his game by playing under Lampard, who was officially appointed as Rafael Benitez's successor earlier on Monday.

Lampard is the highest-scoring midfielder in Premier League history with 177 goals and is fourth overall in the competition for assists with 102.

"I had a really positive meeting with the new coach. We have the same ideas about football and he had a lot of influence on my decision," Van de Beek told Everton TV.

"I played against him when I was at Ajax, and he was at Chelsea [as head coach], so he knows me as a player. He thinks I have qualities that can help the team.

"I can learn a lot from him because he was a little bit in the same position – a midfield player who scored a lot of goals. He can help me a lot, so I think I'm in a good spot.

"I want to improve with Everton. There are always things that can be better and I work hard every day to do that."

Van de Beek has scored just two goals and assisted the same number across 50 appearances for United in all competitions.

He has shown glimpses of his quality when used, though, with Fernandes (0.66) the only United regular to create more big chances per 90 minutes than Van de Beek (0.34).

And with an opportunity to showcase the talent that made him one of Europe's top properties when at Ajax, Van de Beek is relishing the chance to get going for Everton.

"I hope to bring my football qualities, my passing, and, of course, scoring goals," he said.

"It is a big part of my game to score and give assists and I will try to do that again. And it is not only offensive, you have to defend as a midfielder and I can do that as well.

"I want to show my qualities, my strengths, to the people in England – but especially the fans from Everton. The most important thing is we win games and go up the table. 

"We have good players in the team and the talent and ability to go up in the league. But, for that, we need to work hard and I want to be part of this.

"Everton is a big club, with big players, the history and amazing fans. The club has everything to go up and be higher in the table.

"I played at Goodison twice last season without fans… it will be lovely to see the stadium full."

Van de Beek, who could make his debut in next Tuesday's Premier League visit to Newcastle United, added: "I'm fit. I train a lot for myself and I was training a lot with the team at United. 

"I have a few days to train fully and I'm sure I'll be there [ready for Newcastle]."

Manchester United outcast Donny van de Beek has completed a loan switch to fellow Premier League side Everton.

Van de Beek has once again struggled for playing time this season, failing to start a single league game, and will now spend the remainder of 2021-22 at Goodison Park, becoming Frank Lampard's first signing.

The deal, which was confirmed by the two clubs on Monday, does not contain an option for Everton to purchase the midfielder at the end of the season.

Crystal Palace were also reportedly interested in signing Van de Beek on loan, while a number of clubs from abroad – namely Valencia – were said to be keen.

Van de Beek will be hoping to kick-start his career during his four months on Merseyside, having been restricted to just 19 starts since joining United from Ajax in September 2020.

To put that into context, 19 others have started more games for United over that period, with Bruno Fernandes leading the way (76).

Indeed, only once has he started back-to-back games for the Red Devils in all competitions – against Istanbul Basaksehir and Southampton in November 2020.

The Netherlands international joins an Everton side sitting 16th in the Premier League, only four points above the relegation zone.

However, Everton have backed Lampard immediately, with the midfield spotted as an area of concern. 

With Van de Beek through the door already, Everton are reportedly close to tying up a deal for Tottenham's Dele Alli.

Aurelien Tchouameni has established himself as one of the brightest young midfielders in European football over the past season.

The 22-year-old is a mainstay in the Monaco side and is already a full France international.

He is under contract until 2024 but seems destined to move on sooner rather than later, with Europe's biggest clubs said to be interested.

 

TOP STORY – TCHOUAMENI TO COMMAND HUGE FEE

According to Marca, Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United have both identified Tchouameni as an option to boost their midfield.

The report claims that Monaco have set an asking price of between €80million and €100m (around £66.5m to £83.2m).

Monaco's Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain, as well as LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, are also credited with an interest.

ROUND-UP

Fabrizio Romano reports Liverpool have agreed personal terms with Luis Diaz, and that the deal with Porto is now nearing completion.

 

Sky Italia has claimed Tottenham want to sign Juventus' Dejan Kulusevski, after missing out on Diaz.

Aston Villa face competition from Lyon for Rodrigo Bentancur, who is now a target for the Ligue 1 club, according to multiple reports.

Sky Sports has reported Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the subject of interest from Juventus and Barcelona.

Tottenham and Lyon are in advanced negotiations over Giovani Lo Celso, while the French side also want to sign Brest playmaker Romain Faivre, so says Fabrizio Romano.

Romano also reports Valencia are hopeful of loaning Bryan Gil from Spurs, and Crystal Palace are in talks with United over a move for Donny van de Beek.

Arsenal's search of attacking reinforcements has apparently led to Alexander Isak after it became clear Dusan Vlahovic is seemingly headed to Juventus.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form and ostracised at the Emirates Stadium and Alexandre Lacazette struggling for goals, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is desperate to land attacking reinforcements in January.

Their hunt for Fiorentina hitman Vlahovic has apparently failed but Sweden star Isak may be a potential option for the Premier League side.

TOP STORY – ISAK THE MAN FOR MIKEL?

Vlahovic has been a man in demand during the January transfer window, though it appears Juve have won the race in a €75million deal.

Arsenal are now thought to be turning their attention to Real Sociedad forward Isak, and are reportedly ready to make him their club-record signing by paying £75million, which would trigger Isak's release clause.

Isak scored 17 goals in 34 LaLiga outings last term, but he has managed just four from 18 top-flight appearances in 2021-22 thus far.

ROUND UP

- Newcastle United's pursuit of new players in their fight against relegation has reportedly led to a €40m (£33.5m) bid for Lyon's defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to the Guardian. Arsenal and Juventus have also been touted as potential suitors.

- The Evening Standard says Tottenham are planning a loan deal for Fiorentina's Sofyan Amrabat as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his midfield with Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso all set to be allowed to leave. A move for Georginio Wijnaldum, whose move to Paris Saint-Germain has not exactly gone to plan, has also been tipped.

- Germany full-back Robin Gosens could be about to swap Atalanta for Serie A rivals Inter, with a move in the "final stages", says Fabrizio Romano.

- Nicolas Tagliafico has told Ajax he wants to joined Barcelona in what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Goal first reported Barca coach Xavi was eyeing the left-back to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

- Donny van de Beek is seemingly headed for a loan move out of Manchester United. Crystal Palace are said by Sky Sports to be in direct negotiations with the Red Devils, while a temporary switch to Valencia is also an option.

Manchester United are in negotiations with rival clubs in a bid to find solutions for their wantaway stars, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

There are a number of high-profile players on the fringes of United's expensively assembled squad who might be interested in a move before the January transfer window closes.

Reports suggest Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek are among those who might hope to leave before the end of the month.

Lingard is a target for Newcastle United, Rangnick revealed prior to Saturday's win over West Ham, while Sevilla are said to hold an interest in Martial, and Van de Beek – formerly a top performer at Ajax – would surely have suitors.

It had previously been suggested the Red Devils would be reluctant to reduce the size of their squad due to the risk of being left short in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

But Rangnick's latest comments appear to indicate United will work with those players who see their futures elsewhere.

"I don't know [what's going to happen]," the interim manager said. "I know which players would want to leave.

"I know that there are some negotiations with clubs but I am not involved in that. I will probably be posted and made aware if something is happening. We will all have to wait and see what happens."

Lingard and Martial have found themselves further down the pecking order as the season has worn on.

With teenager Anthony Elanga coming into the side, even Marcus Rashford has had to settle for a role on the bench, scoring as a substitute in United's past two matches.

"We have a lot of wingers and outstanding players in that position," Rangnick. "Jadon [Sancho] was not available [against West Ham], but we have a lot of players for those two positions, and Marcus is one of them.

"Right now, yes, he scored twice in two consecutive games when he came from the bench, but of course his ambition is to play regularly from the start.

"And if he continuously plays on a high level and scores goals, of course this is the best way back in the team and to play from the beginning."

Real Madrid's squad is already packed with a magnitude of talent – and it could become even stronger should Erling Haaland arrive from Borussia Dortmund later this year.

Haaland has scored 78 goals in his two years with Dortmund – only Robert Lewandowski (107) has more in Europe's top five leagues – and would be a major coup for Madrid.

But while the Spanish giants remain confident of bringing in the in-demand striker from Dortmund, it could have a negative knock-on effect.


TOP STORY - HAALAND IN, BENZEMA OUT?

Karim Benzema is a much-loved figure at the Santiago Bernabeu and is enjoying another impressive campaign, but El Nacional claims that Madrid risk losing the Frenchman.

The report suggests that Benzema does not like the fact that president Florentino Perez is so fixated on bringing in a new player to lead Los Blancos' attack from next season.

While the 34-year is not currently seeking an exit, that could change should Madrid reach a pre-contract agreement with Haaland in the coming weeks, as has been suggested.

Benzema would not feel the need to move on should Kylian Mbappe join, though, as he considers that case to be different given the PSG striker is set to become a free agent.


ROUND-UP

Barcelona accept that it is increasingly likely Ousmane Dembele will leave Camp Nou as a free agent at the end of the season. According to Sport, Manchester United and Juventus have held talks with the player's camp, while Chelsea and Bayern Munich have an outside shot of signing the forward.

Arsenal have made their first move to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, with Corriere Della Sera reporting that the Gunners have tabled an offer of £50million (€60m) plus Lucas Torreira, who is currently on loan with the Serie A side.

Chelsea are interested in signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan as they look to bolster their full-back ranks. However, Fabrizio Romano claims that the Blues have not yet officially opened talks with PSG.

– Calciomercato reports that Man Utd forward Anthony Martial has emerged as a January target for Juventus. The France international has struggled for games this season and has openly admitted he wants to find a new club this month.

Everton are on the lookout for a new manager after parting company with Rafael Benitez on Sunday and hope to make a swift appointment. According to ESPN, former boss Roberto Martinez – now in charge of the Belgium national team – is the leading candidate to take over.

Newcastle United have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood this window, but The Telegraph reports that they have been knocked back in their bid to bring in Donny van de Beek on loan. The Man Utd midfielder is said to have been put off by the Magpies' position in the Premier League.

Ralf Rangnick has told Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek to sit tight and wait for their chances to come at Manchester United.

The United interim boss, who expects to have Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire back for Saturday's Premier League match at Aston Villa, knows Henderson and Van de Beek have been considering leaving Old Trafford.

Speaking in a news conference on Friday, Rangnick made the case that goalkeeper Henderson and midfielder Van de Beek can be useful assets for the Red Devils over the closing months of the season.

He described Henderson as a "fantastic" shot-stopper, but recognised he wanted Premier League game time that cannot be guaranteed at United. The Englishman has played just twice for United this term, neither appearance coming in the league.

Rangnick also knows Van de Beek is hungry for first-team football for the sake of his Netherlands career, with the World Cup coming up in Qatar at the end of the year.

Addressing Henderson's situation initially, Rangnick said: "I told him that I would like him to stay because he's a fantastic goalkeeper. In training yesterday, he had another couple of fantastic saves.

"I really like to have him on board, as one of three top goalkeepers. I can fully understand that he wants to play because he's in an age where, as a goalkeeper, he should regularly play.

"On the other hand, we are still in three competitions, we need the three goalkeepers we have right now. I told him that, but I can also, on the other hand, understand his desire to get game-time elsewhere in the Premier League."

David de Gea has reasserted himself as United's first choice between the posts, after Henderson played 13 Premier League games last season, while the other senior goalkeeper on United's books is third-choice Tom Heaton.

Henderson was not involved in the FA Cup clash with Villa on Monday, when United took a nervy 1-0 win in the third round. De Gea started that game and Heaton was the substitute goalkeeper, with Rangnick saying it was illness that kept Henderson out of the game.

Van de Beek came off the bench in the 72nd minute to strengthen a midfield that was being over-run.

The former Ajax man could be practically assured of regular involvement at another club, but at United he has been used just seven times in the Premier League this term. All those appearances have been as a substitute, with Van de Beek spending a meagre total of 68 minutes on the pitch.

"It's the same situation as it is with Dean," said Rangnick. "I'm glad to have him in the squad."

The former RB Leipzig boss said he spoke to Van de Beek after training two weeks ago.

"I told him I would advise him to stay until the end of the season. He wants to play in the World Cup for his country and [Netherlands coach] Louis van Gaal obviously told him that in order to be a regular starter for the World Cup, he needs to regularly play for his team," Rangnick said.

"I can understand his desire to play; on the other hand, we have a lot of competition in our squad in exactly those positions."

United were without Maguire and Ronaldo for the cup clash with Villa, so to have them back adds experience and quality at each end of the pitch, albeit with neither man having been at the height of his powers in recent weeks.

Across his career, Ronaldo has been involved in 11 goals in nine Premier League starts against Villa (eight goals, three assists). That is the most goals he has scored (eight) and been involved in (11) against a specific opponent in the competition.

Jadon Sancho and Phil Jones should also be up for selection after being absent for the FA Cup game.

"I think they will be available," Rangnick said of his quartet. "They only trained yesterday for the first time, Cristiano yesterday, Harry the day before yesterday.

"We have to wait for the final session this afternoon but as it seems right now, they should be available for tomorrow."

While the signs are positive there, United will be hampered by one-match suspensions for Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay that rule both out of the Villa Park game.

Villa have not won any of their last 22 home league games against United (D7 L15) since a 3-1 victory in August 1995. That ranks as the longest winless home run any side has had against another in English Football League and Premier League history, according to Opta.

However, Villa scored a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in September, with Bruno Fernandes missing a last-gasp penalty, and will be attempting to win consecutive league games against United for the first time since November 1976.

They last did the league double over the Red Devils in 1954-55. A United win would be their 300th away from home in the Premier League, making them the first side to reach that mark.

Donny van de Beek has struggled to make much of an impression since his £35million move to Manchester United from Ajax in September 2020.

The Netherlands international was overlooked for regular selection by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and is also a fringe player under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

But Van de Beek, who previously starred in a talented Ajax side, could be offered a route out of Old Trafford this month.


TOP STORY – DORTMUND, NEWCASTLE IN FOR VAN DE BEEK

Van de Beek is reportedly considering a move away in order to win back his place in the Netherlands side.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Bundesliga heavyweights Dortmund and Premier League strugglers Newcastle United are possible suitors for the midfielder.

However, United will have the final say on any loan deal, which would not be expected to contain an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has featured 49 times for the Red Devils – just 19 of those being starts – since arriving at the club 16 months ago.


ROUND-UP

– Barcelona will make one final effort to sign Alvaro Morata this month, according to Sport. Memphis Depay could be used as part of any deal.

– Liverpool want to sign Jarrod Bowen and the West Ham forward is keen on the move, says Football Insider. It will not be in January, though.

– Desperate for a replacement for Kieran Trippier, Atletico Madrid are interested in Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, according to AS.

– Tuttomercatoweb says Arthur is keen on the idea of joining Arsenal on loan, but Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri have yet to okay any departure.

– Meanwhile, TMW also claims Paulo Dybala is not yet prepared to listen to offers from other clubs, with a contract summit with Juventus set for February.

– The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal are frontrunners to sign Youri Tielemans after Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers admitted the midfielder may leave the club.

Manchester United's Champions League campaign has been one of the finest of margins, to say the least.

A shock defeat at Wednesday's opponents Young Boys on matchday one was a dreadful start, and at numerous occasions in their following two matches they appeared to be in trouble again.

They needed late winners from Cristiano Ronaldo at home to both Villarreal and Atalanta, coming back from 2-0 down at half-time against the Italians.

Ronaldo then got a last-gasp equaliser away to Atalanta to salvage a 2-2 draw. Had he not delivered the goods on that occasion, United would have gone to Villarreal on matchday five knowing they could be eliminated there and then.

As it was, they ultimately left Spain with a 2-0 win thanks to a couple of goals in the final 12 minutes, with Michael Carrick – who had taken up a caretaker manager position after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal – ensuring United finished top of the group.

Ralf Rangnick will be United's third manager of the group stage when Young Boys visit, and he has the luxury of being able to rest certain players and give others a chance to impress.

So, who will be hoping for a rare opportunity?

Dean Henderson

It wasn't perfect, but Henderson's first season in the Man United first team last term was promising. David de Gea suffered a knee injury that allowed the academy product his first serious run in the side after previously impressing on loan at Sheffield United.

He featured 26 times for the Red Devils across all competitions, keeping as many clean sheets (12) as De Gea despite playing 10 matches fewer.

De Gea prevented fractionally more goals over the season (1.9 to 1.6), according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) data, although Henderson boasted a better save percentage (75.8 to 66.4).

This season, due to injury and illness – and De Gea's improved form – Henderson has only managed a single appearance.

With rumours linking him with a loan move to Ajax in January, it's certainly a good time to start getting minutes again, whether that's to improve his standing at United or put himself in the shop window.

Donny Van de Beek

As with Henderson, Rangnick confirmed Van de Beek will start on Wednesday, which will make it five appearances since Solskjaer was sacked; up until that point, the former Ajax midfielder had played in just six games all season.

It's been well publicised how Van de Beek's career seemingly stalled after joining United, making only four Premier League starts in 2020-21, despite costing just over £40million, and falling out of favour at international level.

Solskjaer appeared unsure how best to utilise Van de Beek's talents, but at the very least he looks set for a few more opportunities under Rangnick.

He's one of several who have been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, but an eye-catching display against Young Boys might just provide Rangnick with proof Van de Beek can be a valuable option in midfield.

Jesse Lingard

Everything was looking promising for Lingard at the start of the season. He'd returned from a remarkable loan spell at West Ham and Solskjaer was talking a good game about how much football the attacking midfielder was going to get.

Fast forward to the present day... Lingard has racked up just 87 minutes in the Premier League, with those coming across eight brief substitute appearances.

This has hardly been ideal given United apparently rejected bids of around £25m for Lingard in pre-season because Solskjaer wanted him for the first team; additionally, the England man's contract expires at the end of the season, so if they cannot convince him that he'll be playing, the club looks certain to lose a valuable asset for free.

Last season reminded everyone Lingard is not lacking talent. Between his Hammers debut in February and the end of 2020-21, the 28-year-old scored nine times in the Premier League, a haul bettered by just five players.

Only one of those was a penalty, leaving him with a non-penalty expected goals (xG) outperformance of 4.7, the second-best record in that time. Of course, such form isn't necessarily sustainable, but it speaks to how effective Lingard can be when he has the belief of his manager.

Rangnick would do well to recognise that.

Amad Diallo

It's been a difficult season for Ivory Coast winger Amad. He was about to go on loan at the start of the season before an injury robbed him of that opportunity.

He returned to the pitch for United's Under-23s at the end of October and has played two games for them, netting a couple of goals against Leeds United.

United are well-stocked in the wide positions, which provides another obstacle, but Amad has been on the bench twice in the past few weeks under Carrick – against Villarreal and Arsenal.

One would expect United to arrange another loan move for Amad in January, but before then he may just represent something of a wildcard option for the new manager.

Teden Mengi

Centre-back Mengi has been highly rated at United for a while and even spent the second half of last season on loan at Derby County.

It seemed likely he'd return to Pride Park for 2021-22, but a deal was apparently scuppered by Derby's financial woes, with Mengi instead staying with United's Under-23s.

Mengi spent the pre-season with the first team and featured for Solskjaer's side, although that did not translate to any minutes in competitive action.

But with Raphael Varane not ready to return from injury and Phil Jones not registered in the Champions League, United's senior options at centre-back are limited to just Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.

If Rangnick does want wholesale changes, which has been suggested, Mengi may be a surprise starter – and what an opportunity it would represent for the 19-year-old.

Ralf Rangnick insisted Manchester United can only succeed with development as he declared there is more room for improvement ahead of the visit of Young Boys.

United head into their final Champions League Group F game with their place in the knockout stage already confirmed and with new interim manager Rangnick in charge for his first European game with the Red Devils.

The former RB Leipzig coach and director oversaw a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday before Wednesday's clash against Young Boys, who have not won away in the European Cup/Champions League since August 1960.

But Rangnick refused to get ahead of himself as he pinpointed development and regaining confidence as the key factors to initial success.

"As Nemanja [Matic] said, if you win games it is the best tool to regain confidence," Rangnick told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"[The] last four games, three wins, one draw. It is about regaining confidence. Players have to buy in. I can tell them whatever I want. They need to make my idea of football their own. The first step has been taken, then it is about the next ones.

"Success can only be achieved with development, if we can develop the team in next six months.

"[Sunday] showed how the team can play [but there is] still room to improve. The first clean sheet at Old Trafford since April, it was clear where the priorities should be.

"At the end, successful hopefully means playing in the Champions League, and the FA Cup [Aston Villa in the third round] is not an easy draw. It's like another Premier League game."

Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing his own record as he looks to repeat the feat of scoring in all six group stage games in the competition, having done so for Real Madrid in 2017-18 – the only previous instance of this happening.

Only former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has ever enjoyed a longer scoring streak for United in the Champions League (nine goals in 2003, six in 2002) than Ronaldo (five), but it remains unclear whether the former Madrid man will start.

Rangnick, while hinting at rotation of his side at Old Trafford, did confirm that Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson would be involved.

"Well to start with they will both play tomorrow, in the first XI," Rangnick said of Henderson and Van de Beek. "Donny came on as a sub last Sunday. Dean is a very ambitious goalkeeper, we need two.

"I haven't finally decided [the team] but it makes sense we will rest a few players due to the crowded fixture list.

"We need to make sure we have as many recovered players as possible but also need the positive momentum. The first game in this group we lost at Young Boys, so we need to make up for that."

Asked for an update on Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani, Rangnick added: "They both cannot play tomorrow but they were part of the training today. Edi even yesterday, Rapha the first time.

"Expect them both in full training next week, they are both top players. It is also about sustainability. It would be great to have them as soon as possible, but obviously we have to think for the rest of season."

Denis Zakaria looms as an attractive signing, with his contract due to expire.

The Borussia Monchengladbach star is not short of admirers.

Liverpool and Barcelona are reportedly vying for his signature.

 

TOP STORY – ZAKARIA TO LIVERPOOL OR BARCA?

Liverpool lead Barcelona in the pursuit to sign Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria, according to El Nacional.

Zakaria is available on a free transfer at the end of the season and the Switzerland international has been heavily linked with Jose Mourinho's Roma.

He has also reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, however, Premier League giants Liverpool and LaLiga powerhouse Barca are believed to be set to battle it out.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Anfield and Fichajes claims Liverpool have joined the race to prise Adama Traore from Wolves. Traore has also been linked with Barca and Juventus.

Paul Pogba is unlikely to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club abroad, says The Athletic. Pogba's United contract expires at the end of the season and Frenchman has been tipped to join either Real Madrid, Juve or Paris Saint-Germain.

- Premier League champions City are working to re-sign Riyad Mahrez, per The Sun. PSG are reportedly eyeing the Algeria international, who is contracted to City until 2023.

Newcastle United are set to make a move for Donny van de Beek, according to El Nacional. Van de Beek has found his chances limited at Manchester United and Newcastle are ready to pounce.

- After appointing Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season, The Times claims United's interim manager is targeting RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara.

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