Manchester United fans hoped Ralf Rangnick would be busy signing players in the January transfer window but the interim manager is using much of his time stopping a number from leaving
From tactical distress to dressing room displeasure, the interim Red Devils manager will need to tackle his lengthy list of problems before things go from bad to worse, and the January transfer window presented an opportunity to reshuffle the squad.
But rather than sign players like supporters have pined for, it seems Rangnick is busy blocking exits for a number of men who want to leave Old Trafford and convincing them to stay – successfully so in Edinson Cavani‘s case amid interest from Barcelona.
United have often struggled to offload players thanks to their mega-money contracts, although there has been plenty of interest in the likes of Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Dean Henderson of late.
Join the debate! Who should Man Utd sell in January? Comment your picks below.
One would fairly assume that Rangnick and co may well be delighted to lighten the wage budget and cast off fringe players, but the acclaimed German coach is not willing to sanction any moves without them being on his and the club’s stringent terms.
But he 63-year-old rejected the goalkeeper’s plea and a likely unhappy Henderson is expected to be sticking around at Carrington for at least another five months.
And now the Red Devils have blocked another departure which may cause more discontent in the camp.
Given his agent’s crystal clear comments in December, Martial looked set to leave this month.
Old Trafford chiefs understandably wants to recoup cash for any players leaving but stubbornness is a risky strategy, especially in a Covid-affected market.
Similarly, Rangnick has told Van de Beek that he wants to keep him in Manchester despite a lack of chances, with ESPN reporting that the Red Devils would expect any club taking him on loan to cover his wages and stump up a fee.
Rangnick has expressed publicly his desire for the Dutchman not to leave, acknowledging Van de Beek’s keenness to regain his place in the Netherlands national team setup ahead of the World Cup later this year.
“So far, as I have got to know him, he has got a top mentality,” the United boss told reporters.
“He works hard in every training session. He is a team player through and through. There will be games where he will get his chance to play, I am sure.
Have your say! How did Man Utd fare against Aston Villa? Rate the players below.
“I also had a long conversation with him last week about that and again, of course, it is difficult for him right now because he also wants to play for the Dutch national team, he wants to qualify for himself and play in the World Cup in Qatar and in order to do that he needs to get game-time here.
“But I still believe we should keep him, and he should stay here, definitely until the end of this season and try to get as much game-time as he possibly can.”
Like Henderson and Martial, though, Van de Beek’s situation will only cause Rangnick problems if he continues to be on the peripheries of the starting XI – and the unrest is already becoming clear.