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RED DEVILS LATEST 23:56, 7 Dec 2021Updated: 23:56, 7 Dec 2021MANCHESTER UNITED goalkeeper Dean Henderson is reportedly a target for Dutch giants Ajax.

The England stopper has been unable to displace David De Gea as No1 at United and is keen for first team opportunities.

Meanwhile, Ralf Rangnick will have to continue his search for an assistant elsewhere after Man Utd’s approach for Gerhard Struber was unsuccessful, SunSport can reveal.

The New York Red Bulls boss – who is a close friend of Rangnick – has turned down the approach as he doesn’t want to drop back to being an assistant.

And Manchester United will host Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round after the draw was made on Monday evening.

The Red Devils last won the competition in 2016 and Rangnick will be keen to win silverware in his time at the club.

On the transfer front, we’ve the very latest on John McGinn plus an update on long-term target Ousmane Dembele.

Get all the latest Man Utd transfer news, gossip and updates here.

NO ROB JOB

Roberto Mancini has denied he’ll be Manchester United’s next boss.

The Italy and ex-Man City chief rejected claims he had a ‘verbal agreement’ to take over at a Premier League club.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport report Mancini as saying: “A verbal agreement with a Premier League club? All false.

“My only goal is to get to the World Cup and be able to win it.”

Ralf Rangnick is currently United’s interim boss until the summer but it was thought Mancini was in contention for the permanent job after that.

His priority, though, is Italy turning around a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign.

NEXT UP

Let’s take a look at United’s next five fixtures…

RANG THE CHANGES

Ralf Rangnick has told Manchester United’s fringe players ‘prove to me you have a future here’.

He said: “Everyone has the chance to perform and present himself.

“That is why I am happy to give game time to quite a few of those players to see them under pressure in a Champions League game in front of 75,000 in a sold-out stadium.

“This is a perfect opportunity to get to know the players, like I did last Sunday against Palace. We have only had a week of training so far.

“With every training session, every opportunity to see them in competitive games, I will get to know them better.”

IN THE HAT

When is the Champions League last-16 draw?

Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool are all in the hat.

And we’ve got all your questions answered!

FIND OUT EVERYTHING HERE

FROM SUNSPORT’S MARTIN LIPTON

Prem clubs fear a Christmas grounds lockdown that could ruin the Festive football programme.

Growing concerns about the snowballing spread of the Omicron Covid variant are now swirling through the top flight clubs.

Their first defence is set to be adopting Covid passports at turnstiles, meaning unvaccinated fans would not be allowed into Prem games.

But the bigger worry is that such Government “Plan B” measures will not work – leading to ANOTHER ground shutdown which would cost the game millions of pounds in revenues.

HEY JUDE

Liverpool hope to fly in under-the-radar and nab Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham while Premier League rivals are distracted by Erling Haaland.

But any move would likely cost the Reds a whopping club-record £90million.

Meanwhile, several of Liverpool’s rivals are thought to be intent on landing his team-mate Haaland instead.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City are understood to be tracking the prolific striker, who has a £64million release clause.

FUTURE’S BRIGHT

Man Utd boast not one but TWO of Europe’s best players under the age of 23.

That’s according to the CIES Football Observatory, who rank Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho in the top 10!

MO SO LONG?

Liverpool are in very real danger of losing Mohamed Salah, with his contract expiring in 2023.

Should Salah and Liverpool fail to come to an agreement, the club are likely to cash in this summer rather than risk losing their star man for nothing.

And interestingly, the Egyptian has revealed he would ‘prefer’ to stay in the Premier League for the rest of his career.

But where could Salah end up if he goes to an English rival?

TAKE A LOOK HERE

THROUGH THE LENSE

Ralf Ragnick admits he’s delighted to add psychologist Sascha Lense to his backroom staff at Man Utd.

Rangnick beamed: “I am very happy to have Sascha on board. He is hands on. He is not working too much on the theory, he is hands on, part of the training session. 

“Having worked together at Leipzig I know we will benefit a lot. For me it is vital that we should have the best possible person on this job.

“It’s about gaining confidence and believing in the way we are playing. The players have to buy in.

“I can tell them whatever I want but I need to convince them. I need to get into their heart, into their brains, into their blood.”

DENNIS THE MENACE

Emmanuel Dennis’ agent Drew Uyi has declared the Watford striker could have been plying his trade at Arsenal or Manchester United.

He said: “Arsenal were interested (in signing Dennis) in the past.

“Manchester United were also interested, but Club Brugge wanted a ridiculous fee for him.

“They wanted £25m, while these clubs were prepared to pay £15m.

“In the end he joined Watford for £3.4m because his contract was running out. He was frustrated at Club Brugge.

“He was not happy because no young man would be if he were stopped from such opportunities.”

BRAIN GAME

Ralf Rangnick says he is going to programme the Manchester United players’ brains to become champions again.

He said: “For me it is a question of logic. If you have special coaches for goalkeeping, physical education, even for strikers, fitness, whatever, you should also have an expert for the brain.

“It’s not so much putting them on the red sofa and holding hands for the players because most of them won’t do that anyway.

“For me it is about helping the players know that the brain should assist the body not to work against it.

“The players and everybody in our team should think in the right way.

“Whenever we speak about football we know that the major part is up here, in the head. What do you think? How do you analyse a situation?”

PERFECT TEN

Man City and Man United look set for a bidding war over Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, reports suggest.

According to the Telegraph, Ten Hag’s incredible work has attracted the attention of City after manager Pep Guardiola announced last summer that he intends to leave the club in 2023 when his contract expires.

Ten Hag is among the Citizens’ top candidates to take over at the Etihad if the Spanish head coach decides to leave.

But rivals United are also keeping tabs on the former Utrecht manager shortly after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

RALF DECISIONS

Here’s another way Man Utd could line up against Young Boys tomorrow…

TAKING THE MIC

Former Man Utd star Michael Owen is backing Ralf Rangnick to make it two wins from two games against Young Boys tomorrow.

He told the BetVictor Blog: “It wasn’t emphatic but Ralf Rangnick will have been delighted to start his tenure in charge with a win on Sunday. 

“United lost away to Young Boys so will take this one seriously. 

“I can’t see them slipping up again here, 2-1 United.”

EURO STARS

Man Utd boss Ralf Rangnick could ring the changes for tomorrow’s Champions League clash against Young Boys.

The Red Devils have already booked their spot in the knockout stages.

And it could open the door for several fringe players to get a rare outing…

STRU ARE YA?

Gerhard Struber has confirmed he is snubbing Man Utd to stay in New York.

He said: “There has been a request.

“It’s no secret that Ralf Rangnick and us know and appreciate us well and appreciate very much.

“At the same time I have in New York, which also makes me look very hopefully into the future and therefore I do not want to give up with New York overnight.

“I have a longer-term contract there and still have a lot of goals with an ambitious team.”

NEXT UP

Let’s take a look at United’s next five games…

HE’S A KEEPER

Dean Henderson is being eyed by Ajax, who want to sign him on loan in January.

According to the Manchester Evening News, talks between the Dutch champions and United were held while former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still in charge.

Reports from the Netherlands confirm the Eredivisie giants’ interest and claim they also enquired about Henderson 18 months ago when his loan spell at Sheffield United came to an end.

The goalkeeper has been limited to just one appearance across all competitions so far this term after contracting COVID-19 during pre-season.

The 24-year-old is expected to start for the Red Devils on Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Young Boys at Old Trafford but wants more regular playing time.

That is why the England international is open to going out on loan for six or even 18 months.

It appears like he wouldn’t be against a permanent move either but new interim manager Ralf Rangnick appears unsure about letting him go.

Henderson is keen to impress Rangnick, who hasn’t decided what to do with him in January but will be showing intent if he starts him against Young Boys.

ED-ING OFF

Edison Cavani is moving closer towards a transfer to Barcelona in the January window, according to reports.

The 34-year-old Manchester United striker has started just two Premier League games so far this season.

And while he has suffered a couple of fitness problems, it looks now as if he is going to be third in line behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford.

New Red Devils boss Ralf Rangnick started life as United manager by partnering Rashford and Ronaldo up front together in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Cavani’s contract at Old Trafford expires in the summer after he signed a one-year extension at the end of last season.

And, according to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona see Cavani as an option as they look to bring in a recognised, proven striker that they can describe as a ‘killer’.

Sergio Aguero is considering retiring from football due to a heart problem, while new manager Xavi reportedly does not like the look of Luke de Jong.

And Memphis Depay is not considered an out and out No9, so the Catalan giants are searching for someone of the calibre of Cavani.

CHRIS-TAL CLEAR

Ralf Rangnick has confirms Chris Armas and Sascha Lense will join his coaching staff.

German coach Rangnick took charge of the Red Devils last week on an interim basis until the end of the season before beginning a role as a consultant.

Michael Carrick, who assisted the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was placed as caretaker but left the club last week after the win over Arsenal.

That left Rangnick, who led United to a victory over Crystal Palace in his first game in charge yesterday, needing to add to his staff.

‘THAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE’

Gary Neville has explained how Ralf Rangnick’s new ‘box midfield’ is designed to stop Manchester United conceding.

The Red Devils beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday in the German’s first game in charge and Neville has heaped praise on his old club’s new disciplined look.

Speaking on Sky on Monday night, Nev said: “We’ll start with the classic box at the back, McTominay, Fred and the two centre-backs.

“No problem.

“It’s very difficult to counter-attack against that if you’ve got those four players compact together.

“The problem was with Man Utd and the reason I respected the 60 minutes yesterday was that after not scoring for 30 minutes, it’s easy for one of those midfield players to get drawn forward.

“It’s easy for one of them payers to come out of position and leave the centre-backs exposed.

“And that’s what happened against Aston Villa.

“Having to run back at Old Trafford… it feels like a massive pitch. Jamie will tell you that from when he played there.

“You have to sustain attacks in football and you’ve got to stop teams counter-attacking on you or it eats away at your confidence.

“And that was the difference yesterday.

“You had the box, so when Man Utd gave the ball away in the attacking third, they’d committed players forward.

“But as the ball got given away by Fred, those four players are there straight away to be able to sort out Crystal Palace.”

JOHN TOP OF THINGS

John McGinn is still on Manchester United’s radar as they prepare for a new future under Ralf Rangnick.

SunSport previously revealed United’s interest in the summer of 2019, with Sir Alex Ferguson a big fan of McGinn.

Villa would not have considered a bid of less than £50m back then — and would want even more now.

McGinn has three and a half years left to run on the deal he signed at Villa Park last December.

The Scotland international, 27, has scored three goals and provided one assist in 13 Premier League games so far this term.

His ability on the ball plus coolness under pressure is something United scouts are understood to have noted.

That’s in addition to his ability to play a high pressing style so valued by new boss Rangnick.

ON THE HORIZON

United’s next fixture sees them host Young Boys tomorrow.

They then travel to Norwich at the weekend.

And United then have clashes with Brentford, Brighton and Newcastle to follow.

RED RECRUIT

Ralf Rangnick has reportedly made his first appointment at Manchester United by recruiting Chris Armas.

German coach Rangnick took charge of the Red Devils last week on an interim basis until the end of the season before beginning a role as a consultant.

Michael Carrick, who assisted the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was placed as caretaker but left the club last week after the win over Arsenal.

That left Rangnick, who led United to a victory over Crystal Palace in his first game in charge yesterday, needing to add to his staff.

The 63-year-old interim manager is understood to have contacted New York Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber regarding a role at Old Trafford.

Now ESPN’s Taylor Twellman has claimed that Rangnick has turned to American coach Armas.

It’s claimed the 49-year-old is joining United’s coaching team, and he could potentially be No.2.

He has been granted a work permit and will travel to England in the next few days to take up the position.

TOON TARGET

Jesse Lingard could become Newcastle’s highest-paid player as they line up a January transfer, according to reports.

The Manchester United midfielder, 28, is out of contract at Old Trafford next summer.

And the Red Devils risk losing him for free at the end of season after negotiations over an extension broke down in November.

But according to The Times, the Toon have made him their No1 target and would be prepared to offer a ‘substantial transfer fee’.

They would also want to make Lingard the top earner in their history.

Miguel Almiron currently holds that title with his £100,000-a-week package at St James’ Park.

However, following the club’s Saudi takeover, they have cash to spend.

And they need players who will hit the ground running.

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