UNITED LATEST 19:34, 9 Nov 2021Updated: 19:34, 9 Nov 2021OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER’S reign at Manchester United is now hanging by a thread, SunSport can exclusively reveal.
The question is when not if he will be sacked by the club.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has revealed he TURNED DOWN the chance to manage Manchester United.
The legendary Arsenal boss, whose rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson was infamous, could have gone to Real Madrid or Barcelona as well.
And Phil Jones is reportedly attracting the attention of up to THIRTEEN clubs – despite not being in action for around two years.
The former England centre-back has endured a nightmare time with injuries but United have been flooded with enquiries about his availability.
Follow all the latest Man Utd news, transfer and gossip from Old Trafford below…
RON TO WATCH
Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Manchester United should they miss out on Champions League football next term, according to the Express.
Upon signing for the club he said: “I am not here for a vacation.
“As I told you, before was good, winning important things and I wore the shirt before many years ago, but I am here to win again.
“I am capable, me and my team-mates. I am ready to go, I am ready to go. It is a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead.
I am ready and I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years.”
So far, Ronaldo hasn’t disappointed.
He’s scored nine goals from 13 outings so far this term, including five in the Champions League alone.
But United are stuck in a shambolic rut under Solskjaer, who appears lost when it comes to a solution.
And, therefore, it’s certainly feasible Ronaldo will look to leave should the Red Devils continue to fall.
‘WE ALL PLAY FOR THE BADGE’
Marcus Rashford believes Manchester United have the “desire and ambition” to get out of what he has described as a “difficult patch”.
Rashford said: “The United team is the United team and we all play for the badge and the club, something for me I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid.
“And for the players that we sign, they see United as the great club it is and they want to give everything they can for the badge.
“And those things remain the same whether you’re in good spells or bad spells.
“I know at the moment we’re in a difficult patch but the desire and ambition never changes.”
Credit: PA ‘IT’S FLATTERING’
Monaco sensation Aurelien Tchouameni says he is flattered by recent transfer speculation linking him with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old, who signed from Bordeaux in January 2020, enjoyed an excellent campaign in Ligue 1 last season and has emerged as one of Europe’s best young midfielders.
He told L’Equipe: “When I started in Bordeaux, the media were already wondering every summer if Aurelien Tchouameni was going to move to a bigger club.
“It’s flattering, but I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about it.
“In 2018, they were already talking about Juventus or Milan.
“I know for a fact that what is true in October is not necessarily what’s true in June. If I start to think that I’m going to leave, it will show directly in my performances on the pitch.
Manchester United hope to gazump Chelsea’s transfer pursuit of Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, according to Spanish newspaper AS.
The Blues spent most of the summer trying to sign the France international but ultimately failed in their pursuit.
The 22-year-old is widely reported to have a release clause of around £68m and United could apparently take advantage of that clause in the January transfer window.
United are believed to have the resources available to finance the deal, despite spending big last summer.
Man Utd have had no contact with any other managers over replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The manner of their recent losses to Liverpool and Man City has seen large parts of the United fanbase turn on Solskjaer with some demanding a change of manager.
Reports over the weekend indicated that Man Utd had ‘verbally agreed’ a deal for Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers to replace Solskjaer at the helm, while France legend Zinedine Zidane and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked.
However, reliable transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims there have been “no talks” between Man Utd and any other managers about replacing the Norwegian.
Romano tweeted: “Three days after derby defeat, there are still no contacts between Manchester United board and other managers. No talks.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still supported by main part of board members. Joel Glazer only one who can change the situation – but there’s still no signal.”
DON THE WAY
Estelle Bergkamp has shown off her baby bump on holiday after last week revealing that she and partner Donny van de Beek are expecting their first child.
The Manchester United ace, 24, received the amazing news amid what’s been a miserable season on the pitch.
Van de Beek has hardly played, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer limiting him to the odd cameo appearance.
But his personal life is going better than his professional one, with partner Estelle, daughter of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, pregnant.
Van de Beek has been given the week off by Solskjaer, after being dropped from the Netherlands squad due to a lack of game time.
The Norwegian jetted off with his family yesterday – while Donny and Estelle appear to have done the same.
TO BE FRANCK
AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie has been slammed by the Italian press as they accuse the 24-year-old of being ‘distracted’ ahead of a potential transfer.
Kessie is in the final 12 months of his current contract with Milan and has been linked with a transfer move to Manchester United.
But Milan will attempt to ward off any potential interest in their star, with il Corriere dello Sport reporting this morning that the Italian giants are preparing to make a fresh attempt to tie Kessie down to a new deal.
The report goes on to highlight that the Serie A side aren’t concerned by Kessie’s inconsistent performances this term and remain determined to strike a deal over a new contract with the coveted midfielder.
CAV A BREAK
Edinson Cavani revealed he is receiving recurring treatment for a muscle problem in a fresh injury blow for Manchester United.
The Uruguay striker missed the Red Devils’ 2-0 home loss to Manchester City on Saturday with the issue.
And he is expected to be sidelined for a while as he tries to recover.
Cavani, 34, suffered similar problems in his heel at the start of the campaign after getting injured in a pre-season friendly.
He has now sought help after aggravating the pain in United’s 3-0 win at Tottenham on October 30 – the game in which he grabbed his first goal of the season – but still came off the bench against Atalanta last week.
EXCLUSIVE – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reign at Manchester United is hanging by a thread.
The question now is when not if he will be sacked by the club.
Solskjaer took advantage of the international break to fly back to Norway with his family and get away from the flak.
The mood at Old Trafford has turned to one of resignation among players and staff that he is on his way.
Solskjaer has lost six of his last 12 games including embarrassing back to back home defeat at the hands of their closest rivals.
Read more HERE.
Man Utd are plotting a £68million move for Chelsea transfer target Jules Kounde.
The Red Devils splashed out on the Sevilla star’s French international teammate Raphael Varane in the summer.
But the defender has suffered some injury woes as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continue to slump after crushing defeats to Liverpool and Man City.
Now a fresh report states they are targeting Kounde to help shore up their leaky defence – and Sevilla are fearful of receiving a bumper January offer for their prized asset.
That is according to Spanish outlet AS’s report today.
IN OR OUT?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future as Manchester United manager is one of the most pertinent questions in English football right now.
The Norwegian boss has watched his side lose four of their last six Premier League games, with the humiliations at home to Liverpool and Manchester City in particular leading to many wanting him sacked.
But his old Man Utd teammates remain divided on his future, with a number of them publicly addressing how they see Solskjaer’s current situation.
Here are just some of the opinions from those who played alongside him.
Read views from the likes of Gary Neville, Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane by clicking HERE.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not believe one of his players said Manchester United ‘lacked belief’ during their 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Man City at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian was involved in an awkward exchange with a reporter – after his side lost their sixth game in 12 on Saturday – when asked what he thought of Harry Maguire’s comments.
United captain Maguire told Croatian TV after the game: “We got punished for a first half which wasn’t aggressive and it wasn’t on the front foot.
“And we lacked that little bit of belief.”
Having heard the centre-back’s comments, experienced reporter Alison Bender put them to under-fire Solskjaer and the 48-year-old looked shocked to hear what his skipper had said.
Bender asked: “It’s always a worry as a manager when you hear your players saying that they lacked belief, particularly when you’ve got players like Cristiano Ronaldo in your side…”
A concerned looking Solskjaer interrupted and asked: “Have they said they lacked belief?!”
Read more HERE.
Jadon Sancho is reportedly being used a right wing-back in Manchester United training as he looks for regular game time.
There are several mitigating factors for his early struggles, according to the Athletic.
And while his attacking contributions have been non-existent, he has shown impressive defensive diligence when he has featured.
The England international replaced Eric Bailly at half-time of United’s 2-0 home defeat to Sancho’s old club City on Saturday.
And he showed flashes of defensive intelligence to keep the scoreline at just 2-0.
As a result of such displays, United coaches have reportedly used him as a right wing-back in training in preparation for future use of the 3-4-1-2 system Solskjaer used against City.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been criticised for his lack of attacking prowess from the right side of defence.
NEV-ER IN DOUBT
Gary Neville has hit back in defence of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand admitted the Norwegian’s time at the club may be up.
The Red Devils were humiliated at Old Trafford yet again on Saturday as they were outclassed in a 2-0 defeat to local rivals and Premier League champions Manchester City.
The loss has left many pundits scrambling for answers, with Solskjaer’s ex-teammate Ferdinand conceding the manager should ‘hand over the baton’.
In response to Rio’s comments, a social media user asked if Neville would also call for Solskjaer to be relieved of his duties or to step aside.
Speaking on Twitter, the ex-Man Utd full-back replied: “Never. Thank you for asking though.”
United have won just one of their last six Prem games, a run which includes defeats to Aston Villa, Leicester, Liverpool and Man City.
EMILE SMITH WHOA
Rio Ferdinand has likened red-hot Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe to Robert Pires and Alexander Hleb amid his incredible run of form.
Speaking about Arsenal on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “There’s a team, there’s a united team.
“There’s a togetherness that I haven’t seen at Arsenal for a long time. There’s nobody doing more right now than Emile Smith Rowe.
“He reminds me, with more end product it seems right now and I think he’ll go onto levels, his style is a little bit [Alexander] Hleb.
“He plays low, socks similar, the way he moves and manipulates the ball, can keep people off balance all game.
“He’s got a bit of Hleb about him. He’s got a Robert Pires vibe a little bit.”
Marcus Rashford today took his mum to watch him receive an MBE from Prince William for his heroic school meals campaign.
The England striker, 24, was pictured gleaming with mum Melanie in the grounds of Windsor Castle ahead of the ceremony hosted by the Duke of Cambridge.
Rashford is being recognised for his campaign which helped feed 1.3million of Britain’s poorest kids over the summer holidays.
It resulted in the Government changing policy over its free school meals vouchers during lockdown and made the striker a national hero.
Marcus previously said he was “honoured and humbled” to receive the recognition — and dedicated his award to mum Melanie.
He said of the news last year: “As a young black man from Wythenshawe, never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22.
“This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour.”
Premier League chiefs have refused to allow top flight clubs to wear their “away” shirts at home on Boxing Day as a charity scheme.
Shelter wanted all the home teams to wear their second strips for the December 26 games as a sign of support for action on homelessness.
Brighton and Wolves are understood to be the keenest to take part, although other clubs signalled their willingness to support the initiative.
Shelter have pushed for the move, asking clubs to back their attempt to transform the Boxing day short swap into an annual event.
The charity, which says homelessness has rocketed since the start of the pandemic, also hoped that the unworn home shorts could be signed and auctioned off to raise funds.
But League chiefs blocked the initiative, pointing to the Prem rulebook which explicitly states clubs must wear home shirts for home games.
Rule M 22.1 states: In selecting the choice of Strip the following order of precedence shall apply unless authorised by the Board: 1st priority: the outfield players of the Home Club who shall wear their home Strip.”
Man Utd are fearing a Paul Pogba injury blow after he pulled out of the France squad.
The 28-year-old picked up a thigh injury in training on Monday and was ruled out of both internationals against Kazakhstan and Finland.
RMC Sport report that he faces eight to 10 weeks on the sidelines.
The French nation tweeted: “Paul Pogba has suffered an injury to the quadriceps of the right thigh and is forced to miss the next two matches.
“To replace him, Didier Deschamps called on Jordan Veretout.”
And United added: “Paul Pogba has been released from the French national team following a thigh muscle injury sustained in training.
“He will return to Manchester for treatment and further evaluation.”
Arsenal chiefs met with Cristiano Ronaldo in a backstreet restaurant to discuss the possibility of him joining the club before he agreed to sign for Manchester United.
Former Gunners vice-chairman David Dein revealed: “We are now turning the clock back when Cristiano was 17 and playing in the Portuguese Under-19 team.
“He was spotted by our chief scout. Arsene [Wenger] said: ‘Look, do you want to go over and see him play?’ I said: ‘Yeah sure, I’ll go across’.
“I went with our chief scout and I remember seeing the Portuguese Under-19 team play and Cristiano did really well.
“Then the agent, who was with us at the time, said: ‘Well, believe it or not he is going to meet us for dinner afterwards’.
“We had a dinner at a sort of a curb-side restaurant. He was a really nice guy and he actually gave me his shirt. It’s one of several shirts that I’ve got hanging in my cupboard at home. He gave me his shirt that he played in.
“We discussed a little bit of money and the agent said: ‘Well, let him think about it overnight’. Then Cristiano said: ‘I’ve got to go now, my bus is going’.
“He jumped on his bus and he went home. The following day I was discussing with the agent and about six hours later Manchester United blew us out of the water.
“That was the Cristiano Ronaldo story. I think we were being used a little bit as a stalking house, because I think he was always going to go to Manchester United at the time.”
OFF ON OLE-DAY
Man Utd’s squad and staff were reportedly surprised to be given the week off by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The under-fire manager of the Red Devils was spotted yesterday as he prepared to fly back to Norway with his family.
Last Saturday’s defeat to City in the Manchester derby piled even more pressure on Solskjaer.
It left United in sixth-place in the Premier League and already nine points behind leaders Chelsea after just 11 matches.
But with most of United’s squad on international duty, Solskjaer opted to give the players and his backroom team a break rather than putting on extra training for them.
The Daily Mail claims that was ‘unexpected considering the crisis at Old Trafford’ with six losses from their last 12 games.
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman has weighed in on who could replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd should the Norwegian gaffer be sacked.
He told horseracing.net: “I can’t see Brendan [Rodgers] going there. I think he’s got the credentials, yes, but I think his history with Liverpool would be too much for everybody.
“I haven’t spoken to Zizou [Zinedine Zidane] in a while but I don’t think he speaks English and I don’t know whether it’s a job that would appeal to him.
“He leads a lovely lifestyle in Madrid and uprooting and coming to Manchester would be a big ask for him and his family. I think managing in France, in Paris, or at Juventus would be more in tune to Zizou.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Manchester United went back and got Mauricio Pochettino.
“Anyone who works at Paris Saint-Germain for a couple of years has normally had enough of it! And Poch would probably be the man because of his knowledge and experience of England and the Premier League.
“Brendan and Zizou are more than capable and they’ve got better CV’s than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But Ole knows Man Utd and it looks as if the club are going to stick with him, certainly for the foreseeable future.”
Paul Parker has claimed how Harry Maguire’s performances for England at Euro 2020 were overrated.
He remarked: “He did OK during the Euros, but you have to remember the quality of players he was up against – it was far less compared to the Premier League.
“People say he had a great summer for England but his only real test was in the final against Italy, and he was found wanting against them positionally.
“He was caught out a few times then as he is in the Premier League, and as he was against Leicester.”
Before adding: “He’s one of those players that, as that Leicester fixture showed, has to be 100 per cent physically, otherwise he isn’t right in the head.
“That’s why he was so bad in that game. I’m just wondering if he pushed to play in that game because it was his old club and he wanted to play in front of the fans there as a Manchester United player.”
IT’S A MAG-NESS
Man Utd title winner Paul Parker says Harry Maguire should be stripped of the club captaincy.
Maguire got the armband in January 2020 just five months after joining from Leicester following Ashley Young’s departure to Inter Milan.
But outspoken Parker said: “Manchester United gave Harry Maguire the captain’s armband too early.
“It surprised a lot of people, it didn’t make any sense and it hasn’t been a good fit from day one.
“With captains, it isn’t about who has the biggest transfer fee or who’s the best player. There’s much more to it than that.
“He isn’t the right player to be a captain of Manchester United at this moment in time and he has a lot in his game that needs rectifying.”
GOOD MORNING RED DEVILS FANS
Erik Ten Hag is being eyed as a potential replacement for under-pressure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Manchester United hot seat.
But tempting the current Ajax boss to Old Trafford will be no mean feat.
The Independent reports Ten Hag is reluctant to leave the reigning Dutch champions in the middle of the season.
The 51-year-old has been in charge at the Johan Cruyff Arena since 2017 and is known to have the utmost respect for his employers.
Meanwhile, Paul Pogba pulled out of a France training session after picking up a thigh injury during a shooting drill.
The United midfielder, 28, was practising his finishing in a one-on-one scenario.
He played the pass into a coach who then flicked it up on the edge of the area.
And Pogba dragged his shot wide of the post from inside the D.
But as he made contact with the ball, the World Cup winner immediately let out a groan of pain.
And after a few metres of slow, hobbled walking, Pogba keeled over in pain before limping gingerly off the pitch.
Finally, Man Utd boss Solskjaer is reportedly set to STAY in charge – for the Watford game at least.
According to The Athletic ‘there remains no indication from the club hierarchy that a change is imminent’.
That means the Norwegian will take charge for United’s next Premier League game at home to Watford on November 20.
The club’s owners, the Glazer family, still want Solskjaer to succeed, ‘but it is unclear for how long that desire can override reality’.
Let’s take a look at United’s next five games after the international break…