Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd get trial by fire in Spain as Prem quartet learn Champions League fate

Steve Pearson
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, October 2021

Manchester United face a stern test against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, while Liverpool and Chelsea will square off against two national champions in the Champions League Round of 16.

The draw had initially taken place earlier on Monday morning. However, a series of errors throughout the process culminated in UEFA chalking off the ties after United were initially drawn against an ineligible opponent to spark mass confusion.

At the second time of asking, England had their full compliment of clubs represented in the draw for the Round of 16 stage. Liverpool led the way, becoming the first English side to win all six of their group stage matches.

They were joined in the draw as group winners by Manchester City and Manchester United. City finished one point ahead of PSG to nab top spot, while United beat out Unai Emery’s Villarreal by the same margin.

The one surprise came in the form of Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel’s side let a 3-2 lead slip in the final group clash with Zenit St Petersburg to set up the possibility of a nightmare tie in the R16.

Nonetheless, Chelsea escaped relatively unscathed when drawing French champions Lille. Manchester City were also handed a kind tie with Sporting Lisbon.

Liverpool and Manchester United’s draw looked decidedly harder on paper. The Reds will square off against Serie A kings Inter Milan, while United will take on Diego Simeone’s well-drilled Atletico Madrid.

Champions League draw in full

RB Salzburg v Bayern Munich

Sporting Lisbon v Manchester City

Benfica v Ajax

Chelsea v Lille

Atletico Madrid v Manchester United

Villarreal v Juventus

Inter Milan v Liverpool

PSG v Real Madrid

The first legs will be played on February 15, 16, 22 and 23. The second legs will be played on March 8, 9, 15 and 16.

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Rangnick wants release clause paid for Chelsea, Liverpool target

Meanwhile, Ralf Rangnick wants Manchester United to pay the release clause of Barcelona prospect Gavi.

That’s according to Tódófíchíájés, who claim the midfielder was one of the transfer options Rangnick presented to the club when first getting involved.

Still only 17, he has a big future ahead of him. It remains to be seen where he will be spending it, as he has already attracted transfer interest from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.

Barca only have him under contract until 2023 and are trying to extend his deal, which also contains a €50m release clause. The Spanish report claims Man Utd would be capable of meeting this asking price and Rangnick intends for them to do so.

He supposedly has instructed United chiefs that Gavi could “cement the future of the club”. Even though a deal would be “complicated”, the report claims it is not impossible.

Barca’s financial situation means they are struggling to appease Gavi’s agent at present. The option for them to cash in may be too good to turn down, even if they would later come to regret it.

United are hoping they can take advantage and offer him a contract that would be “unattainable” for his current club. But they will have to wait until the summer to find out what the decision will be.