Manchester United technical director Darren Fletcher is reportedly acting as a peacekeeper between interim boss Ralf Rangnick and his players in a bid to get the team back on track.
There have been widespread reports of disharmony in the Red Devils changing room, heightening tensions given some poor results on the pitch in recent weeks for Rangnick’s men.
However, in a bid to try and resolve issues and secure a Champions League place, The Sun reports that Fletcher has been doing his bit to ease that tension between staff and players.
There have reports of Rangnick being annoyed at the players for failing to grasp his high-pressing tactics. The German’s coaching methods have also been questioned.
But Fletcher is highly respected in the dressing room is doing his best to keep the peace.
The Scot, who spent 12 years as a player at Old Trafford, has his work cut out though. United’s 4-1 defeat to bitter rivals Manchester City last weekend was a new low for the club.
Cristiano Ronaldo was also missing for that game after reports stated he had flown to Portugal with an injury after Rangnick decided not to hand him a start.
Marcus Rashford is also said to be considering his future. The England man was left on the bench as Rangnick started Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba started up front at City.
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The Red Devils will have their chance to get back on track against Tottenham on Saturday evening.
Antonio Conte’s men are also vying for a top-four spot in what will be a huge game this weekend.
Man Utd handed potential Araujo boost
Meanwhile, Man Utd face fresh competition to sign Barcelona ace Ronald Araujo, though the latest Chelsea developments could indirectly aid their cause, per reports.
Man Utd are facing a summer of upheaval in multiple departments. The club will appoint a new permanent manager with Ralf Rangnick moving upstairs into a consultancy role. Regarding the playing squad, wholesale changes could be made.
The biggest churn could come in the forwards. Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani could all leave as free agents. Furthermore, rumblings of a premature Cristiano Ronaldo exit are gathering pace. Retaining the Portuguese icon without Champions League football on offer will be difficult.
United do not lack for options at the other end of the pitch, though whether those in place are good enough is another matter entirely.
Harry Maguire is enduring his worst season at Old Trafford to date. Whether the club will persist with the struggling centre-half beyond the summer remains to be seen. Questions also remain as to whether back-up options Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are of the standard United require.
One player who could be drafted in to replace those already present – or at least provide stiff competition for – is Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo.
Araujo taking English lessons
Barca are desperate to tie the 23-year-old Uruguayan down to an improved contract. However, at present, little progress on that front has been made.
Now, The Hard Tackle (citing Spanish outlet Sport) reaffirm Man Utd’s interest in the defender. Links with the Red Devils have been widespread of late, and Monday’s Euro Paper Talk claimed Araujo is currently taking English lessons.
Yet United’s pursuit doesn’t appear straightforward given French giant PSG are now in the mix for a player deemed ‘one of the best’ defenders in Spain this season.
The Ligue 1 side are on the lookout for another centre-half after free agent acquisition Sergio Ramos has turned out to be a flop. The Spanish veteran has struggled with injury throughout the entire campaign and has barely featured in Paris.
However, Man Utd’s hopes of landing Araujo may in fact be boosted indirectly by Chelsea.
That’s because PSG are also targeting Blues ace Antonio Rudiger. The German now appears destined to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. That is after the latest UK government sanctions prevented the club from penning contract extensions.
If PSG go full bore to sign Rudiger, United’s pathway to landing Araujo would clear. Of course, United too could chance their arm for Rudiger. But given Araujo is six years younger, he may be viewed as the more viable long-term asset.