Ace Solskjaer snubbed backed to shine under Rangnick, but fresh Ronaldo doubts cause concern

Paul Pogba embraces Jadon Sancho after Manchester United beat West Ham, September 2021

A Manchester United star who looked lost under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been tipped to become a ‘central figure’ under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

The experienced German, 63, will lead Manchester United until the end of the season. At that point, Rangnick will move upstairs into a consultancy role.

But in the meantime, Rangnick faces an uphill struggle to turn United’s fortunes on the pitch around.

The Red Devils looked disinterested and disheartened at times under Solskjaer, with a perceived lack of effort earning the ire of club legend Roy Keane on multiple occasions.

If Rangnick’s reputation is anything to go by, a lack of effort won’t be tolerated. Indeed, his preferred high intensity pressing style will fail if individuals aren’t at full tilt.

That may spell trouble for Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Portuguese not known for his efforts when out of possession.

That is the view from Germany where Rangnick established his name, per Frankfurter Rundschau journalist Hendrik Buchheister.

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Manchester United will reportedly watch Amadou Haidara in his next two matches for RB Leipzig as Ralf Rangnick puts a deal for the midfielder at the centre of his immediate plans, with more updates on Declan Rice and Aurelian Tchouameni.

Buchheister questioned whether the 36-year-old icon will meet Rangnick’s requirements of pressing from the front, though did acknowledge his goals output will be difficult to ignore.

But while Ronaldo may have to become more accustomed to spells on the bench, one player tipped to move in the opposite direction is Jadon Sancho.

Sancho to become ‘central figure’ under Rangnick

Sancho laboured under Solskjaer, failing to notch a single goal or assist under the Norwegian. His form was so poor that the £73m signing was left as an unused substitute in three of Solskjaer’s last seven league matches in charge.

But under Michael Carrick, Sancho bagged his first and second goals for the club, and Buchheister suggested his return to form will continue under Rangnick.

The ex-Dortmund winger is described as ‘well suited’ to Rangnick’s demands and could find a permanent place in his preferred 4-2-2-2 formation.

Furthermore, Buchheister noted he expects Sancho to become a ‘central figure’ under United’s new manager.

Ralf Rangnick’s 18 games in charge against Klopp, Tuchel and the wildly contrasting statistics

Liverpool, Man Utd target seeking ‘new challenge’

Meanwhile, Man Utd and Liverpool have reportedly been handed a major boost as they look to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

The defensive midfielder looks set for a transfer next summer after holding off on contract talks with the German club. As his current deal expires in June, either Man Utd or Liverpool could snap up the highly-rated star for free.

Zakaria is yet to reveal his true intentions, although all signs point to a Premier League move. The Switzerland international certainly has the ability to become a top performer in England.

Sport Witness, citing reports in the German press, state that Zakaria is actively pursuing a ‘new challenge’The star looks set to give Gladbach chief Max Eberl an ‘absolute nightmare’. The sporting director, a target for Newcastle, will be unable to get a significant fee for Zakaria.

Eberl is now in the ‘Zakaria trap’, according to the report. The player’s team-mate, Germany international Florian Neuhaus, could soon follow by also making a move to the Prem.

He is seen as an ideal replacement for Gini Wijnaldum at Anfield. But the Reds could not get a deal over the line this summer.

Neuhaus’ contract runs until 2024, which means Gladbach will not have to deal with a Zakaria repeat. But they could be tempted to sell if Liverpool come in with a huge bid.

READ MORE: Ralf Rangnick to have final say as new boss learns of Man Utd agreement for £28m LaLiga star