Ralf Rangnick claims Manchester United board blocked striker’s transfer in January


Ralf Rangnick has claimed the Manchester United board rejected his recommendation to sign a striker in January which may have cost them Champions League football next season.

The caretaker manager says he told the club they should seek reinforcements in the final days of the January transfer window, with Mason Greenwood suspended indefinitely on January 30 following allegations of rape, Edinson Cavani suffering from an injury and Anthony Martial having left for Sevilla on loan.

“I was informed of the problem around Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial had already left, then I knew that within four days we were short of strikers and that it could make sense (to buy)”, has Rangnick said.

Mason Greenwood’s legal troubles have cost Manchester United one of their top goal threats (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We were still in three competitions – the FA Cup, the Champions League, at the time we were fourth in the league…

“I spoke to the board and said to them, ‘Shouldn’t we at least talk and analyze and find if we can at least get a player, either on loan or on a permanent contract?

“In the end, the answer was no. The answer was no, maybe they didn’t want to do winter (business). Regardless, the answer was no.

Rangnick said United’s scouting department felt there were no suitable players on the market who could be available. Last month, United announced that head scout Jim Lawlor and global head of scouting Marcel Bout were leaving the club.

Although time would have been limited for United, Rangnick highlighted deals in the final days of the window which took Luis Diaz from Porto to Liverpool, Julian Alvarez to Manchester City from River Plate and Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus from Fiorentina.

Luis Diaz, right, attempts a bicycle kick which led to Divock Origi's goal against Everton
Luis Diaz, right, excelled for Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Those deals were done before Greenwood was suspended, but Martial had already left and Cavani left on international duty – since then he has made just four appearances for United, including one start.

When asked if they would have been realistic targets, Rangnick replied, “I don’t know. But like I said, maybe we should have discussed this at least internally. It may be necessary and important…

“I still believe we should have at least tried. If we had found and been able to within 48 hours (to sign a player), it would have been short notice but still, 48 hours is 48 hours. It might have been worth at least trying to discuss it internally. We did not do it. This has not been done. »

United were fourth after Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time goal secured a 1-0 victory over West Ham on January 22, but go into their penultimate game at Brighton on Saturday with the front four hopefuls effectively passed, sixth of the table and five points behind an Arsenal team that has two games less.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag will take over at Old Trafford this summer with Rangnick, who has agreed to become Austria coach, continuing in an advisory role.

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag will be the man tasked with putting the puzzle together next season (Mike Egerton/PA)

The German, who took over at the end of November after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked, insisted United had improved early in his tenure but said the loss of Greenwood – who remains on bail for allegations that he raped and assaulted a young woman – as well as Martial’s outing and Cavani’s injuries. , changed the dynamics.

“Obviously there were already some issues that the team already had at the end of November and the first two months, at least until the end of January, we are improving,” said Rangnick, adding that his team had conceded fewer goals and increased their points-per-game ratio.

“Then in this international break, we lost, including Edinson Cavani, three long-term players. We lost them, three forwards. Then we had problems scoring goals and finding our balance. That’s what happened.”

Neither Rashford nor Cavani have scored since that win over West Ham, when Cavani set up the England striker’s last winner.

Greenwood scored six goals before his suspension, still more than Rashford (five) or Cavani (two) have managed in that term. Rashford is expected to miss Saturday’s game with bronchitis.

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