Ralf Rangnick can use £18m Manchester United star to pull off January transfer window magic – Omar Garrick

When Manchester United lost 3-1 to Crystal Palace on the opening day of the 2020/21 season, there was a stark reminder from Luke Shaw to the club’s hierarchy;

“We are a very good group but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad,” he told Norway’s TV2.

This quote from United’s left-back feel just as important to the current situation the club are in today.

United has only lost one game under the new interim manager, Ralf Rangnick, but there has been some cause for concern in the dressing room.

There are players that want to leave United, and it feels like Rangnick needs to cut down the squad to cleanse the bad harmony within Carrington. Like Shaw noted at the start of last season, he could also do with fresh faces.

Perhaps one player currently unhappy at the club is academy product Jesse Lingard.

29-year-old Lingard has had a deflating season so far at United after failing to get the minutes he desperately needs to reignite his career for England’s World Cup journey in Qatar.

Rated at £18million by, Lingard has less than six months remaining on his United contract and wants to get out. Otherwise, he would’ve signed a new deal by now.

Lingard decided to stay at United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because he thought he would get minutes after impressing on loan at West Ham.

Jesse Lingard of Manchester United in action during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on January 10, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Lingard hasn’t had the season he expected at Old Trafford (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

However, it just hasn’t worked out, and a move elsewhere would be in the interests of both parties involved. However, it might work out in Rangnick’s favour if United play their cards right.

If you believe the latest reports, Tottenham and West Ham are the two teams showing interest in Lingard’s services. Still, there are transfer opportunities at both clubs that United can exploit with the England international.

Antonio Conte is looking to clear out some of the unwanted stars at Spurs, and one player who United could make a cheeky proposition for is Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman is reportedly out-of-favour under the new manager because he doesn’t fit in the 3-4-3 system, and his signing just hasn’t worked out.

While Ndombele hasn’t lived up to the heights many expected, I still think there’s a player inside him – he needs a fresh challenge and has to feel loved! His current situation has unfortunately turned toxic.

Tanguy Ndombele of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Morecambe at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 09, 2022 in London, England.
United were reportedly interested in Dembele when he was at Lyon (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

United were reportedly interested in Ndombele when he was at Lyon and became a fan favourite for the club to sign. Instead, he decided to join Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane.

If Pochettino is United’s preferred manager for the permanent role, they could take advantage of Spurs’ interest in Lingard and use him in a swap deal for Ndombele. It could even be viewed as preparing for life under the next manager.

More ambitiously, United could also use West Ham’s interest in Lingard to make a move for their star midfielder, Declan Rice.

The MEN claimed that United were interested in Rice’s services in the summer window of 2021, but he was priced out of a move after his club slapped a £100million price tag on him.

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United have always said that they could make a move for a summer target in January if an opportunity becomes available, and see as Lingard is still contracted at the club, why not try and pull off an audacious move for Rice in January? It’s undoubtedly worth a shot! Negotiations might be smoother as well, seeing as they loaned Lingard to East London and that we’re not direct rivals, like Chelsea.

Whatever United and Rangnick decide to do, there are plenty of ways they can exploit the transfer market through Lingard.

Although he’ll be free to do what he wants at the end of the season, United must do what it takes to see if there’s a situation that could benefit them. Ndombele and Rice could be the answer to that.

Rice is a complicated deal to do, but there could be something in a move for Ndombele.

Should United use Lingard as bait for other players? Follow our United On My Mind writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

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