By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 27 December 2021 • 8:41
Manchester United Interim Manager Ralf Rangnick suggests he would be wary of signing unvaxxed players saying: ‘It’s an issue where people should have free will, but in football we need to try to convince our players to get vaccinated’
Speaking about potential transfers, Interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the vaccination status of players could be a consideration on future Manchester United transfer dealings. Furthermore he believes that all clubs should seriously consider whether they sign unvaccinated players.
Rangnick is not the only manager to share this view, with Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, already having admitted that he would be unlikely to sign anyone who was unvaccinated and who refused to be. According to Klopp the health risk they would pose to the club would not be worth it.
Saying he shared Klopp’s concerns, Rangnick said: “Yes, I think it could be a consideration and I fully understand what Jurgen said, but it also depends if you want to sign a player and risk him not being available. This is an issue the clubs seriously have to think about.”
“If you sign a player knowing from the very first day that he has not been vaccinated, you have to be aware that he might not be available – not only for 10 days, but this could happen regularly in Covid times.”
Citing the example of Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich who has been ruled out of the German international team because of long term effects of the virus, he said: “You had the example of Joshua Kimmich, who was extremely hesitant at the beginning. In the meantime, he has realised it might be a good idea to get vaccinated.”
“This is an issue where, of course, everybody can and should have his free will, but I think in football, especially at this level we are playing at, we need to try to convince our players to get vaccinated.”
“I don’t know which of our players have had two or three vaccinations. This is a question that only our medical department could answer, but I know that our ratio of vaccinated players is above the average of the Premier League.”
Whether other teams in the league share Rangnick’s view remains to be seen, but his admission that he would be wary of signing unvaxxed players may go some way to encouraging those putting the game at risk to do so.
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Even if vaccinated players do not contract Covid, they must still self-isolate for 10 days in cases where they have had close contact with someone with the virus, a scenario Rangnick said could repeat itself several times over a season.
“It may not just happen once, it could happen several times in the future, and therefore it should also be in the interest of players to be vaccinated,” he said.
“In the end, it’s a decision that each club has to take by themselves and find the best possible solution.”
United reopened their Carrington training base last Tuesday after first-team operations were shut down following the outbreak, which, coupled with injuries, would have left Rangnick with only nine first-team players available against Brentford and seven against Brighton.
Except for Paul Pogba, who is not due back until next month following a thigh injury but who had talks with the manager following his return from Dubai where he was recuperating, Rangnick hopes to have a full squad to pick from against Newcastle as he targets a third successive league win since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club’s manager.
Rangnick held talks with Anthony Martial last Wednesday over the striker’s future, but said the player would stay with the club unless a suitable offer arrived. Sevilla are interested in a loan.
“We spoke at length. He explained to me, he’s been at Manchester United now for the last seven years and he feels it’s the right time for a change, to go somewhere else,” Rangnick said.
“This is understandable, I could follow his thoughts but, on the other hand, it’s also important to see the situation of the club.
“We have Covid times, we have three competitions in which we still have high ambitions and want to be as successful as we can be.
“So far, as far as I know, there has been no offer from any other club and as long as this is the case, he will stay.”
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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