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too risky Ralf Rangnick joins Jurgen Klopp by suggesting he would be wary of signing unvaxxed players

It’s an issue where people should have free will, but in football we need to try to convince our players to get vaccinated’

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Interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the vaccination status of players could be a consideration on future Manchester United transfer dealings (Martin Rickett/PA)

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the vaccination status of players could be a consideration on future Manchester United transfer dealings (Martin Rickett/PA)

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the vaccination status of players could be a consideration on future Manchester United transfer dealings (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ralf Rangnick believes clubs should seriously consider whether they sign unvaccinated players.

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, has already admitted he would be dissuaded from signing anyone who refuses to be jabbed against coronavirus given the potential health risk they would pose.

And Rangnick, the interim Manchester United manager who hopes to add to his squad in the transfer window next month, said he shared Klopp’s concerns.

United are due to face Newcastle at St James’ Park tonight in their first match for 16 days following the postponement of their Premier League games against Brentford and Brighton due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

“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,” Rangnick said. “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.”

Rangnick cited the example of Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich, who has admitted that he regrets not deciding to get a Covid vaccine sooner after the Germany international was ruled out until next month because of the lingering effects of the virus.

Kimmich has not played since early last month after struggles with minor lung issues since testing positive, and is unlikely to figure again this year.

Rangnick said Kimmich’s experience was an example of the problems of unvaccinated players.

“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,” Rangnick said.

“He caught Covid, he still has some problems with his lungs.

“Hopefully he’ll be back in the new year, at full strength, and can play again for Bayern Munich.

“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.”

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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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