Ralf Rangnick: Clubs will think twice before signing unvaccinated players

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  • Manchester United
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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has echoed Jurgen Klopp’s concern over signing players not vaccinated against coronavirus.

Liverpool manager Klopp has been outspoken, insisting players should get jabbed amid the rise of Premier League coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant.

Klopp has said he would think twice about signing unvaccinated players and fellow German Rangnick has now reiterated those worries and its potential impact on any United dealings during the January transfer window.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Old Trafford
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick says the vaccination status of players could be a consideration on future Manchester United transfer dealings (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I think it could be a consideration and I fully understand what Jurgen said,” Rangnick stated as United prepare to end an enforced 16-day coronavirus break at Newcastle on Monday.

“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 he might not be available.

“Not only for 10 days, but this could happen regularly in Covid times.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would think twice about signing unvaccinated players (Nick Potts/PA)

Rangnick cited the absence of Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich as evidence that unvaccinated players should be jabbed as soon as possible.

The Germany international, who said in October he was not vaccinated against Covid-19, suffered a lung problem following coronavirus infection and has been ruled out until the new year.

“You had the example of Joshua Kimmich, who was extremely hesitant at the beginning and I think in the meantime he has realised it might be a good idea to get vaccinated,” Rangnick said.

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

“I think this is an issue where of course everybody can, and should have, his free will but in football, especially at this level we are playing at, we need to try to convince our players to get vaccinated.

“As I said 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.

“But in the end it’s a decision that each club has to take by themselves and find the best possible solution.”

United last played on December 11, a 1-0 win at Norwich which saw Rangnick claim a second successive league win since taking charge at Old Trafford.

Norwich City v Manchester United – Premier League – Carrow Road
Manchester United have not played since a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo (left) gave them a 1-0 win at Norwich on December 11 (Joe Giddens/PA)

The former RB Leipzig and Schalke boss is confident United can carry on where they left off despite having to close their Carrington training base for four days due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We did a lot of work in between preparing video footage, and we have started to show this to the players from Tuesday,” said Rangnick, who is only without injured midfield Paul Pogba at Newcastle.

“Physically they look good. The energy level was high at training, all the players were fully engaged and everybody was on board.

“So I’m not worried about the physical state the team is in, they seem to be extremely fit.

“It’s also important for each game to have all the players not only available but in the best possible physical state. It could also happen that we rotate from one game to next, especially when you play every three days.

“It will not be so easy to decide not only on the first XI but also the eight players on the bench.”

Rangnick has confirmed newly-appointed assistant coaches Chris Armas and Ewan Sharp and sports psychologist Sascha Lense are contracted until the end of the season.

He added those deals could be extended depending on “what might happen in the summer” over the managerial situation.

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