Manager of Manchester United, Ralf Rangnick has hinted that the club will not sign unvaccinated players, claiming there are fears unjabbed players could miss games.
Last week, the Premier League revealed that 16 per cent of players are yet to receive any form of vaccination against the coronavirus, with Covid and especially the new variant spreading in players dressing rooms across the country.
The recent surge in cases has triggered debate as to whether clubs will sign unvaccinated stars, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp saying he would not sign anyone who refuses to be jabbed.
The last two weeks United have been hit by a Covid outbreak of their own, resulting in the postponements of their games against Brentford and Brighton, and interim boss Rangnick has shared Klopp’s concerns ahead of the January transfer window, where he hopes to sign players to his squad.
‘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,’ he said via The Telegraph.
‘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 Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich as an example of the effects of ‘long Covid’. The German midfielder has expressed regret at not taking the vaccine sooner after he was ruled out until January due to lingering effects of the illness.
Minor lung issues have meant that Kimmich has not played since early November and Rangnick said the episode is a reason to convince players to get the jab.
‘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 added.
‘He caught Covid, he still has some problems with his lungs. Hopefully, he’ll be back after Christmas, in the new year, at full strength and can play again for Bayern Munich.
‘I think 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.’
The German insisted that United’s vaccination rate is above the Premier League average.
‘To be honest, 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 from our medical department that our ratio of vaccinated players is above the average of the Premier League.’