At the turn of the year, the January transfer window officially opened, meaning clubs around Europe have now been afforded the opportunity to acquire and sell players throughout the month.
Manchester United are gearing up for what promises to be a busy and eventful transfer period, with the team in desperate need of reinforcements to come in and bolster the club’s top-four ambitions.
Top of the list is a striker and then a right-sided full-back to come in and deputise for Diogo Dalot.
United are not synonymous with being extremely active during the winter window. Current times however necessitate that the club dip into the market for quality recruits to give Erik ten Hag what he needs.
The Red Devils are however hampered by the club’s current cash struggles. It’s an open secret that United are in a tumultuous situation with regard to their finances. The club is in crippling debt, which hinders its ability to access credit facilities. Amidst an imminent takeover, the Glazers are also unlikely to sanction the splashing of cash, with prudence being the order of the day.
United will therefore heavily rely on loan arrangements and stop-gap signings that will present temporary solutions.
After the Cody Gakpo blow, United have now trained their sights on alternative striker targets. Joao Felix is very much one to keep an eye on. The Portuguese is on top of United’s list but on condition that the financials of his loan deal drastically come down.
It has been widely reported that United have deemed Atletico Madrid’s €21 million demands as too excessive and untenable. The player himself would be open to coming to United as Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor. Talks are ongoing. United are aided in their pursuit of Felix by the fact that the 23-year-old is hell-bent on leaving the Wanda Metropolitano.
Another striker name to watch out for is Alvaro Morata. The Chelsea flop is a legitimate target for United and like Felix, would also come to Old Trafford on loan. Unlike in the Felix situation, there have been no indications of negotiations going on with either Atletico Madrid or with Morata’s representatives.
Youssoufa Moukoko is an option for the 20-time English champions. Today, it was reported that Barcelona are practically out of the race to sign Moukoko, with the player’s wage demands being deemed too high by Camp Nou chiefs. Moukoko’s wages would not be an issue for United by any stretch of the imagination. With only six months left on his deal at Signal Iduna Park, Moukoko could be attained at a cut price.
Another realistic option is Memphis Depay. Depay is surplus to requirements at Barcelona. Ten Hag is said to be a fan of his Dutch compatriot and would be keen on adding him to the ranks. Depay would also likely come on loan. Since his failed initial spell at United, Depay reinvented himself and turned his career around. No doubt a second shot at an Old Trafford career would appeal to the 28-year-old.
Other names in the striker search that have been floating around include Kolo Muani, Eric Maxim Choup-Moting, Vincent Aboubakar, Marcus Thuram and Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.
Incomings in other positions
The emphasis is greatly focused on attackers, despite links in other positions. United are said to be admirers of Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez.
However, there’s a slim chance of the Reds beating their rivals to Fernandez’s services. Chelsea have already started talks with Benfica for the 21-year-old that are said to be in the final stretch. The Argentine has given his nod of approval for negotiations to take place. Fernandez’s €120m release clause effectively rules United out of the race for his services.
United have also been linked with Malo Gusto, Josip Juranovic and Jeremie Frimpong. Any of these coming in would be heavily contingent on Aaron Wan-Bissaka leaving. Only then would a right-back come in.
Gusto and Juranovic would be inexpeensive, with their respective clubs desperate to sell them. Bayer Leverkusen on the other hand, as relayed by Fabrizio Romano, would be reluctant to let Frimpong leave in January unless a crazy offer comes in. United will certainly not be making expansive offers or any of an impetuous nature in January.
Martin Dubravka’s exit also means that United may explore the market for a shot-stopper to come in until at least the end of the season, with a view to buying a viable competitor for David de Gea in the summer.
Wan-Bissaka looks to be the United player most destined to head out. Several Premier League clubs have expressed interest including Crystal Palace, West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Barring a change of heart from Ten Hag, Wan-Bissaka will be leaving the club.
The Athletic stipulated that United are willing to listen for offers for Williams and Tuanzebe who at the moment are not in Ten Hag’s thinking.
Everton have placed Elanga at the top of their wishlist and are intent on acquiring the Swede to come into their attacking line.
It was reported after the summer transfer window that Ten Hag blocked loan moves for Iqbal and Shoretire pending a decision being made on the academy graduates’ futures in January.
The two have barely featured for the first team so far and could be set for loan moves to championship sides – a tactic that has so far proved fruitful with the likes of Amad Diallo and Hannibal Mejbri currently enjoying brilliant spells.
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