The January transfer window tends to link Manchester United with every Tom, Dick and Harry that plays football. I was linked once — by a barman, who didn’t have contacts in the media to get my name any exposure. That was drunken bollocks.
Bollocks. That’s what a lot of this is. Some of it may have substance but you must realise that when a football club draws up a list of transfer targets, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want all of the players. Last summer, Jose Mourinho had 3 or more targets for each area he wanted to strengthen meaning if he couldn’t lure the first name on that list, Ed Woodward would go from second then third.
Prior to Luke Shaw’s recent run in the first team which saw the England international praised by Mourinho, I was reliably told that United’s priority was a left-back this summer. Juventus full-back Alex Sandro is a name that’s been mentioned as is Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur, but United are likely to face competition for the former, who Antonio Conte has been adamant about bringing to Chelsea.
The players that will possibly strengthen the Man Utd squad can also increase the chance of how the betting odds will be created. As a team sat in second place, they have a good chance to catch up with Man City, so the bookies still see them more than runner-ups. With recent transfers and more possible targets, some of the best betting sites see Man Utd as a strong candidate for winning the trophy this season.
That said, Conte probably won’t be at Chelsea next season so interest in Sandro may come from elsewhere. Perhaps PSG if the Italian jumps ship for Paris.
Rose is currently seen as a fall back option and a lot depends on how Shaw finishes the season. The manager preferred Ashley Young to the former Southampton left-back last weekend against Burnley and was probably right in his judgement. Young is among United’s top performers this season and deserves credit.
Another area Mourinho wishes to strengthen is midfield to give Paul Pogba even more freedom. United don’t keep the ball well enough and the passing is often sloppy, and that’s an issue when your manager’s philosophy is to control games. Ander Herrera isn’t good enough and while Nemanja Matic does an adequate jump as a holding midfielder, this midfield signing needs to be capable of sitting alongside the Serb, maybe as a box-to-box midfielder or someone defensively disciplined enough to allow Pogba get further forward and chip in with more goals to accompany all of those assists he is creating.
United are interested in Napoli midfielder Jorginho as they ponder a replacement for Michael Carrick with the veteran set to retire and become part of the coaching staff next season. The 26-year-old holding midfielder scored in Napoli’s 4-2 Champions League defeat to Manchester City and was dubbed ‘wonderful’ by Pep Guardiola.
Carrick has not played since September 20 after he underwent a heart procedure, so it’s important the club draw up several names as they try to identify the right man to take his role. Something that has been non-existent in the United line-up for some time.
Interestingly, it was tipped this week by several media outlets that United and City are going head-to-head in another transfer duel this month after the epic Alexis Sanchez ordeal. Nice midfielder, Jean-Michael Seri, is valued at £35million and many believe he will leave the French club before next Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
The Ivorian is not cup-tied for the Champions League, therefore, could join either United or City and immediately play in Europe’s most prestigious competition. That’s a huge bonus.