So, it is January and the transfer window is open, speculation is rife as Manchester United are linked to every player who plays in the top leagues in Europe. With everyone going for all the big names in terms of Skriniar, Lozano, Koulibaly etc I am going to look at some players who could come in and won’t break the bank. With United reportedly owing around £250,000,000 to other clubs in transfers fees, they will need to sell to buy so these deals are ones that might get a great return for less investments. Also, with the homegrown quota’s becoming more and more important to the top six’s squads United need some more players who qualify for this.
West Ham’s jewel in the crown at the moment, the young midfielder’s recent performances have caught the eye of many a football fan and pundit alike. His transformation from a centre back to a defensive midfielder has been a revelation, it is no coincidence that his great form has coincided with West Ham’s.
Manchester United need a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic and with Tanguy Ndombele being the fans top target he may not be attainable with a summer bidding war for the Lyon midfielder expected in the summer. He is calm on the ball, but it is his ability to sniff out danger and be in the right place at the right time that has made the decision to switch him into a shield for the back four a stroke of genius.
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Manchester City have been long looking for a replacement for Fernandinho so if they move for him, they would need to be quick and with Rice signing a new 5-year contract they will have to pay big money for him. For me, he would be the kind of young player who could be at the heart of United for the next ten years no matter who is in charge.
Also, while we are speaking of West Ham, I will give a nod to centre back Issa Diop who has along with Rice one of the keys to West Ham’s great season so far. A big strong 6ft4in defender who is also very quick on the ground is a player who we also may have to keep tabs on.
Ander Herrera has only a few months left on his contract and he is free to talk to other clubs and agree to a pre-contract with foreign clubs. So, if he does choose to leave then with Andreas Pereira and Marouane Fellaini also rumoured to be heading towards the exit door, United will need another midfielder to come in and Porto’s Hector Herrera is also coming to the end of his contract and is free to negotiate with clubs.
The Mexican international has been at Porto since 2013, so he may be looking for a new challenge as he is on course to win his second league title with the Portuguese giants and is being courted by many of Europe’s elite including Real Madrid and Inter Milan to name two. A midfielder who brings energy and tireless running which would benefit United’s new pressing approach under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, also his technical qualities would allow him to play as a box-to-box player or being the steady influence breaking up attacks allowing Paul Pogba the free role he craves. His great showing in the Mexican win over Germany in the World Cup last year proved he can do it on the biggest occasion and would be an asset going forward under the new manager.
It is almost two years since Brazilian David Neres swapped Sao Paulo for Amsterdam in a €12 million deal, as per Soccerway. In that time he has played over fifty games for the Dutch club scoring 19 goals.
Most Manchester United fans would love to take PSV winger Hirving Lozano to Old Trafford and to be honest so would I, but Neres represents the kind of talent who could become a superstar. A tricky pacey winger who has a bag full of tricks makes him a nightmare for any defender he comes up against, he is stronger than he looks so the physical aspect of the English game should not intimidate him or hamper his talent. A deal would have to be done at the end of the season as Ajax are close to losing Frankie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt either in this window or the summer.
Ajax has a history of their brightest talents being taken from them when they start to shine too brightly and Neres is someone who will end up at a top club soon enough. United fans had enough under Jose Mourinho with his negative tactics, so David Neres would be the antidote that supporters have been crying out for. A bid of over €30 million should be enough to prize him away but this would solve United’s problem with their right-hand side and also give them a player who could get people out of their seats.
Ben Chilwell/Kieran Tierney
Manchester United only seem to have one left-back at the minute with Ashley Young filling in at right-back over the past few months. This means Luke Shaw is the undisputed number 1 left-back and this is a problem. Shaw needs someone to push him or take his position as I don’t feel he is the player we all thought he would be when he arrived. Chilwell has made the left-back spot his own over the last 18 months and is one of the bright spots of Leicester’s mixed season so far. Tierney has been the best left-back in Scotland since he took the position, but he may be looking for a new challenge south of the Border. He is a high energy full-back who can defend well but also a great attacker, technically better than most people think as he has played left in a back three and right back for Scotland. Bids of £30 million plus would be needed for either but this would give United someone who could usurp Shaw and become a key cog in the future of the club.
Now Manchester United are linked with numerous centre-backs — Koulibaly, Manolas, Militao — so here is an alternative who fits in with the type of defender we need. The Borussia Dortmund defender, who only arrived this time last year for €18m, is a big United fan. He is quick and also a very adept with either foot so could line up on the left-or-right-hand side of the defence so this would be ideal as he could change depending on his partner. He was signed from Basel last January and has already started to look like one of the brightest defensive prospects around. Akanji would be a good alternative should United get involved in a bidding war for any of the centre-backs they are linked with as he could be bought for literally half what we might have to pay for a Koulibaly for example.
As fans, we all look to sign the biggest and best players for King’s ransoms but sometimes it is about getting the right player for the club. Now some of these names are not the sexiest or dominate gossip columns but they would certainly add quality to our squad as we look to get back to the top.