One of the three Manchester United names may come as a surprise to you.
Man United manager Erik ten Hag would be forgiven for hoping Sir Jim Ratcliffe has secured his 25% stake in the club in time for the January transfer window to open.
The ongoing uncertainty at the club, and changes in senior board positions, have led to a string of uninspiring January transfer windows. Here are the players United brought in, midway through the last few seasons:
Marcel Sabitzer (loan), Jack Butland (loan), Wout Weghorst (loan), Amad Diallo, Nathan Bishop, Odion Ighalo (loan).
The last decent player United brought into the club in a January transfer window was current captain Bruno Fernandes, in January 2020. There were well-founded fears, after the club’s stuttering start to the season, that ten Hag would only be allowed bring in loan or cheap signings in the 2024 window.
That may change if Ratcliffe’s £1 billion stake in the club filters into the football operations side of the business (after they fix that leaky Old Trafford roof). It would make a reported, and ambitious, plan to buy defender Marc Guehi from Crystal Palace a live option when that window opens on January 1st. Jean-Clair Todibo is another defensive option but injury-hit Tottenham are now on that scene, too.
A report in The Guardian states that United are looking at strengthening four positions in the next transfer window, but adds that ten Hag may have to move some big-earning names on. There have been stiflings of Casemiro being lined up for a possible offload to the Saudi League. Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay appear to be back in favour and even Anthony Martial scored in his last outing.
The latest piece, though, identifies three other senior places that are under threat – Sofyan Amrabat, Raphaël Varane and Mason Mount.
Amrabat has started just four league games in his loan spell from Fiorentina and, so far, has not done enough to force a permanent switch. Varane has fallen out of favour with ten Hag and Maguire is being selected ahead of him as defensive partner for Victor Lindelof. The Guardian pieces notes that United scouting for a ‘left-sided No.8’ would indicate Mason Mount cannot rest too easy.
One player that is super keen to get out of Manchester, barring a miracle run of starts in December, is Donnie van de Beek. The Dutch midfielder told Diario AS, “The time comes when a decision has to be made. I have to start playing games very soon, if it’s not possible at United, then I will go to another club. I think this is a healthy ambition. I make a good living at United, but money has never been my motivation.”
In a transfer story few of us saw coming, United have been linked with Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel but, according to Il Messaggero, have been told he will cost £30 million to spirit away from the eternal city.
Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and some January shopping
While there may be some ins and outs at Man United, in January, the more settled likes of Arsenal and Liverpool will be seeking just one or two signings that, they will hope, could give them the title edge over Manchester City.
Over in Germany, Bild is reporting that Liverpool remain keen on Netherlands winger Donyell Malen. The 24-year-old, who was at PSV Eindhoven until a Bundesliga switch in 2021, was in Champions League action for Borussia Dortmund against AC Milan this week.
An international teammate of Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo, Malen was on the books with Arsenal as a teenager but never made a senior appearance for the club.
Elsewhere in transfer land, Arsenal themselves are being linked with a January move for Benjamin Sesko.
The Gunners could have done with a goal-scoring signing in the summer but have still scored 27 times in 13 league games, this season. Sesko has netted 10 times from RB Leipzig and Slovenia, this season, and could be available for £40m in January. Arsenal have also been linked with Dusan Vlahovic and Brazilian youngster Marcos Leonardo.
Meanwhile, 90 Mins reports Aaron Ramsdale will be allowed to leave Arsenal but not until the end of the season.
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