The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential signings for Manchester United heading into the January transfer window.
Wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have led many to believe that Manchester United are in the right direction. But there is plenty of room for improvement, and that is where the January transfer window comes in.
With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club, Manchester United will have to find his proper replacement. In addition, a new right-back is also on the radar, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka is destined to leave the club when the window reopens next month.
Manchester United’s summer outlay might force their hand to keep their budget in strict check. But they will definitely do the needful to keep the team competitive for the remaining part of the season. The Hard Tackle takes a look at three players who could possibly arrive in Manchester next month.
Alongside a right-back Manchester United’s foremost priority is to replace Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals with a natural number nine as they seem to lack a powerful presence up front. Marcus Thuram might not be that relevant in current circumstances. But his World Cup showings made it pretty evident he can be a tricky player to deal with.
Son of former French international Lilian Thuram, the 25-year-old has lit up the Bundesliga with 13 goal involvements in 15 matches this season. And several clubs, including Manchester United themselves, are lurking around for his signature.
Marcus Rashford has managed to fill in as a number nine, but Erik ten Hag wants more quality in the final third. And Thuram’s current contractual situation at Borussia Monchengladbach makes him a lucrative prospect.
His existing deal will expire in the summer, and Gladbach are reportedly open to selling the striker for as low as £9.6 million. By letting Ronaldo leave, Manchester United have saved a chunk of money, and they could reinvest that by bringing Thuram to Old Trafford.
Thuram replaced Giroud as France were struggling to survive the Argentina press. His introduction did stabilise things to some extent, and the forward also went on to assist Kylian Mbappe for the second goal. Meanwhile, with clubs like Liverpool also in the fray, Manchester United will need to be decisive in January.
Another find of the 2022 FIFA World Cup was Josip Juranovic, who was phenomenal throughout the past month for Croatia and was a constant presence on the right-hand side of the defence.
His World Cup exploits have not gone unnoticed. And with Manchester United running through budget constraints, Juranovic could be a cheaper solution compared to the other players available in the market.
The Celtic defender is under a contract till 2026, and Manchester United assistant manager Steven McLaren is believed to be a huge admirer of the player. The Englishman has already filled in Erik ten Hag about his capabilities.
Josip Juranovic at #Qatar2022 for Croatia 🇭🇷
⏰ 100 mins avg p/g
👌 84% pass accuracy
🤺 21 duels won (top 15 overall)
👊 12 tackles won (top 5 overall)
⚽️ 6 games played
🪨 2 clean sheets
🅰️ 1 assist
What a #FIFAWorldCup the Celtic man had! 🍀👏 pic.twitter.com/GU1yhw0keM
— Football Scotland (@Football_Scot) December 14, 2022
Celtic have been alerted about the demand the player has already generated, and they might be ready to part ways with one of their top asset, albeit only for the right price. Juranovic only arrived in Scotland from Legia Warsaw in the summer of 2021 and could be on the verge of leaving the club after spending more around 18 months with the Hoops.
However, the Polish club are entitled to a 10 per cent sell-on fee if the sale eventually goes on. So the Scottish giants would be pushing for a higher amount to cope with their financial viabilities.
Manchester United will certainly offload Aaron Wan-Bissaka in January as the former Crystal Palace defender has not really struck the right note with ten Hag. Diogo Dalot has been the preferred choice, and Juranovic could provide some solid competition to the Portuguese international.
Manchester United’s interest in Cody Gakpo is not new as they have been chasing the winger since the summer. Erik ten Hag is well-versed in Gakpo’s ability and wanted the player to be a part of his project.
But PSV Eindhoven were unwilling to allow the 23-year-old on the cheap. And it seems they were absolutely right in their stance as Gakpo’s heroics at the 2022 FIFA World Cup have now made him a very coveted prospect, with clubs like Liverpool keen on signing him.
Van Nistelrooy on Cody Gakpo and his potential transfer in January: “There comes a time when you can't say no anymore”, tells @marcotimmer. 🔴🇳🇱 #MUFC
Expectation is for PSV Eindhoven to let him leave in January. pic.twitter.com/4IdC8CtJJV
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 17, 2022
PSV will be difficult to bargain with, and they will ensure they get the maximum fee which could be upwards of £50 million. Manchester United are one of the very few clubs that can afford Gakpo’s transfer fee. But to be on the safe side they will have to offload one or two players to balance their books.
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has lightened the wage bill, and they can now definitely push for higher limits. The Dutchman is an out-and-out left winger but has shown certain aspects to be a more natural number nine. If ten Hag feels he can turn the player into one of the deadliest goal poachers, then Manchester United should definitely go all out for him.
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