There are unlikely to be many new faces arriving at Old Trafford next month but some big-name players could be heading for the exit door
With the transfer window just about to reopen, Manchester United are being linked with a whole host of superstars, while a large number of players are also being tipped to depart.
However, interim manager Ralf Rangnick has already made clear his feelings on doing business in January.
When recently pressed on the prospect of new arrivals, the German told reporters: “It needs to be a player who improves the team. It needs to be a high-quality player, no matter in which area of the pitch.”
Rangnick evidently believes that finding such a talent is always difficult at this time of year and that is a view shared by his employers.
United may presently find themselves outside of the Premier League’s top four but they do not want to make any panic buys.
So, what will the Red Devils’ January window look like? GOAL runs through all of the possible moves below…
Let’s start this section with a dose of reality. While the names that are going to be mentioned are players that are undeniably admired at Old Trafford, sources say that United expect to have a “very quiet” window in terms of signings.
That’s not to say a big name couldn’t arrive. After all, United acquired Bruno Fernandes in January 2020 and the Portuguese had a transformative effect on the team, so the board are more than aware of the impact a mid-season signing can have.
However, they would only make a move in the upcoming window if a long-term target is suddenly put up for sale. Indeed, Rangnick has been told he will be backed in the transfer market if the right player becomes available at the right price.
A midfielder is top of the shopping list for the summer, with RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham all of interest. However, the chances of any of those players arriving in January remain very slim.
In terms of attacking options, Erling Haaland is still the primary target but Borussia Dortmund have no intention of letting the Norway international leave Signal Iduna Park next month. United will instead battle it out with a host of top European clubs to try to sign the striker at the end of the season.
With such an inflated squad and a number of players unhappy with a lack of playing time, it’s hardly surprising that outgoings are more likely than incomings next month.
Anthony Martial is the most likely departure, with the forward having made clear his desire to leave the club in January. However, United will not let him go on the cheap.
GOAL understands that Sevilla have made an approachto take the France forward until the end of the season but United want a loan fee and for all of his wages to be covered by the Spanish side.
If their demands are not met, United will be more than happy to keep the 26-year-old – who is under contract until 2024 – for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.
Phil Jones is another player desperate for regular first-team football. The centre-back is finally available again after a long injury lay-off but has not played a competitive game since January 2020.
The 29-year-old has requested to play for the Under-23s in order to get match fit and a number of clubs are said to be interested in signing the defender in January. While United would be open to offers, it is understood that they have yet to receive a formal approach for Jones.
Amad could leave on a temporary basis. The 19-year-old saw a summer loan move to Feyenoord break down after he sustained an injury which ruled him out for months.
He has now fully recovered and with so much attacking talent in Rangnick’s squad, Amad is open to a loan move, and several clubs are interested.
United also need to make a decision on goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
The England international has fallen behind David de Gea in the pecking order and is unlikely to oust the Spaniard from the No.1 spot anytime soon. It is understood the possibility of a loan move is being discussed, with the goalkeeper keen to get back playing again.
Donny van de Beek is also desperate to kickstart his career. GOAL understands that the Dutchman switched agents a couple of months ago in a bid to get a permanent move out of Old Trafford but he is still waiting for a potential buyer to emerge.
The midfielder wanted to see if his first-team opportunities increased after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal but Rangnick has only started Van de Beek in the Champions League dead rubber against Young Boys, while he’s only seen six minutes of Premier League action under the new boss.
Four first-team players are out of contract next summer.
Juan Mata appears unlikely to move on in January, so he’s expected to bid farewell to Old Trafford next summer, with no talk of the former Spain international being offered a renewal.
Jesse Lingard continues to spend most of his time on the bench and talks over a new deal have broken down, meaning he is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs from January 1.
However, it is understood that despite interest from elsewhere, he is more likely to stay put for now and then move on at the end of the season.
Edinson Cavani is also being continually linked with a move away from Old Trafford. Spanish media have been talking up a move to Barcelona but sources insist that there has been no official approach and the constant reports are being dismissed by United as “noise” from agents and other clubs.
Then, there’s Paul Pogba. One of the biggest names in world football is into the final six months of his contract. He has been offered a new deal but there has been no indication that he is going to sign it.
However, while United are facing the very real prospect of losing Pogba for nothing in the summer, he is, according to sources, still expected to see out the season at Old Trafford.
United would be willing to listen to offers for the France international in January but GOAL understands that they have yet to receive any bids.