Utd’s early January to do list: Top priority, biggest concern & wildcard option
Manchester United’s summer transfer window failed to hit the right note – now attentions will already turn to January.
The Red Devils will have a fresh chance to bolster their options in the winter window at the start of 2021.
United and other big clubs have traditionally downplayed the opportunities to spend big in January.
But they splashed the cash to land Bruno Fernandes and solve their midfield problems last winter and are always on the lookout for deals.
Whilst the summer transfer window has only just closed, the winter window is already only a couple of months away.
Here’s a look at the early state of play for United with one eye towards having a chance to do business again.
Top Priority: Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho has long been United’s top priority – and that is not going to change.
However, Borussia Dortmund have shown they are in no rush to let their prized asset go and that is unlikely to change in January.
It is expected the Red Devils will re-enter the bidding for Sancho next summer, rather than in January.
But Dortmund’s demands are on the table and if the need is great enough then there is a chance United could simply opt to stump up the cash.
They did so last January with a drawn out move for Bruno Fernandes, who had previously been a summer target.
They could do the same to fill their problem area on the right wing having failed to add a proven signing in the position before the summer deadline.
Biggest concern: Central defence
Manchester United have spent big on three of their back four.
Right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been joined by a new left-back, Alex Telles, whilst Harry Maguire remains the world’s most expensive defender.
But one spot is still up for grabs with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defence not yet looking as solid as he would’ve liked.
Dealings at centre-back will be crucial for the Red Devils moving forwards – not just in terms of incomings.
Although Chris Smalling sealed his permanent move to Roma, the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are still on the wage bill.
The biggest January concern will be whether they can be offloaded and a long-term answer can be found.
Axel Tuanzebe or youngster Teden Mengi could have chance to stake a claim to replace Victor Lindelof.
But if their defensive frailties remain then the Red Devils could look to dip into the market to find a solution.
Wildcard option: New holding midfielder
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spent serious money in midfield.
Donny van de Beek arrived this summer, adding another attacking option to support Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
But some would argue Solskjaer needs to spend more cash in the middle of the park and find a specialist holding midfielder.
Playing in a midfield three, Nemanja Matic has featured regularly at the base to give freedom to Fernandes and Pogba.
It is a role where he is confident and that is less suited to Scott McTominay and Fred.
Whilst not an urgent priority, finding a world-class defensive midfielder and upgrade for Matic, who is not getting any younger, could become something United consider if the right deal presents itself.
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