Manchester United were busy in the transfer market last summer, bringing the likes of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to the club. The rumours are that the board are going to make funds available again to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this January, should he wish to spend, and the Norwegian has already talked of finding players that are “the right fit” for Old Trafford.
With United still chasing top four, a Europa League title and glory in the FA Cup, perhaps one or new faces could energise their season. But who are the Reds targeting?
Christian Eriksen, Tottenham
Christian Eriksen’s desire to run down his Tottenham deal is the worst-kept contractual secret in North London, at least since Toby Alderweireld tied his future to the club in an extension recently. Manchester United are reportedly long-time admirers of the Dane, and could tempt him to Old Trafford in a cut-price deal this January.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will be adamant not to strengthen a rival also chasing Champions League football, but the prospect of Eriksen at United is a tantalising one. He could provide some sorely-missed creativity at No. 10, either in a 4-2-3-1 or at the tip of a diamond behind Rashford and Martial. He can play out right too, and at 27, we may not even have seen his peak, yet.
Potential price: £20 million
Fabian Ruiz, Napoli
Manchester United’s primary target this winter was reportedly Leicester’s James Maddison. With the Foxes flying in the league though and Brendan Rodgers with no desire to even entertain negotiations, United are starting to look further afield for a creative spark.
Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz represents perhaps the best alternative. The Spaniard is a complete midfielder with high technical ability, capable of affecting play in all phases. Whilst the extortionate asking price is apparently putting off the likes of Barcelona though, it’s probably cheaper than Leicester are demanding for Maddison’s services. Ruiz would have considerably less expectation to live up to, as well.
Potential price: £80 million
Jack Grealish, Aston Villa
Another potential No. 10 on Solskjaer’s radar is mercurial Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. The positives are obvious, too. He’s a young, tenacious England star with bags of creativity and the ability to play as an interior in a midfield three, as a No. 10 or out wide.
Grealish won’t come cheap either - not with Villa in a scrap at the foot of the table. United could sort an agreement that keeps Grealish with Villa until May though. The Reds are midway through a rebuild anyway, but doing the Grealish deal now will snatch the playmaker while they can.
Potential price: £60 million
When Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez left Old Trafford last summer without replacements lined up, United fans feared the lack of depth would bite them later on. Sure enough, the side have lacked goals this term, and missing out on Dortmund-bound Erling Haaland has only compounded the gloom.
Richarlison could be an option for Solskjaer. A natural killer in front of goal, his fluid movement would be excellent anywhere in United’s frontline. Marco Silva admitted before he left Everton that United had enquired about the Brazilian and with Everton's current demise even bleaker than United's, Richarlison could jump at the chance to take United’s vacant No. 7 shirt.
Potential price: £70 million
Eduardo Camavinga, Rennes
Ligue 1 is bristling with young talent, but perhaps none more exciting than 16-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, an all-action midfield powerhouse at Rennes. With positional intuition beyond his years and a desire to move the ball vertically, he could solve the defensive midfield issue that has bogged United ever since they re-signed Pogba in 2016.
There are plenty of suitors chasing Camavinga, so tying him down will be difficult. The Frenchman is still incredibly young and could end up a high-cost mis-step if he fails to live up to expectations, but the rewards would be huge if United could nurture him into the kind of industrious midfielder that could control the centre of the Old Trafford pitch for the next decade.
Potential price: £50 million
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