Analysis

9 players who Manchester United should sign this January

Mesut Ozil Man Utd

Greg Lea recommends nine players who could improve Jose Mourinho's squad at Old Trafford this month

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s days at Old Trafford are numbered, the Armenia international having struggled since the opening weeks of 2017/18. Ozil would be the ideal replacement: not only does he have experience of the Premier League – with 47 assists from his 134 appearances in the English top flight – he previously thrived under Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.

Arsenal won’t want to lose the playmaker in the middle of the season, particularly not to a domestic rival, but the Gunners’ hands could be forced by a January bid given that Ozil’s contract expires in the summer.

Arthur (Gremio)

It won’t be long before South America’s breakout star of 2017 is plying his trade on the other side of the Atlantic, with Barcelona among the clubs linked with a player who’s been likened to Andres Iniesta. A technically gifted midfielder with an eye for a pass, Arthur is also adept at evading opposition pressure and keeping hold of possession in congested areas.

United could do with another option in the centre of the park, particularly if Mourinho continues with the 4-3-3 formation which helps him bring the best out of Paul Pogba. Arthur is still only 21 and would fit the bill.

Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

Left-back has been a problem position for United since Patrice Evra departed for Juventus in 2014. Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo have all had a turn, and incumbent Ashley Young has done an admirable job for much of the campaign, but he’s clearly not a suitable long-term candidate for the role.

Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam has been linked with the Red Devils, but the Algerian could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and therefore won’t leave the Stadio San Paolo this month. Closer to home, Bertrand has been one of Southampton’s most reliable performers in the last couple of seasons and would provide more dynamism and attacking thrust on United’s left flank.

Lucas Moura (PSG)

Though one of the first big-money signings of the Qatar Sports Investments era at PSG, Lucas’s time in the French capital appears to be coming to a close. The Brazilian wideman hasn’t started a single game in any competition this season, with the summer arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe pushing him down the Parc des Princes pecking order.

Still only 25, the former Sao Paulo man would have a great deal to offer the Red Devils: namely speed, trickery and an eye for goal. Mourinho was disappointed not to land Inter’s Ivan Perisic in August, but Lucas could make the United manager forget all about the Croatian.

Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)

Having been frequently linked with the club back when Louis van Gaal was in charge, De Vrij’s name will be familiar to many United fans. The Lazio centre-half has six months to run on his contract and seems to have little intention of signing a new one, which could open the door for a January move to the Premier League.

De Vrij reads the game well and is intelligent in his positioning, but perhaps his most impressive attribute is his long-range passing from the back. With Eric Bailly and Phil Jones both prone to injuries, Mourinho should consider a move for the former Feyenoord stopper this month.