Over the past few years, Manchester United have been linked to just about everyone during every single transfer period.
This January transfer period though seems to have reached new levels of absurdity.
Part of it is Man U keeps leaking interest in players to the press that they’re simply not going to land for various reasons. Top tier players want to play Champions League football. United are unlikely to be back in that competition in the near future. Top tier players want top tier managers. United…weeeeelllllll.
The other part of the problem is United’s perception as a club right now. Whatever your opinion of Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola may be, his comments about United to La Repubblica newspaper carry weight:
“Pogba’s problem is Manchester United. It’s a club out of touch with reality and without a sporting project. I wouldn’t take anyone there, they would even ruin Maradona, Pele and Maldini. Paul needs a club and a squad, one like Juventus was before.”
Pogba is still a highly regarded talent among players. His unhappiness and perspective on the club doesn’t go unnoticed by his peers.
Still, Man U are being linked to errrrrrrrybody this transfer window. Here’s a rundown of the players and probabilities they come to Old Trafford in January.
Manchester United January 2020 transfer target list
James Maddison (0%) – The latest reports have United offering Jesse Lingard to Leicester in exchange for Maddison. Quickly, go look at the Premier League table and reread that sentence again. Do you think that Maddison hasn’t noticed that Harry Maguire left Leicester and is now on a significantly worse team with a lesser manager? Leicester are playing in the Champions League next season. United are not. The whole thing is absurd.
Raul Jimenez (1%) – At worst, Wolves are about even with Man U right now as a club. They may be a tick better overall. They absolutely have a clearer defined vision. Their coach is more respected. Wolves have ambition. Jimenez isn’t going anywhere this period.
Ruben Neves (2%) – Copy+paste what I said about Jimenez.
Ousmane Dembele (3%) – Barcelona are reportedly interested in selling him. Manchester United may be interested. This isn’t happening.
Christian Eriksen (5%) – This one is at least a little tricky. Let’s say Jose Mourinho thinks Eriksen simply doesn’t have it any more. Sending him packing to United would be some true next level Machiavellian shit. But if he does think Eriksen can help a club, why would he sell the Dane to a club he’s trying to move past for a UCL spot?
Harry Winks (5%) – Another Spurs midfielder? That’s the latest and greatest as of Monday. Same logic with Eriksen applies with Winks here.
Jadon Sancho (7%) – This isn’t happening in January. However, I do think they’re a contender for Sancho in the summer. He’s been a long-term target. He fits the age profile and counter-attacking style of the club. He’s a great fit for what they actually do need. Of all the major starlets linked, he’s the one most likely to go, I believe. Just not in January.
Dani Olmo (10%) – The 21 year-old from Dinamo Zagreb is linked to a few clubs. Latest reports have him headed to Barcelona. This one feels less like a Man U leak. Olmo’s agent could be floating United out there to get a Barca deal over the finish line.
Merih Demiral (15%) – The 21 year-old Juventus center-back would make an interesting partner with Harry Maguire. He’s the type of player United should target. There’s just no motivation for Juve to sell him right now.
Lautaro Martinez (20%) – This would reportedly be part of a swap with Inter for Paul Pogba. The 22 year-old seems to be duplicitous with Marcus Rashford. Still, off-setting the costs of securing Pogba with a swap feels like the most likely route a deal gets done in January. This one has (tiny) legs.
Toni Kroos (20%) – Same concept as above, but with Real Madrid.
Bruno Fernandes (25%) – The Sporting CP midfielder makes lots of sense for United. After whiffing this summer, they’re reportedly interested in him again. The big issue here is he signed a new contract that runs through 2023. It has a release clause of €100 million ($111M USD). That price tag is reserved for the Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann’s of the world. Are United really that desperate?
Emre Can (50%) – Here’s one of the few that I can see happening and actually makes sense for all involved. Emre Can is a good player. For whatever reason, it’s not working out at Juventus. He’s still young (25) which fits some of what OGS is trying to accomplish in his rebuild. He’s familiar with the Premier League. And it should be noted, Jurgen Klopp did not want him to leave Liverpool. Given their midfield woes, this is one transfer that makes sense for both parties. It’s one United should pursue heavily.
Todd Cantwell (50%) – Another one that actually makes sense. United need a central midfielder. With hopes of staying in the top tier fading, Norwich could cash in for even more than the reported £30m price tag now.
Donny van de Beek (60%) – The Ajax midfielder would be a best case scenario for United. He fits the age profile (22) and positional need. Out of the UCL, Ajax might actually be willing to sell at the right price. This is the exact move United should push for most aggressively.