Five top players Man United could sign in January transfer window

Manchester United’s Fred, left, is sent off during a Group H Champions League soccer match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. [AP Photo, Dave Thompson]

Manchester United‘s ranks are set to be added to in January as Amad Diallo is expected to complete his move from Atalanta.

But the Red Devils’ business may not end there, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to strengthen his options in central defence and at right-back.

Dayot Upamecano and Kalidou Koulibaly have long been linked with the switch to Old Trafford, though neither star appears likely to leave their club in January.

Instead, Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward may turn to one of La Liga’s highest-rated defenders to solve his centre-back issue, while re-signing a familiar face provides another option.

United are also linked with exciting youngsters who will freshen up their midfield and attack.

Here, Mirror Football assesses five players who could join Manchester United in the January transfer window.

Eduardo Camavinga

Five top players Man United could sign in January transfer window

France’s Eduardo Camavinga holds a ball during warmup before the UEFA Nations League soccer match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. [AP Photo, Thibault Camus]

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may turn to Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga as he looks to shore up Manchester United’s midfield.

The Red Devils boss has chopped and changed his midfield all season, with Paul Pogba falling in and out of favour and Fred impressing at times – right up until his costly red card against PSG.

Scott McTominay is another player who has struggled to hold down a position in central midfield, while Nemanja Matic is now 32.

As such, it may be time for United to invest in new blood in the centre of the park.

Who better to turn to than Camavinga, who burst onto the scene as he played a vital role in Rennes’ charge to a third-place finish in Ligue 1 last season.

The 18-year-old, who earned a senior call-up to the France squad earlier this year, is reportedly available for £45million – a price tag which is sure to put Europe’s giants on red alert.

Ricardo Pereira

Five top players Man United could sign in January transfer window

Soccer Football – Premier League – Leicester City v West Ham United – King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain – January 22, 2020 Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira celebrates scoring their second goal. [Reuters, Andrew Boyers]

As well as in central defence, Manchester United are without doubt lacking options at right-back.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has already made 14 appearances this season – missing just two games – and back-up options are scarce thanks to Diogo Dalot’s season-long loan at AC Milan.

Brandon Williams and Timothy Fosu-Mensah can fill in on the right of defence but United reportedly want a player who can provide them with more attacking threat from that position.

One such player is Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira, who picked up seven goals or assists last season and is able to be used at right-back, wing-back or even in the forward line.

The Foxes hold the 27-year-old in high regard but may be willing to sell due to the emergence of James Justin, who has shone as Pereira recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in March.

United’s other options at right-back reportedly include Norwich City’s Max Aarons and Barcelona’s Emerson Royal, who is currently on loan at Real Betis.

Pau Torres

Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s search for a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire has taken many twists and turns, with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly targeted last summer.

But a more realistic January option may be Villarreal star Pau Torres.

Though the Spaniard is reportedly valued at £60million by his club, Manchester United are reportedly exploring the option of a part-exchange deal.

This would see Eric Bailly – who joined United for £30million in 2016 – move in the other direction and Old Trafford chiefs hope it would go some way to lowering the up-front transfer fee.

Torres, 23, is considered one of the best young defenders in La Liga and earned his first call-up to the Spanish national team last year.

As Leipzig are unlikely to part ways with Upamecano until next summer and Napoli’s asking price for Koulibaly is prohibitive, Torres may prove Solskaer’s ideal centre-back target in January.

Jonny Evans

Five top players Man United could sign in January transfer window

Soccer Football – Premier League – Leicester City v Fulham – King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain – November 30, 2020, Leicester City’s Jonny Evans during the warm-up before the match. [Reuters, Michael Regan]

If Ole Gunner Solskjaer cannot land a priority target at centre-back, however, he may turn to Leicester stalwart Jonny Evans.

The Northern Ireland veteran spent nine years on Manchester United’s books before departing for West Brom in 2015, while he has continued to impress for Leicester over the last two years.

Evans has made 80 appearances for the Foxes, helping guide them to European football, while he played 198 games for United between 2007 and 2015.

There is no doubt Pau Torres would be the more glamorous signing, but Solskjaer knows Evans would provide him with a consistent and dependable option at centre-back for a fraction of the fee.

Thiago Almada

Dubbed the new Lionel Messi, Thiago Almada’s performances in his native Argentina have reportedly grabbed Manchester United’s attention.

Almada, 19, plies his trade in attack for top-flight side Velez Sarsfield and has 12 senior goals to his name.

United may be reluctant to sign another attacking midfielder or winger having strengthened this area last summer with the acquisitions of Donny van de Beek, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo.

But the club has never shied away from signing teenage prospects and Almada may prove too promising a talent to pass up.

 

 

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