Who do Manchester United Turn to in the January Transfer Window?9 min read
With just over a month to go until the January sales appear, clubs all over Europe will be ready to go to war for their latest signing to bolster their squad for the remainder of the season.
Manchester United are no different and need all the help they can get. With a gap that is ever increasing away from the top four, the Red Devils have to turn to the market and bring in one or two players that are going to make an immediate difference.
Here are three players that Manchester United should consider but are by no means guaranteed to sign:
Toby Alderweireld: Tottenham Hotspur
The obvious candidate for Manchester United’s defence is Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld.
After pursuing him last summer for the majority of the window, Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, eventually pulled the plug on the deal due Daniel Levy, his counterpart at Spurs, would not lower his £60 million valuation.
However, six months on and the North London club are no closer to securing the future of Alderweireld with the Belgium international refusing to enter contract talks. When January comes, he will be free to negotiate a pre-contract with any European club of his choosing for the time his contract expires in June of 2019.
José Mourinho has made it no secret that he admires Alderweireld and would welcome him with open arms. Man United have lacked a commanding and dominating central defender all season and the Belgian might just be what the Manchester club are looking for.
Alderweireld might be 30-years-old next season, but he is still to this very day one of the best defenders in the world and has been playing at a high level on a consistent basis, becoming the stalwart in Spurs’ defence.
Away days. Jose Mourinho’s international ‘trips’ ?:
??????? England – ?? Spain
?? Montenegro – ?? Serbia
?? Belgium – ?? Iceland
— Kristof Terreur ?? (@HLNinEngeland) November 16, 2018
The Belgian would be somewhat cheaper than the £60 million quoted last summer due to the expiration of his contract and Spurs’ Chairman Levy might just be willing to sell to a Premier League rival due to receiving compensation. Alderweireld will need to be convinced, due to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus circling, but the Belgian was certainly open to a move last summer.
If United are to sign one player this January, then they should be making Alderweireld their priority.
Toby Alderweireld to sign for Manchester United before 2nd February
Milan Škriniar: Inter Milan
The Slovakian centre back has been a revelation ever since joining Inter from Sampdoria in early 2017.
Milan Škriniar was impressive while playing for the blucerchiati, but his form has reached an unprecedented level and he has shown why he is one of the best young central defenders of his generation.
One performance in particular stands out this season which came against Barcelona in Camp Nou during the Champions League group matches.
It would be daunting for any player to step in to such an atmospheric stadium for the first time, but Škriniar handled it perfectly and rose to the occasion. You either sink or swim against Barça and he certainly embodied Michael Phelps that evening with his immaculate ushering of Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suárez.
— Inter (@Inter_en) October 26, 2017
Most top level clubs will be interested in acquiring the services of the 23-year-old given his ability now as well as what his future might hold for him. The Italians are unlikely to roll over and give away one of their prized possessions, so he will cost a pretty penny, but then any club who does sign him has a world-class star in the making.
Manchester United do have talents in Victor Lindelöf and Eric Bailly, who are of a similar age, so it can be understood why fans would want a more experienced player alongside those two rather than someone who will have to adjust to England as well as the Premier League.
January is a difficult transfer window to get right, as seen by the purchase of Alexis Sánchez, and so signing a 23-year-old central defender is always going to be risky given the adjustment period needed. However, saying that, it didn’t work out too badly with Nemanja Vidić.
Milan Škriniar to sign for Manchester United before 2nd February
Axel Witsel: Borussia Dortmund
Axel Witsel would certainly be a wildcard from Manchester United and might be unlikely, but given his form and recent news of Mourinho personally scouting him, it can also be understood why the club might be interested.
The Belgian might have had an unconventional career path which has included a five-year stint in Russia as well as 18 months in China, but, surprising to some, Witsel has returned to Europe in the form of his life.
After some questioning his place in Belgium’s national squad at the World Cup, Witsel dominated the midfield battles he was in and was one of the country’s star players. That tournament earned him a move to Borussia Dortmund in which he has totally excelled in 17 appearances so far.
The bump in the road over this potential transfer would be the fact that Witsel has only just been signed by Dortmund and his contract runs until 2022. Given the Germans made Barcelona pay over £100 million for Ousmane Dembélé, it is unlikely they are going to play nice with one of their key players midway through their season – especially when challenging for the Bundesliga title.
— Kristof Terreur ?? (@HLNinEngeland) November 15, 2018
It is unlikely, but it all depends on how much Mourinho and his technical staff push for him. With Nemanja Matić starting to decline and look off the pace this season – partly due to the fact that he is never rested because of a lack of competition – the Red Devils will need someone to challenge the Serbian’s place in the team.
Witsel would bring a sense of brutality in that midfield along with his ability to break up play and move in transition with the team. He has performed in that role excellently for Dortmund, and while he is not one to get involved in too many goals, he has contributed towards four this season.
Similarly to his compatriot Alderweireld, Witsel will be 30 when the season comes around next year, which has to be considered, but if Man United are needing a quick fix to their midfield woes, Witsel is most certainly one to consider.
Axel Witsel to sign for Manchester United before 2nd February