Transfer deadline day is like Christmas to us at Football FanCast Towers; a 24-hour bonanza of deal after deal, some expected and others not, with Sky Sports’ Jim White playing the role of merry old St. Nick.
There haven’t been too many presents to speak of today – in fact, the majority of deals thus far, such as Robert Huth’s loan move to Leicester City, have constituted more stocking fillers than the kind of prezzies you’ve been begging your mum all year for.
But we’ve still got enough time before the 11pm deadline to see some bigger bids come into fruition, particularly some involving Manchester United.
Indeed, the Red Devils’ only acquisition this window has been the previously unattached Victor Valdes, suggesting they might be depending upon the magic of deadline day to get a few transfers across the line.
With that in mind, here’s FIVE deals that could still happen at Old Trafford.
Height: 6 foot 4
Positions: Centre-back, defensive midfield
Teams: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Germany
Honours: Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, Champions League finalist 2013, World Cup 2014
Linked clubs: Arsenal and Manchester United
Likely transfer fee: £37million, according to the Daily Mail
If Manchester United are to do any business on deadline day, it will most likely be securing the services of a top centre-half, with their defensive frailties, particularly at the heart of their backline, well-known.
And according to the Daily Mail this morning, the Old Trafford outfit are preparing a £37million offer for long-term target Mats Hummels, whom they’ve been linked with for the best part of two years.
An aerially dominant, World Cup-winning defender blessed with a Franz-Beckenbauer-ability to support, join or instigate attacks from deep positions, the 26 year-old’s credentials as one of the world’s top centre-backs is undoubted at this point, and he’d particularly suit Louis van Gaal’s progressive philosophy.
Following Arsenal’s £11million acquisition of Gabriel Paulista, United now appear to be unopposed in their pursuit of Hummels and Dortmund’s torrid league position, currently rock bottom of the Bundesliga table, could convince him to jump ship.
This transfer saga’s been going on for some time however, and it’s more likely the German international will wait until the summer before making such a career-defining decision.
Height: 6 foot
Teams: Corinthians, Roma, PSG, Brazil
Honours: Copa Libertadores 2012, Ligue 1 title 2013/14, Coupe de Liga 2014, Trophee des Champions 2014
Interested clubs: Manchester United, according to The Daily Mail
Likely transfer fee: £35million, according to The Express
Another centre-back believed to be on the Old Trafford radar is PSG prodigy Marquinhos, whom The Express claim United have already launched a £35million bid for.
Rated by The Observer as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe, the 20 year-old’s enormous potential is undoubted – indeed, PSG originally forked out a whopping €32million to lure him away from Roma back in summer 2013.
His pace, anticipation and quality on the ball particularly catch the eye – a cohort of characteristics Louis van Gaal seems to desire in his centre-backs.
Having struggled to command a regular first team role from compatriots David Luiz and Thiago Silva this season, also curtailing his chances within the Brazil national team fold, it’s likely the young defender will be prepared to move to a club that can promise him more game-time.
The French champions want to keep hold of their costly prospect however, and Manchester Evening News resultantly claim the £35million bid has already been rejected.
Height: 6 foot 3
Positions: Centre-back only
Teams: AZ, Feyenoord, Aston Villa, Netherlands national team
Honours: KNVB Cup 2008, World Cup third-place 2014
Linked clubs: Manchester United, Liverpool, Southampton, according to the Express
Likely transfer fee: £1.5million, according to The Daily Star
There hasn’t been too much news on Ron Vlaar since the Daily Star speculated a £1.5million bid at the start of January, largely due to the Dutchman spending the last few weeks out injured.
But if the Red Devils’ moves for Hummels and Marquinhos come to nothing, we could see the 13-time Premier League champions revive their rumoured interest in the Villians centre-back.
Concrete Ron may not be the most talented centre-half to ever grace Old Trafford but he’s as tough as, well… concrete, and excelled under Louis van Gaal’s leadership at the World Cup – particularly at the heart of back three, a defensive system the United boss continually finds himself reverting back to this season.
Furthermore, the 29 year-old’s contract is up at the end of the season and although Paul Lambert has dismissed reports that his captain is for sale, the Birmingham outfit will struggle to turn down decent offers.
He’s certainly not a long-term solution to United’s defensive woes, but could keep their top four ambitions in tact for the remainder of the campaign.
Height: 5 foot 11
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger, Central Midfielder
Teams: Genk, Chelsea, Werder Bremen, Wolfsburg, Belgium
Honours: Belgian Cup 2009, Belgian Pro League 2010/11, Bundesliga Young Player of the Year 2013
Interested clubs: Arsenal and Manchester City, according to The Independent, Manchester United, according to The Express
Likely transfer fee: £30million, per The Express once again
According to The Express, Manchester United are keen on a £30million deadline day deal for Wolfsburg star Kevin de Bruyne.
The Belgium international spent two years at Chelsea but failed to make an impression on the first team, despite winning the Bundesliga’s Young Player of the Year award whilst on loan at Werder Bremen, and was resultantly sold to Die Wolfe by Jose Mourinho last January.
He’s since emerged as one of the German top flight’s leading entities however, this term amassing an incredible five goals and eleven assists (the highest set-up return across the division by almost double) in 18 Bundesliga appearances.
A technically masterful midfielder, capable of playing out wide, centrally or as a No.10, Louis van Gaal allegedly views De Bruyne as a signing that would hugely bolster his options in the middle of the park.
Having just splashed out £25million on Andre Schurrle, Wolfsburg might be tempted into balancing their books, but The Express also claim the 23 year-old playmaker will reject any offers to leave the Volkswagon Arena this month.
Positions: Central Midfield
Teams: Stuttgart, Real Madrid, German National Team
Honours: Bundesliga title 2006/07, La Liga title 2011/12, Copa Del Rey 2010/11, 2013/14, Champions League title 2013/14, World Cup 2014
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and PSG, according to the Daily Star
Likely transfer fee: €18million, according to Inside Spanish Football
With his contract set to expire at the end of the season and a new deal yet to materialise, it would be incredibly surprising if one of Europe’s top clubs didn’t attempt to lure Sami Khedira away from Real Madrid before the 11pm deadline.
Manchester United’s engine room lacks balance and the German international could well be the perfect remedy, as a dynamic box-to-box with ruthless energy, fantastic defensive awareness and imperious ability in the air.
A lot of ground will have to be made for a deal to take place today, and the 27 year-old’s recurring injury problems, resulting in him making just 21 La Liga appearances in the last 18 months, could prove a stumbling block for any potential suitor.
But the recent signing of the like-minded Lucas Silva from Cruzeiro suggests Real Madrid are already preparing for life without Khedira, and could resultantly let the World Cup and Champions League winner leave on the cheap.