Man United back at the top of the Premier League with an experienced, spiky manager in the dugout… it’s as if the last two years haven’t happened.
The Red Devils once again took to their perch over the weekend with a 3-0 win over Sunderland, and with Chelsea stuttering and Manchester City having proven that they are indeed human with back-to-back losses, could there be a genuine title fight on at Old Trafford? Who knows?
United haven’t had a true test yet – Liverpool, who were woefully out of form at the time, are the only ‘big club’ played so far – so perhaps we’ll see some of the weaknesses bubbling away in Louis van Gaal’s ranks between now and Christmas, which could prompt transfer talk with January looming.
With that in mind, here are FIVE potential winter additions to keep the title momentum going…
A major summer target, according to reports, Biglia could add the sort of creativity the Red Devils have been missing in midfield. While Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick are adept and recycling the ball from a deep anchoring role, none of the trio offer a great deal in terms of laying on chances, which is where the Argentine could step in.
As the statistics from last season show, Biglia was more proficient in terms of providing key passes and creating chances, while maintaining a pass completion percentage of 88% – on a par with United’s current crop from last term.
Reports have already claimed that the 21-year-old is ‘unhappy’ at Paris Saint-Germain, so this could finally be the window in which the Brazilian moves on. Behind David Luiz and Thiago Silva at the Parc des Princes, the ex-Roma man has every right to be looking at his own chances of progression, which seem limited where he is, but over at Old Trafford he could expect regular playing time.
With Daley Blind, prior to Luke Shaw’s injury, having been LVG’s preferred option alongside Chris Smalling at centre-back, there is clearly a place open for a ball-playing defender, which Marquinhos certainly is.
Could Adnan Januzaj’s loan to Dortmund be the first move in a game of chess that sees Reus move to United? Perhaps. Like many top sides across Europe, the Red Devils have been linked with the German attacker, who is comfortable in any attacking midfield slot or as a striker and boasts the sort of pace, explosiveness and technique needed to be a threat in the biggest games.
January may be a bit early to think about a move, but United have the sort of financial clout to make a deal possible should LVG demand a top class forward to keep things going. After all, can Anthony Martial be relied upon for a whole season at the age of 19?
While the stars of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Ateltico Madrid get the lion’s share of the attention in La Liga, Nolito has been plugging away out of the limelight with Celta Vigo. Last term the 28-year-old Spaniard created 96 goalscoring chances over the campaign – the division’s highest tally – and he’s already notched a notable five goals since the start of the 2015/16 campaign.
Barca are favourites to sign him in January, but United can offer the two-time Spain international the sort of cash to turn his back on the club he used to represent.
With Luke Shaw effectively set to miss the entire season with the horrific leg injury he picked up against PSV Eindhoven, United will need a new left-back in January. Blind and Marcos Rojo can fill in, but neither offer the sort of attacking intent the England youngster brought to the table, which was such a useful outlet to provide the extra man against compact defences.
Valencia’s Gaya has already been mooted as a target, and the 20-year-old Spaniard appears to be an ideal candidate. The starlet shone in La Liga last term, and is a regular for Valencia despite his age, while a future in the senior La Roja set-up is being talked about on the back of his impressive showings for the U-21 side.