The January transfer window may have passed, but the tabloids’ rumour mill keeps on turning.
Indeed, Manchester United were linked with a plethora of potential targets last month – many somewhat tentatively – but with their only signing coming in the form of the previously unattached Victor Valdes, it seems the majority of the Red Devils’ rumoured pursuits will now be delayed until the summer.
With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE Manchester United transfer sagas from last month that are now likely to continue in the next transfer window.
Could we see some of these coveted names join the 13-time Premier League champions in the summer instead?
Amid reports of fan base dissatisfaction towards Gareth Bale’s recent performances, despite a more than acceptable return of 36 goals in 75 appearances for Real Madrid, Manchester United were strongly linked to the former Tottenham talisman ahead of the January window, as reports from Spain alleged a £120million bid was in the offing.
Even if Los Blancos – whose ‘Galaticos’ transfer policy is easily the most decadent and populist in Europe – were considering throwing world football’s record-signing on the scrapheap last month, the chances of coming to an agreement with Manchester United mid-season were always rather slim. The Welsh wizard too, quickly sought to deny rumours that he about to jump ship to Old Trafford.
But Manchester United need another wide-man, and there’s something very Manchester United about Gareth Bale – his pace, his power, his potency on the counter-attack, his familiarity with the Premier League.
If Real Madrid delve heavily into the market this summer to the same degree as the last few seasons, selling the 25 year-old would certainly be an effective way of balancing the books under Financial Fair Play. The tabloids are speculating a revived £120million bid from the Red Devils in the summer, with some even claiming the explosive winger has already agreed the move in principle.
The ten defenders to have represented Manchester United regularly this season boast an average age of just 23, so there’s no disputing the desperate need for experience, quality and leadership throughout their backline, but most particularly at centre-half.
The Red Devils were resultantly linked to a number of central defenders last month, including West Ham and Aston Villa contract rebels Winston Reid and Ron Vlaar, Atletico Madrid’s Miranda, available through a £24million release clause, and PSG’s Marquinhos – whom they allegedly launched a £35million bid for, to no avail, on deadline day.
And amid that mix was, of course, Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, who’s been linked with a move to Old Trafford during virtually every transfer window since the Black-Yellows’ consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
With the Westfalen outfit lingering at rock bottom of the table, The Express claimed United were lining up a last-ditch attempt to prize away the German World Cup winner, but such a move failed to materialise.
Unequivocally the best option available to the Red Devils however, blending world-class defensive qualities with a Franz-Beckenbauer ability to instigate or join attacks, few would bet against the Premier League side returning for Hummels in the summer – especially if Dortmund plummet out of the top flight.
Another Dortmund star firmly in Manchester United’s crosshairs; prolific winger Marco Reus has just signed a new contract at Westfalen, eradicating his prior £20million release clause, but that’s unlikely to deter interest from his many suitors come the summer, including the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and the Red Devils.
After all, the Germany international boasts an incredible 47 goals and 29 assists in his last 99 Bundesliga appearances for the Black-Yellows, winning him the division’s Player of the Year award at the end of last season and earning him a reputation as one of the top attackers in Europe.
He’s versatile and technically masterful, equally adept in the roles of goal-scorer or provider, but the 25 year-old’s many talents are underpinned by his sensation pace – that would cause headaches for any defense in world football.
In other words, he epitomises virtually everything a top European club could want in an attacker. Resultantly, the Daily Star are already speculating a £50million bid from United this summer.
Without the superfluous form of goalkeeper David De Gea, it’s unlikely Manchester United would be in the Premier League’s top eight this season – let alone the top four.
Indeed, the Spain international has been nothing short of sensational, but that’s resultantly attracted the attention of Real Madrid, who were hotly linked with a record-breaking bid for his services last month. Louis van Gaal even dubbed the potential move ‘possible‘, with just 18 months remaining on De Gea’s current contract.
The Red Devils managed to stave off interest from the European champions last month and reports since claim they’re in talks with the 25 year-old to agree extended terms. Sky Sports correspondent Guillem Balague however believes even a new contract might not be enough to prevent United’s No.1 returning to Madrid this summer, and he may have a point – we are talking about a Spain international and the most successful club in Spain’s history, after all.
Should that be the case, it appears the Old Trafford side are already lining up a replacement in Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, who’s registered the third-most saves of any Premier League goalkeeper this term – an impressive 66 in 25 appearances. He recently signed a new contract at White Hart Lane, but the France international is clearly capable of playing at a higher level.
Constantly fluctuating between back fours, back threes, midfielder-come-defender Antonio Valencia and unfit Brazilian Rafael, who actually constitutes Manchester United’s first choice right-back at this moment in time remains open to interpretation.
A regular No.2 could drastically improve United’s performances at the back and one rumoured to be on their radar last month was Southampton star Nathaniel Clyne – who boasts the second-most tackles per match of any Premier League player this term, an impressive 3.9.
The speculated £20million bid never materialised, but with the England international now into the final 18 months of his St. Mary’s contract, United will undoubtedly return in the summer if he doesn’t agree new terms.
According to the Daily Mail, the 23 year-old will make his decision in April – likely linked to whether the Saints qualify for the Champions League.