Manchester United are set to challenge for the Champions League spots again this season.
Their away point at Leicester may be a slightly disappointing one given they were ahead with just minutes remaining, but it leaves them just four points off the top of the table and they are well in the hunt for another Champions League place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently claimed he would support the Norwegian in the transfer market, and with just a few days until the January window opens, we take a look at some possible targets over the coming weeks.
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
The RB Leipzig defender was regularly linked with a move away from the German side last season, but signed a new contract including a release clause of 42 million euros that comes into effect next summer. However, his club are reportedly willing to do a deal this transfer window due to the financial effects of the coronavirus, which has eliminated or reduced the amount of spectators allowed across Europe.
For United they would be getting a 22-year-old France international with top flight and Champions League experience, who would not only be an upgrade on Victor Lindelof, but also a far better player than Harry Maguire as he is currently playing. Available at a bargain fee it would be too obvious a transfer for United to complete.
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Ben White (Brighton)
White spent last season on loan at Leeds in the Championship, and attracted attention from Liverpool and other top sides such was the level of his performances. Brighton have managed to keep hold of him for now, and the 23-year-old defender has continued to impress. The south coast club have reportedly put an asking price of £50 million on his head, which may price him out of a move to United given their occasional parsimony.
Liverpool, too, are still keen on another defender given the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. If White has to make a choice between Liverpool and United and wants to move to the best team on offer, then Solskjaer stands no chance.
Ozan Kabak (Schalke)
Another Germany-based player with a release clause, this time around 45 million euros. The 20-year-old Turkey international attracted attention from AC Milan in the previous transfer window, and was one of the first names mentioned when Liverpool suffered the twin injury blow to Van Dijk and Gomez.
Since then, Manchester United have thrown their hat into the ring for the player according to several transfer rumours. He would fit Solskjaer’s approach of buying young and talented players, but the team are crying out for an experienced leader, which in truth is none of the names linked so far.
Ozan Kabak - FC Schalke 04
Image credit: Getty Images
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
A left-field suggestion perhaps, but this might be United’s best chance to get the youngster. He has had a middling start to his season with Borussia Dortmund and with both Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland far better this season, he might be unsettled enough to try something else. Dortmund, too, might wonder if they would do well to send him on his way this winter and take advantage of a depressed transfer market as Europe waits for the vaccine to meaningfully improve economic confidence.
For United, this would be yet another expensive gamble. At least £80 million, possibly well north of that, for an out-of-form player who has had a handful of disciplinary problems. Going by their track record of big spending, it would be a risk to push this through. Woodward’s love of a big name might be all it takes, though.
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