Despite spending over £200million on new signings in the summer transfer window, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is still looking to strengthen his squad.
United had a difficult start to the season and lost their opening two games but have since turned things around, producing impressive perfromances in wins over Liverpool and Arsenal.
But Ten Hag reportedly feels that United failed to strengthen several key areas and could make more signings in January.
We’ve taken a look at five players that Ten Hag could look to sign during the January transfer window.
After signing a Dutch full-back during the summer transfer window, United could potentially buy another one in January.
Tyrell Malacia has made the left-back spot his own at Old Trafford but Ten Hag reportedly wants to add another right-back to his squad. While Diogo Dalot has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2022/23 season, Ten Hag was willing to let Aaron Wan-Bissaka leave the club during the summer.
According to The Athletic, United football director John Murtough blocked a potential loan move for Sergino Dest by backing Wan-Bissaka.
The 24-year-old has since made just one substitute appearance for United and West Ham United and Crystal Palace are reportedly looking to sign him in January.
United won’t be able to bring in Dest, who has joined AC Milan on a season-long loan deal, but Ten Hag might turn his attention to Inter Milan right-back Denzel Dumfries.
Unlike Wan-Bissaka, Dumfries is an attack-minded full-back and he would suit Ten Hag’s style of play due to his ability with the ball at his feet.
“He’s a very good player and I’m sure he would be perfect for the Premier League,” Fabrizio Romano told GiveMeSport.
“He’s a physical player, he’s scoring goals, he had a very good first season at Inter and it was not easy because he was replacing Achraf Hakimi, who was one of the best right backs in Inter’s history, so it wasn’t easy, but he did very well.”
The 26-year-old has registered two goals and an assist in eight appearances this season and would reportedly cost around £34million.
Alongside Dest and Dumfries, United were also linked with Borussia Dortmund right-back Thomas Meunier during the summer window.
The Belgium international, who is renowned for his attacking qualities, registered two goals and four assists in 17 Bundesliga appearances last season and would provide stern competition to Dalot.
Dortmund are reportedly looking for a fee of around £12.5million and it’s safe to assume that Meunier would be keen on the move.
“I’ve always said that one day, I would like to play in the Premier League,” he said back in 2017. “I’m very happy in Paris and if I finish my career there, it won’t be a disappointment, far from it. But, if one day, I had to leave Paris, why not?
“On the other side of the channel, there are the stadiums, the fans, and I’ve never hidden that I’m a big fan of Manchester United, which remains, in my eyes, the real reference in the world of football.”
Frenkie de Jong
United’s pursuit of De Jong has been one of the worst kept secrets in football, with Ten Hag identifying the 25-year-old as his number one target during the summer window.
The manager worked with De Jong during his time in charge of Ajax and wanted to build United’s midfield around him.
According to The Athletic, United agreed to pay Barcelona a guaranteed fee of £63million and £8.47million in add-ons for the Netherlands international.
But De Jong insisted that he wanted to remain at Camp Nou and was seemingly reluctant to make the move to Manchester. United tried to change his mind but eventually walked away from their pursuit of De Jong and spent £60million on Casemiro.
While Casemiro and De Jong play in similar positions, they have different styles and could still play together in a midfield two if Ten Hag decides to target the latter in January.
“I’m sure Manchester United are continuing to monitor the Frenkie de Jong situation at Barcelona,” Pete O’Rourke told GiveMeSport. “It, obviously, was a blow for United not to be able to get that deal over the line because he was their number one target.”
De Jong could also reconsider his stance on United in January after falling behind Pedri and Gavi in the pecking order. He has started just three games in all competitions this season and has made a further four substitute appearances.
After Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his desire to leave during the summer window, United were linked with Alvaro Morata, Victor Osimhen, Raul de Tomas, Marko Arnautovic and Matheus Cunha.
Ronaldo ultimately remained at Old Trafford after failing to secure a move away and those deals also failed to materialise.
But the Portugal international will be the subject of more transfer speculation during the January window and United may need to sign a replacement.
Ten Hag reportedly wants a more physical striker to lead the line and could target Toney, who has starred for Brentford in recent seasons. After helping the Bees win promotion to the top-flight, he scored 12 goals in 33 Premier League appearances in 2021-22.
According to the Daily Mirror, United, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham, Leeds and Everton were all keeping tabs on Toney during the summer window.
The 26-year-old has since taken his game up another level, scoring five goals in his first six league games in 2022/23. He also produced a brilliant performance in Brentford’s 4-0 win over United, setting up two of their goals.
A move to Old Trafford would also see Toney reunite with Christian Eriksen after the duo struck up a good relationship at Brentford.
While Toney could be a brilliant signing for United, Brentford will be demanding at least £40million if they are going to let their striker leave in January.
United might not be willing to spend that much if they make more than one signing in January and Dembele would represent a much cheaper alternative.
The France international is a proven goalscorer and netted 21 goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon in 2021/22.
He’s found himself on the bench following Alexandre Lacazette’s return but has still scored two goals in five substitute appearances and is averaging a goal every 64 minutes in 2022/23.
His Lyon contract expires at the end of the season and the January transfer window represents the last chance for the Ligue 1 side to cash in.
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