Haidara in, Lingard out: What Man Utd need in January transfer window

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 23 Dec 2021 12:03 GMT 4 min read
Jesse Lingard, Manchester United, 2021/22

Ralf Rangnick is the new manager of Manchester United and during the negotiations for his appointment, he would undoubtedly have spoken to the club about recruitment.

The Red Devils actually enjoyed a positive transfer window in the summer under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, bringing in Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and of course Cristiano Ronaldo.

As a whole, though, the team underperformed under the Norwegian which is what ultimately led to his dismissal.

Rangnick has been brought in on a temporary basis until the end of the current season, after which he will take up a consultancy role.

Recruitment will be a major part of that consultancy role, so he will have the opportunity to start reshaping his squad in January.

Let's look at the business that needs to be conducted.

Goalkeepers

Man Utd are well-stocked in the goalkeeping department, so much so that Solskjaer said last season that the club actually have two number ones in David de Gea and Dean Henderson.

That hasn't proved to be the case, with De Gea emerging as the undisputed number one at Old Trafford.

As for Henderson, he will be desperate to leave to boost his chances of making the England squad for the 2022 World Cup, but any suitor will have to pay a sizeable fee for Man Utd to consider a deal.

Tom Heaton remains a solid third choice.

Defenders

Rangnick has had success recently by deploying Diogo Dalot at right-back and Alex Telles at left-back.

Luke Shaw would certainly have been worried about Rangnick's appointment as last year the German, while working as a pundit, questioned whether the left-back was good enough for Man Utd.

He and Telles remain good options at left-back, though.

As for right-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has had a wretched campaign which is why Dalot has now been brought in more consistently.

Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier

Neither are probably a long-term solution though as Man Utd need a modern full back who can attack and defend.

Kieran Trippier has been a target since the summer and Atletico could be approached again, while Tariq Lamptey has also been mentioned.

Varane will eventually come good. The club just need to keep him fit and that isn't happening at the moment.

If Harry Maguire's form from this season continues, Man Utd will definitely need someone else to partner Varane as neither he, nor Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, are good enough.

Midfielders

This has been the area of most concern for Man Utd for a number of years now, with Fred the last central midfielder purchased by the club under the tenure of Jose Mourinho.

Fred has long been a target of criticism for his performances, but has actually impressed this campaign and scored the first goal of the Rangnick era so he is safe.

Scott McTominay can be magnificent one day then disappointing the next, while Nemanja Matic is far too slow to play as part of a two.

Amadou Haidara

Amadou Haidara

Amadou Haidara has emerged as one of United's primary targets, having worked with Rangnick at RB Leipzig previously. He would give the team some much-needed drive in the middle of the pitch. Declan Rice has been mentioned too, but he would cost far too much for a January splurge.

Donny van de Beek hasn't been given much of a chance, and when he has he hasn't impressed. The Dutchman probably has six months to prove himself as Man Utd standard, but if the club get a decent offer he'll be gone.

Paul Pogba's contract expires in June, and if any suitor comes in with an offer next month Man Utd will probably look at it. He has been injured during Rangnick's tenure so far, so it remains to be seen if he will be a key player again.

Forwards

Bruno Fernandes, who can also be considered a midfielder, has a safe spot in the team for now but will need to adapt to the wider role Rangnick is asking him to play.

Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata have all been linked with a January move away.

Martial is wanted by Sevilla, Cavani could go to Barcelona, while Mata might return to Valencia.

Could Edinson Cavani leave Man Utd?

Could Edinson Cavani leave Man Utd?

The return of Ronaldo has meant game time reduced for a number of players in attack, including the trio mentioned above.

Mason Greenwood hasn't played as much but he won't be sold, while Marcus Rashford is also safe.

Jadon Sancho is just starting to find form, so that is a cause for excitement.

Jesse Lingard is out of contract in the summer and is wanted by Newcastle and West Ham.

It is unlikely Man Utd will sign any more forwards in January.

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