Eight players Manchester United can realistically sign in 2016
The post mortem on Manchester United’s Champions League exit is well underway and the general mood appears to be that change is required at Old Trafford.
While the future of beleaguered manager Louis van Gaal will be the subject of huge debate over the coming weeks and months, another revamp to his faltering squad is also being suggested by disgruntled United fans.
A typically outspoken Eamon Dunphy has suggested United need to spend as much as ONE BILLION POUNDS to revamp their team, but who can they realistically target in the next two transfer windows?
Here is your Independent.ie guide to the attacking stars United’s big spending deal makers can try and get at some point in 2016.
1) GARETH BALE
Club: Real Madrid
The suggestions that Man Utd chiefs have made Barcelona forward Neymar their No.1 target will not go away, but no-one really believes the Brazilian forward will end up at Old Trafford. While that may not stop United transfer guru Ed Woodward returning to Barca with another lavish bid for Neymar, he is unlikely to get any joy in that pursuit.
However, United would have more chance of signing Welsh winger Bale, who may well be coming to the end of his time at Real Madrid three years after his world record breaking move from Tottenham. A proven Premier League performer, Real Madrid may be tempted to cash in on Bale next summer if he fails to shine in the second half of this season.
2) RIYHAD MAHREZ
There was hardly any fanfare when Leicester sign Mahrez from Le Harve in January 2014, but the Algerian international is rapidly emerging as the star performer in the Premier League this season.
Oozing with pace and invention in the final third, his hat-trick against Swansea last weekend continued a stunning run of form that looks certain to lead to his exit from Leicester sooner rather than later. His price tag is soaring, but that would not concern Manchester United.
3) ROMELU LUKAKU
Everton appeared to pay a hefty sum when they splashed out £28m to sign this Belgian forward from Chelsea a couple of years back, but that deal looks very shrewd now as Lukaku bangs in the goals for Everton on a consistent basis.
He has proved himself to be the best target man in the Premier League this season and with 11 goals to his credit already, his price tag is rising at a rapid rate. He would give the United forward line a presence it lacks and would be a sound investment.
4) CRISTIANO RONALDO
Club: Real Madrid
Okay, we are all bored with the stories about Ronaldo returning to Man Utd, but it does appear as if the ‘Tanned One’ will be making a move next summer as his advisers continues to promote the story that he 2016 will be his last with Real Madrid.
Paris Saint-Germain may be favourites to land Ronaldo as they look to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic with an even bigger name next summer, but United could usurp that deal with a crazy offer for the superstar who will then be 31. He is not past his best yet, but he will be in the twilight of his career soon.
5) THOMAS MULLER
Club: Bayern Munich
United tried to sign Thomas Muller in the summer of 2014, so it didn’t take a genius to predict they would return to Bayern Munich with fresh offers to sign the German World Cup winnings striker in the last transfer window.
That deal failed to materialise and while Bayern insist they will not sell one of their talismen, Muller’s comments suggesting he might be tempted by a move to England at some point in his career have added fuel to the idea that this deal could go through at some stage.
6) EDINSON CAVANI
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
It is hard to know whether Cavani’s agents are driving the suggestion that their client is seeking a move in 2016 or whether the Uruguayan is genuinely in demand, but there are suggestions that he could even be allowed to leave in next month’s transfer window.
The feeling among many observers is that Cavani is an expensive option for any top club, with his vast wages and big fee not certain to be rewarded with a stream of goals. This would be a high risk transfer for United.
7) SADIO MANE
United let it be known that they were interested in signing Mane in the last transfer window, but they failed to follow up that media leak with a firm bid for the Senegal forward.
With pace and ability in abundance, Mane could provide an injection of urgency into the United side, but he is not always the most consistent of performers and that could work against him if he was at a big club like United.
8) HARRY KANE
The best young English striker in the Premier League is an obvious target for Man Utd, but they will struggle to break down the Spurs door and get them to sell their prized asset.
Kane is a symbol of Tottenham on and off the pitch, with his homegrown tag and history as a Spurs fans making him a commodity Chairman Daniel Levy dare not consider selling. However, every player has a price and United may test that theory with Kane next summer.