Transfer analysis: Who do Man United want and who will they actually get?
With the January transfer window nearly over, we assess what Manchester United have done, what they need and what could still happen.
WHAT HAVE MANCHESTER UNITED DONE?
Not much, which is somewhat surprising considering the club's current form, league position and financial clout. The only official moves have seen youth graduate Ben Pearson move to Championship side Preston and Victor Valdes go to Standard Liege.
Coming in the other direction, Old Trafford has seen the return of Adnan Januzaj after the Belgium international's loan deal at Borussia Dortmund was cut short.
Victor Valdes to Standard Liege
Ben Pearson to Preston - £650,000
WHAT DO THEY NEED?
Some Manchester United fans will tell you the club could do with reinforcing in every outfield position.
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Wayne Rooney is the only striker with experience and pedigree at the club and too much responsibility is being put on £58m youngster Anthony Martial. No other player is capable of leading the line. It's a crazy situation for a club of Manchester United's stature to be in and needs addressing.
There are more options in midfield, with manager Louis van Gaal appearing to be uncertain of his most potent mix in the middle of the park. Juan Mata, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay are at LVG's disposal.
But what all of them have failed to demonstrate is the pace, delivery and consistency that would resolve the club's issues in the wide positions.
Manchester United's defence has been one positive area in a difficult season for the club, but with Van Gaal appearing to be moving towards a more attacking mindset, there are even questions being asked of that department too.
Is Daley Blind, naturally a midfielder, really the answer at centre-back? Injuries have been a major problem for Van Gaal, with Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia all sidelined with serious injuries. Reinforcements would help but arguably they are not required in the long term.
WHAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN?
Manchester United need reinforcements and the lift a big-money arrival could give the club might be worth the hefty fee alone. However the calibre of player needed at Old Trafford is very rarely available in January.
They've been linked with the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and just about every other player you'd want in your dream team. But it'll take some exceptional circumstances for that to happen.
Something to keep an eye on is David De Gea and the rumours that a move to Real Madrid remains on the cards. When he signed a new deal after his switch to the Bernabeu fell through in the summer, it was completed amid the assumption a buy-out clause was inserted in his contact.
With Real Madrid banned from signing players for 18 months from February 1, agreeing a sale with Manchester United now could be a way around it.
(© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service