What transfer business will Manchester United conduct in the january window?
Ralf Rangnick’s to-do list as interim Manchester United manager is a long one. Hired to steady the Old Trafford club, the German coach has been put in a peculiar position where he must guide the team on the pitch and also point United in the right direction in a wider sense, with Rangnick set to become an off-the-field consultant at the end of the season
This hybrid role has given Rangnick more freedom than a typical interim manager would enjoy. Manchester United didn’t just appoint the former RB Leipzig boss to improve results on the pitch in the immediate term, although an uptick is expected. They need Rangnick to shape the long-term future of the club.
January will present Rangnick with the opportunity to do this, to a certain extent. Indeed, speculation is already swirling over potential new arrivals at Manchester United. If Rangnick has a plan in mind, next month, when the mid-season transfer window opens, might just see him put it into action.
A holding midfielder would surely be at the top of Rangnick’s shopping list if United decide to enter the transfer market. Amadou Haidara, who Rangnick knows well from his time at RB Leipzig, has been linked with a switch to the Premier League and the Malian would certainly give Manchester United more presence in the centre of the pitch.
Tyler Adams is another RB Leipzig central operator reportedly on Rangnick’s radar with Declan Rice still a long-term target for the Old Trafford outfit. However, Rice would almost certainly be out of United’s price range as a mid-season signing - recent reports claim West Ham United will demand as much as £100m for Rice at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
Rangnick might be more focused on pushing players out of the Old Trafford exit door rather than bringing them in. Anthony Martial’s agent has already publicly revealed the Frenchman’s desire to leave Manchester United and so January could see him depart - Juventus have been mentioned as potential suitors.
Many also expect Jesse Lingard to be on his way out of Manchester United sooner rather than later with the England international out of contract at the end of the season. January will almost certainly be their last chance to collect a few for a player more than capable of performing at Premier League level.
The contract situation concerning Paul Pogba is another big item on Rangnick’s to-do list. If the French midfielder is determined to leave United as a free agent at the end of the season, might it be in the Premier League club’s best interests to find a buyer for him in January? They might not get another chance to collect a fee for Pogba, a world class talent.
Making wholesale changes to a squad in January is always difficult, particularly with soccer still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic, and so Manchester United fans shouldn’t expect too many headlines. However, Rangnick has been hired to provide answers and January will give him the chance to deliver some.