After a summer transfer window that saw some of the biggest names in world football move to Manchester United, the first half of the season has not gone quite how the club and fans expected.
After signing Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, backed up by great wins against the likes of Leeds United and Newcastle United in the opening games of the season, there was a lot of optimism around the club.
However, that quickly disappeared. Losses to the likes of BSC Young Boys, followed by thrashings to Liverpool, Manchester City and Watford lead to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjær and a generally sour mood around the club.
Then, to the pleasure of many fans around the world, the club appointed Ralf Rangnick as manager on an interim basis until the end of the season, before taking a further 2-year consultancy role with the club – basically working on a strategy to take the club in to a new age of fooball.
The first major chance Rangnick has to influence the club and squad is in this coming January transfer window.
Despite only having around a month with the squad, Rangnick will for sure have some idea of who he wants to see in the squad, who he deems surplus to requirements and who he would like to bring in.
Amadou Haidara plays as a midfielder for RB Leipzig – a club that Rangnick has many ties to etc (we all know this).
It has been well documented that United are in desperate need of a holding midfielder, with 33 year old Nemanja Matic being the only real No.6 at the club. The balance in the squad would greatly benifit from reinforcement in that area.
The main stumbling block in this potential transfer is AFCON. Haidara is set to be competing for his native Mali in this January’s AFCON, and therefore any deal could be delayed until the summer.
Haidara has previously spoken of his desire to one day play in Red, saying “my dream club is Manchester United. I will fight with all my strength to one day play for that club” back in 2019.
A forward who can also operate as a wide player, the Argentine centre-forward has been much discussed in recent weeks.
He has a whole host of European interest, and his agent has reportedly been visiting clubs in both Italy and Spain, and it due for talks with United on Monday 3rd January.
However, much of the noise surrounding this transfer has been generated from South America, with reports from England stating that United have not held serious discussions over a move for the River Plate young gun.
Turning our heads to Manchester United outgoings, one man who will almost certainly leave the club in 2022 is Jesse Lingard.
After a brilliant 6-month loan spell at West Ham in 2021, Lingard was promised a bigger role at the club for the 2021/22 season, however that never materialised. He has barely played a part in this season, despite some lovely goals against West Ham and Newcastle in September, and it’s a matter of time before he leaves.
The latest news suggests that he will not sign for another club in January, however he will almost certainly have a host of suitors who will be looking to sign him on a pre-contract agreement in January.
Despite being a heavy fan favourite, Edinson Cavani has reportedly made it clear that he would be happy to leave United in January. He has been linked with multiple clubs, such as Barcelona and Corinthians.
As of now there have been no indication that Cavani will for sure leave the club in January, however that could quickly change. According to The Athletic, United want to keep Cavani until at least the summer as they want to maintain squad depth and competitiveness.
As mentioned in the above tweet, Anthony Martial is another who is seemingly on his way out of the Manchester club. There have been heavy links away from the club in recent weeks, with United reportedly already rejecting one offer to take him on loan from Sevilla.
The main issue with a transfer for Martial seems to be his wages. If he does leave it will almost certainly be on a 6-month loan, which often comes with a split wage cost. United want all of his wages paid by the club he goes to, however the only offer so far has been a 50/50 wage split.
It’s pretty nailed on that he will move on in the summer, and the club will want to increase his value as much as they can before he leaves, and therefore a loan move is likely.
At this point last year, many United fans wanted to see Dean Henderson replace David de Gea as the club’s No.1. Fast forward 12 months, and it looks like Henderson is looking for an exit.
He has not recieved a fair shot at the No.1 in the way he was told he would be by Solskjær when he put pen to paper on a new contract, and is predictably looking for new opportunities in the new year.
There were links with AFC Ajax early in December, however these were quickly dismissed by their chief executive and former United player Edwin van der Saar.
There are a few other players who’s futures are in the air, however no real links are created. Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are three names who are reportedly looking for new opportunities in 2022, so keep an eye on those names as well.
Roll on January…