Man Utd have three January transfer priorities after missing out on Ruben Neves

Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return

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Manchester United had a relatively quiet deadline day with their three high-profile signings all sewn up comfortably before ‘squeaky bum time’, as one club legend might call it. Ruben Neves was the subject of the most persistent links to Old Trafford towards the end, but the midfield general will instead stay at Wolves until at least January.

Going about their business gradually and methodically, United managed to pull off the signings of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho weeks before the deadline.

Then came the fast and furious transfer saga involving Cristiano Ronaldo, in which the Red Devils swiftly pipped Manchester City to the Portuguese megastar.

Daniel James was sold to Leeds United for a healthy profit, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. will be disappointed to make do without a new midfielder.

In light of their summer, Express Sport looks into the three obvious transfer priorities United will face when the window re-opens in January.

Sign a midfielder

Eduardo Camavinga chose Real Madrid, Saul Niguez chose Chelsea, and Ruben Neves ended up staying put at Molineux.

It will undoubtedly be back to the drawing board when January rolls around, but the mission will remain the same as a classy holding midfielder is likely to stay on Solskjaer’s hit list.

If Chelsea target Aurelien Tchouameni banks another solid half-season in Monaco’s midfield, United may want to swoop in before his stock rises so high that his value skyrockets.

The same thing happened to Declan Rice, who the Red Devils are also likely to consider, although something would have to be done about his £100million price-tag.

Then, there is the opportunity to go back in for Neves. Quite the dilemma for Solskjaer, therefore, but there are certainly worse issues to have than options.

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Loan out youngsters

With United’s squad depth now among the very best in Europe after a successful summer, a number of their youngsters are in danger of being completely frozen out of the first-team.

Chief among which is Amad Diallo, the teenager who could cost the club up to £35m with add-ons included, and his loan away could not be arranged before the 11pm deadline.

Fellow youngsters Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire will also be keen to continue their development on the pitch rather than in the stands.

With such a talented trio bursting to get amongst the action in a first-team environment, there should be no shortage of clubs willing to take them for the remainder of the campaign.

Sell fringe players

Having spent big this summer, there will come a time when United will come under pressure to sell those deemed surplus to requirements.

That much can certainly be said of Phil Jones, who the Red Devils are likely to spend every transfer window until his contract expires in 2023 trying to offload.

There is also a strong possibility that at least one more attacking player will be sold off, with competition for spaces through the middle and out wide ridiculously high.

On balance, it looks as though Anthony Martial could find himself towards the bottom of the pecking order after rejecting a deadline day move to Lyon, while Jesse Lingard could also be transfer listed if things do not go to plan.

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