Man United face going for cheap deals or loans again in January… but have FOUR defenders, all playing in different leagues, on list of stars they like – while facing missing out on £100m Ivan Toney race
- FFP limitations and ownership uncertainty will restrict their January spending
- Ivan Toney is too expensive but a striker is a priority, as well as a defender
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Manchester United will be limited to cheap or loan deals in the January transfer window amid ongoing uncertainty over their ownership.
A striker and a defender are top of Erik ten Hag’s shopping list but Financial Fair Play restrictions and a lack of clarity over Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake will prevent big spending.
It also remains to be seen how much United can recoup for the exiled Jadon Sancho as the club’s hierarchy weigh up various contract extensions.
United would like to sign striker Ivan Toney but Brentford’s January asking price of £100million will prove well beyond their reach in January.
Ten Hag would ideally have a reliable centre forward to provide back-up for £72m summer arrival Rasmus Hojlund, who hasn’t yet scored a Premier League goal.
Erik ten Hag needs squad reinforcements but Manchester United won’t spend big in January
Planning for January business has been slowed while Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £1.2billion purchase of 25 per cent of United is confirmed by the Glazer family
United would like another striker but Brentford’s £100m valuation is Ivan Toney is too high
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Reinforcements at the heart of their defence, which has proved leaky in the opening weeks of the season, are also a priority.
Names in the frame include Jean-Clair Todibo of Nice, Edmond Tapsoba of Bayer Leverkusen, Giorgio Scalvini of Atalanta and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite.
However, discussions over defensive targets have cooled for the moment amid doubts over whether director of football John Murtough will still be in post when the window opens.
Certainty will only come when Ratcliffe’s £1.25billion investment is ratified, with the INEOS billionaire wanting control over football operations at Old Trafford.
While goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s £20m departure to Crystal Palace in the summer offers United some financial leeway, their January spending will be restricted by FFP to cheap buys or loans.
This may ease if they can recoup a good chunk of money for winger Sancho, who cost them £73m just two years ago but has been banished to train in the academy facilities at Carrington after effectively calling Ten Hag a liar over his omission from the squad.
Sancho is likely to leave in January if a suitable offer is forthcoming with little sign of any reconciliation with the manager.
A number of defensive options are under consideration, including Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo
Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba (left) and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite (right) are other options as Ten Hag looks to sign another centre-back
Atalanta defender Giorgio Scalvini could be another defensive option for United
Offering contract extensions to current members of the squad will also be a consideration for United in the months ahead.
Brazilian midfielder Casemiro is one being weighed up behind the scenes at United, likewise whether French defender Raphael Varane wants to stay.
Talks over a new deal for right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka are progressing very slowly but an agreement might yet be reached.
The fitness of Lisandro Martinez will also be assessed once he returns from his metatarsal injury with a view to his future.
A lot remains up in the air at United two months out from the January transfer window.
Jadon Sancho, who has been exiled by Ten Hag, could be offloaded if a January offer arrives
Progress in Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s contract talks has proved slow, raising doubts over his future
They spent large sums on Hojlund, Mason Mount and Andre Onana during the summer, with Sergio Reguilon and Sofyan Amrabat signed on loan.
But United have endured a rocky start to the season, losing eight matches already across the Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League.
They are in Denmark to play FC Copenhagen in a crucial Champions League group match on Wednesday night.
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