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Is this United's January shortlist?

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Centre-backs, centre-backs and more centre-backs!

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

ESPN's good egg Miguel Delaney has given an interesting webchat in which he has supposedly spilled the apparent beans on Manchester United's possible January transfer targets. On the list is long-term target Mats Hummels, Atlético Madrid's Diego Godín, Louis van Gaal favourite Ron Vlaar and a wildcard in the form of Swiss up-and-comer Fabian Schär.

He says with some certainty that United are pursuing Kevin Strootman this window, though acknowledges that he can't see Hummels leaving mid-season. Perhaps Delaney's juiciest line came when he was asked about Real Madrid's young defender Raphaël Varane:

Real sources I've spoken to are adamant Varane will not leave. From what I understand, though, "his people" have been telling United and Chelsea something different.

Yum. Now that is some tasty transfer gossip.

The webchat doesn't tell us much that we couldn't have already guessed, but it's certainly interesting stuff. Ed Woodward seems to have realised that the prolongued public pursuit isn't the best way to going about signing players, so with any luck we'll get another Falcao-esque surprise or two some time this month.