It’s not surprising given the number of injuries and sub-par play that midfielders are the top priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the January transfer window is now officially open.
The players that are being targeted by Manchester United include Sean Longstaff, James Maddison, Declan Rice, Gedson Fernandes, Emre Can, and Christian Eriksen. All under consideration after Solskjaer accepts that the midfield a huge priority — even more so considering Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are out for multiple weeks with injuries.
With a very tough schedule coming up — an FA Cup match against Wolves, two matches against City in the Carabao Cup, and lastly a trip to Liverpool, Solskjaer said after the New Year’s Day defeat to Arsenal that he is working on “one or two” possibilities in the January window.
Sean Longstaff (Newcastle) – Longstaff was a target for United last year but when Newcastle put a £50million price tag on him, those plans changed.
James Maddison (Leicester City) – Maddison would be a great addition to the weakened midfield but considering Leicester’s second-place standing, a move in January might be out of the question as Maddison is a big contributor in Brendan Rogers’ squad, scoring six goals and three assists in 19 Premier League games this season.
Declan Rice (West Ham) – The emerging England international has been a target for United for a while. TalkSport reported that United was preparing a £70m bid for him. With West Ham in a relegation fight, new head coach David Moyes might not be in favor of a January transfer especially considering how well Rice has been playing this season.
Gedson Fernandes (Benfica) – As reported on earlier this week, the out of favor Fernandes could find his way to Old Trafford this month as Benfica are now open to offers for the midfielder. Fernandes’s agents were recently in the UK and are rumored to have spoken to four Premier League clubs, including United. Lyon and AC Milan have made formal offers for Fernandes but his preference is to move to the Premier League. It is thought Benfica want to loan Fernandes out for 18 months with an option to buy after Benfica realized the £102m release clause will be a tough ask.
Emre Can (Juventus) - Can has started just twice in Serie A under Maurizio Sarri and was left out of their 25-man Champions League squad and is “keen to move” since his switch from Liverpool to Italy in 2018 hasn’t panned out as planned.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) – After José Mourinho was named head coach at Spurs, Eriksen made it very clear that he not would sign a new contract when his current one expires in the summer. The two have had a strained relationship after Mourinho insisted that Eriksen’s contract needed to be resolved in order for him to be a regular starter this season. As a result, Eriksen has been brought off the bench in two games, then was an unused substitute recently. United would love to get Eriksen in January but his £40 million price tag clause might deter that, considering he will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
It will be interesting to see how this month plays out with United sources continuing to urge caution over the possibility of recruiting midway through the season, even though Solskjaer has sounded increasingly optimistic about the window.