Forwards Man Utd should target in January transfer window
Having seen Cody Gakpo snapped up by arch rivals Liverpool this week, Manchester United are back to square one in their search for a new goalscorer.
So to give the Red Devils a hand in their hunt for a new striker, we decided to draw up a shortlist of options they could target this January.
In the words of Maui, you’re welcome…
If Erling Haaland wasn’t a thing, then Dusan Vlahovic would be widely regarded as the best young number nine in the world.
Only 22 years old, Vlahovic has everything you’d want in a number nine already and he’s only going to get better too.
Having signed for Juventus in the 2021/22 transfer window for a fee which could rise to €91.6m, it’s fair to say that any deal the Red Devils could make to sign Vlahovic would be an expensive one. However, when one considers Juve’s current financial situation (it’s very, very bad), it’s not as impossible a signing as it might initially seem.
Ok, we know, Memphis Depay’s first spell at Old Trafford was a complete and utter disaster. That doesn’t mean that it can’t work out for the Dutchman in Manchester at the second attempt though.
Memphis probably wasn’t ready for United in 2015 and is a much, much better player now than he was back then having enjoyed fruitful five years at Lyon in between.
Now at Barcelona and generally not wanted by manager Xavi, the Red Devils could swoop in and get a quality player for next to nothing this January.
Club: LOSC Lille
Having admitted to being interested in a move to the Premier League and his manager Paulo Fonseca admitting that it will be difficult to keep hold of him long term, Jonathan David seems like a pretty obvious target for Man Utd.
Coupled with being available, David is also really quite good.
The Canadian has bagged an impressive nine goals in Ligue 1 so far this season and his runs in behind defences and sheer work rate are ideal for Erik ten Hag’s United.
No striker on this list has been more prolific than Aleksandar Mitrovic during the 2022/23 season.
That in itself is pretty damn impressive.
Mitro is also the only ‘Premier League proven’ player on this list having scored all those goals at Fulham.
He wouldn’t be the most exciting signing United could make, but he would be a pratical one.
Club: Atletico Madrid
Signed for €126m and now potentially available on a loan deal this January.
That doesn’t look too great for Joao Felix, but it’s not entirely all his fault. Diego Simeone has never fully understood what to do with a player as mercurial as Felix – mainly because he’s not a towering centre-back – and it’s cost the player some of his formative years.
With Atleti now hoping to cut their losses, the La Liga club’s loss may very well be United’s gain and early talks have already taken place.
Felix could play anywhere in the front three and even deputise for Bruno Fernandes in attacking midfield when required too.
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Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!
Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
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