In part one, we took a look at players who could be leaving the club this January. However, United also need reinforcements. The midfield could do with another quality playmaker or box-to-box player that can play with or play in place of Paul Pogba. Elsewhere, a right-winger is almost desperately needed to increase the potency and dynamism of United’s attack. While in part one, we went player by player, part two will look at each position respectively.
4 players United could or should look to bring in this January:
Centre-midfield: When everyone is healthy and available, United’s midfield of Pogba, Matic, Lingard, and Mata are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with any midfield in the league. However, a look at the bench suggests more cover is needed, especially with the Mkhitaryan being out of form, McTominay still finding his feet, and Fellaini being an effective but not ideal solution.
Leon Goretzka is a midfielder who could be available this January, especially since he is out of contract in the summer. Schalke is doing well in the Bundesliga, but they have no hope of catching Bayern. While the same argument could be made with respect to United’s chase of a rampant City, United are still the more likely between the two sides to catch the frontrunner. In addition, the acquisition of Goretzka would give Mourinho the opportunity to deploy a 4-3-3, with Goretzka and Pogba being athletic enough to roam from eighteen to eighteen, employing a suffocating press or looking to thread a pass beyond the opposition defence. Goretzka has an eye for goal, with four in 11 appearances thus far. He should be target #1 in this January transfer window.
Another interesting central midfielder is Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. Although it would probably be cheaper to buy his German colleague, Ozil, on his day, is irresistible. He seems to be finding his feet again after a rough start to the season, scoring a delicious volley in his last match. Two goals and five assists that have come in his more recent games suggest that the playmaker is heating up. He is an admirer of the Portuguese coach and Mourinho has a soft spot for the silky passer as well. Keep in mind that he refuses to sign a new contract and seems fed up with the direction of an underachieving Arsenal team. Frequently cast as the scapegoat when Arsenal fail to perform, Ozil could be looking for greener pastures this January. This could be a transfer saga to keep an eye on.
Right-wing: Simply put, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Marcus Rashford aren’t wingers. They can shift out wide during phases of the game, but all three are better in the middle of the pitch. Martial does a great job on the left flank and Rashford as well, but United need balance on the other side. Only Valencia provides width on the right flank, so United would do well to bring in a natural winger.
With five goals and four assists this season, Riyad Mahrez would be an excellent addition to United right flank. He’s natural wide man who can hug the touchline, beat a man 1v1, and deliver in crosses for Lukaku to bury in the opposition’s net. Even more so, Mahrez is capable of drifting inside, linking with his other midfielders, and letting loose thunderbolts with his gifted left foot. Tottenham found that out the hard way (skip to 3:02). He is ready to step up to a bigger club and even though it would take a hefty fee to pry him away from the Foxes, Mahrez is worth every penny.
Wilfried Zaha could be worth recalling to the bright lights of Old Trafford. Easily one of the Premier League’s best wide men, Zaha has found his feet back home at Crystal Palace. A deadly 1v1 player, Zaha would also be a welcome addition to United’s right flank, bringing more pace and trickery that the fans would be sure to fall in love with. His healthy return of four goals could be doubled in Mourinho’s side before the end of February. Delivering crosses is another strong suit of the Ivory Coast winger and Lukaku would relish connecting with Zaha’s crisp service. A cheaper alternative to Mahrez, but one that could be equally effective.
Who would you like Manchester United to sign in the January transfer window? Let us know by tweeting us @utdreport!