MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Phil Jones of Manchester United is consoled by Eric Bailly after missing his penalty during the shoot out during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford on September 25, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)
With the January transfer window fast approaching we are all hoping that there are one or two players being lined up to help us during the second half of the season. As always, my Christmas wish is for a decent signing in the new year but I am cautious too, because I am so often left disappointed by the usual line of “potential transfer targets not being made available until the summer.”
Whatever happens, the current squad is not one that you could say has strength in depth so I don’t believe we should be selling any players unless we are replacing them.
If there are any in the firing line however, here’s my guess as to who they are…
I have previously written here about why Phil’s career hasn’t quite gone to plan for either side. He made a very promising start to his stint with Utd but between numerous injuries and loss of confidence he never really pushed on.
At the moment he is struggling to make the match day squads and when he does play is struggling to make an impact. It’s very hard to make a strong case to play him when we have Maguire, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, along with the surprisingly decent form of Rojo, all ahead of him. Bailly and Fosu-Mensah are making recoveries from injury and both will jump ahead of him on their return too.
Phil is just 27 and can still have a number of years playing at a decent level. If he actually wants to play and isn’t happy just picking up his pay cheque, then he should be knocking on Ole’s door asking for a move.
The superb form of Scott McTominay this season has really restricted Matic to a few fleeting appearances so far. The idea is that McTominay learns from Matic and I’m sure in training he is making the most of playing alongside him. McTominay’s drive, aggression and pace, however, are giving him the edge this season.
The feeling is that Matic, now 31, takes too much out of the ball and does not move it into the attacking third quickly enough for the counter attacking football that Solskjaer craves. The high tempo pressing also doesn’t suit Nemanja’s style and some comments have emerged in recent interviews that suggest he is not happy to be left out of the team.
There are other potential moves that could be suggested in January.
Roma may trigger a permanent deal for Smalling based on the good form he is showing for them so far. This would be good business for the club if it happens. Sanchez is out injured again so the same scenario is unlikely to happen with Inter Milan but if any offer comes in then Utd need to snap their hands off.
It’s clear Pogba doesn’t want to be at the club and I’m sure we will start seeing comments from Raiola again but I think this deal and a potential replacement won’t happen until the summer.
If Jesse Lingard wasn’t a local lad and our squad wasn’t so thin then he could have been on the move even on a loan deal. He has lost his place both in the team and the England squad, and with only the second half of the season to impress ahead of Euro 2020 he really needs to step it up…
So in conclusion, when January does arrive I won’t hold my breath on any transfer activity but I will always have hope and as a consequence, no doubt, I will always know disappointment…
Thanks for that Mr Woodward.
What do you think?