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Five players Manchester United could sign during the January transfer window

With Erik ten Hag’s stamp growing ever-more visible at Old Trafford, Manchester United must guarantee intelligent business in the transfer market to avoid long-standing pitfalls when it comes to player recruitment. How should they tackle January?

There are few that can come to the discussion table and claim that the situation at Manchester United has been desirable in recent years. From managerial merry-go-rounds to questionable transfer dealings, and of course, the Cristiano Ronaldo saga; the Theatre of Dreams has more or less been a relative nightmare across a myriad of issues, best culminated in fan unrest – and subsequent protests – regarding club owners the Glazers.

But good times could be returning to Old Trafford under likable new tactician Erik ten Hag after his arrival from Dutch footballing institution AFC Ajax in the summer, with Manchester United continuing to produce credible results of late on the back of a consummate win against Nottingham Forest as Premier League play resumed after the extended World Cup break.

With undeniable progress on the pitch clear for all to see and United players reportedly enjoying their time under the Dutchman and a return to the happier times both on the domestic front and in Europe the clear aim, the record league winners are still under the microscope in January regarding how they may add further quality into the senior set-up.

After losing out on desired summer target Cody Gakpo as the 23-year-old Dutch international and PSV Eindhoven star had his January move to bitter rivals Liverpool confirmed, questions surrounding the center-forward channel and other areas of the XI remain in focus.

Considering the situation at hand in the northwest of England, 101 Great Goals surveys five players Manchester United could sign during the January transfer window.

Josip Juranović (Glasgow Celtic)

Starting at the back, Croatian international right-back Josip Juranović could certainly be the beneficiary of positive aftermath in the wake of a very credible winter campaign in Qatar after he featured in a starting role under Zlatko Dalić while helping his country finish third at the World Cup.

Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Moving to Germany with struggling Bayer Leverkusen, Dutch international youngster Jeremie Frimpong is set for big things moving forward after rising to prominence in the Bundesliga after leaving Manchester City’s academy to earn key minutes with Celtic before arriving in Germany at Bay Arena.

Though he did not feature in Qatar given the influence of Denzel Dumfries, Frimpong has shone for Leverkusen for two seasons before now, in his third, blossoming into one of the key attacking outlets for Die Werkself first under Gerardo Seoane and now Xabi Alonso, bagging five goals in 15 league appearances. Blessed with blistering pace, a keen eye in the final third both from a creative and goalscoring standpoint, and enough flexibility to be deployed in other areas of the pitch, his inclusion would give Ten Hag another attacking outlet from right-back to mirror Luke Shaw’s capabilities.

Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Another potential beneficiary of having a fantastic World Cup campaign, Brighton can boast a World Cup winner in their ranks after Alexis Mac Allister was an unexpected bright spot for Lionel Scaloni’s La Albiceleste in Qatar alongside SL Benfica starlet Enzo Fernández and key Atlético Madrid man Rodrigo De Paul.

Typically used in forward areas at Brighton as both a wide option or just behind the striker, Mac Allister showed his grit and determination – and willingness to press due to his incredible engine – was well-suited to being deployed as part of a midfield trio, which undoubtedly would play in his favor if he was to be targeted by United. Still creative in his own right as well as being a goal threat in addition to boasting technical craft commensurate to what Ten Hag would need in a midfielder, Mac Allister could be deployed in a hybrid role somewhere in the middle of what Christian Eriksen and Casemiro bring to the table.

Dušan Vlahović (Juventus FC)

Previously viewed as one of the most highly-touted center-forward targets in previous transfer windows, especially after Arsenal were willing to add him to their ranks last January, Serbian hitman Dušan Vlahović has found a relatively happy home when it comes to his performances for Italian giants Juventus after his goalscoring exploits for AFC Fiorentina after rising through the youth ranks at vaunted development center FK Partizan.

But considerable turmoil in Turin could see Vlahović in line for the exit row faster than fans would have hoped given Juve’s entire board resigning and the club potentially having to clear the desks of top earners due to financial distress. With United missing out on Gakpo, and the future of Marcus Rashford potentially still up in the air on the back of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Vlahović would be a no-brainer in terms of a targeted center-forward with a proven goalscoring pedigree at the highest level despite his young age, and any potential fee would hardly deter the Red Devils.

Ivan Toney (Brentford FC)

Last, but certainly not least, the enigma that is no longer an enigma; Brentford’s Ivan Toney. Many were unsure if the former Newcastle United forward could rise to the level of a credible goalscorer in the Premier League, but now in his second season in the top flight of English football under Thomas Frank, Toney has proven to be more than credible while many have begged England manager Gareth Southgate to give him a real chance at the international level.

Currently sitting on eleven league goals this term with only Erling Haaland and the aforementioned Kane ahead of him in the goal chart, the physically imposing is so much more than just a big frame to lead the line. Toney is deceptively quick, great in the air, lethal in the 18-yard box when given a chance, and is adept at leading the press from the front. Yes, there may be questions surrounding his off-pith troubles regards to gambling and how that may play out down the line, but his ability is no longer up for debate. After hitting 12 goals in his first season with Brentford in the Premier League, Toney is on course to hit the 20-goal mark and would bring a profile that needs no adaptation to expectations in England.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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