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4 players Manchester United should sign to pre-contract agreements in January

4 players Manchester United should sign to pre-contract agreements in January

Manchester United’s summer window

Manchester United were one of the more active Premier League sides in the summer transfer window.

The Red Devils would bring in three players, all of which were big names who, on paper, should have improved Manchester United.

Firstly, after being in desperate need of a natural right-winger for several years, Man United finally bit the bullet and splashed £73m on then Borussia Dortmund star, Jadon Sancho.

Sancho had made a name for himself in Germany as one of the brightest young talents in world football, notching very respectable goal and assist records in his last three seasons with BVB.

4 players Manchester United should sign to pre-contract agreements in January

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 02: Jadon Sancho of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 02, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, Manchester United were crying out for a quality partner for Harry Maguire. And, they certainly got one in the form of the experienced Raphael Varane, who United are believed to have paid just an initial £34m for.

Finally, Manchester United would, of course, bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. Ronaldo may now be 36, but he was still the top scorer in Serie A last term and was expected to improve Man United a great deal.

So far, however, the Red Devils have floundered in the league, been knocked out of the League Cup and suffered a shock loss vs Young Boys in the Champions League.

As a result, it is probably safe to say that Manchester United are not currently the finished article and could still improve their squad in several areas.

And whilst they may attempt to do so in January, the winter market often proves quite difficult, especially if you are after big-name players as most clubs generally do not want to part with their best players midway through a season.

What Manchester United can do from January, however, is sign players to pre-contract agreements.

What is a pre-contract agreement?

A pre-contract agreement can be struck when a player is in the final six months of his current deal and means that said player would sign for his new club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Clubs can, however, only sign players to pre-contract agreements when that player is not currently plying his trade in their league.

So in Manchester United’s case, they cannot agree a pre-contract with any Premier League players who are set to become free agents in the summer of 2022.

Despite this, there are still plenty of players Manchester United can sign to pre-contract agreements in January in order to secure them for free in the summer of 2022.

Here are four players 101 believe they should target.

Niklas Sule

As already mentioned, Manchester United signed Varane over the summer to improve their centre-back options.

And whilst the Frenchman has done so, the Manchester outfit are still lacking any sort of quality depth behind Maguire and Varane.

This has already been shown in this campaign. Maguire was injured before the October international break and Varane during it.

This would lead to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer quite clearly rushing back a half-fit Maguire to start against Leicester last weekend as Varane was still out.

Maguire looked well off the pace and was at fault for at least one goal. So, to avoid something like this happening again, Man United should look to snap up another quality defender on a free next year.

One of the better options available to sign on a pre-contract agreement currently is Niklas Sule.

Sule is still fairly young at 26 and has a plethora of experience playing at the highest level for Bayern Munich.

Will the defender usurp Varane or Maguire in United’s starting XI? Probably not. But he is certainly an upgrade on Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly

Denis Zakaria

Another area of the pitch Manchester United desperately need to improve in is central midfield.

It is well documented at this point that the main issue with United’s midfield at present is that they do not have a solid defensive midfielder on their books who can sit alongside Paul Pogba to break up attacks and set the tempo of the tie.

One player who could do so, however, is Borussia Monchengladbach star, Denis Zakaria.

Zakaria joined Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2017 and has since gone on to firmly establish himself as a key cog at the base of Gladbach’s midfield.

The midfielder possesses all the key qualities required of a proper DM, including an impressive work ethic, ability to tackle and he is also decent on the ball.

Noussair Mazraoui

For whatever reason, Diogo Dalot has never quite been able to fit in at Manchester United.

This has left just Aaron Wan-Bissaka as Man United’s only real option at right-back.

However, Wan-Bissaka cannot play every game every season and the Englishman is also not the best going forward.

So, it seems like Man United could do with some new back-up at RB, with a player capable of causing problems going forward likely preferred.

And, 23-year-old Ajax star Noussair Mazraoui would likely be a good option for Manchester United to sign on a pre-contract agreement this January.

The Dutchman is solid at the back, but he is also a real threat going forward, scoring four and assisting two in nine league outings so far this term.

Boubacar Kamara

The final player Manchester United could sign to a pre-contract agreement in January is Boubacar Kamara.

Kamara is another central midfielder who looks set for a bright future.

The 21-year-old ranked 11th for most interceptions and tackles made by midfielders in Ligue 1 last term despite being fairly young.

And though Man United may not want to use him as their main no.6 next term, if signed on a free, it would likely allow Man United to spend big money on another CDM, like Declan Rice, whilst using Kamara as a back-up option instead of an ageing Nemanja Matic or Fred whilst Kamara gains experience.

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This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 14 27 33
2 Manchester City 14 21 32
3 Liverpool FC 14 31 31
4 West Ham United 14 8 24
5 Arsenal FC 14 -3 23
6 Tottenham Hotspur 13 -4 22
7 Manchester United 14 0 21
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 0 21
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 14 -2 19
10 Leicester City 14 -3 19
11 Crystal Palace 14 -1 16
12 Brentford FC 14 -2 16
13 Aston Villa 14 -4 16
14 Everton FC 14 -7 15
15 Leeds United 14 -7 15
16 Southampton FC 14 -7 15
17 Watford FC 14 -7 13
18 Burnley FC 13 -6 10
19 Norwich City 14 -20 10
20 Newcastle United 14 -14 7

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 6
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 6
Raphinha Leeds United 6
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 5
King, Joshua Watford FC 5
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 5
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 5
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 5
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 5
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 5
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 5
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 5
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 5
James, Reece Chelsea FC 4
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 4