Manchester United’s desperate need for a striker in the January transfer window is an open secret.
The club’s financial situation is dire, with mismanaging owners the Glazer family having run to the end of all available credit lines.
As the club is put up for sale, it means that little or no funding is available in this window to get the striker that manager Erik ten Hag so desperately needs.
However, there is no reason why the money can’t be raised through player sales and there are four obvious options that on market value could raise €85 million toward the cost of that elusive forward.
1. Harry Maguire – €30 million
Maguire would appear to have lost his place in the first team and despite a fine World Cup that saw him named in the team of the tournament, he was overlooked for the diminutive Luke Shaw at centre back against Nottingham Forest and Wolves when club football resumed. Coming up to his 30th birthday, the captain may be glad to reboot his career somewhere where regular game time is guaranteed and for United’s part, there would still be plenty of centre back cover in Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Rhys Bennett, Tyler Fredricson and makeshift experts Shaw and Casemiro.
2. Anthony Elanga – €25 million
Frank Lampard is reportedly keen to take Elanga to Goodison Park and it feels as if this would be a good move for everyone. The 20 year old has failed to make any impact at Old Trafford this season and there is plenty of cover for Rashford and Antony on the wings with Jadon Sancho returning, Alejandro Garnacho, Facundo Pellistri waiting in the wings and Amad Diallo available to be recalled from loan.
3. Donny van de Beek – €20 million
It has never really happened for Van de Beek at Old Trafford and if old boss Ten Hag is unable to find the key, it must surely be time to move on. Granted, there is not a lot of cover for Bruno Fernandes in the number 10 spot, but if Van de Beek were to be sold, one possibility would be to replace him with Hannibal Mejbri, who has been doing well on loan at Birmingham. In Fernandes’ absence, Christian Eriksen could also move up to fill the hole, with another ball playing youngster, Zidane Iqbal, being eased into the deeper role to replace him.
4. Brandon Williams – €10 million
Williams has now fully recovered from injury but looks unlikely to break into Ten Hag’s first team in either full back role, with Dalot and Wan-Bissaka ahead of him in the pecking order on the right and Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia on the left. The gutsy, full-blooded defender would make an excellent addition to a relegation-threatened squad or a Championship playoff contender.
Obviously, the logistical challenge in selling four players and buying one in January would be a great one, but it is not impossible.
If anything close to €85 million could be raised in this way, it would open the door to a world of options, with players such as Dusan Vlahovic (€80m), Rafael Leao (€85m), Lautaro Martinez (€75m), Victor Osimhen (€70m), Jonathan David (€45m), Tammy Abraham (€45m) and Ivan Toney (€45m) among the forwards priced in that bracket.
All market valuations as per transfermarkt.com.
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