By William Hill
9th January 2019
News.williamhill.com are taking a look at the 20 Premier League teams’ most pressing transfer priorities in the January window and today it’s the turn of the resurgent Manchester United.
The Red Devils are currently six points off fourth spot and trading at 3/1 in the current top-four betting odds, but what should they be looking to achieve in terms of transfers before January ends?
One to sign: Kalidou Koulibaly
The odd stray gust from the tornado of superlatives currently encircling Virgil van Dijk has probably travelled far enough to rustle the leaves around Carrington and how dearly United could do with a similar wind of defensive change to blow through Old Trafford.
As it stands, just six Premier League teams have conceded more goals than the Reds this term, while centre-backs Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly continually fail to convince.
Napoli star Koulibaly has long been coveted by both Man Utd and Chelsea and is reportedly open to a move to Manchester. Positionally adept, pacey and a good enough passer of the ball to be an automatic pick under Maurizio Sarri at the San Paolo, he is also a leader and organiser of his teammates.
According to ESPN, the Azzurri have so far refused to negotiate, meaning a summer move is more likely. However, Liverpool’s impressive defensive record this season has highlighted the importance of getting your future lynchpin in January, so they’re in place well ahead of the next campaign.
One to shift: Marouane Fellaini
If ever there was a player to dispense with in order to bring the curtain down on United’s post-Sir-Alex-Ferguson dour period it would be Fellaini, who, good-for-a-goal-now-and-again cult hero though he may be, will never embody a return to Fergie-era values.
January represents a last chance to recoup some of the circa £30m David Moyes shelled out for the Belgian beanpole and United have more than enough defensive-midfield reinforcements in Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay.
One who stays: Ander Herrera
In and out of the team under Jose Mourinho prior to December (partially due to a period out injured in September) the Spaniard has started three of United’s four league games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and offers unique a mix of defensive and attacking characteristics in the United squad.
Former club Athletic Bilbao are understood to be keen to re-sign him, but, with the interim boss apparently pushing for him to be offered a contract extension, Herrera needs to be held onto.