The January transfer window is almost upon us. The Hard Tackle takes a look at three players who could be making their way to Manchester United this winter
To say that 2018-19 has been one dramatic season for Manchester United would be quite a vague understatement to say the least. A campaign that has been littered with more downs than ups has already seen the infamous “third season syndrome” strike Jose Mourinho yet again, with the Portuguese being sacked last week.
In his stead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken temporary charge of the Red Devils, until the end of the season. While his stint as caretaker boss of his beloved Manchester United might have started in impressive fashion, the Norwegian might still be delving into the transfer market in January, especially after saying that he will have a say in the comings and goings at Old Trafford this winter.
But, with a limited budget worth only £50 million likely to be made available to him, as per widespread reports, there are only so many options left in front of Solskjaer in an already restricted transfer market. To that end, The Hard Tackle takes a look at three players who could end up making their way to Old Trafford in January.
Ozan Kabak (Galatasaray)
Manchester United may have made the transition from Mourinho to Solskjaer look quite simple with their 5-1 win over Cardiff City, who never really threatened much at the back either. But, chances are, after the kind of performances that have been on show so far this season, that the result only papered over the cracks, as far as problems at the back are concerned.
A product of the Galatasaray academy, Kabak joined the Turkish club’s youth setup aged 11, and has impressed with his displays in age levels games for both club and country. In fact, the 18-year-old was also one of the ten players to watch out for during the Under-17 European Championships, before he finally got his big break in senior football.
Kabak made his first-team debut for Galatasaray last season, only managing a minute of action before rising to prominence this term. In particular, the teenager has impressed in the UEFA Champions League, becoming the joint second youngest player to start in a Champions League game this season alongside English sensation Jadon Sancho.
The teenage prodigy also has a man of the match award in Europe’s premier club competition, all of which makes for an impressive resume. As for how he will fit in at Manchester United, the fast paced game in England will suit his qualities, while a £6.7 million release clause in his Galatasaray contract makes for an appealing figure.
The signs are definitely positive and while Kabak might not become a regular immediately, Manchester United could land a world-class prospect on the cheap in the Turkish prodigy. But, if their requirements are to be more urgent, they might be better served pursuing…
Eder Militao (FC Porto)
At 20, Eder Militao is not exactly a player at his peak. But, with nearly an entire season of senior football under his belt, the player has been making massive strides. Hailing from the Sao Paulo academy, which has produced the likes of Kaka, Cafu and Oscar, among others, there is genuine excitement that Eder could be the latest superstar emanating from the academy.
Last summer, he left Sao Paulo to join one of the forces of Portuguese football, FC Porto, and his star has only been on the rise since then. With 19 appearances already under his belt, it is clear that the 20-year-old is a player of high quality, who has also flourished in Europe.
Add to it, his versatility, and the Brazilian prospect could also prove to be an option at right-back, if required. As far as his intrinsic qualities for the job at hand are concerned, Eder also possesses a burst of pace that would make him an ideal foil in the Manchester United backline, with the player also being a force in the air, another trait that would make him a perfect candidate in the Premier League.
The catch in his pursuit though, is that Porto are hoping to double his release clause to around £45 million, which would be almost the entirety of Manchester United’s January budget. But, if they move fast, the Red Devils might be able to land him on the cheap before any damage is done, although the Brazilian might need some convincing to leave Porto after just six months.
Joshua King (Bournemouth)
From the back of the field to the very top, we get to another area that has proven to be inconsistent for Manchester United this season – attack. Anthony Martial has been a clear standout for the Red Devils this season, while Marcus Rashford has also stepped up lately.
But, other than the young duo, no one else has managed to inspire positive results on a consistent basis, at least till Jose Mourinho was still in-charge of the club. In particular, Romelu Lukaku’s slump in form has been a major cause for worry for Manchester United, with the Belgian managing to score just six goals in 22 appearances this season.
Furthermore, he is being linked with a possible move away from Old Trafford, and should it happen, Rashford and Martial will be the only two recognised players capable of playing upfront, with the latter likely to start on the left more often than not. King is thus, an ideal candidate to boost Solskjaer’s options in attack.
Add to that the fact that the Bournemouth front-man shares the Norwegian connect with the Manchester United caretaker manager, and the pieces could fit into the puzzle quite seamlessly. The desire to return to a club where he failed to make it at the highest level might also be a tempting factor, and the signs all point towards a possible January move.
The financials check out as well, with King valued at just £25 million. An interesting prospect that might not just give Rashford a run for his money, but could also potentially become a first-choice at Old Trafford, if he sets his heart towards it.