With the January transfer window now wide open, Manchester United have been linked with a host of transfer targets as they look to cut down Manchester City’s 15-point lead at the top of the table, as well as mount a serious challenge for the FA Cup and Champions League. According to the Daily Mail, manager Jose Mourinho is determined on strengthening three positions this month as he seeks two new full-backs and an attacking midfielder.
Mourinho ready to strengthen full-back positions
Ashley Young has made the left-back spot his own this season and whilst Luke Shaw has put in a number of eye-catching performances there in the last few weeks to suggest that he could make that spot his own, United are still heavily linked with bringing in a new face for added competition. Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose has regularly been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent months and it would be interesting to see whether Mourinho decides to make a move for the England international midway through the campaign rather than wait until the summer months. On the other side of defence, Matteo Darmian, a 2015 arrival from Italian outfit Torino, has lost his place in the squad this season, starting just two Premier League matches and has fallen down the pecking order, with Mourinho opting to play Victor Lindelof, a centre-back, on the right-hand side of defence over the 28-year-old away to Everton on New Year’s Day. According to Sky Sports, Darmian’s agent has confirmed that the defender is attracting interest from a host of clubs back in his native Italy and whilst he failed to name the suitors, he ruled Roma out of the running for the former Palermo man.
“I have never received calls from Roma for the player”, agent Tullio Tinti is quoted as saying. “There are contacts with other Serie A teams, but not with the Giallorossi. For the moment, the boy is not for sale”.
One in, one out in midfield for United?
Mourinho’s wish to add a midfielder to his ranks has seen the Portuguese linked with a swoop for his fellow countryman Joao Mario, currently plying his trade for Italian outfit Internazionale. The 24-year-old, who made his big-money move to the San Siro following his vital role in leading the Portugal national team to glory at the 2016 European Championships, has underwhelmed this season for the Nerazzurri, but could still make his way to Old Trafford. In order to get his hands on the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder, Mourinho is prepared to use playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a makeweight in any potential deal. Inter manager Luciano Spalletti is thought to be a keen admirer of the mercurial Armenian, who has fallen down the pecking order at United and would like to add the former Borussia Dortmund man to his ranks as he looks to lead his side to Serie A glory.
It would be somewhat unexpected for Mourinho to make such changes at the midway point of the season and with the Red Devils still in the hunt for two major trophies, however, the Portuguese will do whatever he thinks is best to assemble the best possible United squad and add more silverware to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.