Options for MUFC in a difficult January window

Harry Maguire pulled out of League Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford with a hip injury that can rule him out for at least a month. The England international has played in 11 straight games in 5 weeks since the seniors were made to skip the away tie at Astana and bizarrely Solskjaer even played him against the minnows Colchester United. Its a huge blow to MUFC as both Cup tie's coming up before the end of the month. Maguire joins McTominay and Pogba on the injury list and all three form the spine of the thread bare team that's why MUFC season can crumble in January if reinforcement's are not added in this transfer window. Note the team are also short of two midfielders since the departure of Fellaini and Herrera. Best option would be to recall Chris Smalling from Roma where he's had a great season but off late errors have again crept in.

After the disastrous 1-3 drubbing to Man City sources from the club immediately claimed to be considering a move for Donny Van de Beek from Ajax who might cost #50 million. His teammate Hakim Ziyech is a tenacious winger who excelled in a 4-4 draw against Chelsea and can fill the right wing slot. While Rio Ferdinand suggested another midfielder Fabian Ruiz from Napoli who unjustly fired coach Carlo Ancelotti for player revolt. Donny Van de Beek would be a marquee signing that will also help to attract creative or attacking midfielders in the summer who might be assured of protection that will enable to express themselves better. Real Madrid tried to sign him in the summer and might get back again thus if MUFC cannot get him they can consider either of Kerem Demirbay of Leverkusen, Daniel Parejo from Valencia, Teji Savanier from Montpellier, Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta who have all excelled for at least one whole season playing consistently and are from clubs outside the traditional top three of their respective leagues. These four are no match to the Dutchman in terms of Champions' League experience thus are not marquee but have elevated their game to earn a move to a new club or moved into the top midfielders category in their respective leagues.

MUFC can look at other elite clubs in Europe like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Paris St Germain who frequently loan players to each other. Mauro Icardi between Inter and PSG, Philippe Coutinho between Barca and Bayern, Perisic between Inter and Bayern. Even Arsenal got Dani Ceballos from Real! MUFC have let out Alexis Sanchez who they could not handle to Inter and Chris Smalling to Roma but failed to negotiate any incoming players despite being one of the founding members of the disbanded G-14 that has now become European Club Association. Historically MUFC have shunned this type of deal since the Ferguson years and there could be an opportunity for the present management to reassess this route until then any transfers seem unlikely. Example: Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti from Barca, Emre Can, Adrien Rabiot, Daniele Rugani from Juventus, Edinson Cavani from PSG.

Championship has always been a great reserve to scout for future prospects. Brian Glanville used to frequently tell of how Chelsea's first League winning team in 1955 was made up of players from lower division. Kalvin Phillips of Leeds, Matt Grimes of Swansea, Matheus Pereira of West Brom, Jarrod Bowen of Hull, Matthew Cash of Nottingham, John Swift of Reading, Jed Wallace of Milwall. Last season's standout player was Jack Grealish who MUFC might sign in the summer for a hefty fee from Aston Villa while MUFC did sign Daniel James, Neal Maupay is now excelling at Brighton and Reece James at Chelsea.

MUFC can take this window to sign up players in the summer and do the homework in advance like Chelsea signed Christian Pulisic in last January only to be available in the summer. James Maddison is the prime candidate to do such a deal now for #70 million else once he signs a new deal with Leicester then he would cost more than #100 million in the summer. Such a deal would be smart and reduce the cost of acquisition later.

Or look to sign free transfers like Thomas Meunier to add the experience and backup to Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Ashley Young seeking his last contract and in talks with Inter where he can perhaps even extend his playing years in the slow Italian league. Meunier can add the experience at the full back positions that now will have Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Dalot and Williams all below 25 years of age.

Options are available if search is focused in the right direction. Ed Woodward can overturn his image with the fans and slowly gain acceptance. This season he has been proactive unlike in the past. Being 5th in the table and still in contention for all three Cup competitions, unless the club acts to protect its performance by adding quality players they might collapse like at the end of last season. #GlazersOut movement on social media from fans will definitely re-start towards the end of January if no one is signed.

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