Manchester United will look to remedy Ralf Rangnick’s main concern in the summer, though they are chasing more impressive targets than Denis Zakaria, per multiple reports.
Even before taking the interim manager’s position, Rangnick reportedly identified central midfield as an area United must address. Scott McTominay and Fred combine to form a workmanlike midfield. However, despite being more defensively-minded, they – along with United’s defence – are unable to prevent David de Gea from being one of the busiest goalkeepers in the league.
The futures of Paul Pogba and Donny Van de Beek remain up in the air. Nemanja Matic, meanwhile, is not the answer with the Serbian very much in the autumn of his career.
The Borussia Monchengladbach star, 25, is poised to become a free agent when the season concludes. His all-action and combative style seemingly meshes with the type of midfield players that thrive in Premier League engine rooms.
Liverpool and Arsenal had also been linked, but it was the Red Devils who were most frequently mentioned alongside Zakaria’s name. Both a cut-price January deal and summer free agent pick-up had been put forward.
However, according to Sky Germany correspondent Florian Plettenberg, United have removed themselves from the equation.
Bayern take lead in Zakaria sweepstakes
Plettenberg tweeted a move to Man Utd is now ‘very unlikely’, adding that stance is now ‘confirmed’. Instead, Zakaria is being eyed up by German powerhouse Bayern Munich who could sign the midfielder to replace Corentin Tolisso.
That United stance matches what the Athletic (via the Daily Mail) said about Zakaria earlier this week. The outlet ran the rule over United’s midfield targets, and insisted Zakaria is no longer a priority.
Denis Zakaria could move to Premier League this January say club officials
Arsenal and Manchester United both want Denis Zakaria this January and Borussia Monchengladbach have said the player could leave
Instead, United are believed to be targeting more high profile stars, with Jude Bellingham their ‘first-choice target’.
Declan Rice is also high on their wanted list, though both players could command north of £100m in the summer.
Nonetheless, United have the financial muscle to pull off that type of deal. And if they are determined to take their place back at the head of English football, signing that calibre of player might be a must.
Ferdinand rattled by Dalot man of the match decision
Meanwhile, Martin Keown’s decision to award Diogo Dalot the Man of the Match award from Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Brentford has been picked apart by fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand.
With 3-1 victory over Brentford in its final stages, co-commentator Keown opted to name right-back Dalot as his Man of the Match. And while he played well, Ferdinand – in the BT Sport studio – was left flabbergasted by Keown’s choice.
As such, Ferdinand claims United midfielder Scott McTominay ‘was head and shoulders above everybody’ on the pitch.
“Martin [Keown] on commentary was the person who gave Dalot man of the match, I couldn’t believe it,’ Ferdinand said, as cited by Metro, after the game.
“McTominay was head and shoulders above everybody. I text him [Martin] saying, ‘what’s going on?’”
As for McTominay, Rio Ferdinand admits he’s a big fan of the player and recalls a chance meeting with him recently.
“I saw him in a restaurant last week and just spoke to him briefly about working hard and playing hard and that’s all you hear about him. He’s an honest kid, he wants to do well and improve. You saw in his game today where his intensity and desire, you could see it from the first minute.
“At Manchester United, you need a certain amount of ability but personality. But it’s character what gets you through and enables you to stay at this club for a long time. He’s shown that in a time of need when this club has been shaky at the best of times.”