Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd enquire about £25m midfield talent named as ‘likeliest’ January signing

Samuel Bannister
Denis Zakaria challenging Angelo Stiller

Manchester United are monitoring Denis Zakaria ahead of his exit from Borussia Monchengladbach, but face plenty of competition, according to various sources.

Zakaria’s contract expires at the end of the season and Gladbach have already confirmed he will be leaving. It is now a matter of whether they will cash in this month or let him go for free at the end of the season.

Either way, several clubs are queuing up for the impressive Switzerland international. He has already been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool, while Aston Villa are thought to have joined the race as well.

Zakaria can aim high when picking his next club judging by the calibre of sides showing an interest. There have been a few updates over his future in recent days, clarifying just where he could end up.

First, Stretty News cover claims from Jonathan Shrager that Man Utd are one of four clubs to have enquired about Zakaria for a January transfer. The others are rivals Liverpool and Bundesliga duo Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

All four clubs also got a mention in a subsequent report from the Daily Mirror. According to the newspaper, Man Utd are tracking Zakaria. The Mirror list Liverpool, Bayern, Dortmund, Barcelona and Juventus as their competition.

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For Man Utd, signing a new midfielder is their next priority in the transfer window. Ralf Rangnick wants someone with a “physical presence”, and Zakaria – who is 6ft 3in – fits the bill.

But he is also admired for his qualities on the ball and how he affects attacking transitions. Therefore, he has plenty of attributes that appeal.

Zakaria most likely Man Utd target

United could consequently make a move for Zakaria in January to beat the competition. The 25-year-old is still rated in the £25m bracket.

Denis Zakaria, Borussia Monchengladbach training

However, the Mirror say Rangnick is currently focusing on getting rid of unwanted players before the summer, by which point they will be aiming to upgrade their squad for a potential title challenge.

It is not impossible that they look into the potential addition of Zakaria early, though.

Alternatively, Man Utd could be thinking about RB Leipzig duo Amadou Haidara and Christopher Nkunku. Rangnick has worked with both players before. Even so, the Mirror say Zakaria is the “likeliest” player to arrive at Old Trafford – if any.

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Man Utd midfielder could still make way

While Zakaria could be arriving in Manchester, one man on his way out could be Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek only played 199 minutes across six matches before the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

What’s more, he has only played just over 90 minutes in interim boss Ralf Rangnick’s six matches in charge.

As such, links with a move away for the midfielder are resurfacing. Barcelona and Real Madrid have reportedly shown recent interest.

In an effort to engineer a January transfer, Van de Beek ended his association with representative Guido Albers in October. He subsequently began working alongside rival agent Ali Dursan.

The Sunday Mirror reported, however, that Dursan cannot represent Van de Beek without Albers’ permission. And with Albers refusing to budge from his agreement, they claimed a transfer now looks unlikely.

According to a fresh claim from Shrager, though, Van de Beek could still get away.

The reporter wrote on Twitter: “Regarding Donny Van de Beek’s agent situation, the owner of HCM Sports Management, Hasan Cetinkaya, is looking after Donny’s affairs.

“VDB’s former agent has a contract which only covers the UK, but not worldwide, so his new agency can technically still negotiate a transfer abroad.”

As a result, the transfer links with Barcelona and Madrid could still carry weight.

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