Manchester United could make a move for Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi in the January transfer window, according to reports.
Midfield is a priority area for United to strengthen as they prepare for future transfer opportunities. Their current pairing in a double pivot is Fred and Scott McTominay. They could be upgraded upon, although the club opted not to sign anyone in that position in the summer.
Instead, they will make it one of their primary tasks in 2022 – potentially mid-season in January. To that end, they have already been linked with a wide range of potential options.
Declan Rice remains a major target, for example, although the West Ham man may be too expensive. They were also linked with his England partner Kalvin Phillips, who instead looks set to take the likelier route of signing a new contract with Leeds.
Man Utd are thus broadening their horizons, but could still find another opportunity in the Premier League. After some links with Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, they are now being credited once more with an interest in his teammate, Ndidi.
The Nigeria international was suggested as a United target by Fichajes back in May. Nothing came of the rumour in the summer, but the links have now been revived by the same source.
Fichajes claim Ndidi is the “clear target” for United to solve the “headaches” that the defensive midfield positions have given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent seasons.
In addition, they suggest he could be contemplating his future after Leicester’s indifferent start to the season. Backed by some to kick on from consecutive fifth-place finishes, they have not started the campaign in form that would reflect that.
Should Leicester fail to match their ambition from recent years in the long run, Ndidi may eye progression elsewhere. At the age of 24 (he turns 25 in December), it could be time to make such a leap.
United have “always” been interested in him, it is claimed, and “will not think for a second” about whether to sign him in January unless something changes.
Leicester have Ndidi under contract until 2024, but would likely make a major profit if they were to sell him. They only spent just under £16m to take him from Genk in January 2017.
Since then, he has played for them in 185 matches. But an opportunity may arise in the winter for him to end that spell.
One Man Utd midfielder leaving?
With Ndidi potentially arriving at Old Trafford, United may offload one of their other options.
They have an abundance of attack-minded midfielders, so could try to trim that number.
For example, Donny van de Beek has struggled for gametime since his move from Ajax last summer. He tried to leave in the summer and with his situation not improving, is likely to seek an exit in 2022.
Reports have indicated that Solskjaer would prefer to keep him until the end of the season, despite not using him much.
However, it has also emerged that Newcastle, fresh from their takeover, could make an attempt to sign the Dutchman.
They now have serious funds to spend and will be striving to show their ambition. However, in a long-term process, they may have to settle for out-of-favour players at big clubs to start with.
Van de Beek is thus in their plans, although Juventus are also looking at him.
Man Utd must therefore make a decision on whether they should let him leave, or if they still need him for squad depth.