Erik ten Hag’s cautious claims on how the January transfer window will shake out at Manchester United are not what they seem, with Fabrizio Romano revealing talks over two specific signings have already taken place.
Man Utd’s 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday was their eleventh defeat of the campaign across all competitions. United’s season remains stuck in second gear and according to Ten Hag, the January window will provide little relief.
When recently asked by the United We Stand fanzine whether Man Utd would make additions next month, Ten Hag played down expectations.
“I don’t think so — and if so, the approach from United should be that if you can improve your team, then you should do,” said the Dutchman.
“What we expect from every player coming to Carrington every day is for them to give their maximum, to give their best.
“As a club, you have to look for improvements, so if you can find better and it’s realistic financially and with financial fair play, I think the club has to go with it.
“But realistically, in relation to the market, most of the time you don’t attract the best players in the winter.
“The top, top players will not leave their clubs in the winter. It’s players who are disappointed, injured or just not the right fit or whatever.”
But according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Ten Hag’s comments should be taken with a pinch of salt. Instead, the trusted reporter revealed talks over bring a new centre-back and striker to Old Trafford have already taken place.
Malen, Guirassy, Werner all under consideration
Landing a new frontman would ease the pressure on Rasmus Hojlund who is yet to break his duck in the Premier League.
Elsewhere, bringing a readymade centre-half on board would provide Lisandro Martinez with a new partner once the Argentine has returned from foot surgery.
Speaking in a YouTube video, Romano told his channel: “Ten Hag mentioned in an interview with United We Stand that he doesn’t expect any movement in the January transfer window.
“What I can tell you is this is kind of ‘lying’. Of course I don’t say that in a negative way but in a positive way.
“It’s normal at this point in the season to say you are not expecting anything. Also because for United they’re still waiting for Sir Jim Ratcliffe to come in as new co-owner and waiting for new people to come in to oversee the transfer market in January.
“There will be some changes at Man Utd and that’s probably why Ten Hag wants to keep things quiet.
“But behind the scenes the scouting department, the people in charge of the club now and Ten Hag himself already discussed names for the January transfer window including central strikers.
“Also centre-back is a position they’re discussing internally. They’re waiting to understand when Lisandro Martinez will really be ready [to return from injury].
“So discussions are taking place and the expectation is for Man Utd to do something in the January transfer window.”
Ratcliffe to help land France international?
Regarding the centre-back chase, The Mirror claimed United’s No 1 target is Nice and France ace, Jean-Clair Todibo.
The 23-year-old is valued around the £40m mark and Ratcliffe’s Nice connection – the French side are owned by Ratcliffe’s INEOS group – could help swing a deal United’s way.
Todibo’s potential arrival could also spell the end for Raphael Varane. The veteran Frenchman is one of three high profile United star’s The Independent claimed have been put up for sale.
On the forward hunt, talk of Borussia Dortmund’s Malen trading places with Jadon Sancho in a blockbuster swap has done the rounds.
Sancho is a confirmed target of Dortmund who are keen to bring the winger back to where he made his name between 2017-21.
Stuttgart’s Guirassy, meanwhile, can be signed via an extremely modest €17.5m release clause. The 27-year-old has been on a tear this season, notching 16 goals in 12 Bundesliga matches.
Werner has been told by RB Leipzig chiefs he is free to find a new club via the loan route in January.
The ex-Chelsea frontman has tumbled down the pecking order this season and has been made available for transfer, according to Sky Germany.
Elsewhere, The Mirror claim Man Utd have got ‘serious’ over signing a £75m-rated Belgian in 2024…