27 Dec, 20:30
Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho wants more signings and the club have plenty of targets ahead of the summer and winter transfer windows. Here is who they could sign.
Antonio Valencia will be 33 at the start of next season and United supporters expect a young heir to be competing with him, particularly after Jose Mourinho commented that City 'buy the full-backs for the price of the strikers'.
Ashley Young's United renaissance began at right-back against Basel and he was their best performer on Boxing Day. Despite Young's consistent class this term, he is 32 and still viewed as a stop-gap on the right or the left.
United took a passing interest in Serge Aurier early last year before it was overstated in the French media as Paris Saint-Germain attempted to smoke out a buyer in Tottenham.
Mourinho had the St Etienne right-back Kevin Malcuit scouted but passed on the Frenchman and he switched to Lille. PSG's Belgian international Thomas Meunier has already curried favour with United's online community by revealing he plays as them on Fifa 18.
Luke Shaw has made a triumphant return to the first-team and was one of a handful of players who performed against Burnley. He could still salvage his United career but doubt lingers as long as Mourinho is at the club and the left-back position is still very much owned by Young.
United are monitoring Tottenham's Danny Rose, amid reported interest in Juventus' Alex Sandro, and scouted Celtic's Kieran Tierney before he inked a new deal. Mourinho wanted a left wing-back in the summer and possibly intended on converting Ivan Perisic into one had United met Internazionale's £50 million valuation.
A central midfielder (or two)
Marouane Fellaini is 30 and undecided about his United future. Michael Carrick, 36, may be forced to retire in the summer. Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera are in their late 20s. Mourinho praised Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for bringing dynamism to the side on Tuesday and more is required in central midfield.
Mourinho considered Renato Sanches and Blaise Matuidi during the summer United brought Paul Pogba back and is seeking a creative option to supplement the France international. United scouts have cast their eyes over Borussia Dortmund duo Julian Weigl and Christian Pulisic.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Andreas Pereira will return from year-long loans in the summer and could reduce the average age, only Mourinho appears to consider Fosu-Mensah as a right-back and Pereira has started fewer United games in three-and-a-half years than Scott McTominay has in seven months.
That 'fourth player' who eluded Mourinho in the summer was Perisic and United are now looking at a markedly different profile of winger in Bordeaux's Malcolm. Perisic is 28, played in European Championships and a World Cup and starting for a title-chasing Inter. Malcom is 20, uncapped by Brazil and playing for Ligue 1's 15th-placed side.
The opposites continue: Malcom is left-footed and plays on the right wing, which has become United's biggest problem position. United considered Pedro and Sadio Mane to fill that void before Mourinho insisted on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who preferred to play in the No.10 role before he was exiled again. United have not ended their interest in Gareth Bale, either.
The specific term used among Mourinho's inner circle is 'magician'. Mesut Ozil, with his 67.2 million social media followers would be magical for the United suits and could arrive on a free transfer, which would please the Glazer family. Ozil turns 30 next season but worked with Mourinho for three years, 'loves' him and the pair have embraced before and after games since they moved to England in 2013. Ozil also fits the 'established' profile Mourinho has opted for with most of his United additions.
United are resigned to Antoine Griezmann joining Barcelona, which partly explains why they have not ended their pursuit of Bale.