Top 5 January Targets To Bring Goals Back At United
With only 3 weeks to go before another transfer window is unlatched, Premier League sides are preparing to reinforce their armour ahead of the second half of the season.
Room for improvement is no more evident than in the misfiring frontline at Manchester United, which continues to register mere murmurs on the richter scale, epitomised by a paltry return of just 3 goals in their last 6 home games.
With a look at the talent on show domestically and in Europe, today I countdown the top 5 January transfer targets that United are likely to turn to in an attempt to cure their goalscoring ills.
5. Renato Sanches, Benfica.
This Portuguese youth international is being touted around Europe as the new Ronaldinho. Rumour has it he signed a new contract recently with a buy-out clause of €45m, a sure sign that Benfica know he is going to be targeted by the top clubs. He broke onto the scene with this thunderbolt at the weekend against Academica. What a way to introduce yourself to the world.
Chances? Europe’s heavyweights will be sniffing around and if goals like this continue the secret will not be long in getting out. Benfica have ensured qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League so his cup-tied status is likely to keep him away from prying eyes until next summer.
4. Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City
Mahrez has bagged 10 goals already this season and only record-breaking team mate Jamie Vardy and Everton’s goal machine Romelu Lukaku lie ahead of him in that particular chart. Moreover, Europe’s number one provider Mesut Ozil is the only player in the Premier League with more assists than the Algerian, who has turned out to be the surprise linchpin of Fantasy Football teams up and down the country.
Chances? Leicester City are in contention for the title. I repeat, Leicester City are in contention for the title. It’s a crazy season so far with Chelsea languishing above the relegation zone and several top teams lacking consistency. So far Leicester have capitalised and selling stars like Mahrez in January would demonstrate a distinct lack of ambition. Here he is on the Leceister Christmas party, but which one is he?
3. Edinson Cavani, Paris St. Germain
The Uruguayan striker is one of Europe’s hottest properties and has 9 goals to his name this season, but still can’t emerge from the shadow of PSG’s favourite egotistical Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. His record speaks for itself though.
78 goals in 104 games for Napoli and 43 in 79 so far for PSG.
He’s often suffered from being placed out of position to accommodate Zlatan, but up front alone he can be a potent weapon.
Chances? It’s debatable whether Van Gaal would fork out the funds for an inconsistent finisher who turns 29 in February. No doubt the papers will spin his name out once the window opens in January, but even if United do try to sign him, Angel Di Maria is unlikely to paint the move in a promising light for his teammate. Jose Mourinho may flirt with the idea given the lack of firepower up front at Stamford Bridge this season, although I’m still unsure as to how his celebration would go down in the Premier League.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund
A man with all the credentials to ignite a frontline who have developed a worrying shyness for goals. In a league where Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski seem to score every few minutes, this Gabon international is ahead of them both and leads the Bundesliga goals column with an impressive tally of 17 from only 15 games. Not only that, he has more goals than anyone else in Europe’s top leagues, including Neymar and co. at Barcelona. Obligatory Youtube video with dodgy soundtrack provided.
Chances? Well, Dortmund are 5 points behind Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga and in the knockout stages of the Europa League so they could do with holding on to their main goal threat. But with Arsenal and Chelsea also linked, it’s likely to be a busy fax machine in the Dortmund office this January. They will cash in at some stage, it’s just a question of when.
1. Sadio Mané, Southampton.
Southampton’s Senegalese winger has been one of the players of the season both this season and last.
A constant threat to opposing defences, Mané would slot in perfectly in United’s front 3 probably replacing Juan Mata on the right hand side and offering the pace they are lacking in that area. He is of course famous for the quickest hat-trick in Premier League history, scoring 3 times in 176 seconds against Aston Villa prompting this OH MY GOD exclamation from Alan McInally.
Chances? It’s 50-50 this one. United have the cash to flash but their problem will be prising him from the grasp of LVG’s not so best friend Ronald Koeman. With PSG and Bayern also being linked in the gossip columns, the Southampton boss said only last week that he won’t be sold in January, “not even for £100m.” He has to say that though, Southampton are a selling club and they’ll struggle to retain him.