The official word from Manchester United is don’t expect any major transfer business regarding incomings in January. But Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have since taken control of the club’s football operations after agreeing a £1.3billion deal for a 25 per cent stake.
Erik ten Hag desperately needs reinforcements to rescue a disastrous second season but is working with a shoestring budget this winter.
The Dutchman has spent big in both his summer windows at Old Trafford, which limited him to loan deals last January due to Financial Fair Play restrictions.
And while Ratcliffe is now in the process of helming the sporting side of United, he won’t be able to directly impact the club’s expenditure with his contributions until the Premier League ratifies his deal.
So, it’s the same this year. United are expected to make at least one signing before February, but it will likely be a loan or cut-price swoop.
Player sales could change the situation, though. And Ten Hag is reportedly willing to listen to offers for several first-team players this month.
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Donny van de Beek has already departed on loan, Jadon Sancho is expected to leave, while Raphael Varane, Casemiro and Anthony Martial could also be the subject of tempting approaches.
And if United raise funds, they’ve proven in the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement that they aren’t afraid to sanction high-profile deals midway through the season.
In January 2014, David Moyes brought Juan Mata to Old Trafford from Chelsea in a £37m swoop, making up for the lacklustre summer window after he replaced Sir Alex.
The Spaniard became a fan favourite across his eight years at United, registering 51 goals and 47 assists in 285 appearances.
Alexis Sanchez landed in M16 four years later, completing a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Arsenal in January 2018.
His move wasn’t quite as successful. In fact, he went down as one of United’s worst-ever signings, scoring five goals and providing nine assists in 45 games while pocketing £500,000 a week.
He left in the summer of 2020, following a season-long loan at Inter Milan. In January of the same year, United completed one of their best signings since Sir Alex – Bruno Fernandes.
The Portuguese maestro joined in a £47m deal from Sporting Club and has since cemented his reputation as one of Europe’s top midfielders.
Fernandes has registered 69 goals and 59 assists in 211 United appearances and replaced Harry Maguire as club captain last summer.
The Red Devils would do extremely well to complete a signing with the same success this month.