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Transfer lowdown: Man United target Bruno Fernandes

Man Utd target Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United have been linked with Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes, with a deal looking close before next week’s deadline approaching.

According to the Mirror, there have been breakthrough talks for Man United with Sporting Lisbon’s representatives over a potential 55m move.

The Portuguese midfield maestro would be a key signing for Solskjaer, with Man United struggling for goals and assists from midfield. So far this season, Fernandes, in Liga NOS has 8 goals and 7 assists from 16 games.

Compare this to Man United’s 7 goals from midfield in the Premier League (3 – James, McTominay, 1 – Pereira) and 14 assists (6 – James, 3 – Pereira, 2 – Mata, Pogba, 1 – McTominay). Then Fernandes is a game-changer.

Last season the midfielder bagged 32 goals and 18 assists. The season before, that yielded 16 goals and 20 assists. Fernandes is not an overnight sensation, he has consistently produced since his move to Sporting Lisbon back in 2017.

The Portuguese international is at his strongest playing through the middle, even though he can play in an LW/RW role. He is the perfect attacking midfield, through balls, key passes and long shots are all high on his stats.

Fernandes has a range of passing in his locker. However, what is more, impressive is his goal to game ratio over the years – finding the back of the net 56 times in two and a half years in Lisbon.

However, Fernandes alone will not transform Man United. He will improve them no doubt, and ease the midfield pressure of course. Like most players from abroad, it could take time to bed into the rigours of Premier League life.

This is something Man Utd have not got, time. The fans are losing patience, fast. Solskjaer needs Fernandes to hit the ground running…should he make the move.

If the transfer rumours are true, here is how Man Utd XI will start in January – impressive

The Football Manc Cave have scoured the latest Man Utd transfer gossip around the papers. As Solskjaer edges closer to his second window and to date his most important month, he could end up with this team below.

After a fairly decent summer window, in which he strengthened the much-depleted defence. Two areas that now are key is midfield and attack. If Man Utd want to achieve a top 4 finish, there is a feeling it’s a ‘go big or go home’ window for the Man Utd legend.

With many names already being linked to Old Trafford, the below names are the consistent ones in the paper. They would certainly add an extra dimension to the team and provide a much-needed freshness.

Ben Chilwell

The Leicester City defender is pretty much on Man Utd’s radar alongside his teammate James Maddison. It could see further business being made between the two sides, following Harry Maguires move in the summer.

Chilwell would certainly be an upgrade on the inconsistent Luke Shaw, whose time at Old Trafford hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

James Maddison

Man Utd has been linked with the Premier League assist king for a while now. United lack a creative spark in the midfield, and the English man could certainly be the answer.

Ivan Rakitic

The Barcelona 31-year-old is out of favour at the Nou Camp, often finding himself on the bench. Which is a stark contrast from being the main man in the past.

Fred and Matic are not what United need, and the experienced Rakitic could be a key member of the second half of the season transformation.

Mario Mandzukic

The Juventus striker is no longer required in Serie A. A shrewd move to bring in the experienced and well-travelled forward could be a stroke of genius.

Solskjaer would be hoping to see a Henrik Larsson or Zlatan Ibrahimovic impact by bringing in the 33-year-old. It’s something United needs and allows Rashford to progress without the pressure of being the sole provider.

If Man United want to get 40.5m rated assist king midfielder, Woodward will have to dig deep in his pockets

Brendan Rodgers is well aware that the top clubs of England have a big enough draw to lure his superstar midfielder away from Leicester City.

It doesn’t take the biggest brains in football to see that there is a crucial deficiency in the Man Utd squad. Their recent performances have been very up and down. Showing great team spirit, determination and moments of individual genius. But these three qualities are that of a newly promoted side who are on a bounce, not the qualities of a once-great side trying to reclaim their crown.

Luckily for Man Utd fans, the introduction of two top-quality midfielders and one top quality forward could be the missing piece to this young but hopeful squad.

Solskjaer’s transfer parameters have been to seek out young, hungry and predominantly British talent. This may be an attempt to re-establish the old-school Man Utd, where every player who steps out onto the pitch is living their dream. Not dreaming of a move to Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus.

James Maddison has reportedly been on Solskjaer’s radar for some months now and could be launching a heavy bid for his services in January.

There is little doubt that had Maddison joined the Reds is Summer, their problems would have decreased massively, and dropped points may have easily been won.

This is because Man Utd completely lack creativity in the final third. Pogba is by far the most creative midfielder but gets played in a deep position where his attacks are few and far between.

Having an attacking midfielder of Maddison’s calibre would transform this terribly irritating Man Utd side into a side who create chances for fun. It is evident that the system and structure can provide attacking football, but the personnel to do it isn’t quite there.

It’s obvious Man Utd need 1 of these midfielders in January following Leicester City performance

Man Utd is currently suffering from a squad depth crisis in a season filled with football, as they have the demands of the Premier League. They lost six first-team players in the transfer window and brought in three, leaving a scarce midfield and attack in front of a fairly solid defence.

The 1-0 victory at Old Trafford was certainly a good team performance. But Man Utd holding out for a narrow win from a penalty at home against Leicester is cause for concern.

Man Utd was dominated on the ball despite being solid defensively. They had 41% possession and made only 345 passes compared to Leicester’s 471. This shows that a commanding and dominant midfielder is needed at Man Utd to help them control the game, as a slight slip up could nullify the one goal that the Reds can’t seem to add to.

Pogba was out of the line up due to a minor injury, and his presence could have allowed for Man Utd to see more of the ball. However, Fred came on as a substitute for Matic and partnered alongside Scott McTominay which instantly saw the Reds look more comfortable and confident in possession.

Having Fred and McTominay as deep midfielders is the way to go for Man Utd, should they want to dominate possession. But having a creative midfielder in front of them is crucial to Solskjaer’s side racking up goals on a consistent basis.

With Pogba seeking a move away, Juan Mata reaching the latter stages of his career and Angel Gomes arguably not ready for first-team football, who can Solskjaer add to his side to undertake this role?

Creative Midfielders

Ironically, Man Utd could have solved this issue in summer. Being heavily linked to the likes of James Maddison and Bruno Fernandes, they are precisely the calibre of player that Solskjaer needs in his side. Both are keen on scoring and assisting whilst adding a spark of flare and quality to their sides.

Forget Muriqi: Man Utd need one of these 2 experienced strikers instead

Kosovo striker Vedat Muriqi has Premier League clubs turning heads. Solskjaer sent scouts to watch him play against England where the striker tucked home a penalty. But is this undiscovered talent what Man Utd need in their forward line?

Solskjaer admitted that his side is not complete in terms of tactics and personnel, meaning that a few signings could be made in the next two transfer windows.

Man Utd lack in both the midfield and attack, being limited in players and quality.

The main goalscorer at Old Trafford was Romelu Lukaku until his departure to Inter Milan in summer. Currently, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford lead the Reds’ attack, despite both being unproven strikers. New signing Dan James is giving the forward’s a run for their money, being joint top scorer for Man Utd with Rashford, who has scored three goals, two of which were penalties.

Is Muriqi the right signing for Man Utd?

The 6 foot 3 striker is certainly built for the demands of the Premier League. He made a name for himself last season as he scored 17 goals and got 8 assists for his former club Caykur Rizespor. Before swiftly moving to Fenerbahce for only £3.1million.

However, Man Utd desperately need a prolific striker who can reach the 20 goals per season mark on a consistent basis in the Premier League. Muriqi, on the other hand, has reached 17 goals on two occasions in Turkish football but has fallen well short in other seasons.

Man Utd’s safe bet would be to acquire the services of a proven Premier League striker. Such as Jamie Vardy or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. As opposed to adding another hit-or-miss player to the squad.

Are Man Utd links strong enough to attract on-fire 20y/o striker to Old Trafford

Out of nowhere. 20-year-old Leeds-born Norwegian Erling Haaland has caught the world by storm with his recent run of form.

Erling Haaland, now playing for RB Salzburg, was turning heads whilst playing for Solskjaer’s previous side Molde.

The young forward scored an impressive 12 goals and 4 assists in 25 games, enough for the Austrian giants RB Salzburg to spend £4.5million. Should Haaland take another step up to a bigger European club, that fee will increase by at least ten times over.

Since starting his campaign in the Austrian Bundesliga, RB Salzburg remains undefeated seven games in. With their star boy Erling Haaland scoring 17 goals and getting 5 assists in 9 games. One of which was a cup game and the other a Champions League.

So far, Haaland is proving himself on every stage he performs on.

Should Man Utd’s own Norwegian, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, see him as a strong fit to his squad, there would certainly be those who assume that their national bond played a large role. But looking at the aforementioned goals and assists for a 20-year-old striker demonstrates a natural ability, and a determination to take his game to new levels.

However, will Solskjaer’s Norwegian heritage be enough to lure Erling Haaland, when the world’s biggest clubs have all heard of him?

There is no doubt that Haaland will make a big move in the coming years. His father confirmed that his son has aspirations of making it in the Premier League, after already being part of Leeds and Man City as a teenager.

Man Utd’s current squad most definitely need this sort of goal scorer. They have failed to score more than two goals in a single since the opener against Chelsea. Perhaps a move for Haaland to Man Utd isn’t so far away.

If Man Utd get their man, it could signal the end of a fan favourite

Man Utd was heavily linked to Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho in summer. But unfortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he may have to wait a while to see the youngster in a red shirt. This season so far could have been very different with Sancho at Old Trafford…

Reports have claimed that Man Utd held talks with Borussia Dortmund for the services of Jadon Sancho back in March. To no avail. As the executives of the German club assured that the winger was not for sale in summer.

Sancho has made his way into the England squad, bagging himself two goals in a 5-3 win against Kosovo. More than that, his performances have shown no signs of shyness, lack of confidence or ill-form. The forward three of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho would make the people of England wish another World Cup was just around the corner.

Could Sancho edge out Rashford

This is interesting, as it looks as though Sancho could begin to shove Marcus Rashford out of the starting eleven. And should Sancho have become a Man Utd player in summer, the same could have happened at Old Trafford.

Daniel James has looked immense so far this season, he is a lethal weapon on the left-hand side. To even more of extent, Jadon Sancho has mastered the right-hand side, leaving Anthony Martial as the new number 9 in the centre of the attack.

These three players seem fairly consistent in their work-rate, quality and talent, despite their tender ages.

However, Marcus Rashford hasn’t quite lived up to expectations just yet and is very hit-or-miss with his performances. Quite to Man Utd’s bemusement, new signings such as Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James have exploited the lack of work-rate and quality in the rest of the team. Bringing in Jadon Sancho in summer would have multiplied this ten-fold.

Wigan Athletic’s exciting diamond is attracting the big boys amid further rejection

Reports suggest Everton are interested in signing Wigan Athletic youngster Joe Gelhardt, however, Paul Cook has insisted that the club is not looking to sell.

The teenager is a product of The Latics academy, and represents England at youth level, alongside team-mate Jensen Weir. After a number of impressive performances at the international level, and making his senior debut, Gelhardt is attracting interest from big Premier League clubs.

Gelhardt made his home debut in pre-season against Burnley, scoring a fine goal minutes after coming on. Without overreacting, he looked a gem from minute one. Just one of the players who looks to impact a game positively, wants the ball, is confident in his ability, looks forward and is wanting to create or score a goal every time he receives the ball. A breath of fresh air.

Wigan is a Championship club and will be for a long time, in my opinion. The club and manager can say we aren’t looking to sell, that’s good to hear, but we all know if Everton comes calling with a serious bid, he’ll be off.

Gelhardt is Premier League quality

I don’t mind that. Gelhardt is a quality young talent, if he sees his future in the Premier League and is offered the chance, go grab it and do us proud.

The club wouldn’t hold him back. It wouldn’t be fair. Just make sure we have him tied down to a long-term contract, to ensure we get a good fee for him and not peanuts for a player that could be worth £10 million-plus in a few years.

Obviously I’d love to see him play for Latics for many years, but it’s about being realistic. The club needs sales to keep afloat and have the luxury to reinvest in new players, that comes from selling your assets sometimes. You can’t deny a young kid a chance of a Premier League move, get good money, stick on a big sell-on clause, wish him well.

Joey Gelhardt he’s one of our own. For now.

Another crucial signing Man Utd have missed out on

Inaki Williams opens up about Man Utd contacting him regarding a move to Old Trafford, just before the striker signed a nine-year deal with Athletic Bilbao…

Man Utd missed out on yet another transfer, Inaki Williams. A forward who favours the right-wing, but can comfortably perform across the front three positions. This is very similar to Man Utd’s current set-up of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James.

The versatility of the 25-year-old striker fits well with Solskjaer’s desired mould. But the player’s loyalties to the club he calls home is what hindered the opportunity to sign him.

Is it a measurement of Man Utd’s downfall that they failed to attract a forward player who has never contributed to more than 17 goals in a single league campaign?

With rumours of Man Utd’s keen interest in 19-year-old Bundesliga superstar Jadon Sancho, perhaps it was for the best that Williams remained at Athletic Bilbao. As this may have disrupted Man Utd’s chances of sealing their best signing since Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, the speedy forward Inaki Williams could have served well as a rotational forward player. A role that Lukaku would not accept, hence his departure.

Should this of been the case, and Man Utd signed Williams before going on to sign Sancho, their forward firepower including Martial, Greenwood, James and Rashford would be absolutely terrifying. Certainly one of quickest forward line ups in European football.

Until Man Utd sign at least one midfielder and a right-winger, their squad is arguably on par with that of Leicester City’s. Making this season a very difficult one. But Solskjaer has assured the public that Man Utd are taking their time in signing the right players with the right mindset.

Man Utd must get one of these 3 midfielders in January following released funds

Man Utd fixed their defence in summer, with two fantastic transfers. But after the departure of Ander Herrera with no replacement, their midfield is looking like the bane of their bid for top four. If Man Utd want any chance of Champions League football next season, they must sign one of these three midfielders in January…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s promise to rebuild the squad looked like a smokescreen due to the state of the squad after the summer transfer window. But after offloading many “non-fan favourites” to Italian clubs, things looked on the up once again. Now, reports are suggesting that Solskjaer and Woodward have met to discuss the reinvestment of the £75million sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan.

Perhaps the Man Utd board are beginning to take the club’s legacy seriously.

With funds available in January, and Man Utd in dire need of a new midfield, Solskjaer should target one of the following midfielders, if not all of them…

James Maddison

Man Utd might have to look over at their sixth place competitors Leicester City once again. Having already signed Harry Maguire from the club in summer.

Their attacking midfielder James Maddison created more chances than any other player in the Premier League last season. Which is exactly what Man Utd are lacking quality in.

Furthermore, the 22-year-old fits in with Solskjaer’s requirements of being young, hungry and clued up on English football.

Luka Modric

Man Utd has no commanding midfielders. The 34-year old’s contract is up come to the end of the season and can replace Nemanja Matic as the experienced talent to run the midfield.

Despite being a senior player, and not exactly fit the mould of a typical Solskjaer target. Having one of the world’s best midfielders to help out for 18 months whilst the manager perfects the squad can cause little to no harm.

Florentino Luis

Man Utd scouts have been enjoying the watch of Benfica’s defensive midfield maestro Florentino Luis. Having a competent defensive midfielder is crucial to this Man Utd side as Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay does not excel under the pressure of this role.

Having a natural, young talent guarding the back four, will allow Pogba and McTominay to flourish in their preferred positions of an advanced box-to-box midfielder.

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