Manchester United Winter Transfer News: Tracking Latest Rumours, Updates

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 29, 2012

Manchester United Winter Transfer News: Tracking Latest Rumours, Updates

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    Sir Alex Ferguson has built up somewhat of a reputation in years gone by for only buying in a transfer market holding decent value, something the January window doesn’t always yield.

    The mid-season window is a chance for European clubs to strengthen their ranks as and where is necessary, getting to grips with just which areas they’re falling short in during the first few months of the season.

    Although United find themselves staring Champions League group stage qualification in the face, and are challenging for the Premier League’s top spot, there’s certainly room for improvement.

    Despite being a good two months away from the opening of the winter transfer window, rumours and speculation are in full swing already, and take numerous twists and turns in their build-up to January.

    Here, we look at some of the most prominent targets to be linked with a move to Old Trafford in the New Year and just how their chances of a Premier League move are progressing.

Kevin Strootman

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    With the centre of midfield a particular area coming under fire in the 2011-12 campaign, things look a lot more assured at Old Trafford with Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher back playing on a consistent basis.

    However, one area still drawing its share of criticism has been the defensive midfield, an area which the likes of Michael Carrick and Anderson seem unfit to fulfill on their own.

    Stootman’s possible move to Manchester United took an incredible turn for the more hopeful of late when the Daily Mail reported the player’s agent as saying:

    “Strootman has had a good time in Eindhoven, but he decided that he wants to prove himself in a better league.”

    “If an agreement is able to be reached with a potentially interested club, PSV will allow Kevin to leave in January.”

    The same article goes on to say that United sent Martin Ferguson to scout the player several times last season, giving the impression the English giants are definitely interested in his signature.

    Strootman already has 11 caps for the Dutch national team, and at just 22 years old, he would certainly appear to fit in with the youth dynasty that Sir Alex has succeeded in developing at the club thus far.

Robert Lewandowski

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    Despite the fact that Manchester United already have Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck within their ranks, it seems Sir Alex Ferguson is on the lookout for another star striker.

    Just how likely it is that the Scotsman will shell out for another frontman without offloading one first is debatable, but Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski would appear to be at the top of his wishlist.

    The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden reported earlier this month that Ferguson and assistant coach, Mike Phelan, would be at the Etihad Stadium to watch Manchester City play host to the Yellow and Blacks. As much as the manager likes to keep an eye on how his side’s most bitter enemies are doing, it’s more than likely the trip was a scouting mission focused on Lewandowski.

    The Polish forward scored 35 goals in all competitions last season but given the attacking players already with United, it would be difficult to imagine another superstar hitman being signed, especially midway through a difficult season for both parties.

Victor Wanyama

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    Regardless of the high amount of interest emerging around his super starlet, Neil Lennon recently made a massive statement regarding just how keen he is to hold onto Victor Wanyama.

    The Kenyan has drawn massive plaudits since arriving at Celtic Park for a paltry £900,000 in 2011, moving to become one of, if not the most promising youngster in Scottish football.

    The Telegraph recently reported that Wanyama had turned down Celtic’s latest contract offer, sparking Premier League clubs into action after the signal that he may not be happy in his current surroundings for much longer.

    According to the Daily Mail, Lennon rates his 21-year-old central powerhouse at £25 million. Just how realistic it is that the club receive that amount is debatable, but Manchester United will undoubtedly be intrigued by recent events around the versatile midfielder.

Ashley Cole

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    One very significant twist in the tale of Ashley Cole came over the weekend when Roberto Di Matteo admitted that if Chelsea do not agree new deals with the left-back as well as Frank Lampard, both could leave Stamford Bridge in 2013 (via BBC Sport).

    Cole’s contract is set to come to an end next summer and rather than see him leave the club for nothing, the Blues may opt to cash in on the defender in the New Year.

    When a player enters the final six months of their contract, they’re automatically free to discuss a transfer with other clubs and even sign a pre-contract agreement, something Di Matteo won’t want to see.

    Despite being now 31 years old, Cole remains one of the most talented left-backs in English football and would be a very respectable alternative to Patrice Evra, who has seen a very gradual decline in form over the last two years.

    Speaking on Cole, Di Matteo says:

    "He's a fit boy. He can play every game, so he still has many years in front of him.

    "My point is that I would like him to stay here and be here with us."

    Whether it’s as a free transfer next summer or for a fee in January, it would seem the notion of Ashley Cole moving to Old Trafford in 2013 is a very plausible one.

James Rodriguez

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    With Nani’s situation with the Red Devils allegedly on the ropes, the Manchester Evening News recently stated that Sir Alex Ferguson will look to James Rodriguez as a replacement should the former leave in January.

    Rodriguez may be just 21 years old, but has made a huge impact at Porto, capitalising on the departure of Hulk to Zenit St. Petersburg and becoming an even more prominent figure for the Portuguese side.

    However, since this story emerged, it recently became clear that Porto had increased the winger’s buyout clause and that Rodriguez’s sum now stands at the £38m mark (via talkSPORT).

    How that effects the prospect of a transfer will be seen in the coming months, especially when one considers the more conservative approach clubs adopt in January.

    However, times are changing ahead of Financial Fair Play and a winter splurge could be in the offing should Nani leave United and the club be in need of a replacement.