Manchester United have all but perfected a squad. New signings Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa have gelled effortlessly, and although defensively United could have fared better, a host of injuries to key players like Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were unforeseen.
The upcoming January transfer window is bound to see little activity from the Red Devils. There have been a host of players who have been linked with United; however, most of them are not needed. Here are six such players:
Sir Alex Ferguson has demonstrated an interest in the Norwegian, but his signing will be nothing more than a stopgap.
While he is an astute defender and strong aerially, he is already 31 and one has to wonder how many “good” years he can provide.
United have many capable defenders also coming through the ranks, and Hangeland’s acquisition will only hinder development.
If United must sign someone, Ryan Shawcross, a former United player who was let go for a paltry £1m four years ago, exemplifies a better option. Shawcross has vastly improved, is only 25 and offers more than Hangeland in my opinion. Moreover, United do have a buy-back clause for the Englishman.
Robert Lewandowski and Nelson Oliveira
Sir Alex is having a difficult time already trying to solve the conundrum of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck vying for the same position(s). Procurement of any striker is simply unnecessary.
Leighton Baines is probably one of the best left-backs in the Premier League right now. Great at defensive duties, solid going forward, excellent crosser of the ball, a set-piece specialist and a strong presence on the field—Baines epitomises an ideal full-back.
And let’s face it, Patrice Evra has been inconsistent and he has waned considerably.
However, Evra now faces stiff competition from Alexander Buttner, who has shown that he is a talented, albeit raw, left-back.
You also have Fabio, another remarkable prospect, on loan at QPR.
Does it make sense to acquire Baines, who might slow down the development of two excellent prospects in Buttner and Fabio?
Manchester United have demonstrated a strong interest in Dutch Midfielder Kevin Strootman. He has been excellent for PSV, and he can be molded into an ideal central midfielder.
However, there are two reasons I feel that Strootman should not be brought to United. Firstly, his agent Chiel Dekker claimed that there is no possibility that Strootman would leave in January.
Therefore, to pry him away would cost United quite much, given the fact that he has been on the radar of other high-profile clubs as well.
Secondly, I feel if United were to invest, Victor Wanyama of Celtic is a better prospect. One of the brightest prospects to come out of Africa, Wanyama is a formidable force in midfield, is composed on the ball, is a great passer and doesn’t shy away from tackles. His versatility has also led to him being deployed in the defence.
He recently rejected an improved contract from Celtic after generating a considerable amount of interest from other clubs.
His stock has gone up even more after a resounding performance against Barcelona on Wednesday night, so, like Strootman, he will be expensive.
Nevertheless, United need to procure a player who is also a physical presence in the field, and Wanyama would be a better signing than Strootman in my opinion.
I do have reservations of bringing him in during January, though. He will be cup-tied and so would not be able to feature for United in the Champions League.
Technically proficient, creatively sound and able to shift gears between attack and defence with relative ease, he would be a great acquisition.
But he will not come cheap. Dortmund might very well inflate his value, after having just sold Shinji Kagawa, who has settled exceptionally at United.
Furthermore, he will be cup-tied, like Wanyama, in January. I feel it would be better to hold out till summer.
Till summer, United can also assess whether the Tom Cleverly-Anderson partnership is enough for United, or whether they might need to bring in a defensive midfielder.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze