Manchester United Transfers: Top 9 January Rumors
It's only November, but the Manchester United January transfer window rumor mill is in full flow.
There's been a lot of speculation on potential arrivals at the club, while there's also been quite a bit of talk on players leaving Old Trafford.
Here we look at the top nine rumors on players who could arrive at United, or leave the Red Devils, this January.
David Ramos/Getty Images
Signing James Rodriguez would be a very logical and smart acquisition by Manchester United.
Nicknamed the 'new Carlos Valderrama', 21-year-old winger Rodriguez has arguably been FC Porto's most important player over the past year.
He was key for the Dragões last season with 13 goals and eight assists in 26 league games as they stormed to a second consecutive Liga Sagres title.
And he's followed it up this season with five goals and five assists in just eight league matches.
He's also been called the 'South American Cristiano Ronaldo', and given his prolificacy on the left wing, it's clear to see why.
Of course, United aren't in desperate need of goalscoring options at the moment but could certainly do with fresh options out wide, considering Nani is set for the exit, Ashley Young isn't living up to the expectation and Antonio Valencia has played more conservatively this season.
The Red Devils have long been linked with Rodriguez and reportedly could be set to make a move this January (h/t the Daily Mirror).
However, there's one problem—the Daily Mail reports Porto want £36 million for him.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Tom Ince, son of ex-Manchester United star Paul Ince, is said to be on the radar of his dad's former team (per the Mirror).
The 20-year-old Blackpool winger has been in sparkling form this season, scoring eight goals and making six assists from 13 league games in the Championship (England's second-tier).
A much cheaper, if less proven alternative, to Porto's James Rodriguez, Ince would make a good signing for United.
A player in the Theo Walcott mould with his pace and knack for finishing, Ince would fit in with United's new-look style on the wings, i.e. wingers who, by design, cut inside and look for goalscoring chances, allowing the full-backs to provide the width.
Of course he most likely wouldn't be as good as Rodriguez for United, but nonetheless a potential swoop for Tom Ince makes sense, especially considering the appeal of developing good, young, English talent.
Manchester United may be well-stacked in defence, especially in the centre, but a swoop for Vegard Forren could make sense.
The 24-year-old centre-back, who plays for reigning Norwegian champions Molde, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, with scouts reportedly tracking his progress (per Sky Sports).
Forren would come with the backing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Molde manager and United legend, who said (h/t SkySports), "Yes, he could play for Manchester United, but I don't have to tell him that. At his best he is a very good footballer."
An experienced player with over 170 appearances for Molde, Forren is arguably Norway's best defender, and certainly the best still in the Tippeligaen.
With the technical and tactical ability to fit in at United and in the Premier League, Forren has what it takes to emulate the success of Brede Hangeland, or even better, could become the next Nemanja Vidic for United, with his tackling, heading, and ability to play the ball out from the back with a near-perfect accuracy rate setting him apart from the rest.
While it is unlikely he'll become as good as Vidic, it's still a possibility, and for a player who won't cost much more than his £1.8 million valuation, it's certainly a risk worth taking.
Mario Sampirisi (left)
Dino Panato/Getty Images
There's a trend with Manchester United's transfer targets—they like young players.
20-year-old right-back Mario Sampirisi is exactly the type of player United's scouting team look for.
A player with the height and strength to shrug off most wingers and make it in the Premier League, Sampirisi, like a lot of young Italians, is blessed with great technical ability and a reading of the game beyond his years.
Add to that a very good tackling ability which shows clear signs of improving with experience, and it's no surprise United have been linked with a possible January move for Sampirisi (per Sky Sports).
United's current options at right-back are complex—they have plenty of players capable of playing that position, but only one full-time option.
Perhaps the addition of a burgeoning full-time option to provide competition on the right side could help solidify the defence, which has been a cause for concern for United this season.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
But there's more to it than that. The Red Devils have long been on the tail of Wanyama, and whilst their interest was first made known back in July, you can bet your bottom dollar they were scouting him out when he made his debut in European football for Belgian minnows Germinal Beerschot as an 18-year-old.
The 21-year-old Kenyan international is a player, who at the end of last season, was a solid midfield player with a robust but accurate tackle, and a very good eye for a pass.
However, since this season has progressed, Wanyama has completely flourished, becoming arguably the Scottish Premier League's most physical yet technically gifted footballer right now.
He has the power, passing ability, control and stellar reading of the game to fit in at Manchester United, and more importantly be a success in the English Premier League.
Of course he's not the finished article—he needs to be less reckless and improve his ability to intercept, his link-up play and his finishing before he can be a box-to-box superstar like Yaya Toure—but he's well on the way to being world class.
Wanyama could be the ideal replacement for Anderson, who hasn't fully lived up to his potential and has an uncertain future at Old Trafford.
There's more to this transfer rumour than meets the eye, and it's one that is very logical.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
In terms of attacking midfield talent for the future, 20-year-old Malaga star Isco would be a perfect signing for Manchester United.
Having been linked with a January switch to Old Trafford back in October by Calciomercato (via the Guardian), his manager told Sky Italia that Isco is happy at Malaga but has a €21 million release clause and a move away hasn't been ruled out (h/t talkSPORT).
So while the rumour stands, it's a good one as far as United are concerned.
After all, Isco is only 20 but has already put in some world-class displays for Malaga, especially in the Champions League.
His two goals won the game against Zenit St. Petersburg, while his influential performances home and away to AC Milan proved he's a star in the making.
Possessing the required vision, passing accuracy, creativity and technical ability to become a mainstay of Manchester United's attacking department, Isco would certainly represent decent value for his release clause, even if he is does need to bulk up and improve his defensive play and finishing up-front.
It's a signing that's unlikely to happen in January, but it is another rumour which makes sense and if it ever happened, would benefit both parties.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Manchester United captain and centre-back Nemanja Vidic, at least at the start of October anyway, is reportedly a January target for Anzhi Makhachkala, who are willing to pay Vidic £250,000-a-week after tax, and United £32 million, for his services.
Now Vidic is good, really good, but he's not that good. Or at least not anymore.
Having still not fully recovered performance-wise from his harrowing injury in Basel last year, if this rumour is in any way true, United should capitalise asap.
Just like when they tried to offload Nani for a ridiculous £25 million to Zenit St. Petersburg before the Portuguese winger's silly wage demands got in the way, this is a one-time offer which even United can't afford to pass up.
Hong Wu/Getty Images
This one is more truth than rumour—Sky Sports reports Federico Macheda is set to leave Manchester United in January, according to his agent.
Not much needs to be written on this one.
Since then he has gone on to play 54 more matches in professional football over a four year period and has scored just five more goals.
They'd be decent stats if he was a centre-back.
But Macheda is a striker, and a poor one at that. The sooner he leaves Old Trafford and gets off the wage bill the better.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
What to do about Nani?
That must be the biggest question Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson asks himself on a daily basis.
The 25-year-old winger on a good day can be one of the world's best, but the problem is he's more inconsistent than the British weather.
Nobody ever knows which Nani will turn up to a game—Nani the great, or Nani the poor, and either way, Sir Alex has successfully created a new team formula in which Nani isn't even needed at all.
Simply put, Manchester United don't need Nani anymore, meaning no more sweating on whether the winger will decide to turn up to the next game making more dives and floor-rolls than goals and assists.
And that's what makes the rumours that Juventus are considering a move for the player in January all the more brilliant.
Back in October Nani was linked by Goal.com with a £12 million move to the Bianconeri.
If the rumours are true, they are undoubtedly the best ones United fans have had to read this winter.