Manchester United: 5 Players They Should Not Sign and 3 They Should
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Despite this healthy position, the world’s gossip columns repeatedly speculate that manager Sir Alex Ferguson will strengthen his squad during the January transfer window.
With a number of big names already linked with a New Year move to Old Trafford, the list of potential targets is endless. Read on to see who might, and might not, fit the United mould.
United Should Not Sign James Rodriguez
David Ramos/Getty Images
Billed as the South American Cristiano Ronaldo, Rodriguez was apparently watched by one of United's top scouts during Porto's recent win at Maritimo in Portugal.
Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be keen on the 21-year-old but was shocked when top bosses at the Estadio do Dragao revealed a £36 million release clause in the Colombian's contract.
Though an exchange deal for the reportedly unsettled Nani might be considered, such a high price for a relatively unproven player might be a bold and perhaps foolish move.
United Should Not Sign Leighton Baines
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
The England international was heavily linked with a move to United last summer, until Everton's valuation of the left-back reportedly ended any hopes of finalising a deal.
Baines was apparently seen as the long-term successor to Patrice Evra by Sir Alex Ferguson, who eventually invested in Vitesse Arnhem's young Dutch defender Alexander Buttner instead.
However, rumours of another bid for the former Sheffield United man persist—although supporters might baulk at the price tag and any subsequent harm a deal might have on Buttner's progress.
United Should Not Sign Robert Lewandowski
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
The towering striker has been consistently linked with United since Sir Alex Ferguson and Mike Phelan attended Borussia Dortmund's German Cup Final win over Bayern Munich last May.
Shortly after, the Reds signed Lewandowski's teammate Shinji Kagawa and another move for Arsenal striker Robin van Persie appeared to rule out a potential bid for the Polish star.
Despite this, Ferguson was spotted at Dortmund's recent win at Manchester City and rumours of a bid persist. However, with four top strikers already on the books, a January move is unlikely.
United Should Not Sign Ashley Cole
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
With a contract that expires in the summer of 2013, the Chelsea veteran has been touted with a move away from Stamford Bridge as he enters the twilight of his career.
Cole's situation is apparently being monitored by United, who might attempt to sign the England international on a free via the Bosman ruling, should he not sign a new deal in West London.
Although clearly a huge talent, a move for Cole might not go down well with Reds supporters for several reasons, including his history with Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as his inflated wage demands.
United Should Not Sign Wilfried Zaha
Julian Finney/Getty Images
United have reportedly joined a host of Barclays Premier League clubs in the race to sign Crystal Palace's talented young striker, who is setting the Championship alight this season.
Zaha has scored four goals for Ian Holloway's team so far this term, but more importantly, has displayed a level of maturity and composure that suggests the 20-year-old is read for bigger things.
But with a reported £20 million price tag and a wealth of United strikers who would presumably be ahead of him at Old Trafford, a transfer might be ill-informed and looks unlikely.
United Should Sign Marouane Fellaini
Michael Regan/Getty Images
For several years, United fans and pundits have bemoaned a lack of dynamism in the centre of midfield and a move for Everton's powerful Belgian could provide the long-desired answer.
Fellaini has been a revelation at Goodison Park this season, catching the eye of some of Europe's top clubs, and could be tempted by a big-money move to a more competitive outfit.
Although a hefty price tag might be required to convince David Moyes to sell, Sir Alex Ferguson would be guaranteed a player already equipped to excel in the Premier League.
United Should Sign Isco
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Malaga's talented forward has been identified as one of the most exciting young players in Europe after scoring four goals in 18 appearances in all competitions this season.
Although not necessarily required at Old Trafford, United have a history of signing young, attacking players and could be tempted to move for the much-lauded Spaniard.
With rivals Manchester City hovering with intent, the Reds might want to move swiftly to activate a reported £17 million buyout clause before Malaga tie the player up to a new, improved contract.
United Should Sign Tom Ince
Phil Cole/Getty Images
United have emerged as favourites to land Blackpool's young starlet after father Paul Ince met with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this season, though Tottenham and Newcastle are also interested.
A move for the talented 20-year-old would arguably delight Reds supporters, considering his father's history at Old Trafford and the fact he was once released and deemed unworthy by rivals Liverpool.
With a contract that expires in the summer, Ince could also be bought for a reduced fee and would adhere to United's policy of investing time and money in young, English talent.