January Transfers Rumours: 6 Christmas Wishes for Manchester United

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January Transfers Rumours: 6 Christmas Wishes for Manchester United
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Ronaldo, Ferguson

No doubt there will be 100 different rumours about Manchester United's possible transfer targets in January, but Sir Alex Ferguson has his own clear views.

OK, so there could be no doubt that he would love to have his adopted "son" Cristiano Ronaldo back, but that isn't going to happen. His buy-out clause is one billion Euros. Maybe he'll return after he's 30. After all, look at Kaka, apparently unwanted by anyone last summer.

In the past, Sir Alex has eschewed making signings in January. He has been concerned about market value in general, but has never seen the need to make a panic buy.

However, we may have to reassess our ideas of what he thinks is value after his £24 million purchase of 29-year-old Robin Van Persie. He looks every bit as good a bargain as Eric Cantona did for £1 million in November 1992.

 

Rationalising or finalising?

United have at least 80 players of various ages who are registered to play for the first team. That doesn't mean they are in the squad registered with the FA, but this can be adjusted in January.

Clearly, many of the younger players will never make it at Old Trafford, or will leave to pursue first team football elsewhere.

Ritchie Jones was released from United after playing in the Youth Cup and making five first team appearances. Last night, he was one of the Bradford City heroes who knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup despite missing a penalty.

Ryan Shawcross wanted first team football, as did Giuseppe Rossi, Gerard Pique, Paul Pogba and other young men who have gone on to star elsewhere.

Sir Alex seems to be something of a "collector." Even without James Wilson (the 16-year-old who is on fire for the Under 18s), he has 10 eligible over-18 strikers on the books. At least three of those are unlikely to make it. They could all be made available in January.

But it seems that won't stop him coveting other strikers like Robert Lewandowski.

It makes sense to consider "clearing the decks" at all levels. In any transfer window from now on, Sir Alex should be watchful for interest in some of his younger players where he honestly can't see them becoming first team fixtures in the long term. It's only fair to the player.

But he will also give serious consideration if there are approaches for some of his senior players, most notably Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand and of course, Nani.

Vidic would only be released for serious money (like the rumoured £30 million Russian bid) and only if a top-class replacement was lined up.

Rio Ferdinand is currently expected to be offered a new one-year contract next year, eventually retiring to the coaching staff. But there has been apparent interest in him from China and previously the MLS

Evra's powers are waning, as even the Manchester derby showed. He was effective in attack, but last man to arrive back in the United penalty area when City countered.

There is no immediate replacement at Old Trafford. Buttner had a sparkling debut, but has still not made a case to be first choice. Fabio has been injured at QPR, so he may need until next summer to stamp his mark on a left back role.

And Nani...what more needs to be said? Supposedly out with a hamstring injury, it may be instead that it is actually Sir Alex's patience that has finally snapped. While he may have to pay up for quality, he could consider a swap or part exchange for a top young player as good business.

So while we are unlikely to see "development" players coming in this January, there are plenty of options available for the manager to fine tune his squad ready for the twin goals of Premier and Champions League. A fitting double to go out on?

These boards are also riddled with "fantasy football" speculation and suggestions all the time. We shall try to look inside the manager's mind and see which six players he would seriously consider as value. By that, we mean quality matched with price.

So RVP was "value," even at £24 million, and nobody can deny the potentially title-winning impact he has had.

Arsene Wenger's opinion of value has led Arsenal into the position where they have far too many "squad players" and too few genuine stars. Even Lucas Podolski has begin to raise eyebrows with indifferent performances.

And be under no illusions. As the Van Persie buy showed, the Glazers will support Sir Alex at any price for any player that he sees fit to buy.

What Sir Alex wants to do now is leave his fellow Premier League contenders in United's dust and set the club up for the next decade of success.

Players are haemorrhaging from Arsenal because they haven't won a trophy for seven years. They already have no chance of the Premier League, and last night, limped away from Bradford City. They have lost too many star players who do not share the Arsenal Bpard's vision for the future.

That fact, the elimination of Chelsea and Manchester City from the Champions League, the unrest at Real Madrid and the lack of long-term credibility of the "nouveau riche" like Paris St Germain surely puts Sir Alex back in the box seat if he wants to attract top players this January.

So who are the selected six?

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