Manchester United have reportedly drawn up an incredible four-man, £215 million shortlist of attacking power for January comprised of Gareth Bale, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Felipe Anderson and Sadio Mane.
According to Jack Wilson of the Daily Star, the Red Devils have identified these four players to reinforce their team in order to make sure of a Champions League finish this season.
As their stats reveal, they could add a huge amount of firepower to United's cause—something they severely need after scoring just 24 goals in 20 Premier League games this term:
|United's Four-Man Shortlist Compared|
|Player||Age||Apps (all comps)||Goals||Assists|
Bale is of course the biggest name on the list, but the prospect of Real Madrid letting one of their most crucial players go in January for any price is almost inconceivable.
Further, per the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis, new Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane described him as "important for the squad and fundamental for the team," which only serves to reinforce the point that he won't be sold any time soon.
Aubameyang would equally be a phenomenal coup, and United would likely have few qualms about paying the £50 million Wilson mentions in his report, but Borussia Dortmund will be determined to keep hold of their star striker, making him difficult to acquire for any suitor before the summer.
Lazio's Anderson has not quite shown the same level of form as the other targets, but he did catch the eye last season, as he racked up 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
Unfortunately, Anderson still has problems with performing consistently, hence his struggles this season.
Football journalist Rafael Hernandez believes the Red Devils should avoid pursuing him:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Felipe Anderson is inconsistent and follows the standard Brazilian player nowadays. holds potential but likely to go to waste.2016-1-2 21:48:01
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
In my sincere opinion, Felipe Anderson is a massive waste of money and definitely not what Manchester United needs.2016-1-2 21:50:37
Indeed, since he's going to cost a lot of money either way—Wilson notes United are prepared to pay £35 million to land him and give him a £170,000-per-week wage packet—United would be better off waiting for him to prove himself over a longer period before purchasing him.
Football writer Liam Canning believes United should target Southampton winger Mane and feels the Senegalese is an achievable target in January:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
This January Man United should be focussing on a left-back (Ricardo Rodríguez) and an attacking playmaker (Sadio Mané, Riyad Mahrez).2015-12-29 13:10:57
Indeed, though the Saints are adamant they won't be selling Mane this winter, per Liam Corless of the Daily Mirror, in recent years, the likes of United and Liverpool have succeeded in prising some of their biggest stars away in big-money deals, such as Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren.
Should United test Southampton's resolve with a £30 million bid, they may well find Southampton are willing to part with Mane.