Manchester United: January Transfer Rumors Roundup
This week is a big one for Manchester United. A Wayne Rooney hat trick, a stellar return to the first team for Chicharito and some quality field work from Phil Jones all led to an emphatic 5-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
Next, the Red Devils begin their Champions League run when they face Benfica on Wednesday.
Although Manchester United has a long way to go before January, the transfer rumors are still flying about. Here's a quick recap of the biggest transfer rumors surrounding Sir Alex Ferguson's side this week. Make of them what you will.
On the Red Devils' radar for January is 17-year-old Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who has impressed with his first few Premier League appearances and even been called the next Bryan Robson.
According to a report from GiveMeFootball, the Toffees have told Manchester United that Barkley would be worth upwards of £15 million. As Ferguson builds his young squad, however, they may be willing to pay that much.
But there may be another strategy in place to bring Barkley to Old Trafford, however. CaughtOffside has reported that Sir Alex plans to approach Everton in January with a two-players-plus-cash deal for their young star. Man United will reportedly offer David Moyes £10 million plus a choice of two backup squad players, among them midfielder Darron Gibson, goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak and striker Mame Biram Diouf. Bringing players into the deal may help sway Moyes, as the Toffees are looking to make some new signings after the losses of Yakubu and Mikel Arteta on the August deadline day.
After a long battle for the 27-year-old Inter Milan midfielder all summer, Sir Alex Ferguson told ESPN that Wesley Sneijder is not, in fact, the replacement they were looking for for Paul Scholes:
"Sneijder is not the ideal replacement for Scholes. He's a fantastic player but he was not who we were looking for to replace Scholes. Only Xavi and Iniesta are comparable to Scholes."
Sir Alex went on to say he's happy to develop the team's young players including Tom Cleverly, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to fulfill that role. Jones in particular, although a right-back rather than a midfielder, showed vision this past weekend with fantastic setups for two of Wayne Rooney's goals at Reebok Stadium.
If Sir Alex makes a signing to replace Scholes in January, it will almost certainly be someone younger that can adapt to United's playing style and demonstrate creativity on the pitch, probably Götze, Ross Barkley or Paulo Henrique Ganso.
For more, here's Bleacher Report's Greg Lott on why Manchester United did well by not signing Sneijder.
The 19-year-old midfielder dubbed 'Super Mario' is on everyone's radar—German footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer even compared the young attacker to a certain Argentine striker, calling Mario Götze 'the new Messi.' Now that a move to Bayern Munich has been off the table for a while, Manchester United and Arsenal are looking like the frontrunners to sign him in January—that is, if Borussia Dortmund are willing to let him go just yet.
Arsenal offered £35 million for the midfielder in August, and it's doubtful they will hesitate to put in a big bid again for a player like Götze. And according to a report from FootyBunker.com from last week, Manchester United reportedly offered £1.5 million to BVB to have first option for Götze in January, but the acceptance of the offer was never confirmed, so this should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
But this is all even assuming Borussia Dortmund will be willing to part with their rising star. Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex have been advised by Götze's reps to stay away from the mega-bids, at least for now.
His agent told Goal.com:
“Mario will stay at Dortmund, for sure, the next two years….There is no chance of him going to another club this window….This is because he is so young and it is too early in his career for him. The club, the player and his family, we are all of one mind that it is better for him to stay there because he is happy at Dortmund.”.
Still, anything can happen before January. And with Götze spending some time in the Champions League starting tomorrow, he may be swayed by seeing the top clubs who seek him in action firsthand. Germany coach Joachim Low says he believes Götze 'will end up some day at a top club abroad.' That day might come a bit sooner than expected.
For more, check out Michael Cummings' recap of the top targets for the world's top clubs.