Manchester United may have to settle for a quiet January transfer window despite their glaring issues in midfield – unless Old Trafford chiefs are rocked by an offer for one of their players
Manchester United will not be able to justify January spending unless Paul Pogba secures a mid-season departure from the club, according to reports.
The Red Devils had a busy summer of business during which Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo arrived for a combined fee in the region of £135million.
However, recent results on the pitch have been underwhelming, with United losing three of their last four games in all competitions.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost 2-1 away at Young Boys in their Champions League opener and exited the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 defeat at home by West Ham last Wednesday.
United suffered a second consecutive home defeat three days later as Aston Villa edged a dramatic Premier League fixture.
This poor run of form has raised questions of Solskjaer’s suitability for his post as well as highlighting the deficiencies in his squad.
Central midfield is proving to be a particularly-problematic area having received no investment during the summer transfer window.
Solskjaer continues to turn to Scott McTominay and Fred to form a double pivot in most of his side’s biggest games.
Paul Pogba has also been used in the role sparingly this season, although his manager appears to prefer him on the left wing, where his creativity is more pronounced.
Veteran stalwart Nemanja Matic adds depth to Solskjaer’s options in the middle of the park, but there is a presiding sense United are lacking a top-tier midfielder capable of grabbing games by the scruff of the neck.
A fresh report in the Daily Star claims Old Trafford chiefs will address this by pursuing Kalvin Phillips, having made the Leeds United star their preferred target over West Ham enforcer Declan Rice.
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But no bid is expected to be tabled until next summer, by which time the Red Devils’ coffers will be replenished.
Indeed, the Manchester Evening News asserts it will be a quiet January window for United in terms of incomings.
There is only one scenario which could change this and it relates to Pogba, who has less than 10 months remaining on his contract.
The Frenchman will be free to enter talks with clubs on the continent as soon as January with a view to signing a pre-contract agreement.
But the report adds United will only dip into the transfer market if Pogba leaves in the winter window itself.
The 28-year-old remains linked with a move back to Juventus, who may be convinced to launch a bid given their tepid start to the season.
Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, recently fuelled speculation of a return to Turin by admitting Juve is “in his heart”.