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Manchester United

Osimhen, Joao Felix and five players Manchester United could sign in the January transfer window

11:00 EAT 27/12/2022
Joao Felix Victor Osimhen GFX
Erik ten Hag has already been heavily backed since his arrival at Old Trafford, but more reinforcements will be needed for him to complete his squad

Manchester United spent over £220 million ($266m) in the summer transfer window, a new club record, to bring in Brazilian duo Antony and Casemiro, Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez, and Dutch full-back Tyrell Malacia.

They also managed to sign Christian Eriksen on a free transfer and Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on loan, with Erik Ten Hag wasting little time in beginning an extensive squad overhaul.

He still has work to do to finalise a squad in his image, though, and United could dip back into the winter market to boost their chances of finishing the 2022-23 season with the holy duo of silverware and Champions League qualification.

Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial exit has opened up a spot in attack, while Aaron Wan Bissaka's decline means United may have to look at extra options in defence, but who are the players most likely to join Ten Hag's revolution?

GOAL takes a look...

  • Victor Osimhen Napoli.

    Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

    Napoli have been the surprise package of the 2022-23 season so far, recording 13 wins alongside just two draws to storm to the top of the Serie A standings while also reaching the Champions League knockout stages as Group A winners ahead of Liverpool.

    Osimhen has been key to their rise despite missing a decent chunk of the campaign with injury, scoring 10 goals in 14 appearances across all competitions, including a spectacular late winner against Roma.

    The stunning goal encapsulated all of the Nigerian's best qualities: Speed, strength, intelligence and technique as he made a superb run in behind before outmuscling Chris Smalling and rifling an unstoppable volley into the far corner of the net.

    That explosive turn of pace and quick thinking in the final third is exactly what Ten Hag's goal-shy United have missed this term, and Osimhen looks like he also has the physical toughness to be a big hit in the Premier League.

    The 23-year-old is under contract in Naples until 2025, and is reportedly being valued in excess of £100m ($121m), but such a fee could prove a bargain investment for United if he continues to improve at such a rapid rate in the coming years.

  • Dumfries-Inter-2022-23

    Denzel Dumfries (Inter)

    Louis van Gaal took an unfancied Netherlands side to within a whisker of the 2022 World Cup semi-finals, and there was no player more important than Denzel Dumfries during the Oranje's impressive run.

    Deployed in his favoured right-wing-back role, Dumfries provided an invaluable extra attacking outlet while also sticking to his duties in defence, with his standout display coming in the last 16 against the USMNT as he laid on two assists and scored one himself in a 3-1 victory.

    The 26-year-old's showings will have come as little surprise to fans of Inter, who have seen him wreak havoc on the right flank throughout his first 17 months at San Siro.

    United lack depth in that position, with Diogo Dalot having replaced Aaron Wan Bissaka in the line up after the Englishman's alarming decline over the past year.

    Dumfries would be an upgrade on Dalot, and is reportedly available for around £42m ($51m) in January, but United will have to move quickly to secure his services amid rival interest from Chelsea.

  • Goncalo-Ramos-Benfica-2022-23

    Goncalo Ramos (Benfica)

    Ronaldo's contract was terminated by United at the start of the World Cup on the back of his controversial interview with Piers Morgan, during which he spouted off against the club for his lack of playing time in the first half of the season.

    The 37-year-old's fortunes did not improve in Qatar as he was also benched by Portugal boss Fernando Santos, and to rub salt in his wounds, his replacement, Goncalo Ramos, instantly hit the ground running.

    Ramos hit a stunning hat trick as Portugal steamrollered their way to a 6-1 win against Switzerland in the last 16, and although he failed to follow it up with another starring display in their quarter-final loss to Morocco, Europe's biggest clubs are now on alert.

    United are among those being linked with Ramos, who has hit nine goals in 11 Primeira Liga games for Benfica this season, but again, they may need to break the bank to win the race for his signature.

    Benfica president Rui Costa has insisted the 21-year-old won't be sold unless his buy-out clause is met, which reportedly stands at a whopping £103m ($125m).

  • Joao Felix Atletico Madrid 2022-23

    Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

    Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix represents another Portuguese option for United, with the playmaker having reportedly been on their radar since his breakthrough as a teenager at Benfica.

    Felix has struggled to settle in the Spanish capital since his £113m move in 2019, and Atletico president Gil Marin has admitted he could be sold in 2023.

    ''The relationship between him and the boss [Simeone], the minutes played, his motivation right now - it makes you think that the reasonable thing is that if there's an option that's good for the player, good for the club, we can look at it,'' Marin recently told TVE when asked about Felix. ''I'd love him to stay personally, but I don't think that's the player's idea."

    Marin's claims of friction between Felix and Simeone were further backed-up when the 23-year-old declared "when the conditions are favourable, things go better'' after his stellar World Cup turn for Portugal against the Swiss.

    Felix recorded two assists and one goal in Qatar, but his market value has dropped significantly this season as he only has seven goal contributions from 18 appearances for Atletico to his name.

    United are well placed to offer Felix a fresh start, and he could be tempted by a club reunion with his international colleagues Bruno Fernandes and Dalot.

  • Diogo-Costa-Porto-2022-23

    Diogo Costa (Porto)

    David De Gea has enjoyed a long-awaited return to form under Ten Hag, but the United No.1 no longer enjoys a standing among the game's elite goalkeepers.

    The 32-year-old has never been one to command his box and ease pressure on his defence, and despite recent improvements, his distribution remains sub-par.

    Porto's Diogo Costa has far more in common with the best modern-day keepers, such as Manchester City's Ederson, and has been in great form for his club in 2022-23.

    The 23-year-old saved three penalties in the Champions League group stage, and has kept six clean sheets in 13 Primeira Liga appearances to date, despite Porto falling behind Benfica in the title race.

    Costa's credentials were actually called into question during the World Cup, as he got the nod as Portugal's first-choice ahead of Rui Patricio. He almost cost the Selecao three points in their group-stage opener against Ghana, before producing another rash moment that did end up gifting Morocco their shock quarter-final win.

    Still, there is plenty of potential for Costa to unlock as his career progresses, and he could even start as De Gea's understudy if United decide to formalise their reported interest when the market reopens.