After a quite January transfer window Manchester United’s focus have already shifted to the summer window. Here are the top five players whom the Red Devils will most likely target at the end of this season.
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Manchester United will once again jump into the summer transfer market to hijack Gareth Bale from Real Madrid despite repeated failures in the past. Some reports say, Bale gave some serious consideration to a move back to Premier League despite United offering a huge £100million for him last summer also. But the increasing uncertainty at Old Trafford is expected to have played a major role behind the decision to reject a move to Manchester United. Ahead of the January window, United hierarchy saw the shocking axe of Rafa Benitez an encouraging sign in their pursuit to succeed a record breaking deal for Bale. They even reportedly re-launched a staggering £75million-plus bid to rope in the star attacker from Real Madrid during January.
Manchester United executive vice-Chairman Ed Woodward believes if they can capture Bale, it will be a massive hit among the United fans. But with the recent uncertainity regarding the manager’s position, it will be diffcult to predict if United woul actually jump for a such massive signing.
Sadio Mane (Southampton)
The Senegalese attacker has vastly impressed everyone since his arrival at the south coast 15 months earlier, becoming one of Southampton’s most valuable players under Ronald Koeman.
In 31 matches for the Saints, Mane has scored 7 goals in all competitions this season, his awesome speed and quick cunning movement creates troubles for even the Premier League’s most stern defences.
Louis van Gaal has already spotted his progress and a move for Sadio Mane was highly speculated in the January window; also before Martial arrived at Old Trafford, United targeted the Senegal international.
With the Dutch manager’s desperation for more fire power upfront, the 23-year-old perfectly fits the bill. Koeman would be frustrated to lose his star player in Summer, but if the club hierarchy thinks the price and time is right, they have shown on more than one occasion that the club will be happy to sell their priced assets.
Renato Sanches (Benfica)
Manchester United were very close to securing a deal for Benfica starlet Renato Sanches last month as Louis van Gaal hinted that he is ready to spend huge amounts on youngsters and Sanches looked like certainly next in line to take the United legacy forward but unfortunately the deal fall apart at the last moment. The young midfielder cemented his place in the Benfica first team only last year, making 11 appearances so far, scoring two goals. If United successfully complete the deal for Sanches, it would certainly add to the rich base of young talent at Old Trafford, with Memphis Depay, Adnan Januzaj and Martial all battling to secure a berth in the LVG’s first eleven.
The player however has a release clause of around £60m but United hierarchy is very much confident that they will be able to sign the 18-year-old for half the amount along with add-ons.
Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen)
Since that huge success in 2014 World Cup, Germany boss Joachim Low has repeatedly called upon many of the same players who led the Germans to World Cup glory, but in recent times Low has increasingly used Leverkusen’s highly rated winger Karim Bellarabi.
25-year-old Bellarabi has so far made 10 appearances for his national team in the last 15 months, often been handed the responsibility to stretch the play and offer repeated threats behind the opposition defence and Germany dominate possession while he opens space for others.
Bellerabi has also emerged as a matured one to become a first-team regular starter for Roger Schmidt’s hard-pressing Leverkusen (having impressed in the 2013-14 season on loan at Eintracht Braunschweig).
Generally a right-winger for Leverkusen, he fits perfectly into their attacking style of play, and enjoys his duty when they transit quickly from back to front. He managed 13 goals and 14 assists in all competitions last term and is five and six this campaign (32 appearances).
Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
Interestingly this former Santos youngster grew up playing alongside Brazilian maestro Neymar in his homeland and is now desperate to emulate his former teammate’s impact on European football.
Last season, he was one of the key players with whom Lazio surprised Serie A to clinch a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Felipe Anderson scored 10 goals with 7 assists as Stefano Pioli’s team finished third, in what was his ultimate breakout campaign in the European arena.
Obviously the 22-year-old star is highly talented and has the kind of pace van Gaal is searching for. But the problem is he can become inconsistent some times and has actually managed the full 90 minutes in just two of Lazio’s 12 league fixture this season.
Given that his buyout clause stands at £57million and his contract runs until 2020, he’s perhaps better left alone right now.