The 2016/17 football season is coming to a close as teams approach their final games in the league and bigger clubs look to cup finals. Inevitably, at the end of the season, there are always questions on the club’s players. Do they need spending? Does the club need to promote youth? Or will they need to sell?. All these questions help push along the transfer rumours that fly around every day, some seem convincing, while others seem far too unreal to happen.
In Manchester United’s case, many big players have been linked with a move to Old Trafford. The Red Devils haven’t enjoyed the brightest first season under new manager José Mourinho. However, the hope is that this summer, with the right signings, Mourinho can finally command a squad that is entirely his own. He might need to let go of some players in this summer window, to make space for new signings as well.
Mourinho has managed to bring some silverware in his first campaign as United boss. Winning the EFL Cup and the Community shield is some proof towards that statement. However, in the Premier League, the team hasn’t been consistent enough and find themselves out of the top four race ahead of the last two game-weeks of the league. The Portuguese still has a chance to seal qualification to the coveted UEFA Champions League, as the Red Devils take on a young Ajax side in the final of the UEFA Europa League on 25th May.
Let’s take a good look at each of the players linked with a move to Old Trafford –
Players from La Liga for United
The speculation surrounding the Colombian international has been gathering pace in the last 48 hours. Rodriguez joined Los Blancos in 2014 and has enjoyed trophy success in Europe, winning the Champions League twice with Real Madrid. However, under Zinedine Zidane, Rodriguez has struggled to nail down a place in the starting XI, with Isco being preferred over him.
Reports from SkySports and other news sources suggest that a deal is already in place, between United and Madrid for the Colombian’s transfer. Rodriguez is reportedly unhappy with his treatment in Madrid and is open to a move to play in the Premier League.
Rodriguez’s need at United is a debatable matter. The club already has two able no.10’s in Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the addition of Rodriguez might create a need to sell either one. The Colombian might seem like a commercial move and a luxury transfer at the very least. Only time will tell if Rodriguez leaves his dream club to join Mourinho at United.
Rumours surrounding Griezmann and United have been prevalent since the start of the season. The Frenchman has been the attacking spearhead for Diego Simeone at Atlético Madrid since the summer of 2014. However, Griezmann has experienced little success in terms of trophies at the club.
Ever since Paul Pogba’s world-record move back to United, Griezmann has been hinting about a move to United. The pair enjoys a very good relationship in the national team with France and Pogba’s presence at United could be an added catalyst for Griezmann. The Frenchman’s brother Theo Griezmann is an open supporter of United and has only added to the rumours of a move to Old Trafford for his brother.
It is believed that any transfer to United would depend on the club winning the Europa League final and getting into the Champions League. Given the latest revelations on the wages of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it is also rumoured that Griezmann might demand higher wages than the Swede.
This has been going on ever since David Moyes was in charge at United, Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to United. time and time again. Ever since the Welshman joined the Galacticos in a then world record move, he has enjoyed some success on the European stage with the star-studded team.
Bale has struggled to live up to expectations at the Spanish club. He was expected to take over from Cristiano Ronaldo as the club’s main man, however, he has failed to keep up the consistency which he had in his first season at the club. This season has seen him sidelined for large parts of the season. There have even been talks of the team being better without the Welshman.
All this has led to the rumours linking Bale to United. His time in La Liga has been incomplete, to say the least, and a move back to the Premier League could suit all parties involved.
Atlético Madrid has boasted one of the best defences in recent seasons. A big reason for that has been the presence of the world-class Slovenian Jan Oblak. Oblak joined the club in 2014 and has been a figure of consistency at the club and has built his reputation as one of the best keepers in modern day football.
With recent rumours suggesting that David De Gea might be on the brink of a move to Real Madrid, Oblak has been suggested to be the replacement for the consistent Spaniard. There have been talks of a swap deal involving both keepers, however, it remains to be seen if De Gea is committed to United, with most pundits stating that the Spaniard’s stay could depend on the club winning the Europa League.
Yet another Real Madrid star linked with a move to United. Pepe’s contract with Real Madrid is set to expire at the end of the season and the veteran Portuguese has been linked with a move to a number of major European clubs, including United.
Pepe enjoys a very healthy relationship with current United boss Mourinho, from their time together at Real Madrid. Inter Milan are also rumoured to have an interest in the 34-year old, it will be an interesting transfer tussle between United and Inter, in the summer. The Real Madrid no.3 is still relatively fit but only has a few years at the top left in him and will look to finish his career at the top with a title-winning team.
Players from the Premier League for United
The first of the few players linked from the Premier League is Tottenham Hotspur’s, Eric Dier. Dier joined Spurs in 2014 and has been making big strides as a centre-half for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The former Sporting CP player has established himself as a solid all-round defender alongside his Belgian mates in Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. He has been useful in playing from the back and is also a very useful asset at set-pieces for his side.
Given the strict wage structure at Spurs, Dier might be tempted by the wages that United will offer if a move does go through. The England international could be a very solid addition for Mourinho to command, alongside Eric Bailly.
Kyle Walker & Danny Rose
Next up is the dynamic wing-back duo at Spurs, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. The duo have flourished in the 3-4-2-1 system deployed by Pochettino. Walker and Rose have been very effective at both ends of the pitch and offer many useful qualities as wingbacks out wide.
Their case is very much to similar to their mate Eric Dier. Both players might look for better wages in the summer and a move to United might be the answer for them. Walker especially seems to have fallen out of favour with Pochettino of late, with the Argentinian favouring Kieran Trippier over him.
A player from Mourinho’s former side Chelsea, The Brazilian international Willian seems to be a personal target for Mourinho. Willian was brought to the club by the Portuguese and offers versatility in midfield as well as the final third.
The Brazilian has been described as a typical Mourinho player. Someone who will work hard at both ends and is very athletic. Under new manager Antonio Conte, Willian hasn’t started every game as he would like to, but he’s never complained. He could want a change in scenario come the summer window. A reunion with his former boss could be a welcome change for him.