Man United transfer links rated ahead of Monday's deadline

Man United’s desperate transfer window is now filled with rumours they want Sancho, Dembele, Cavani, Sarr, Jovic, Upamecano, Telles AND Kante. So who really WILL come riding to their rescue?

  • It’s time for action at Old Trafford as Monday night’s transfer deadline looms
  • Jadon Sancho remains United’s No 1 target but Dortmund won’t budge on price
  • Ousmane Dembele and Ismaila Sarr have been cited as Sancho alternatives
  • Luka Jovic and Edinson Cavani have emerged as centre-forward options
  • Left back is a problem area but more work is needed to sign Alex Telles
  • And recent performances have highlighted need for a new central defender

To borrow Sir Alex Ferguson’s phrase, we’re entering ‘squeaky bum time’ in the summer transfer window.

With just a few days remaining before the deadline at 11pm on Monday night, Manchester United find themselves with everything to do.

Donny van de Beek remains the only summer signing at Old Trafford but it’s clear from recent performances that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad is deficient in so many areas.

It could be a busy final few days of the summer transfer window for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United with a number of areas in desperate need of improvement 

Midfielder Donny van de Beek, bought from Ajax for £40m, remains United’s only summer deal

Accordingly, we’ve got a frenzy of rumour with United being linked with quite a few different players across Europe.

But what are the chances of each reported target moving to Manchester before Monday, and would they actually make any difference to Solskjaer’s team?

Jadon Sancho

How likely is a deal?

The transfer saga of the summer, but it doesn’t look as though United are making much progress in efforts to prise the England star away from Borussia Dortmund.

A bid of £91.3million – comprising an initial £73m plus £18.2m in add-ons – has reportedly been rejected by the Bundesliga club.

However, United denied this bid was made with Sportsmail understanding they are worried about a backlash from angry fans if a formal bid is rejected.

Dortmund have made clear all summer they want £108m for Sancho and are under no pressure to sell the 20-year-old.

Manchester United have denied making a £91.3m offer for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho

Sancho is very unlikely to depreciate in value and if he enjoys another successful season – plus a good Euro 2020 next summer – he could easily command an even higher fee and a bidding war next summer when the market has perhaps rebounded from the Covid-19 impact.

Though United made a breakthrough in negotiations with Sancho’s representatives on wages and agents’ fees earlier this month, Dortmund have remained steadfast with their asking price.

United view this as too high and with time running out, the likelihood of Sancho being in red on October 6 is quickly fading.

The fact United are now being linked with alternatives in the same position as their No 1 target is telling.

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Sancho definitely has the potential to be a transformative signing for United.

Though United finished third in the Premier League last season, the gulf between themselves and rivals Liverpool (33 points) and Manchester City (15 points) was embarrassingly wide.

Dortmund have remained steadfast in their asking price of £108m for England star Sancho

It’s with good reason that Sancho is regarded as one of the best young players in the world and his class would unquestionably help United bridge that divide and also challenge for other silverware.

Combined with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes, United would have one of the league’s most devastating forward lines.

The only down side is that Sancho, as a predominantly right-sided attacker, would likely take the place of teenager and academy graduate Greenwood, who enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough campaign in 2019-20.

Alex Telles

How likely is a deal?

Left back is certainly an area Solskjaer wishes to strengthen with a new signing offering competition for Luke Shaw.

United are in talks with Porto over Brazilian left back Telles but they will have to increase their first offer of around £12m.

According to reports in Portugal, this bid didn’t even elicit a response from Porto, who believe Telles is worth £18m.

United feel this is too much for the 27-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract and could be signed for nothing next summer.

Personal terms with Telles have reportedly already been agreed and it could well be that an improved offer of just a couple of million more gets the deal over the line.

Alex Telles is on Manchester United’s list of targets this summer but a fee hasn’t been agreed

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Not single-handedly but there’s no doubt Telles – who has won two league titles during his time at Porto – would be a useful acquisition.

He’d offer tough competition for Shaw and hopefully push the Englishman to up his game.

The only real alternative to Shaw in the current United squad is youngster Brandon Williams, who put in some impressive performances last season but could also play at right back.

Solskjaer clearly needs greater depth to his squad and having two reliable players in every position is essential.

Telles would provide this but United’s more pressing defensive issues are at centre-back on the evidence of the early part of the season.

It has been reported that United’s first bid for Telles (right) didn’t even warrant a response

Ousmane Dembele

How likely is a deal?

With United’s chances of landing Sancho diminishing by the day, alternatives for that right-sided attacking position are being looked at.

One of them is Barcelona’s Dembele but any move is likely to just be a loan at first.

Barcelona would be happy to sell Dembele, who is valued at £50m, and then use the proceeds to sign Ronald Koeman favourite Memphis Depay from Lyon.

But talks so far over Dembele have centred on it being just a loan.

United could move for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele if they abandon attempts for Sancho

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

It’s a risky signing. Dembele has won two league titles with Barcelona since his club record £96m – potentially rising to £124m – move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

But he’s been plagued by injury and there are serious doubts over his professionalism.

He once turned up two hours late for Barcelona training and was forced to apologise in front of his team-mates, while there have been concerns over his diet, partying and fondness for video games.

There’s no doubt, however, that when the speedy, skilful and two-footed Dembele plays at his best, he could be excellent for United and make quite an impact in the Premier League.

It’s possible the hamstring injuries that kept him sidelined for so long at Barcelona have diminished that X-factor in his game.

Dembele could be sensational but equally be another expensive, embarrassing failure that United can ill afford. 

A loan move could be the best option for all concerned to find out. 

The France winger has suffered two serious injuries since joining Barcelona back in 2017

Luka Jovic

How likely is a deal?

It emerged earlier this week that Real Madrid have offered United the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan.

Real only signed the striker from Eintracht Frankfurt in a £55m deal last year but an injury-hampered first campaign saw him scored just twice in 28 appearances.

Manager Zinedine Zidane views the Serbia international as surplus to requirements and is keen to trim Real’s large squad before the deadline.

Tottenham discussed the possibility of signing Jovic during negotiations with Real to bring in Gareth Bale and Sergio Regulion – but opted against it.

It’s one that could gain traction as United look for alternatives in attack as we approach deadline.

Manchester United have been offered the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Well, Jovic doesn’t tick the box of a right-sided attacker as he’s more of a centre forward.

However, he could provide decent back-up to Anthony Martial, who typically plays in that role.

United’s only other out-and-out centre forward is Odion Ighalo, whose loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua expires at the end of January.

Jovic would represent an upgrade on Ighalo and reduce the pressure on Martial to play every game as United compete on multiple fronts.

With the wages likely to be split between United and Real, it is a loan signing that does make a lot of sense.

If Jovic could replicate even some of the scoring form he showed for Frankfurt prior to joining Madrid, United could get 10-15 crucial goals out of him.

The Serbian striker has scored just two goals in 28 appearances for the LaLiga champions

Ismaila Sarr

How likely is a deal?

The Watford winger has emerged as potential alternative if United fail to make any more headway in signing Sancho.

Senegal international Sarr, 22, has previously been linked with Liverpool and is valued at £45m by the Championship side.

Sarr was one of the players who emerged with some credit during Watford’s relegation campaign, scoring six goals and adding six assists in 30 Premier League appearances.

 Sarr, 22, has been on Liverpool’s shortlist and is rated around £45m by the Championship side

A permanent move for Sarr represents a longer-term solution than signing Dembele on loan but £45m seems steep for a player just relegated from the top flight.

But then would he just be dumped if Sancho became available again next year? It’s an expensive stop-gap for £45m.  

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Sarr isn’t in the same class as Sancho – or Dembele at his best – and it’s questionable whether he’d offer an upgrade.

He certainly isn’t as good as Greenwood and maybe not much better than Dan James, who also plays in that role and seems to have been largely forgotten about.

Edinson Cavani

How likely is a deal?

United are reportedly in talks with Cavani over a free transfer to Old Trafford.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, is a free agent after the expiry of his Paris Saint-Germain contract.

He’s a born winner as well, having won six Ligue 1 titles, four French Cups and five French League Cups during his time in Paris.

But Cavani doesn’t exactly fit the profile of young, exciting player United have been looking to sign in recent times.

Mind you, there are worse options than Cavani for absolutely nothing.

Manchester United could opt for the cheap option by signing Edinson Cavani this summer

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Cavani is a proven goalscorer but well past his peak at 33. He’d be playing the back-up centre-forward role behind Martial though would offer a superior option to Ighalo.

He certainly wouldn’t be single-handedly boosting United’s chances of winning trophies but his experience would come in handy around the dressing room and he’d probably get you 10 goals or more.

United have had success with older strikers such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larsson (on loan) in the past but it all depends on whether Cavani fancies the challenge of the Premier League.

Dayot Upamecano

How likely is a deal?

United’s opening two Premier League games have only exacerbated concerns about the partnership between Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof at the back.

Neither has covered themselves in glory but it’s clear someone else needs to partner captain Maguire at the heart of the defence.

That person could come from within the squad with Eric Bailly or Axel Tuanzebe potential alternatives.

But the name that keeps cropping up is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano with reports again this week that United are interested in the Frenchman.

However, the chances of a deal being sewn up by Monday are affected by quite a few factors.

Leipzig’s asking price of £60m is steep and United would have to offload other centre backs, such as Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling, first to make room.

Solskjaer also continues to insist he has faith in United’s current array of centre-back options and so strengthening here isn’t top priority.

United reportedly remain interested in signing RB Leipzig centre back Dayot Upamecano

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Upamecano is highly rated and with good reason. Rio Ferdinand was extolling the Frenchman’s virtues this week and urging United to go out and sign him.

United need a speedy centre half with good anticipation to work well alongside Maguire and the 21-year-old could well provide that.

It’s easy to conclude from United’s recent games against Crystal Palace and Brighton that it’s all well and good having a star-studded front line but the defence is going to cost them points this season.

Upamecano is certainly expensive – after all, he only signed a new contract at Leipzig back in July – but could be a worthy investment to anchor United’s defence for several years to come.

Regardless of Solskjaer’s faith in his centre backs, United can’t ignore the glaring weakness there for much longer.

N’Golo Kante

How likely is a deal?

Now this really would be a sensation. Reports earlier this week suggested United had made a shock enquiry about the Chelsea midfielder.

Kante has been linked with a move to Inter Milan to be reunited with former manager Antonio Conte.

Reports suggested that United contacted Kante’s representatives to see if there would be any interest.

This seems unlikely. Even if Chelsea wanted to let the tireless midfielder leave – and surely Frank Lampard or Roman Abramovich doesn’t – they wouldn’t sell him to a direct rival.

Kante is also playing a full part in Chelsea’s midfield at the moment, completing all three Premier League games so far.

Of course United would be interested in Kante if he came up for sale but who wouldn’t?

United have reportedly made a shock enquiry for Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante

Can he turn United’s fortunes around?

Kante would be a superb addition to most teams. He’d certainly offer United plenty of energy and a dogged commitment at the base of midfield.

He’d walk into the team ahead of Nemanja Matic, Fred or Scott McTominay and his work rate would free up Paul Pogba or Van de Beek to do their thing further up the field.

His presence would also offer assurance that United’s defence wouldn’t be caught out.

But that kind of transformative impact is precisely why Chelsea wouldn’t sell him to United.

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