Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s claims that he will not be adding to his squad in next month’s transfer window have not stopped speculation about potential targets.
Having brought in Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell in the summer, Ferguson says that he will stick with his current squad until at least the end of the season.
"I will not be bringing anybody in, in January, definitely not," Ferguson told the Mail on Sunday.
Yet talk of United making a move for Inter’s Wesley Sneijder fails to abate. The attacking midfielder was close to a move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011 before a deal broke down over finances. It now looks increasingly likely, though, that Sneijder’s days at Inter are numbered.
It has been widely reported that Sneijder will continue to be ostracized from the Inter first team unless he agrees to a new contract featuring a reduction in his wages. Sneijder has refused to accept such a deal and now the player, along with Brazilian Philippe Coutinho, have been released early from club duties ahead of the festive period.
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“The two Nerazzurri players, with full permission from the club and coach Andrea Stramaccioni, will be able to leave tomorrow in order to spend the holidays with their families,” read a statement on the club’s official website.
The Daily Mirror reports that the news could prompt United to make a move as a replacement for Paul Scholes.
With continued speculation over the future of Manchester United winger Nani, the club has been linked with more than one replacement for the Portugal international. While Ferguson is believed to be interested in the much coveted Wilfried Zaha, the United boss is also reportedly keen on Blackpool’s Tom Ince.
Ince has impressed since joining the Championship side from Liverpool 18 months ago, although it is thought he could be available for £6 million. The Liverpool Echo claims that the England Under-21 international could be set for a return to Anfield in January.
However, Blackpool boss Michael Appleton revealed over the weekend that there had yet to be any concrete interest in the 20-year-old—son of former United and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince.
"There have been no bids as far as I'm aware," Appleton said, according to Sky Sports. "I think there have been conversations with a couple of clubs and the chairman, but nothing concrete.
"No-one has come in yet and set the marker in terms of a price.
"If the worst did happen in January, and we did lose Tom, then we have to make sure we have replacements ready. They will have to fill some very big shoes."
United could also be set to battle it out with Liverpool for another youngster in Feyenoord’s Stefan de Vrij, according to Sky Sports. The 20-year-old central defender is already captain of his club and has also been capped by the Netherlands.
The story states that Liverpool are currently front runners for De Vrij’s signature with Feyenoord ready to listen to offers of around €10 million (£8m) for his services.