Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)
This is the transfer rumour that just won’t go away, as the potential move by the Dutch playmaker to Old Trafford seems to have been on the cards for the best part of the last 18 months. United, desperately in need of reinforcements to their central midfield ranks, and Sneijder, a creative force worthy of any of Europe’s leading clubs, are potentially a perfect match. The Dutchman is reported to be unhappy at Inter, and with only the English Premier League missing from his impressive C.V. the opportunity to join his compatriot Robin van Persie may be too much to turn down. At 28 years old he is in the prime of his career and any fee would reflect this, but Sir Alex Ferguson may consider it to be money well spent as his side pursue glory at home and in Europe.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The saga over the future of Arsenal and England forward Walcott has rumbled on since the summer, and his obvious reluctance to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium indicates that his time in north London could be about to end. The Gunners’ continued failure to win silverware and disagreement with manager Arsene Wenger over his role in the team rankle most with Walcott. A move in January would mean Arsenal recoup funds for a player whose contract is expiring, while United would add further strength to their attacking options, particularly as it seems Portuguese winger Nani is on his way out of Old Trafford.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
The Everton left back, rated by many as the best in the world presently, has long been linked with a move to Manchester. His elevation to England’s first choice in recent international games has raised his profile even further. Baines has long-declared his happiness to remain on Merseyside and there would be uproar amongst Everton fans if one of their prized assets was sold as they chase qualification for next year’s Champions League. With Patrice Evra the wrong side of 31, Baines is seen as the perfect replacement and he would also add an extra dimension to United’s play with his accurate left footed deliveries and set-pieces. Ferguson would have to offer a fee in the region of £30 million to tempt Everton into parting with Baines.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Manchester United have always looked to bright, young talent, whether home-grown or purchased, to nurture and develop into top class footballers. Zaha fits the bill perfectly, as one of England’s most talked about youngsters continues to attract interest from a host of top Premier League clubs. Several high profile suitors could no doubt afford whatever inflated price tag Crystal Palace attach to their man, but it could be in Zaha’s best interests to plump for United due to their unrivalled success in the development of young hopefuls into fulfilled potential.
Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
A rather surprise rumour but Sir Alex Ferguson must be highly frustrated with the goalkeeping situation at Old Trafford. Young Spaniard, David De Gea, bought for over £17 million in 2011 is still yet to convince observers that he is the right man to stand between the posts for United. But at only 21 years old, time is still on his side to develop technically and physically into the player they hoped he could become when paying that colossal transfer fee for such an untried player. Danish number 1, Anders Lindegaard, has also failed to impress when given his opportunity to make the starting spot his own and could be shown the door to make way for Stoke keeper, Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian international has grown steadily during his time in England and continually impresses between the sticks for Tony Pulis’ side. Begovic could provide the answer to United’s dilemma, especially while De Gea takes time to mature.