Manchester United have had a dismal first half of the season, losing 14 matches in all competitions so far. Erik Ten Hag's job is hanging by a thread and he is currently one of two clear favourites to be the next Premier League manager sacked. But could a January shopping spree save him and get United's season back on track?
Manchester United transfer targets – Latest news
INEOS to call the shots
On Christmas Eve, Man Utd announced that INEOS had purchased a 25% stake in the club and that they would be taking over all football activity. Although the deal still needs to be approved and ratified by the Premier League, Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been pictured at Old Trafford attending football meetings and Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos' Director of Sport, has been in the stands.
It is understood that none of the reported Manchester United transfer targets could arrive without INEOS' approval, so in theory, United's transfer strategy could be flipped on its head this month. The club are rumoured to be in the market for a striker on the cheap to help support Ramsus Hojlund, who has just one Premier League goal to his name, along with a new centre-back to ease the current defensive crisis.
Due to high spending in recent years, Man Utd will need to be careful during the January transfer window when it comes to transfer fees and wages. After spending £400m over the past two seasons, the club reported a loss of £42m in October, and senior executives have already warned fans not to expect any big business in January due to FFP concerns.
As a result, loan deals could become an option for the Reds. Last January, they signed Wout Weghorst on a short-term loan deal to help up front, and a similar signing could be on the cards here. Sergio Reguilon's loan deal at Old Trafford was recently terminated, so there is room in the squad for temporary decisions.
Manchester United transfer target odds – Current outrights
Timo Werner 4/1 (5.0)
Manchester United are reportedly ready to give Timo Werner a second chance to prove himself in English football, with reports in Germany suggesting that Ten Hag wants to sign the ex-Chelsea man on loan until the end of the season. Werner has struggled for form and fitness at Leipzig so far this season, so the move would represent a huge risk. But given that United are set to be limited on what they can do, it could be a case of a risk worth taking.
The same reports in Germany have also linked Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to Old Trafford. The Cameroonian has made a career as a squad player at some of Europe's biggest clubs.
Antoine Griezmann – 9/2 (5.5)
Antoine Griezmann has been linked with a move to Old Trafford on several occasions in the past, and would have made the move in 2017, had Atletico Madrid not been handed a transfer ban by FIFA that summer. At the age of 32, Griezmann is arguably playing better than ever, and has scored 16 goals in 24 matches in all competitions so far this season.
However, the Frenchman would cost a premium which United likely can't afford right now, which means if they were to somehow pull the deal off, they would have to get Atletico to agree to a loan with an obligation to buy clause for the summer. If it did come to fruition, then he could solve their right-wing or centre-forward woes instantly.
Pedro Neto – 20/1 (21.0)
Man Utd have a serious issue on the right wing, with £82m man Antony well below the standard required. The Brazilian has seemingly run out of chances at Old Trafford, while both Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford prefer playing on the left. Pedro Neto has been one of the best right-wingers in the Premier League this season, and has seven assists to his name despite being injured for eight weeks.