Manchester United’s squad is set to be strengthened in two areas next month. The positions of center-forward and right-back are in focus, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s early departure forcing United to move their ambitions up front by six months.
Cody Gakpo has quickly emerged as the club’s key target. While he is naturally a winger, the red-hot Dutch international can also lead the line, as he is doing for Louis van Gaal in Qatar.
TEAMtalk exclusively discovered that right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been told he can go in January.
The £50 million signing is a defensive-first full-back and thus a terrible match for the new Manchester United manager.
We learn that two Premier League clubs, Crystal Palace and Fulham, are already battling for his signature in the winter window.
If Wan-Bissaka does go, an upgrade to compete with – and possibly replace – Diogo Dalot is expected.
Man United’s radar has been upgraded twice.
Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan and Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen have both been highly linked in this regard.
Both are now in Qatar, but Dumfries is the preferred right winger for the Netherlands. Regardless, Sky Germany claimed this week that United intends to hold negotiations with Frimpong following the World Cup.
This season, the 21-year-old has five goals and one assist to his name in the Bundesliga. He’s also produced two assists in the Champions League, but he does have one notable disadvantage.
Frimpong is only 5ft 6in tall. While height is not the most significant characteristic in a defender, it is one that other teams can exploit.
Ten Hag certainly does not believe that, having signed 5ft 9 Lisandro Martinez to play at center-half last summer.
The Argentine has made a mockery of critics who predicted his lack of height would be exploited ruthlessly in the Premier League. Indeed, he wasted no time in displacing Harry Maguire and has already created an excellent connection with Raphael Varane.
However, in an interview with Football Insider, pundit Frank McAvennie warned United against signing the star, whom Leverkusen is expected to sell in 2023. Frimpong’s successors are already being sought, according to Sky Germany.
Is Jeremie Frimpong too little for the Premier League?
“He’s a good full-back,” McAvennie added. “He is, however, very small. Coming up to the Premier League is a major step; there are now some big guys.
“Would Manchester United be interested in him?” He is excellent offensively, but I doubt Manchester United would be interested in him defensively.
“I believe he is doing quite well.” United has been put under a lot of strain, and clubs are no longer afraid of them.
“At Leverkusen, they are always on the front foot; it was the same at Celtic, and he did brilliantly going forward all the time.” Man United is no longer that type of team.
“Someone his size, defending, has to go to teams that are always on the front foot and attacking.” Man United will take some time to get back to that.”
If United go forward with its plans to buy a new right-back, Frimpong is said to be available for roughly £25 million.