Declan Rice’s two cheaper transfer alternatives Manchester United could sign in January – Casey Evans

Manchester United had a good summer window in every way under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it can be described as incomplete.

They signed Tom Heaton, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were all major upgrades to the squad, but two positions Solskjaer wanted to add to remained unfilled, and in some ways these were the most crucial.

United lack an attacking option to rotate fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and MEN Sport understand they wanted to try and sign Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier, who is currently in the final year of his contract with MEN Sport. Spanish club.

The other position they had to fill was the defensive midfield and they were reportedly interested in signing Declan Rice from West Ham United, but his club had priced him in a transfer with a price tag of around £100million.

Fans hoped the team would manage without these signings, but so far this season they have struggled to keep control of the ball, nor have they been able to build up attacks from the right, although that may be because Sancho underused by Solskjaer.

This means United have yet to resolve these issues in January, but chances are they will have a significantly lower budget. However, let’s take a look at two beneficial solutions United could look to for their problems:

Noussair Mazraoui

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has used Mazraoui as a right-back for years and clearly has confidence in the player (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)

Mazraoui currently plays for Ajax under United’s leading target, Erik ten Hag, and has been a vital part of his team for many years. However, the player is in the final year of his contract and will be available on a free transfer in the summer if he doesn’t agree to a new deal.

However, there could be a chance for United to invade and pick up the player cheaply. He is solid defensively, registering 2.91 tackles per player over 90 minutes and 1.84 interceptions.

Wan Bissaka in comparison averages 2.51 tackles per 90 minutes, which is less than Mazraoui, but he excels against the Moroccan fullback with interceptions at 2.2 per 90 minutes played.

But it’s the offensive output that United will be most interested in. He has recorded four goals and two assists in 12 Eredivisie appearances so far this season and also this season 2.93 shot-creating moves per 90 minutes, which is much higher than United’s current right-back with an average of 1. 59.

As for his style of play, he often acts as an inverted fullback and would work well with Sancho to create a dynamic attacking force on the right side of the pitch and rotate with Wan-Bissaka when needed.

Boubacar Kamara

Kamara has been a vital part of Jorge Sampaoli’s midfield in Marseille this season (Photo by Massimo Insabato / Archivio Massimo Insabato / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Kamara is a 22-year-old defensive midfielder currently playing for Marseille in Ligue 1 and again he is in the last year of his contract with his current club so he would be available at a reduced price.

He is also young and talented enough to be used as the main defensive midfielder for the remainder of this season, but in the summer United can focus on recruiting a more experienced player who can replace Kamara and develop as needed.

Marseille have been in good form so far this season and are currently fifth in the league under manager Jorge Sampaoli, who has dramatically improved his young squad after replacing Andre Villas-Boas.

He records 2.89 tackles per 90 minutes played and also 1.49 interceptions, showing his consistent involvement in Marseille’s defensive play.

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But United also need a defensive midfielder who can help the team control the game and Kamara has an 87.8% pass completion and attempts an average of 68.45 passes per game. He shows how he can take responsibility for connecting the game in midfield and also making sure the team maintains possession of the ball.

Both options together would cost between £30-40 million if you take into account the players’ market value as well as their contract situations. So, given the need for United to find players in these positions as quickly as possible, they should consider signing them.

Which players do you think United should be looking at to sign in January? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and join the discussion in the comment section below.


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