1:37 Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf says Manchester United are still in transition Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf says Manchester United are still in transition Manchester United are still in transition and should remain patient with boss Jose Mourinho, claims Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf.
United are eighth in the Premier League, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City and have a negative goal difference (-1) after 12 games for the first time since 1977/78.
But four-time Champions League winner Seedorf has backed Mourinho and believes the club are still finding their feet after Sir Alex Fergusons departure in 2013.
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Jose Mourinho is expected to be given money to spend when the transfer window reopens in just over a month
Jose Mourinho is believed to have around £100million to spend as he attempts to guide the Red Devils back into the upper reaches of the Premier League table after a woeful start to the season, which sees the Old Trafford club already seven points behind the top four and trailing league leaders and local rivals Manchester City by a remarkable 12 points.
Only a few of Man United’s players have lived up to their potential this term, with Anthony Martial coming good over the past couple of months and Luke Shaw performing to an elite level since the campaign got under way in August.
Despite the bid being a world record one for a defender, Argentinian broadcaster TyC claims that Napoli will not accept any offer under £89m.
Questions have been raised over Romelu Lukaku’s quality at the highest level, while Alexis Sanchez’s rise to the top of the list titled ‘worst ever January signings’ is remarkably rapid.
However, the biggest issues in Man United’s squad has been their defence, with the aforementioned Shaw outperforming the rest of the club’s back line combined.
Mourinho made it clear he wanted to sign new central defenders in the summer, and his anger at United’s board over their refusal to support him financially has been backed by the club’s supporters.
However, it appears Ed Woodward and co are ready to go along with Mourinho in the January transfer window, with the Portuguese allegedly handed £100million to spend on new players.
But how could United line-up after the January transfer window if they splash the cash on a new defence?
Mourinho plans to return to two of his summer targets in January, though Toby Alderweireld is unlikely to be one of his options. Despite the Belgium international yet to pen a new contract at Tottenham, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season, Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman, is not expected to sanction the sale of a key player in the middle of the campaign – especially with the north Londoners fighting to finish in the top four and secure Champions League qualification.
Raphael Varane, the Real Madrid centre-half, and Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng were also summer targets of United’s, but interest in the pair appears to have diminished in the months since.
In place of this trio, Man United are looking at Napoli’s Kalidou Kouliably and Diego Godin, the Atletico Madrid captain.
Mourinho is said to be ‘confident’ of signing 32-year-old Godin in January, and talks are believed to have already been held between United and the player’s representatives ahead of the club triggering the £20million release clause written in his Atleti contract.
With Godin available for around £20million, United would still have a further £80million to continue strengthening their defence – meaning a big-money bid could be submitted for Napoli ace Koulibaly.
He has been a long-term target of Chelsea’s having performed so superbly under Maurizio Sarri, but the Red Devils now want to bring the Senegal international to Old Trafford. Barcelona are believed to have already had a £62million offer for Koulibaly, 27, rejected by Napoli, but United could tempt the San Paolo club into selling their prize asset by improving on Barca’s bid by a further £18million.
Deals for Koulibaly and Godin would instantly propel United’s central defence into the elite category, and they will be joined in the back line by Shaw, who is certain to keep his starting place after his excellent beginning to the season.
This would result in Mourinho’s final task being to improve the right-back position, with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia needing to be replaced and teenager Diogo Dalot lacking the quality and experience to fulfil that task as of yet.
And United could bring in a superb upgrade for free, with the Manchester Evening News suggesting Dani Alves could be a target of Mourinho’s following the player’s admission that he wishes to turn out in the Premier League before his career comes to an end.
At 35 Alves, the Brazil international, would be nothing more than a short-term fix, but he remains of the highest quality and would bring something to United’s dressing room they have lacked since Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed – experience of winning… a lot.
He’s claimed trophies in Spain, Italy and France, and when he won the Coupe de la Ligue with Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year Alves became the most successful footballer in the history of the game.
Mourinho has previously wanted to sign Alves, and a move to Old Trafford in January certainly suits both parties.
A back line of Alves, Koulibaly, Godin and Shaw would be rock solid defensively and exhilarating going forward, and would certainly put United in a strong position to fight back for a top four finish in the second half of the season.