As the domestic season finishes around Europe with fans eagerly anticipating the World Cup, clubs will be thrashing out deals for new players over the next couple of months. Such is the landscape of football nowadays, the off season can arguably be as important as the other 10 months. There is simply no let up, especially if you are thriving for success.
One team who will want to return to those glory days is Manchester United, currently at 6/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League season at top football betting sites. If they are to achieve such a feat and dethrone their rivals, they will need to not only recruit astutely in the market, but also sell a fair number of players and be ruthless when cutting ties. Here is how José Mourinho’s transfer window is likely to shape up so far:
The Juventus left-back was tipped for a move last summer with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea the outright favourites. However, wind forward 12 months and the Brazilian is 4/7 to join up with Mourinho this summer at Old Trafford. While no fee has yet been agreed, the Red Devils are in constant contact with Sandro’s representatives and are just waiting for the opportune moment to give this operation the green light.
It is no secret that United’s full backs need upgrading, with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia into their 30s, and so Sandro, 27-years-old and in his prime, would be a perfect addition for Mourinho. The Portuguese boss has already hinted at bringing in Brazilians by saying:
“I think a team without a Brazilian isn’t a team. Their talent is fantastic and the creativity of a Brazilian cannot be measured.”
Sandro would be a costly transfer, in the region of €60 million, but he is one of the world’s best and can offer United that much-needed width down the left-hand side.
Somewhat surprisingly, Alderweireld is on the verge of leaving Tottenham, priced at 4/11 with Paddy Power, after failing to agree a contract extension with Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman. Since damaging his hamstring in mid-November, the Belgian international has only featured in six matches before he heads off to the World Cup with his country. Even though he returned to full fitness in early March, Spurs were making a signal of intent in leaving out Alderweireld. That signal being no one player is bigger than the team.
Levy has always kept a lid on wage demands, but the centre-back is now pushing for a move away as he approaches the latter stages of his career. Manchester United are one team, offered at 7/4 with William Hill, that are increasingly interested in him, as well as Barcelona, chalked up at 8/1. With Mourinho set to bring in a defensive reinforcement to hold the fort down through the spine of the team, Alderweireld is a firm favourite to be that player. He might not have had a stellar season, but it is evident that he still maintains his status as one of the Premier League’s finest.
Perhaps a left-field choice, but Fred, of Shakhtar Donetsk, is set to move to Manchester one way or another. With Pep Guardiola’s team interested in him throughout the January transfer window, it now appears that United are leading the chase after being named odds-on favourites at 4/11 with Paddy Power.
Another Brazilian that Mourinho is fond of, Fred would bring swagger, guile and technical ability to the Red Devils’ midfield that has lacked its identity for the best part of the season. While United have, on paper, some very silky midfielders, they are in desperate need of replacing Michael Carrick and potentially Marouane Fellaini.
Fred is seen as a more defensive-minded player to Paul Pogba, which would therefore allow the Frenchman to have more authority moving forward. The Brazilian, who will be heading to the World Cup this summer, can also move the ball forward and run at the heart of the opposition’s defence. He certainly does not lack confidence. For a reported £50 million, Manchester United would be signing a very classy operator that is only just entering his peak years - a punt worth looking at for Premier League betting fans.
Once again, Darmian has struggled to impose himself in the first team this season and has only managed to feature 17 times in all competitions this season. Bought as a strong, reliable and robust Italian defender, the former Torino right back has shown anything but that since arriving in the summer of 2014. Mourinho has to start acting ruthlessly and Darmian should become one of the first United players out of the door.
Juventus are said to be interested in the Italian and are prepared to swoop in for him, but it all depends on Ed Woodward’s asking price. The executive vice-chairman of Manchester United will not play it easy given how he and the club were treated when signing Pogba from Juventus two summers’ ago. Darmian would not be a miss for United after failing to really adapt to English football.
The versatile Dutch defender-cum-midfielder has been of use under Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, but United are likely to listen to offers from clubs in Europe pining for his services. While Blind has not been as disappointing as some others in the team, Mourinho has fallen out of favour with the Dutch international and has no permanent position for him in the team.
While he is an adequate squad player, United are likely to look for an upgrade. Having played the same amount of time as Darmian this season, it says it all with how the Portuguese manager views his future at the club. Blind might have been injured for part of the season, but he himself is likely to want to return to regular, first team football.
Possibly the longest on-going saga to date, Fellaini’s contract renewal has seemingly taken a turn for the worst with the Belgian international now putting his foot down and entertaining offers from around Europe. One club highly interested in the midfielder is Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan, who are favourites with 888sport at 15/8 to sign him, with Leicester City, 7/1, and, Roma, 10/1, not far behind.
Fellaini divides opinion like no other in the Manchester United squad, but it is clear as day to see how much Mourinho values him in this team. Standing at 1.94m, the former Everton midfielder offers United an aerial threat that has punished teams in the past. There are few who possess such composure in the air and can bully teams into submission with their physicality.
However, Fellaini’s contract expires at the end of June, which is why a variety of different European clubs are making their interest known the Belgian. It still hangs in the balance as to whether he signs an extension or leaves for pastures new, but whatever he decides to do, it will create a topic of debate for those United fans.
Interested in finding out done deals as they are announced? Check out Transfer Hound for the latest pundit speculation, rumours and club movements throughout the Summer. If this year's summer transfer market doesn't spark interest, betting the World Cup in Russia offers plenty of action.