${ notification.message }}

Seven Sensible Transfers For NUFC This January

David D · Thursday 12th January 2023
Seven Sensible Transfers For NUFC This January

As Toon fans, we can count on two things to always be true — that under Eddie Howe we’ll always be United, and that agents are going to use our name to try and secure a bumper slice of the transfer fee pie. That’s no different this January, and with us sitting pretty in third in the Premier League, the speculation is likely to go stratospheric.

But we’re not interested in the media clickbait or chancer ITK accounts, because we all know most of what they say is a load of bobbins. We’re interested in deals that kick us on as a squad, plug some holes that are quite obviously glaring, and help edge us ever closer to that promised land of European football come May.

Here are the NUFC Feed team picks. Agree? Disagree? Let us know at @NUFCFeed.

Images: @juventusfcen & @aikfotboll

David H. — Adrien Rabiot, Juventus

The French midfielder is someone we’ve been linked to a lot, and no doubt those links are going to resurface this month. Out of contract in the summer, he’s one of the bigger names on our list, and is someone Juve boss Massimo Allegri seems loath to lose. Spurs and Barcelona are just two teams said to be interested, but if anyone can sell the project, Eddie can.

At 27 Rabiot should be just about reaching the peak of his powers, and the 35-cap star clocked up more than 450 minutes in his country’s run to the World Cup final last month. A seasoned pro at the very top level, he’d likely be relatively pricey, but Juve surely wouldn’t want to lose him for free come June.

Honourable Mention — Bilal Hussein, AIK

The Toon has history when it comes to young talents from Sweden, with record signing Alexander Isak also having begun his career with AIK. At 22 Hussein is still raw, but given the Swedish season is now over, he could hit the ground running. He’s the kind of player Howe is looking to bring in for the medium-to-long term, and with more potential than our current midfield reserve options.

Images: @bayer04_en & @FCPorto

Matt — Jeremie Frimpong, Bayer 04 Leverkusen

The former Manchester City youngster has really come into his own in the Bundesliga, and at a mere 22 years old has more than 20 European games under his belt between Celtic and Leverkusen. He may not have made any appearances in the Premier League, but he has experience obtained from over 120 senior games. Oh, and he also went to the World Cup with the Netherlands.

It’s no secret we’re looking at right-backs to deputise for and learn from Kieran Tripper as he approaches his mid-thirties. With five goals and an assist in 15 games this season, it sounds like this marauding full-back could link up exceptionally well with Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimarães in the high-press, attacking lineup Howe wants to play.

Honourable Mention — Wenderson Galeno, FC Porto

A tricky left winger, Galeno is having a storming season in the Portuguese league. In just 27 appearances in all competitions, the Brazilian has recorded ten goals and four assists. Could Howe see him as someone to provide a bit more consistency than Allan Saint-Maximin? It’s certainly a position that we’re looking to strengthen, and Galeno seems to be a player who’d work a little harder than Maxi for the greater good.

Images: @LUFC & @LCFC

Lucas — Jack Harrison, Leeds United

With a genuine interest already registered, Harrison could be the sensible signing on this list. He’s flexible, and we know Eddie Howe loves players who can cover different positions. Just look at Joelinton and Dan Burn this season for that. And if there’s one thing we lack, it’s squad depth. The Leeds star is about the right age to slot right in, and shouldn’t cost as much as the likes of Rabiot or Maddison.

Harrison would offer the kind of cover for Maxi and Miggy on either wing that Jacob Murphy cannot, and is someone who is trained to play a pressing game. Industrious, extremely fit, and with a direct running style and first touch we like, Howe could coax out the scintillating form he showed under former boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Honourable Mention — Youri Tielemans, Leicester City

While not as realistic as Harrison, it’s just a matter of time before the Belgian departs Leicester. The former champions are struggling, both in the league and financially, and a host of suitors await. For someone who played a huge part in his country’s rise to the top of the world rankings just a few years ago, and with his prime years still ahead, he’d be more than worth the transfer battle.

Images: @SouthamptonFC & @ManCity

David D. — James Ward-Prowse, Southampton

Hear me out — the Southampton captain could genuinely be the answer to our number six problem. A deep-lying midfielder with outstanding vision and exceptional passing, he could be the one to truly unlock Bruno’s potential as a devastating floating playmaker. We could offer him progression, ambition, and the platform for him to return to the England squad.

Southampton may be loath to sell in January given they’re sitting bottom of the league and facing a huge battle to survive, but his value would diminish should the inevitable happen and they drop to the Championship. They could be tempted to sell now, and at 28 and having carried Southampton for years, Ward-Prowse may see the challenge of a top club too alluring.

Honourable Mention — Kalvin Phillips, Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s comments about Phillips’ weight won’t have gone down well, even if they were a management tactic. However, he may be tempted to farm the former Leeds man out on loan for a spell, especially if they end up signing Máximo Perrone to compete with Rodri for the holding position. He’d be ideal for our number six dilemma, and the champions seemingly have no qualms about sending players to rivals — such is their confidence in their own squad.

Images: @LCFC & @ACFFiorentinaEN

Phil — James Maddison, Leicester City

Another of the bigger signings on this list, Maddison is the dream for many fans right now. It’s well documented that we were in for him in the summer, and as mentioned above, his side has not had the best of campaigns. There’s no doubt that our England trio of Tripper, Wilson, and Pope would have been in his ear during the World Cup, something those videos that did the rounds on social media seemed to suggest.

Maddison is currently injured, so that may scupper any January move, but we all think he’d be absolutely perfect in Eddie Howe’s system. Miggy may be box office this year, but that could be a flash-in-the-pan Grealish reaction, we have no idea yet. Maddison, however, has been a star ever since his breakthrough. If there’s one deal that the board go big on this winter, the 26-year-old playmaker could well be it.

Honourable Mention — Sofyan Amrabat, Fiorentina

Amrabat was undoubtedly one of his country’s outstanding performers as the Atlas Lions stunned several big teams on their way to the World Cup semi-finals. His ability to read the game, spray the ball about, and solid tackling would translate well to the Premier League. With his age and experience, he’s one that fits the ‘slow-and-steady improvement’ profile we’ve adopted so far.

Images: @borussia_en & @AFCAjax

Ian — Emmanuel “Manu” Kouadio Koné, Borussia Mönchengladbach

For such a young age, the 21-year-old Frenchman already has over a hundred professional games under his belt. His performances have drawn such rave reviews that he’s another player heavily linked with Liverpool, with contact apparently already made. Even our sensible signings face competition. We’re massive now, aren’t we?

The easiest comparison to make with Koné is to his countryman Eduardo Camavinga, the hot talent of 18 months ago who ended up at Real Madrid. He appears to be a deeper-lying midfielder who’s not afraid to get stuck into a challenge, and he would have tons of time to grow into a role sitting behind Bruno and either Joelinton or Joe Willock.

Honourable Mention — Mohammed Kudus, Ajax Amsterdam

Ajax really does have a knack for producing talent. In Kudus, a Ghanaian 21-year-old attacking midfielder, they have someone who is making the Champions League look easy. Four goals and two assists in six games this season, as well as five goals in 15 in the Eredivisie, have drawn the eye of Manchester United among others. Could we nip in and steal him? You just never know.

Images: @OL_English & @CPFC

Lenny — Maxence Caqueret, Olympique Lyonnais

There’s a theme to this list — we need to bolster the midfield. Our options are thin if the main three go down, and it’s clear the likes of Longstaff and Shelvey aren’t the answer. Caqueret could be, and in the long-term, too. At just 22 years of age, he’s already racked up over 80 Ligue 1 appearances and has represented France at every level up to Under-21.

The obvious benefit here is that he’s already played with Bruno G., and that could also work to swing a deal in our favour. He’s tied down until 2027, and we know Lyon love to play hardball with transfer fees, but our good relationship could just lead to a player comfortable dropping back or taking people on in the centre of the park to advance the ball.

Honourable Mention — Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace

Possibly the biggest wildcard on this list, Zaha to the Toon makes a lot of sense in the short term. His deal with the London club runs out in the summer, and he could well be tempted by the challenge further up the table after his failed attempt at Manchester United. Pacy, skilful, and with top-flight goals aplenty, he loves to drift in from the left — in essence, a more reliable Allan Saint-Maximin.