While Manchester United’s search for a new manager rumbles on, one name being linked has ruled himself out as another eyes some defensive reinforcements at Old Trafford
Manchester United’s Champions League adventure will continue into the New Year after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho saw the Red Devils overcome Villarreal and secure qualification to the last 16.
While there remains speculation over who will be appointment as United’s permanent manager going forward amid talks of Mauricio Pochettino potentially taking over, the January transfer window is fast-approaching.
Whoever is in charge come the turn of the year will have an opportunity to strengthen the United ranks and fine-tune a struggling squad that is already brimming with talent.
With United back to winning ways and their summer signings shining in Europe, Mirror Football takes a look at the potential incomings at Old Trafford come January.
Pochettino wants Kounde
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Despite reports claiming Paris Saint-Germain have rebuffed United’s initial approach for Pochettino, it appears the Argentine is already eyeing up some January recruitments should he be allowed to join the Red Devils.
The former Tottenham manager is believed to be keen on a move to Old Trafford and, having seen United keep only three clean sheets across their last 18 matches, appears to be eyeing up some defensive reinforcement for his prospective new squad.
According to Spanish outlet La Razon, Pochettino is targeting a deal for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde and has enquired about the possibility of United making a move for the French defender.
Reports in Spain suggest the La Liga side would not be willing to let the 23-year-old depart for anything less than £59m as they look to deter a number of top teams from around Europe.
The highly-rated youngster has been an integral part of Sevilla’s backline this season, helping them boast the second best defensive record in the Spanish top-flight as they current sit third in the league.
Trippier tipped for Old Trafford
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And it appears Kounde isn’t the only La Liga defender being targeted by Pochettino, with reports in Spain also claiming England’s Kieran Trippier is high on the Argentine’s wishlist.
According to La Razon, Atletico Madrid’s Trippier is another name that Pochettino has asked United about bringing in as he looks to reunite with the right-back he coached during their time together at Spurs.
United reportedly saw a summer bid for the Bury-born defender rejected with Diego Simeone’s Atletico believed to be demanding a fee in the region of £35m for the England star.
However, with Trippier set to enter the final year of his contract next season, Atletico are running out of opportunities to sell the full-back for a significant fee.
Trippier was an integral member of the Tottenham side that made it all the way to the Champions League final under Pochettino back in 2019 before departing for Madrid for £20m later that summer amid a relationship breakdown with the current PSG boss.
At the time, Trippier stated: “I spoke to the manager about his plans and I didn’t get a yes or a no. You get the impression. It’s disappointing. I gave everything for the club and I wanted to stay. I tried to speak to the chairman. I just didn’t really get an answer.”
Ten Hag to stay at Ajax
Despite all this talk of potential new signings, the issue remains that United still need to addressed the managerial situation first.
While Pochettino is favourite to fill the vacancy after former frontrunner Zinedine Zidane reportedly turned United down, another manager who looks to have ruled themselves out of the running is Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.
The Dutchman’s current deal expires in 2023 and according to much-respected journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, ten Hag has reiterated his desire to remain in Amsterdam, quashing links to Old Trafford.
Romano tweeted: “Erik ten Hag’s plan is still so clear. He wants to be respectful with Ajax and to fulfil his contract – his relationship with the board and Marc Overmars is great.”
Speaking in his press conference ahead of Ajax’s Wednesday night Champions League clash with Besiktas, ten Hag stated: “Man United interest? I am busy with Ajax. No one contacted me, I can confirm this. I want to win titles here.”