The top five players Manchester United missed out on in January

The January transfer window has come and gone with mixed success for Manchester United.

At one point it look like there would be no signings, before a deal for Bruno Fernandes was struck. A late chaotic deadline day amid a desperate and obvious need to sign a striker was less positive.

So who could United did United miss out on who moved elsewhere? We’ve picked out the top five.

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Erling Haaland

Haaland was endlessly linked with United during the first few months of the season, with BBC reporting Solskjaer and Woodward flew to Austria to try and convince the Norwegian hitman to join the club in person.

But the Independent quote Haaland saying he preferred Dortmund’s direct approach to signing him, which further lays bare United’s lack of long-term planning.

It used to be that United could flutter their eyelids at a player and they’d reject all other offers, especially under Sir Alex Ferguson.

But now detailed transfer plans are needed; a player wants to know where he fits into a club’s plans and how much he is valued.

Solskjaer needed a striker last summer but didn’t turn to his countryman until his goalscoring record made all of Europe take note – and by then it was far too late.

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Christian Eriksen

In the closing days of the summer transfer window, United were linked with a swoop for Tottenham playmaker Eriksen, by the Telegraph.

With Eriksen’s contract running down, and the interest from the Spanish giants not forthcoming, perhaps United could have muscled in if they didn’t leave it so late.

Deals do not get done quickly with Daniel Levy. And then United were nowhere as a move to join Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan was thrashed out.

Perhaps some United fans will look at Eriksen’s disinterested performances this season and conclude their club is better off without him.

Bruno Fernandes was a top alternative and it’s understandable why United didn’t move for Eriksen, but could the club have signed both and secured a major upgrade at the position?

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Dani Olmo

Before Olmo joined RB Leipzig, Goal reported United were among the clubs interested in landing him to bolster their midfield.

The price was around £26 million, more than affordable for a club with United’s financial muscle, but Woodward was nowhere.

Woodward is making the right noises about moving away from his obsession with signing ageing superstars but Olmo fits the bill in terms of being an emerging talent set to explode and United have missed out again.

He can play both on the wing and in attacking midfield, and would have been a great complement for Fernandes.

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Sander Berge

Sheffield United have broken their transfer record to land Berge from Genk and it looks like a real coup.

Berge is just 21 years old and impressed in the Champions League this season, catching the eye of Rio Ferdinand.

After Liverpool played Genk on BT Sport, Ferdinand said: “I like Berge, the young midfielder. I think he’s 21, can take the ball.”

United have signed Bruno Fernandes but still need more midfield reinforcements and it would not be a surprise to see Berge catch the eye for Chris Wilder’s fantastic side.

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Luke Matheson

The starlet scored at Old Trafford for Rochdale back in September, at the age of just 16.

Now 17, he has joined Wolves but will be loaned back to Dale for the remainder of the season.

He would clearly not be ready to come in and make an instant impact but at £1 million, he would have been a bargain worth gambling on.

Solskjaer has put an emphasis on young talent at Old Trafford again and Matheson has already shown this season he has all the tools to go on and become a top player.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.