Manchester United’s need for transfers is bigger than ever heading into January. But the past few days have offered few clues as to the club’s plans.

Players are needed in key positions; striker, attacking midfield, right wing, and central midfield.

United are not typically big spenders in January and the maximum number of players the club is likely to sign is two. There are no guarantees we even get one.

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Striker options

The player most frequently linked to United is striker Erling Haaland.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

A dominant win against Newcastle in which all three of United’s forwards scored should not detract from United’s need. There is no cover beyond Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, and the defeat at Watford showed more help is needed.

Haaland has multiple offers. Unreliable Italian media claimed Juventus now lead the race [Tuttosport]. We wouldn’t buy into that too much given the source, but there has been little to counter this claim from a United end.

Mario Mandzukic is no longer available as a stop gap option after he signed for Qatari side Al-Duhail, BBC Sport reported.

Up front it could be Haaland or nobody, while The Mirror suggest United could buy him and loan him back to Red Bull Salzburg.

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The rest is a mystery

At this stage, the trail runs fairly cold on United’s transfer options in other positions.

While there have been links to midfield players like Boubakary Soumare [ESPN] and Saul Niguez [Telegraph], there is nothing to say United have actually made any progress with either.

This means one of two possibilities, a) United are making no progress, or b) a surprise is coming with the club trying to pull off a transfer coup in secret.

It might be a good thing to have no leaks to the press if it enables United to pull off a deal quickly. But we don’t have too much faith this regime is capable of that.

Scott McTominay’s injury highlights how desperate it is that United sign a midfielder.

January is a big opportunity for United to make a statement. There is even a chance to try and do a deal for Jadon Sancho in advance of the summer.

It would be a waste if United let this transfer window pass with no additions. The top four is still within grasp, and a couple of top class players could make the difference.

Investing in players now to secure Champions League football could in turn make signing players a lot easier in the summer.

Heading into an important transfer window, from the outside, United’s plans remain as unclear as they were at the start of December.

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