Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have the opportunity to strengthen his Manchester United squad in the January transfer window.
Nevertheless, there will be other priorities and decisions that the Norwegian will have to make to ensure the Red Devils have a positive window.
Signing a back-up striker to Anthony Martial could be the priority, but there is other business that could potentially be needed to be taken care of.
Here are five areas that Solskjaer will have to address come January.
Gomes and Chong contract situation
United’s talented duo are free to negotiate with European clubs in January if their contract situations are not resolved beforehand.
Chong has been more vocal about his future than Gomes, but it would be a massive blow for United if they were to lose two of their finest academy prospects.
Neither have established themselves as first team regulars due to a frustrating lack of action and have had to drop back down to Under-23 level to get much-needed game time.
However, with two dead rubber Europa League clashes to come in the next month, Chong and Gomes will be given further first team opportunities.
It will be frustrating for them seeing their good mates Brandon Williams, James Garner and Mason Greenwood becoming regulars in the senior matchday squads.
They need to remain patient and take their chances when they come, the best move for United would be for them to commit their long-term futures to the club and then possibly go out on loan for the remainder of the season.
Cover for Martial
Manchester United’s reliance on Martial was highlighted by our dire run of form with the Frenchman on the sidelines.
We cannot afford to have the same dip in results again if the former Monaco man sustains another injury, cover is needed.
The January window has always traditionally been difficult to obtain the players that have been identified as key targets.
But United’s need is enhanced due to the summer departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez with no replacements signed.
A six-month loan deal for Mario Mandzukic wouldn’t be the worst signing in the world, and it would give United’s attack that added physicality and experience.
Injection of creativity
With Leicester City going from strength-to-strength this campaign it would take a ludicrous bid for them to part ways with James Maddison.
But regardless whether Paul Pogba is close to a return or not, United need to add more creativity to their current squad.
There have been too many times this season playing against low block set ups and compact defences that we have been found wanting.
Andreas Pereira’s performances in the attacking midfield position have been very inconsistent, but with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata out-of-favour and Gomes still waiting for his first Premier League start, Solskjaer will be aware that he needs an upgrade on his current options.
United fans would love to see Gomes be given a run of games in the Premier League to prove that he can be the man to solve that predicament, but it just doesn’t look likely that will happen anytime soon.
It is clear that Nemanja Matic’s time at Old Trafford is coming to an end and there is every chance that he may have played his last game for the club.
The big Serbian doesn’t fit the profile and pressing style that Solskjaer is looking to implement and a January move to a league, which isn’t as intense would suit the 31-year-old.
With United already short of midfield options, sanctioning the departure of Matic, who is out-of-contract at the end of the season, would leave United short of numbers.
Pogba isn’t too far off a return, but with Scott McTominay picking up an injury against Brighton, United’s central midfield availability currently consists of Fred, James Garner and Pereira.
If United don’t replace Matic, there could be an opportunity for Dylan Levitt to step up to the first team and make his senior debut, possibly even in the upcoming Europa League matches.
Sanction loan moves
There could be opportunities for some of United’s academy talent to get some first team exposure during the hectic schedule in December.
With games against Astana, AZ Alkmaar and Colchester to come, Solskjaer could use those matches as an opportunity to rest some of his senior players.
In the week commencing December 2nd, Neil Wood’s Under-21 side will play Tranmere Rovers in the last 32 of the EFL Trophy.
But once January comes along a lot may depend on who United draw in the FA Cup and how far Wood’s side can go in the EFL Trophy to determine how much game time United’s youngsters may get against senior opposition for the remainder of the season.
With the Europa League currently looking our best route of getting back into the Champions League, Solskjaer will no doubt be prioritising that competition once the knockout stages start in February.
A number of loan moves for United’s youngsters should be considered if they want first team football.
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