Transfer gossip: Manchester United linked with two Chelsea players and one Leeds ace

You can tell January is fast approaching with transfer rumours beginning to surface. A handful of rumours have cropped up over the past 48 hours – although we can’t promise they are credible.

Amid uncertainty over whether Manchester United’s next fixture will go ahead, it’s an appropriate time to delve into the transfer talk and assess what can, and can’t be trusted.

In the mix are two Chelsea players and one Leeds United player. The clubs they play for immediately sparks red flags as to whether a move to Old Trafford is on the agenda.

What we will do is break down who has been linked, who is reporting it, and our analysis of whether the reports are viable.

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Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea talisman Antonio Rudiger has been touted for a move for United, somewhat surprisingly. German journalist Christian Falk insists a deal is up for discussion, with Ralf Rangnick knowing the defender’s agent.

This all feels a little convenient for Rudiger. His contract at Chelsea expires next summer and he will be available for free – however as United are a Premier League club, negotiations to sign him cannot begin in January although he can talk with foreign teams.

The links to United feel like a last throw of the dice for Rudiger to try and force Chelsea’s hand. Rudiger has been negotiating with Chelsea for a while, and links to rivals Tottenham have failed to help him land the deal he wants.

Now he is going down a tried and tested route for many German players: Get linked to United and sign a new contract soon after.

Rudiger, 28, is a decent enough defender, but he would be joining a crowded group at Old Trafford, and likely only joining if Eric Bailly leaves. He is used to playing in a back three at Chelsea, and may not be so effective in United’s system. This is not a deal we see happening.

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Andreas Christensen

Another Chelsea player linked to United is centre-back Andreas Christensen, with The Star claiming United are monitoring his situation.

Like Rudiger, Christensen’s contract runs out in 2022 and he will be available on a free transfer next summer. Once again, the links to United and other Premier League teams may simply be a way to try and inflate his negotiating stance.

Christensen, 25, is more of a fit for United based on age. In theory, signing the Dane on a free transfer and then cashing in on Axel Tuanzebe, who is 24, could be good business.

Even then, a centre-back is not thought to be a priority for United and Christensen is not necessarily a player who would go straight into the starting line-up, and would be more of a squad player. If he is happy and content with that, then so be it.

Illan Meslier

Manchester United sent goalkeeping scout Tony Coton to watch Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier this week, The Mail reported.

Unfortunately for Meslier, this was a night his Leeds side were thrashed 7-0 by Manchester City. So while that was not a game the youngster impressed in, he remains a promising prospect.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

The challenge is prising him away from Leeds, as he is under contract until 2025. And then there is the very big question over whether United even need a new goalkeeper any time soon.

David de Gea is the number one, and then Dean Henderson and Tom Heaton are back-ups. Even if Henderson were to leave, United have young back-ups Nathan Bishop and Matej Kovar, who was called into the Czech international squad earlier this season.

Scouting Meslier seems like United simply doing due diligence on a player who could be considered in two years time, in case De Gea takes a step back, United lose Henderson, and the young prospects don’t step forward.

That can be addressed then. United don’t need to make a move for Meslier or any other goalkeeper this January or next summer. This would be 2023 at the earliest, if at all.

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