Man Utd had a below-par first half of the season which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced with interim manager Ralf Rangnick. Getting rid of bloated deadwood is the order of the window

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Ralf Rangnick discusses Ronaldo’s fitness

Interim Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has played down the prospect of significant business in this month’s transfer window.

With a bloated squad that needs trimming, United’s primary focus in January will be offloading players who are surplus to requirements, rather than additions.

Rangnick, like so many managers before him, has identified January as a notoriously difficult month in which to sign players, so the priority is set to be on outgoings.

Anthony Martial has already declared his desire to leave, with Sevilla his preferred destination, and while United prefer a permanent deal, a loan agreement could ease the burden of his £150,000-a-week wages.







Anthony Martial has declared his desire to leave Man Utd
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Paul Pogba is out of contract in the summer, but is currently making his way back from injury and unlikely to leave this month, leaving United facing the prospect of losing him for nothing, unless they can persuade him to sign a new deal.

Jesse Lingard is wanted by West Ham, who have baulked at United’s £20million asking price, given he, too, has just six months left on his current deal and will be available for nothing in six months’ time.

Juan Mata and Phil Jones are two players who could also depart to make Rangnick’s squad more manageable, while England international Dean Henderson will not be allowed to leave on loan, despite wanting more game-time, having fallen back behind David De Gea in the goalkeeping standings.

Donny van de Beek, overlooked by Rangnick’s predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, continues to be marginalised. Although Rangnick has said he wants Van de Beek to stay, a move this month might be the best option for both parties, given the midfielder’s continued outcast status at Old Trafford.







Ralf Rangnick will be looking to trim his squad in Januard
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While additions are unlikely, United have not ruled out strengthening, with a holding midfielder the key position currently being looked at by Rangnick and football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher.

Borussia Monchengladbach’s £25million-rated midfielder Denis Zakaria is being tracked by United, who face competition from Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Rangnick wants United to have a greater physical presence in the centre of the pitch, with 6ft 3in Swiss international Zakaria fitting the bill but is also adept in possession, with the ability to go past opponents and make quick transitions from midfield to attack.






Denis Zakaria is Man Utd’s top target in January

He is a free agent in the summer, but United could pay what it takes to beat Europe’s other big clubs to his signature.

While Zakaria seems the likeliest addition if United do decide to bolster their squad, Rangnick could potentially raid his former club RB Leipzig, with Amadou Haidara and Christopher Nkunku both feasible signings.

But with a squad big on numbers, jettisoning the dead wood is Rangnick’s priority, ready for the summer, when United will look to make the strategic signings needed to try to haul them back to the status of title contenders.

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