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Manchester United Transfer News: Latest Rumours as January Window Looms

Published by Bleacher Report on Sat, 27 Dec 2014

Manchester United are reportedly ready to beat bitter Premier League rivalLiverpool to the signing of decorated former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. However, the news isn't as promising regarding any possible pursuit of Borussia Dortmund's star performers Marco Reus and Mats Hummels.It seems the Old Trafford club will have to bide its time if it harbours any serious designs on someday signing either player.But it's the supposedly imminent deal for Valdes that represents the best place to start this round of transfer speculation:Valdes Deal CloseValdes appears set to officially become a United player in the coming days. That's according to a report in Spanish newspaperMarca(h/t Sport Witness) that indicates that details are already being thrashed out.However, it seems a major player has also entered the race for the 32-year-old stopper, albeit late in the day:Marca explain that the goalkeeper's agent Gines Carvajal has visited Manchester United recently to 'finish the details' on a deal for the footballer... but there's other competition now. PSG are interested, explain Marca, and are putting together a proposal but they're so late into the game that Carvajal is likely to already have discussed final agreements with Manchester United... as long as the Marca claim on Boxing Day is correct.United should take the Paris-Saint Germain link seriously. For one thing, the Ligue 1 giants need more than just quality cover between the posts.Manager Laurent Blancreally needs genuine competition for his uninspiring first choice. The former Red Devils defender has seen Italy international Salvatore Sirigu make his share of high-profile errors.The one-time Palermo stopper dropped a clanger that cost PSG a pair of points against Lille in the league at the start of this month. Sirigu's struggles would certainly leave the door ajar for Valdes, who has been a free agent since the summer after leaving Barcelona.Valdes has spent most of that time recuperating from major knee surgery. Part of the recovery process has involved training with the Red Devils at Old Trafford.Of course, United have little need for any help between the sticks. That's the area David De Gea has made his own.The ex-Atletico Madrid prospect has been in inspired form since the season started. He's earned manager Louis van Gaal's side points in several matches.Valdes would have no chance of supplanting the brilliant 24-year-old. That might be a sticking point in any deal.If Valdes is fully fit again, he's unlikely to want to spend the winter years of his career languishing on the bench. After all, the 32-year-old did win virtually every major honour European football has to offer back in his playing days at Barca.Valdes was no passenger in those great Barcelona teams. Instead, he was key figure. He's likely to still believe he can be that again, in the right team.But United might not be the right club after Van Gaal attempted to rebuff the rumours, perDaily Starreporter Alex Harris: "It's only talk from you. Not from us, not from Valdes, only the media."Valdes would merely be a high-profile bench-warmer at Old Trafford. If that's what the endgame of this deal looks like, United should avoid a bidding war for his services.United Will Have to Wait for Hummels and ReusAny hopes United have of landing highly touted pair Hummels and Reus, however far-fetched, will have to wait. That's according to respected Germany-based journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft.He believes a struggling Dortmund team will wait until the end of the season before sanctioning any departures:Fjortoft then made it clear which of Dortmund's key players could be made available as prime targets in the event of any summer purge:Dortmund's present no-sale stance is understandable. Manager Jurgen Klopp's team is currently second from bottom in the Bundesliga, per the league's official site.Arresting their alarming domestic slide will demand improved form from star players such as forward Reus and centre-back Hummels. The latter has been on the radar of United, per Jamie Jackson ofThe Guardian.Fjortoftalso believes United remain keen:But if the Norwegian journalist's claims about Dortmund's hard-line stance prove true, it won't be Reus United regret missing out on. As talented as he is, the gifted and fleet-footed attacker wouldn't answer United's biggest need.Van Gaal's front-loaded squad needs quality and extra manpower at the back. B/R's Ryan Bailey and Andry Brassell recently discussed the problem, with the latter identifying defensive recruits as a January priority:Hummels would certainly offer an upgrade in talent.As a rugged, but ball-playing, centre-back, the 26-year-old would perfectly suit Van Gaal's preference for a cultured, possession-based game, one where attacks are built along the ground and from the back.B/R analyst Sam Tighe highlighted Hummels' best qualities, including his comfort on the ball:Van Gaal has rarely been afforded the luxury of playing defenders who fit that mold. In fact, he's barely had the chance to even field a regular and settled rearguard.This statistic courtesy ofManchester Evening Newsreporter Rob Dawson clearly illustrates the chaos the Red Devils have endured defensively since the start of this season:Van Gaalreally needs a rock upon which he can build a new and effective defence. Stingy defences were the backbone of the United teams that dominated the Premier League not so long ago.If Hummels is staying put, United fans had better hope Van Gaal is able to cast his net wider and still land a quality target.Finding a defender or two should be the experienced manager'smain focus during the January transfer window. After a summer spent stockpiling quality attackers, at least the current rumours are leaning toward the area of the team that needs the most attention.
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