Five contenders to replace Antonio Conte at SpursMar 27 | 3 min read
Memphis Depay? Marcus Thuram? Who Manchester United could sign in January following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit
The purse strings look to be tight at Manchester United this January but Erik ten Hag will still be keen to strengthen after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Old Trafford.
Despite the news on Boxing Day that Liverpool had swooped in to sign Cody Gakpo under Manchester United's noses, the mood was buoyant on the pitch less than 24 hours later as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both netted in a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Rashford was in a rich vein of form before the World Cup and both attackers have been trusted by Erik ten Hag since his arrival in the summer.
However, the Dutchman did admit after the game against Steve Cooper's side that an incoming striker is something he'd welcome, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo off the books following his explosive TV interview.
Join the home of live football today
BT Sport is the only place to watch live Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and much more.
Martial currently occupies that No 9 role but is too injury-prone and inconsistent to be relied upon, while Rashford is considered most potent when attacking infield from the left.
In addition, the uncertain situation regarding the club's future ownership means the Glazers are unwilling to commit large amounts of cash to transfers before leaving Old Trafford, an explanation for why they missed out on Gakpo.
So, if United's options are restricted by their limited budget, which arrivals are a possibility? Here's a rundown of some possible incomings...
Depay is of course familiar with Manchester United, having signed for them in the summer of 2015 for around £25m from PSV Eindhoven.
However his time in England was a massive disappointment and he moved to Lyon in January 2017, going on to score 76 goals in 178 appearances for the French giants across all competitions
His goalscoring threat and creativity earned him a switch to Barcelona in the summer of 2021, and although he finished last season as the team's top scorer in La Liga, this campaign has been a different story with Depay featuring in just two league games due to a debilitating thigh problem.
It had been reported prior to the World Cup that Barcelona felt Depay was exaggerating the extent of the problem so that he could sit out club matches to be fit for Qatar, something the 28-year-old has vehemently denied.
In Depay's absence though Barcelona have only drawn blanks twice - against Inter and Bayern Munich in the Champions League - and have lost just once domestically during that time, against Real Madrid.
Although Depay has the versatility to play on the left of a front three and as a No 9, he might struggle to dislodge Ferran Torres on his return to the fold and will only be granted a start as a centre-forward when Robert Lewandowski is either injured or rested.
Another source of encouragement from United's perspective is the fact that - along with Barcelona's apparent willingness to get Depay off their massive wage bill - the Netherlands international's contract runs out this summer, making the Red Devils' chance of agreeing a fee much more likely.
United fans may not want to return for a player who flattered to deceive under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, but his career trajectory and affordability make him a pretty attractive proposition.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
While Depay is likely to be consigned to Robert Lewandowski's shadow if he remains at Barcelona, Choupo-Moting has blossomed since the prolific Pole's departure from Bayern Munich.
Written off by virtually everyone following a forgettable season with Stoke in 2017/18, the Cameroon international then largely struggled to make his mark at Paris Saint-Germain before warming the bench at Bayern in his first two campaigns at the Allianz Arena.
However, at 33, Choupo-Moting is finally blossoming into a goalscoring force. The Cameroonian has scored 11 goals in 16 matches across all competitions for the Bavarians this term, as well as finding the back of the net against Serbia at the World Cup.
Like Depay though, he also has just six months left on his current contract and it remains to be seen whether Julian Nagelsmann will want to hand out a new deal to a man who turns 34 in March.
Choupo-Moting is someone who has shown in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League recently that he can thrive off service if given the chance at Old Trafford, with 10 of his 11 Bayern goals this season coming from inside the box.