Manchester United could look to bolster their squad in January ahead of the second half of the season. New manager Erik ten Hag has taken his team to fifth in the Premier League but will be eyeing a UEFA Champions League return this season.
Meanwhile, former Red Devils player Antonio Valencia has slammed Cristiano Ronaldo for his controversial interview with Piers Morgan. Elsewhere, the Old Trafford outfit could face competition from Liverpool for Cody Gakpo, according to acclaimed journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
On that note, here's a look at the key Manchester United transfer stories as on December 16, 2022:
Antonio Valencia slams Cristiano Ronaldo
Antonio Valencia is least pleased with Cristiano Ronaldo for the controversial interview that ended his stint at Manchester United.
The Portuguese criticised the Red Devils and Ren Hag, which didn't enthuse the Premier League giants, who parted ways with the 37-year-old last month by mutual agreement.
Since leaving Old Trafford, Ronaldo endured a disappointing 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign and is yet to sign for a new club. In an interview with AS, Valencia said that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner should have left Manchester United on better terms.
“It’s a shame that Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United the way he did. A player like him should have left with a full stadium applauding him. The fans adored him. The interview he gave was embarrassing,” said Valencia.
"You will have your reasons for saying what you said, but I felt very bad about the way you left. It hurts. I hope all goes well for you at your new club. Wish you all the best."
Ronaldo registered just one goal in five games at the World Cup.
Manchester United face Liverpool competition for Cody Gakpo, says Gianluca Di Marzio
Manchester United face competition from Liverpool in the race to sign Cody Gakpo, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Dutch forward has been on fire for PSV Eindhoven this season and also left a mark at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 23-year-old was linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer, and Ten Hag has retained an interest in his compatriot.
Speaking to Soccer News, Di Marzio said that there’s room for Gakpo at Old Trafford following Ronaldo’s departure.
"At Manchester United or Liverpool. He fits perfectly with Klopp’s playing style at Liverpool. But perhaps even better at Manchester United, now that they no longer have access to Cristiano Ronaldo. There is room for a player like him and for Gakpo now is the right time to move to the Premier League,” said Di Marzio.
Romano added that Gakpo is more likely to join the Red Devils in the summer than in January.
“Only Premier League clubs can afford him because PSV asks a lot of money for him. So I think it will be a battle between Manchester United and Liverpool. Maybe in January, but I don’t think so," said Di Marzio.
"I expect that we will be dealing with a different market in January. It will probably be the summer, but it is quite possible that Manchester United are already starting negotiations because they have to replace Ronaldo."
Gakpo has amassed 13 goals and 17 assists in 24 games across competitions for PSV this season.
Red Devils contemplating January move for Antoine Griezmann
The Red Devils are considering a move for Antoine Griezmann in January, according to Media Foot via Caught Offside.
The French forward has enjoyed a superb campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, playing a key role in helping Les Bleus reach the final. Despite being under contract with Atletico Madrid till 2026, the 31-year-old’s future is up in the air. Los Rojiblancos, though, could be forced to part ways with their prized asset after dropping out of the UEFA Champions League this season.
The situation has alerted the Red Devils, who are long-term admirers of Griezmann.
Ten Hag is already in the hunt for attacking reinforcements this winter following Ronaldo’s departure. Griezmann could be a superb addition to the Dutchman’s roster. The 31-year-old has appeared 21 times for Atletico this season across competitions, scoring six goals and setting up five more.
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