Manchester United: Boost in hunt for Southampton star; Oxford alert; Rooney latest
Manchester United have been consistently linked with Jose Fonte since Jose Mourinho took over at the club. Although a deal couldn’t be done over the summer, there is hope that the Southampton captain could move to Old Trafford in the near future. The Manchester Evening News are reporting that the club have received a boost in their pursuit of Fonte, as he has yet to be offered a new contract at Southampton. The 32-year-old is waiting to be offered better terms and the uncertainness could allow Manchester United to pounce.
The report goes on to say that there are no plans to strengthen in January. It will be interesting to see if they act on their long-standing interest in Fonte, as they have looked shaky in defence at times. Fonte would provide an experienced option, while he is great at making his centre back partner look good. Although Dejan Lovren, Toby Alderweireld and Virgil van Dijk have all done well at Southampton, Fonte has been the mainstay and deserves credit for the resilient nature of the side’s defence.
The Portugal international demonstrated during the summer that he can compete with the very best and he may fancy a move to a huge club like Manchester United in the swansong of his career. As we are in September, transfer rumours need to be treated with caution, but Jose Fonte would be a shrewd pick-up for United if it does happen.
Another transfer line in the press today regards Reece Oxford, who has been a long term target for Manchester United. According to ESPN FC, talks over a new deal have stalled and this has put United on high alert. Their rivals, Manchester City, are also interested in the talented teenager and there could be a battle for his signature over the next 12 months. He has 18 months of his current contract remaining and if they can’t agree an extension, West Ham will be forced to sell one of their prized assets.
This is another transfer that makes sense for Manchester United and would be a huge coup if completed. Oxford is versatile and has the potential to become an elite level player. At the age of 16, he won man-of-the-match against Arsenal on his Premier League debut, which shows the ability he has. Crucially, he is a homegrown player and would add to that quota for Manchester United. If the centre back does become available, every club in the Premier League should be trying to do a deal as there is an opportunity to secure a bargain.
Finally, the Mirror suggest that Wayne Rooney is battling with Henrikh Mkhitaryan for a place in the first team. The club captain was dropped for the thrashing of Leicester, but he could come back into the starting XI for this weekend. If there are changes to the team this weekend, it could be Juan Mata who drops out, as the Spaniard has been in and out of the side since Mourinho took over. Although Rooney has started the season poorly, Mkhitaryan has yet to impress in a Manchester United shirt, which may give the advantage to the club captain.
There is still a role for Wayne Rooney at the club and it would be stupid to think that he won’t get chances to start. However, he needs to be managed better in a similar way to Francesco Totti at Roma. The England all-time leading scorer has been playing first team football since the age of 16 and now needs to be given a less prominent role in order to prolong his career. In the long-term, Mkhitaryan is a better option for Manchester United as he is younger and much more creative than Rooney. For that reason, the Armenian should be given the nod ahead of Rooney this weekend.
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