Manchester United Transfer News Friday 19 December

Otamendi Is Hummels Alternative?

Nicolas Otamendi Manchester United transfer newsValencia defender Nicolas Otamendi is being touted as an alternative to Manchester United transfer target Mats Hummels.

Reports from France claim that Valencia are eyeing up Marseille’s Brazilian centre-back Doria. Those same reports claim that if they succeed in buying Doria then Otamendi will be sold for £40million. But the £40million being quoted is the value of his release clause and with a replacement already being lined up there is always the possibility that Valencia will accept a lower price, especially given his brief time with the club.

Otamendi was linked with Manchester United last winter during David Moyes’ tenure as manager. At that time the 26-year-old Argentina international was with Porto, but he moved in January to Valencia in a deal worth €12million (£9.5million). He was then sent out on loan to Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro as he didn’t qualify for a Spanish work permit.

Now, just half a season into his time with Valencia, the La Liga outfit are already looking for a replacement. That doesn’t suggest Otamendi is a £40million player.

United’s decision not to pursue the Argentine last winter is also telling as it suggests he didn’t meet the club’s standards.

At present, a Manchester United transfer move for Otamendi doesn’t look likely either now or in the summer.

United have been linked with Hummels if Borussia Dortmund fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League. That looks unlikely given that they lie in the relegation zone 12 points behind the four Champions League spots with the German season about to go on its winter break.

United Could Splash The Cash In January

Meanwhile, Manchester United ‘could’ spend £30million on new defenders and midfielder in January. That’s despite executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stating in November that there would be no ‘short-term fixes’ in the winger transfer window.

The Manchester Evening News thinks otherwise. The paper still thinks that United could be set to splash the cash in January with moves for Netherlands internationals Kevin Strootman and Ron Vlaar. That’s despite Strootman’s recent return to action following an eight-month injury lay-off, Roma’s insistence he is going nowhere, and Vlaar’s £12million price tag.

Strootman still looks more like a summer target rather than a realistic January prospect. He is likely to be monitored by United scouts over the rest of the season ahead of a possible summer bid. But Roma will drag their heels and even if United return in the summer the Serie A side will try and extract the maximum price for a player who has shone since his £15million move from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2013.

Aston Villa defender Vlaar turns 30 in February – another factor that counts against him. His contract runs out at the end of the season and he appears to be biding his time over his future. Past speculation has United paying no more than £4million for Vlaar. At his age he will have little or no re-sale value at the end of a four- or five-year contract at Old Trafford so a £12million deal is out of the question.