Ralf Rangnick is already showing signs of his influence at Manchester United just two games into his tenure. With the January transfer window fast approaching, the club’s new interim manager is reportedly set to be handed a £100million budget as he now looks to fine-tune his United squad.
The German followed up a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on his Premier League managerial debut with a 1-1 draw against Young Boys in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
With United having already secured top spot in Group F and progress to the knockout stages, Rangnick fielded a much-changed line-up against the Swiss opposition.
Game-time was awarded to his fringe players and opportunities were provided to a number of youngsters as the 63-year-old showed signs of his well-documented faith in youth, handing first-team debuts to academy stars Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage.
Safe in the knowledge he will move into a consultancy role come the summer at the very least, Rangnick has reportedly been granted a £100m spending spree in January as United look to enter a new era.
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Despite splashing out around £130m on the signings of Jason Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, the club are keen to fine-tune the current squad as the search for silverware continues.
Amadou Haidara, who Rangnick knows well from his time with former club RB Leipzig, is a reported target alongside Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, who have both found themselves out of favour over in Spain.
Should United secure the signature of new star, the lowest current shirt numbers available at Old Trafford are No. 12 and No. 24.
The Red Devils don’t currently possess a No. 15 as usual occupant Andreas Pereira is on loan with Brazilian giants Flamengo, while the No. 28 shirt is also temporarily vacant as Uruguayan youngster Fecundo Pellistri is currently spending a second stint on loan at La Liga outfit Alaves.
Despite the majority of first team squad numbers having already been taken, that isn’t to say United won’t spend on new signings as a number of the squad have been tipped for pastures new.
Maverick midfielder Paul Pogba, who possesses the No. 6 shirt, is yet to sign a new contract and looks set to depart Old Trafford for free when his current deal expires in June.
With this in mind, there is a chance United could look to cash-in on the currently injured Frenchman come January.
Other squad numbers which may also become available in the New Year are the No. 9 and No. 21 shirts, currently adorned by attackers Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, respectively.
Martial has found the net just once in a mere 10 appearances so far this term with playing time restricted by niggling injuries and increased competition following the summer arrivals of Sancho and Ronaldo.
With Juventus and Barcelona reportedly among his admirers, the French forward could well vacate the No. 9 – a shirt previously held by the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku and Dimitar Berbatov.
Cavani is another who has attracted attention from Barcelona as they look to bolster their forward line following reports that Sergio Aguero is set to retire amid heart concerns.
The Uruguayan marksman has only featured eight times across all competitions for United so far this season and a January move is being touted ahead of his short-term deal coming to an end in the summer.