Man Utd should snub rival raid in favour of fixing long-term transfer problem

Rangnick comments on Martial's Man Utd future amid exit talk

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With the New Year just around the corner, it should come as little surprise that clubs such as Manchester United are beginning to draw up their transfer plans for January and beyond.

With the New Year just around the corner, it should come as little surprise that clubs such as Manchester United are beginning to draw up their transfer plans for January and beyond.

United were one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League in the summer under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But even though the Norwegian was dismissed last month, it seems a safe bet that United could still be relatively active in January under new interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

And it appears that United could be laying the groundwork for their first foray into the market under the German.

According to The Daily Mail, United are keeping a close eye on Leeds United stopper Illan Meslier ahead of a future move.

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The Frenchman has impressed for the Whites since their return to the Premier League last year and is seen by the United hierarchy as a potential long-term solution to their goalkeeping issues if Dean Henderson seeks a permanent exit in the summer.

But United should resist the temptation to raid their bitter rivals and instead persist with trying to appease Henderson, who has made no secret of his desire for regular football.

The 24-year-old already proved during his stint in the team last year that he can be David de Gea’s long-term replacement at Old Trafford.

With the Spaniard approaching his 32nd birthday, it’s only natural that United are making contingency plans for life after their number one.

Those plans may be accelerated given that de Gea has just 18 months left on his current deal – although there is an option for an extra year.

But if that does evolve into an issue over the next few months, then Meslier almost certainly isn’t the answer.

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Has the 21-year-old really shown anything that Henderson hasn’t during his time in the Premier League with Leeds? It feels as though Meslier would be an unnecessary signing given the calibre of the goalkeeper that United have sitting on the bench.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a deal for Meslier would not come cheap. Leeds rewarded their goalkeeper with a bumper new five-year deal back in August after an impressive debut year in the top flight; which means that facilitating a deal for the shot-stopper would be a grossly expensive affair.

After spending in excess of £120million on deals for Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, it’s not a foregone conclusion that United will be splashing the cash next year.

And if that does prove to be the case, then Rangnick must focus on addressing United’s shortcomings in midfield rather than pursuing an unnecessary move for Meslier.

Even under Rangnick’s predecessor, midfield has been a glaring issue for United.

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There was almost an air of disbelief that the issue wasn’t addressed by Solskjaer last year, despite a trio of eye-catching incoming.

But it’s clear that Solskjaer and United’s failure to snap up an elite defensive midfielder has hampered their title ambitions this year.

It’s now down to Rangnick to assess and amend that.

United have been linked with a host of top-class midfield options to make that happen; with a move for either Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips the most likely move in the summer if recent reports are to be believed.

West Ham boss David Moyes has already been clear that a deal for Rice would cost United in excess of the £100m that was quoted earlier in the year.

Whether that figure is on the money or not, filling their midfield gap isn’t likely to be cheap for United – so they should cut their cloth accordingly.

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