Erik ten Hag has been warned that his prospects of bringing a Barcelona man to Manchester United in January are over after Xavi quickly moved to extinguish doubts emerging over the player.
The Dutch coach is furthering his transfer plans with the January window now officially open for business. But having spent around £216m in the summer window, funds are likely to be tighter this time around with Ten Hag having to invest wisely.
However, with Cristiano Ronaldo departing for Al Nassr – and not even giving United a seconds thought – the Red Devils to have a hole to fill in attack.
But with the majority of funds likely to be held back for the summer market, United will have to get creative during the January window. Indeed, they are reportedly looking to the loan market with the likes of Joao Felix and Vincent Aboubakar reportedly on their wishlist.
Any deal for Felix, though, will not come cheap. To that end, his club Atletico Madrid are reportedly demanding a sizeable £18.6m loan fee for the Portuguese attacker. That includes his loan fee of £13.3m (€15m) as well as coverage of his wages worth £5.3m (€6m) gross.
And while Aboubakar could prove a more affordable option, doubts over his suitability means Ten Hag will likely look elsewhere.
As a result, United are reportedly casting their eye towards Barcelona forward Memphis Depay.
The former Red Devils frontman has struggled for game-time since a free-transfer switch to the Nou Camp. Depay has started just three matches this season in LaLiga and the Champions League combined.
Xavi puts an end to Memphis Depay, Man Utd links
And with his deal expiring in the summer, Depay appears likely to be available on a cut-price deal this month. And that option became more of a reality with The Athletic‘s Manchester United correspondent, Laurie Whitwell, confirming that Depay is a name under consideration.
However, Barcelona coach Xavi has moved to dismiss claims that Memphis will be allowed to move on in January.
And, in reaction to reports the Dutchman may be heading back to Old Trafford, Xavi is adamant he is happy to retain his services.
“I don’t want anyone to leave. I’m delighted with the squad,” Xavi said when asked about Depay’s future.
“It seems there won’t be a market for us. I’m happy with Depay.
“His attitude is good and he will be important for us. He has the ability to make a difference. He’ll have minutes. Like all of them.”
Despite Xavi’s words of encouragement for Depay, it’s hard to see where game-time will come his way. Having signed Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha in the summer, Barcelona also have Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Ousmane Dembele to pick from. And Memphis has often found himself sixth in the pecking order.
Still, it’s reported that a fairly modest offer for Memphis will tempt Barcelona to cash in. And a return to Old Trafford would certainly raise eyebrows. He struggled during his previous spell at the club, scoring just seven times in 53 appearances over two seasons.
However, he’s a far more mature player these days, illustrating his ability during a goal-laiden five years at Lyon. And his first year at the Nou Camp wasn’t too shabby either with Depay scoring 13 times in 38 appearances.
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