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Sale or no sale, United need £158m investment in January to secure Champions League football

Manchester United have had a good first half to the Premier League season and they are presently three points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.

The £220 million spending spree in the summer has definitely had a positive effect on the club’s displays. Barring Martin Dubravka, every other signing has put in stand-out performances at some point.

Despite this, the club are lingering just outside of the Champions League spots and there needs to be significant spending in January to ensure a top-four league finish.

The Glazers are currently exploring strategic alternatives for the club including a possible sale, but this should not deter them from making another big outlay this winter.

A sale will depend on investors satisfying the Glazers’ demands and in our opinion, the process could take plenty of time. A decision could well be made by the end of the season.

If United were to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish (or by winning the Europa League), there is a higher possibility that the Glazers’ asking price will be met.

Hence, there needs to be another spending spree in January. United may have to spend around £158m for the purchase of two versatile forwards and a creative central midfielder.

PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix are United’s prime attacking targets and the duo could be prised away for £52m and £86m respectively this winter.

A new right-back has been a regular topic of speculation in recent months, but we believe United could wait until the summer to land Bayer Leverkusen star Jeremie Frimpong.

For the short-term, Ethad Laird could be recalled from his loan spell at Queen Park Rangers to provide back-up to Diogo Dalot. Aaron Wan-Bissaka could head for the exit door.

Hence, a third target for United should be a creative central midfielder to compete with Christian Eriksen. Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans could be a suitable target for January.

The Foxes wanted £40m for the Belgian last summer when he entered the final year of his contract. He could be prised away for 50 per cent of the fee (£20m) at the turn of the year.

Tielemans had a difficult start to the season with the Foxes amid the transfer speculation, but he was one of their stand-out performers in their excellent revival before the World Cup.

In our view, United may have to spend on the above-mentioned trio to ensure their place in next season’s Champions League. It could take a combined fee in the region of £158m.

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