Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United get THREE big transfer boosts ahead of January window: rumours

Hours after their humiliating Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Bristol City, Manchester United have received three significant transfer boosts via the latest rumours.

First of all, the Times have reported that Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans is 'likely' to choose his former club over fellow suitors Manchester City and Arsenal.

Secondly, United have been made favourites to land out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder MARCO ASENSIO. The 21-year-old is tipped for a huge future and earned plaudits for his early-season displays for Los Blancos. However, he started only one of Madrid's six Champions League group games and the Daily Star report that United are the team the bookies' rate as most likely to land his signature. The story also claims that Chelsea would be interested in the Spanish attacking midfield star.

Finally, long-term United target NICO GAITAN looks to be on the move after his agent said he will 'undoubtedly leave' Atletico Madrid in the January window.

“I can tell you English clubs are interested,” Jose Iribarren told Foot Mercato. “He has a lot of concrete offers. Nicolas was an important player when he played in Argentina, at Benfica, and with the national team. He can't continue in these conditions. If he can't play a string of matches, nor win the coach's trust... A player wants to play. We're going to see with Atletico which solution we can find. We hope to find a club where the player will be happy and will play regularly, Nicolas isn't a player who's happy to play 15 minutes per match. He wants to play every game. He could leave on loan or in a permanent transfer. That decision belongs to Atletico.”

Gaitan has started only 12 La Liga games since moving from Benfica in summer 2016. He has also been linked with Liverpool.

After Paul Clement's reign at Swansea came to a halt on Wednesday evening, thoughts have turned to who will be next in the hot seat at the Liberty Stadium. The Daily Mirror is reporting that the club want former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal to take over at the club cemented to the bottom of the Premier League. The paper said the Swansea hierarchy have put the former Holland boss on their shortlist and they are hoping to make an appointment before Saturday's game with Crystal Palace.

While the Daily Star report that Clement's sacking paves the way for Tony Pulis to return to the Premier League. The paper says Pulis has a reputation for keeping clubs safe from relegation and could make a swift return to management after being dismissed by West Brom in November.

Chelsea will reignite their interest in Everton's Ross Barkley in the transfer window, the Evening Standard reports. Antonio Conte is keen to bring in three new faces to Stamford Bridge with the paper reporting that Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey and Monaco's Thomas Lemar also subject to interest.

Alexis Sanchez will be heading to Manchester City in a £400,000-a-week deal, the Daily Mirror says. The Chilean striker - whose contract with Arsenal expires in the summer - will become one of the game's top earners in the deal which City can afford as they will not have to pay a transfer fee.

Up-and-coming goalkeeper Sam Johnstone - currently on loan at Aston Villa - has emerged as a target for Crystal Palace, West Brom and West Ham according to the Daily Express. The England youth international has been on the books of Manchester United since 2010.

Social media round-up

@talkSPORT: Stoke City chairman Peter Coates 'concerned' about poor form and piles pressure on Mark Hughes

@DailyStar_Sport: Jack Wilshere issues plea to Arsene Wenger to save his Arsenal and England career

Players to watch

Islam Slimani: Newcastle are favourites to sign the 29-year-old from Leicester, the Leicester Mercury reports.

Philippe Coutinho: Barcelona will go as high as £132million in their quest to sign the Liverpool man, Sport reports.

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