The pressure has eased on Erik ten Hag after Man Utd defeated Fulham
Manchester United could face disappointment in their reported pursuit of Gabriel Barbosa after speculation linked them with a shock move for Flamengo star in the January transfer window. The Red Devils are in desperate need of some more firepower for Erik ten Hag after watching their attackers struggle in front of goal of late, and Erik ten Hag might be tempted to head to South America for his next transfer if reports are accurate.
The Dutchman is reportedly considering signing a more experienced striker to help unburden Rasmus Hojlund, who is yet to score in the Premier League in eight appearances, although the Dane has opened his account in the Champions League.
One player who has emerged as a surprise target is Brazil international Gabriel Barbosa, formerly known as ‘Gabigol’ in Brazil after his emergence as a young goal machine in his days when he was teenager.
The 27-year-old is apparently available for just £20million in January, as his contract is due to expire in December 2024, and United are one of the clubs monitoring his situation.
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The player’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, is an experienced negotiator for facilitating moves for Brazilian players to Europe. He handled big-money transfers for Ronaldinho and Robinho in their respective careers when they moved to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
Back in 2016, he was asked if Gabriel Barbosa could leave to join a Premier League club when he made headlines as a teenager at Santos. However, the Brazilian told Globo Esporte it was just ‘pure speculation’ and there was no truth in the rumours.
Later that year, he joined Inter Milan in a £25m deal before his career took a sharp downward turn and he went back to Brazil only 18 months later. Now, the player has a new representative – Brazilian agent Junior Pedroso – who works with Ribeiro at the same agency.
But the answer is likely to be similar to the previous one regarding any interest from United.
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According to The Mirror, the Premier League side are reportedly willing to offload Antony in the January transfer window in a desperate attempt to bolster their forward line. The winger has struggled since joining the Red Devils and a loan stint away could be floated to help him rediscover his confidence with his £85m move looking like an expensive mistake.
The report adds that United have shortlisted Barbosa as a top target and they are keen to strike a deal for his services as soon as possible. Flamengo may be open to the deal if it includes taking Antony on loan in part exchange.
If United manage to advance in their negotiations for Barbosa, they may still have to fight off competition from AC Milan for the attacker, who can play anywhere across the front three. West Ham were also close to signing him in a £35m deal in January 2022 before talks collapsed and the Hammers later signed Gianluca Scamacca.
There are other potential United targets on their list in case they fail to make progress. Porto centre-forward Mehdi Taremi, who impressed at the World Cup for Iran and is out of contract next summer, would represent a cut-price option, while Victor Osimhen is a more expensive target as the Napoli star could cost in excess of £100m.
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