Ange Postecoglou has insisted Tottenham are in the Premier League title race.

Spurs have endured a tricky winter period with a litany of injuries and suspensions, but they remain within touching distance of leaders Liverpool.

Tottenham are also only a point behind Arsenal and Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s clash at Manchester United.

“By definition, we are aren’t we? So, yes we are,” Postecoglou claimed.

“I’ve said all along that until the point where you’re not, why would you discount the possibility?

“We’ve gone through a really tough period and we’re hanging in there. We had four games when results went against us, but we’ve clawed our way back. We’re still in there.

“Our performances for the most part have been pretty consistent, but all that is meaningless if we don’t finish the season stronger than the first half of the season and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

A season of transition was expected for Spurs after they finished eighth last term and sold record scorer Harry Kane on the eve of the campaign.

Postecoglou enjoyed a flying start instead with Tottenham at the summit in November, but a costly 4-1 loss to Chelsea sparked a run of four defeats in five.

Spurs have regrouped admirably since and after securing the additions of Timo Werner and Radu Dragusin this week, the Aussie coach is not prepared to put a limit on his squad’s potential.

“No, I don’t think that would be right for the players and for the club,” Postecoglou added.

“We have scratched and clawed our way into a decent position in the league, we’re into the next round of the cup, those possibilities are always there.

“And we certainly want to tackle them as robustly as possible without any fear or fear of not achieving anything.

“We’ve done it from day one, we’ve had a vision of the sort of football we want to play and some parts are really, really good and have surprised me with the progress and other parts we’re still in the early stages of development.

“We’ve got a platform here to kick on and try on from here.

“It does excite me. Look, that has to be the objective and the aim and we’ve got to take every opportunity we have to get stronger.

“Part of that process is just a trust thing, they have obviously invested in me, you can only gain that trust over a period of time and after doing certain things.

“The club itself probably took a lot of comfort from our summer window knowing they got their business right there and going into this window, saying you want to work quickly, there’s a leap of faith there which the club has to have in me and what I’m doing.

“I think the first part of the season has helped that and hopefully that keeps accelerating because hopefully it can accelerate our work and where we want to get to.”

The prognosis for James Maddison is encouraging with the England international set to return to training next week with the intention of being fit to face Man City in the FA Cup on January 26.

Postecoglou said: “He’s getting closer. He hasn’t trained with the group yet. Obviously after Man United we’ve got two weeks.

“I’ll be hoping between the two Manchester game he’s back training with the first team as long as there’s no setbacks in that two-week window.

“I think we’ve got three games in that week after the Man City game so, him and Manor Solomon are the next two that should be fairly close after that provided there’s no setbacks.”

Manchester United left-back Alvaro Fernandez is set to return from a loan spell at Granada and join Benfica, the PA news agency understands.

Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho have already left Erik ten Hag’s side this month to join Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund respectively on loan for the rest of the season.

Hannibal Mejbri is set to join Sevilla on loan with a view to buy having also attracted interest from Everton and Joe Hugill has joined Burton for the rest of the season fresh from extending his United contract.

Facundo Pellistri and Dan Gore are others attracting interest, while left-back Fernandez looks set to head to Portuguese giants Benfica.

The 20-year-old Spaniard joined from Real Madrid in 2020 but has yet to make a first-team appearance for United, spending last season on loan at Preston before joining Granada this term.

The process has now begun to recall Fernandez from the LaLiga outfit ahead of an expected move to Benfica, with the breakdown of the deal yet to be nailed down.

A potential 10 million euros (£8.6m) permanent move has been mentioned in the Portuguese media and a loan with clauses has also been under discussion.

Ange Postecoglou believes an alignment between all the key figures at Tottenham has allowed them to move quickly in the January transfer window.

Postecoglou repeatedly made clear his desire to bring in a centre-back early and Spurs completed the signing of Radu Dragusin from Genoa on Thursday, with Djed Spence heading on loan in the other direction.

It capped a busy week for Tottenham after they secured the loan addition of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig on Tuesday and allowed Eric Dier to depart after 10 seasons to join Bayern Munich.

Spurs’ quick work is a big shift in strategy after previously waiting until the end of the month to secure signings and Postecoglou paid tribute to chairman Daniel Levy, technical director Johan Lange and chief football officer Scott Munn.

“It’s easier said than done because while we might have a desire to do things early, you’ve got to have all parties agreeing to that and it’s not easy to do, especially in January,” Postecoglou said ahead of Sunday’s trip to Manchester United.

“The key thing for us was from the chairman to Johan and his team and Scott, we were all very aligned in what we wanted and we got our targets early.

“It was pretty clear what we wanted to do and if it didn’t happen, then we’ve moved on. But I think the fact that we were all pretty aligned on what our objectives were allowed us to be sitting here now with two players in – not so much for Sunday, but we know we’ve got a two-week break which means we get at least a couple of weeks to get the lads up to speed.

“We had some pretty clear objectives. If there’s an opportunity for us to get better, we’ll take it, but what we were trying to achieve going into it, I’m really pleased we’ve got two players in who I think will play a really important part for us.”

Postecoglou has continued to reshape the squad this month with former captain Hugo Lloris joining Los Angeles FC and Dier ending his nine-and-a-half-years at Tottenham to join Bayern.

“The club made a conscious decision to change the way we went about things and for that to happen you need change in personnel,” the Australian reflected.

“Hugo left and Eric moves on to another chapter in his career, he’s another one who has had a fantastic career here at Tottenham.

“Eric’s left his mark, he was part of a very very good side who made many great memories for our supporters here and he certainly leaves his mark here at Tottenham.

“He moves to another big club and hopefully has success in the rest of his career.

“For us, it’s a constant evolution of traying to inch forward to becoming the team we want to be.”

Postecoglou expects Dragusin to be involved at Old Trafford despite still waiting for his work permit and Micky van de Ven is fit enough to start.

Cristian Romero has also returned to training and could feature against United, but Giovani Lo Celso and Ben Davies are both out.

Lo Celso’s absence could earn Werner his full debut.

Erik ten Hag wished Jadon Sancho luck at Borussia Dortmund but would not be drawn on the winger’s long-term future following the Manchester United misfit’s temporary return to his former club.

The 23-year-old left the Bundesliga side for Old Trafford to much fanfare in 2021, joining in a £73million deal after a long, well-documented pursuit of the England international.

But Sancho has struggled to live up to the hype and been banished since claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” after Ten Hag said he did not reach the “level” required to be involved in their squad at Arsenal.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jadon Sancho (@sanchooo10)

The winger has been training away from the main group since September and has now returned to Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the season without an option to buy, saying it felt like he was “coming home”.

 

“I hope he’s doing well, so I wish him the best of luck,” Ten Hag said. “That’s it. I hope he’s doing well and he will be a success.”

The Dutchman has been reluctant to speak about Sancho during his four-month absence and quickly shut down further talk about the United man.

Asked what Sancho has to do at Dortmund in order to get back in the United team, he replied curtly: “No, I already replied. I think it’s enough.”

Sancho followed Donny van de Beek in leaving on loan, with other peripheral players likely to follow as United’s injury issues begin to ease.

The Red Devils have been beset by problems this term, but they are easing ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham.

Lisandro Martinez could be involved for the first time since injuring a foot in September, while Casemiro has been out with a hamstring complaint picked up in October.

“We have had a lot of injuries,” Ten Hag said.

“This week in training, so the last couple of days, Licha Martinez training, Casemiro training, Luke Shaw training, so there are players returning. They are coming in for selection for Sunday.

“(Christian) Eriksen was ill in the week, he will return. Antony will return. Amad (Diallo) will return.

“We have more choices in this moment in the squad to put out a starting XI and to create a bench that is stronger.”

Ten Hag’s options are improving and the United boss will be hoping that is matched by an upturn in players’ form.

Antony has been particularly underwhelming after joining from Ajax for 100million euros (£84.8m) in 2022, with a slow first season following by a poor second campaign.

The Brazil international was given a leave of absence in September to deal with allegations of abuse against him that the winger has always strongly denied.

Police inquiries in Brazil and the UK are ongoing and Ten Hag believes off-field issues have had “an impact on him”.

“I can explain (his struggles),” Ten Hag, who worked with Antony at Ajax, said. “I think it’s very simple.

“I think his off-field issues stop him playing. I think first year was OK and I think in the pre-season he was very OK. First four games were very good.

“He was out and then he came back. He didn’t deliver the performance we should expect from him and he can do so much better.

“You mention Ajax, also I look back there so his effectiveness, his end product was very high there and also in the Champions League very high.

“So, I am sure he’s capable of doing this.”

Manchester United misfit Jadon Sancho has returned to Borussia Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the season.

The 23-year-old winger claimed on social media in September that he had been made a “scapegoat” after boss Erik ten Hag said he did not reach the “level” required to be involved in their squad at Arsenal.

United later confirmed Sancho would train away from the first-team group “pending resolution of a squad discipline issue”, but a settlement between player and manager was never reached.

The England international has been banished for the past four months and will now look to kickstart his career in familiar surroundings, having returned to Dortmund on a temporary basis.

“When I walked into the changing room today, it felt like ‘coming home’,” said Sancho, who left the Bundesliga side for United in a £73million deal in 2021.

“I know the club inside out, I’ve always been very close to the fans here and I’ve never lost contact with the people in charge.

“I can’t wait to see my team-mates again, get out on the pitch, play football with a smile on my face, get assists, score goals and help the club qualify for the Champions League.”

The PA news agency understands Dortmund are contributing an initial 3.5million euros (£3m) to take Sancho on loan without an option to buy.

That figure could reach 7.5m euros (£6.5m) dependent on appearances and team success as Sancho looks to get his career back on track.

Sancho made the last of his 82 United appearances 141 days ago against Nottingham Forest – one of just three games he has played in this season.

Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl said: “Jadon is an absolute difference-maker and I’m looking forward to seeing him in Black & Yellow again soon. He knows this city, Signal Iduna Park, our fans and our club.

“Even though he hasn’t played any competitive games in recent months, we’re sure that he’ll quickly settle back in with us, find his best form and help us to achieve our season objectives with his qualities.”

What the papers say

Conor Gallagher is reportedly at the head of Tottenham’s transfer wishlist as Ange Postecoglou searches for a number eight. According to The Independent, Spurs are aiming to complete the transfer in January, with Chelsea bosses believed to be willing to make a deal for the right price.

Staying with Tottenham, The Independent says Bayern Munich are in talks to sign Spurs defender Eric Dier. It comes after the north London outfit beat Bayern in the race for the signature of centre-back Radu Dragusin.

The Telegraph reports Newcastle have had an approach for forward Dominic Solanke turned down by Bournemouth. Bosses at the Cherries are said to be determined not to release the 26-year-old this month.

Brentford and Crystal Palace are interested in Sunderland forward Jack Clarke, according to the Evening Standard.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Erling Haaland: AS reports Real Madrid are assessing a potential approach for the Manchester City striker amid concerns over whether Kylian Mbappe will leave Paris St Germain to join them.

Hannibal Mejbri: The Evening Standard says the Manchester United midfielder is on the brink of a move to Sevilla after choosing the LaLiga side over Everton, with the loan fee reportedly stretching to seven figures.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is this weekend set to attend his first Manchester United match since agreeing a partial takeover of the club, the PA news agency understands.

The billionaire has agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in the Premier League outfit and, barring any late change in schedule, is due to attend Sunday’s match against Tottenham at Old Trafford.

The deal is still awaiting ratification, but Ratcliffe and his team have wasted no time getting to know the club as his INEOS group prepare to take responsibility for footballing operations at United.

The 71-year-old and Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS’ director of sport, visited Old Trafford and United’s Carrington training ground last week.

The pair met with men’s team manager Erik ten Hag and women’s team boss Marc Skinner, along with members of different teams and backroom staff.

The INEOS delegation also met with wider club staff at Old Trafford and attended an all-staff meeting as they get to better know United and the challenge at hand.

Brailsford has been at all three matches since the deal was announced on Christmas Eve, with INEOS Sport chief executive Jean Claude Blanc joining him at Monday’s FA Cup third round 2-0 win against Wigan.

What the papers say

Tottenham will have to battle Bayern Munich to sign their top defensive target Radu Dragusin from Romania after the German giants tabled a late offer, the Telegraph reports. The 21-year-old defender plays for Genoa in the Serie A and has scored two goals and added an assist in 19 games in the competition this year.

The Mirror says Jadon Sancho, who was confirmed to be in negotiations with Borussia Dortmund, will return to Manchester United after a loan deal with the German club as they can not afford the transfer fee. The 23-year-old has only played three games this year for Erik ten Hag’s side.

Newcastle United will staunchly reject any offer from Paris St Germain for their Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, the i reports.

Tottenham will join Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool in the race for 21-year-old Middlesborough midfielder Hayden Hackney, the Evening Standard reports.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Jordan Henderson: The former Liverpool captain, now at Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League, has drawn interest from Ajax, but will have to stave off competition from British and German clubs, ESPN says.

Vangelis Pavlidis: The Evening Standard reports the Greek striker, 25, is now on the Fulham’s radar. Pavlidis, who is at AZ Alkmaar, is also being monitored by Chelsea, AC Milan and Barcelona.

Manchester United signed Patrice Evra from Monaco on a three-and-a-half-year contract, on this day in 2006.

The 24-year-old joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s side for £5.5million but endured a tough start to life in Manchester, with a nightmare debut against neighbours Manchester City four days later as he was taken off at half-time in a 3-1 defeat.

However, the France international soon made the left-back position his own at Old Trafford after Gabriel Heinze’s cruciate ligament injury earlier that season and he went on to feature 379 times for the Red Devils.

Evra won 10 major trophies with United, including five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.

On Evra’s arrival at Old Trafford, manager Ferguson said: “He is a good age and he is still developing as a player, which is always exciting.

“We have been monitoring him all season and it is fantastic that he is joining Manchester United.”

Evra ended his eight-and-a-half-year stay in Manchester in July 2014 following the arrival of Luke Shaw from Southampton and moved to Juventus.

Erik ten Hag has not ruled out using the transfer market to strengthen his squad as injuries and illness continue to hit Manchester United hard.

The number of absentees reached double figures for Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup win away to League Two Wigan, with Christian Eriksen out due to illness and Antony injured.

Although Ten Hag is optimistic a number of players could return in time for Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Tottenham, a United bench made up almost entirely of youngsters at the DW Stadium pointed to the stretched resources.

“We consider everything,” Ten Hag said when asked about the January window. “So what is in the best interests of the players and also the best interests for us, the team, for Manchester United. So we’ll see how we progress during the window.”

Ten Hag admitted it has been frustrating to lose so many players in recent weeks, but the Dutchman did not want that to be an excuse for some poor results last month, when United lost six of their nine games.

“I don’t want to be frustrated because I can do nothing for it, it will not help to support the team,” he said. “So we have to get the best performance and best results with the players available and that’s what we’re trying to do…

“I think there will be some players that are hopeful they can be back for the weekend.”

Ten Hag said he expected Eriksen to return in time for the Spurs match, while Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire could also be available.

The victory at Wigan sets up a fourth round tie away to either League Two Newport or non-league Eastleigh, and a clear opportunity to progress further.

With United out of Europe and eighth in the Premier League, a competition in which United reached the final last season remains their only opportunity of silverware this term.

“I don’t think (the focus on the FA Cup) would change if you are still in Europe,” Ten Hag said. “It is a massive competition. Everyone wants to win this competition. So every game we take seriously.”

United beat Wigan with goals in either half from Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes, the second a penalty, but should have won more convincingly given they had 33 attempts on goal.

Fourteen of those were on target, but United were the latest side to find out why Wigan’s 21-year-old goalkeeper Sam Tickle is a man in-demand given his recent form.

Tickle has taken the starting role at Wigan ahead of former United stopper Ben Amos, and the England under-21 goalkeeper has recently been linked with Premier League clubs including Everton.

“He is a brilliant shot-stopper,” Wigan boss Shaun Maloney said of Tickle. “When I first came in, I realised we had something special…

“He was brilliant (against United) and it’s been like that all season. I understand the attention now. It is amazing for our club to have a goalkeeper in the England Under 21 team. Long may it continue. I think it will.”

What the papers say

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, 21, has found himself under the scope of Spanish giants Real Madrid, the Daily Mail reports. The England Under-21 international has played 17 games for the Toffees in the Premier League this season.

The Evening Standard says West Ham could make a move for 26-year-old Ajax and  Netherlands forward Steven Bergwijn. The former Tottenham player has scored eight goals in all competitions this year for Ajax.

One player who could be making the opposite journey from England to the Netherlands is Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri, who has been linked with a loan move to PSV Eindhoven – and LA Galaxy – according to journalist  Fabrizio Romano, cited by Teamtalk.

Social media round-up

Real Madrid ‘to turn to Erling Haaland if they fail in Mbappe transfer but will only have to pay HALF his release fee’https://t.co/1JoTm4tiE4https://t.co/1JoTm4tiE4

— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) January 8, 2024

Players to watch

Hugo Ekitike: Wolves are reportedly interested in signing the 21-year-old Paris St Germain forward, according to French outlet L’Equipe.

Jonathan David: The 23-year-old Canada forward, currently at Lille in France, has attracted interest from Manchester United and Aston Villa, Football Transfers reports.

Erik ten Hag admitted his Manchester United side should have scored more goals after they eased into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over League One Wigan.

United had 33 attempts at goal, 14 of them on target, but in the end only managed to beat Latics’ impressive young goalkeeper Sam Tickle twice, first with Diogo Dalot’s 22nd-minute curling shot and then with a 74th-minute penalty from Bruno Fernandes.

Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho both hit the crossbar while Marcus Rashford brought some fine saves out of Tickle, but this was the 18th out of 23 domestic games in which United’s forwards failed to find the net.

“It’s all about the win but first half, the way we played, the performance, how we worked the ball, how we made our runs, the investment in the final third, we created a lot of chances and that was pleasing to see,” Ten Hag said.

“I think we should have scored more but the good thing is we created the chances.”

After a December in which United lost six of nine to increase the pressure on Ten Hag, the manager could not afford a slip-up and that showed in a team selection in which he made only two changes, one of them the return of Hojlund from illness.

Antony was out through injury while Christian Eriksen was ill, with Scott McTominay replacing the Dane.

“We have so many injuries and illnesses but still we put out a strong side,” Ten Hag added. “We had a good team, so we were confident before, we must win this game.

“You never underestimate any opponent, definitely not this side, you know they will fight for their life because it’s the game of their life, we took the game very good.”

Wigan had a superb early chance to take the lead with a quick break down the right, but goalkeeper Andre Onana denied Thelo Aasgaard from close range, and they would not have such a clear opportunity again.

“I think it’s a good save,” said Liverpool-born Norway youth international Aasgaard. “If it was on my right side I’d have the confidence to lift it but the keeper’s got down. It didn’t knock my confidence or anything. It was a good save.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, the goal-scorer the only time Wigan have ever beaten United in a competitive fixture back in 2012, acknowledged that the moment could have changed the night, but admitted his side were well beaten.

“It might change the dynamic at that time in the game,” Maloney said. “United had some chances as well. We have to take a lot from it. Some of our players individually had really good performances. It is never nice to get beat but I hope we take a lot from it.

“In terms of effort, I’m very, very proud of what the players gave, it was a difficult match. United played very well. They’re a difficult opponent with the ball, we tried to be as aggressive as we could.

“We found it tough, I couldn’t criticise my players. We needed some good saves from the goalkeeper.”

Wigan had kept themselves in the game until Liam Shaw caught the toe of Fernandes with a little over 15 minutes left, and the United captain’s reaction made sure Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot.

“At the time I wasn’t so sure but what I would say is I’ve seen a slow motion (replay) and I think when you tackle like that and there is contact it’s going to be a penalty,” Maloney said. “I’ve got no complaints.”

Diogo Dalot feels Manchester United produced a controlled performance to book their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win at Wigan.

Dalot put the visitors in front after 22 minutes, with Bruno Fernandes later converting a second-half penalty.

United dominated against the Sky Bet League One side, making 33 attempts on goal, which Dalot accepted they should have made more from.

“We created a lot of chances and what would have made the difference today was putting the ball in the net a bit more with the occasions which we had,” Dalot said on ITV1.

“They had one or two counter-attacks but overall we controlled the game and had some good moments.”

On his goal, the Portuguese full-back added: “It gave a little more comfort to the team. We needed a goal so we could be a little more calm and not rushing to score another one.

“We created a lot of chances and could have scored even more, overall that is what we missed today.”

United will be expected to make further progress when they head to either League Two Newport or non-League Eastleigh in the next round.

“That is why we are here. We are Man United, we play to win every competition. Hopefully we can be at Wembley and win it,” Dalot said.

Dalot feels the presence of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS Group is already starting to have a positive impact as they prepare to assume control of footballing operations once his purchase of a 25 per cent stake has been ratified in the coming weeks.

“It brings some good new energy, hopefully positive feelings. New things to conquer, looking to the future with good energy and they are bringing that,” Dalot said.

“You can feel at Carrington (training ground) already the motivation that they have brought in, hopefully we can win a lot of things together.”

Goals from Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes saw Manchester United ease into the fourth round of the FA Cup and avoid any unwanted drama in a 2-0 win over League One Wigan.

As they should have, United dominated a side 53 places below them, and the only complaint would be that they did not convert more of their 33 attempts on goal.

As it was, Dalot’s 22nd-minute curler and a second-half penalty from Fernandes set up a tie away to either League Two Newport or non-League Eastleigh.

With Sir Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc watching on as Sir Jim Ratcliffe awaits ratification of his 25 per cent stake in United, a straightforward win was just what Erik ten Hag needed after a December in which United lost six of nine games to keep the pressure on the Dutchman.

Recognising the need for a result, the United boss went strong despite a list of absentees into double figures. Christian Eriksen and Antony were the latest to be ruled out, but with Rasmus Hojlund back from illness and Scott McTominay stepping in, United meant business.

With 22,870 on hand, the DW Stadium was sold out for the first time since 2013 and the Latics’ last season in the Premier League, also the campaign in which they upset Manchester City at Wembley to lift the FA Cup.

The home fans should have had a shock goal to celebrate inside three minutes. Sean Clare picked off a loose pass from Kobbie Mainoo and fed Martial Godo. The on-loan Fulham forward hit a quick low cross to Thelo Aasgaard but his shot was well saved by Andre Onana.

Wigan would not have a better chance all night as United responded decisively. Mainoo recovered from his early error to thrive in midfield as United kept Wigan pegged back and peppered Sam Tickle’s goal with shots.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper did superbly well to keep out a Marcus Rashford shot low to his right but could only watch when McTominay ran on to Fernandes’ cross but sent his shot wide of the far post.

A goal was coming. Wigan captain Charlie Hughes got a vital touch to keep Alejandro Garnacho’s cross away from Hojlund but Rashford picked up the pieces and, after finding his own way to goal blocked, laid the ball back for Dalot to curl a shot inside the post.

It was almost 2-0 less than two minutes later. Garnacho’s cross from the right found Rashford, whose drilled shot was saved by Tickle only for the goalkeeper to fumble the ball and push it onto his own post before gathering at the second attempt.

Hojlund headed against the crossbar from a Garnacho cross and then went close when Tickle could only parry a Rashford shot into his path.

And the Wigan crossbar rattled again five minutes before the break when Garnacho cut in from the right and unleashed a powerful left-footed shot which had Tickle beaten.

Wigan switched to a back five to start the second half and did a better job of containing United. Tickle was not forced into meaningful action until just after the hour, when he pushed Mainoo’s shot from the edge of the area away from danger.

When a Garnacho cross was cut out by Hughes it fell kindly for McTominay but he fired over.

Wigan were just beginning to find some encouragement going forward when Liam Shaw caught the toe of Fernandes, who flung himself to the ground to persuade referee Anthony Taylor to point to the spot, from where the United captain sent Tickle the wrong way to double the lead in the 74th minute.

Tickle kept out further shots from Fernandes and Rashford, but United had already done enough.

The January transfer window gives clubs an opportunity to reshape their squad for the second half of the season or for players to take on fresh challenges. Here, the PA news agency looks at who is making some of the headlines.

Manchester United

After performing way below expectations during the first half of the campaign, the need for a squad refresh at Old Trafford is clear. Primarily, Erik Ten Hag would seem to require a forward to give the attack more of a cutting edge and a defender, where he has not settled on a preferred centre-back pairing. New faces would also give the place a lift in general but some players may need to be moved on first. The futures of Rafael Varane and Casemiro are uncertain while Anthony Martial is again being linked with a move away. Outcast Jadon Sancho appears set for a loan move to former club Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea

The Stamford Bridge outfit have spent more than £1billion on transfer fees over the past 18 months but results this season indicate they have not yet got things right. Bringing a centre forward would appear to be a necessity for manager Mauricio Pochettino but the Londoners also need to give serious thought to balancing the books. Outgoings are likely with rumours abounding over the future of Conor Gallagher, despite some impressive recent performances. With his contract due to expire in 2025, the England midfielder could be let go for around £50million.

Kalvin Phillips

Phillips has failed to establish himself at Manchester City since his £42million switch from Leeds in the summer of 2022. Injuries curtailed his involvement last season and, with so much quality in Pep Guardiola’s squad, even substitute appearances have been few and far between. As Euro 2024 approaches, Phillips may have to move now to ensure he stays in the England picture. Newcastle are apparently keen but there has also been reported interest from Juventus.

Jordan Henderson

The former Liverpool captain could be on the move again after reports emerged over the weekend that he would like to cut short his stay in Saudi Arabia, where he signed a three-year contract with Al-Ettifaq amid much controversy last summer. At 33 and still firmly in the England plans, Henderson could be an attractive proposition for many clubs based purely on football terms, but the financial obstacles to bringing him back to Europe could be significant. It remains to be seen if genuine interest emerges but a loan move could be a possibility. A return to Anfield would seem unlikely with Liverpool’s midfield having been rebuilt since his departure.

Ivan Toney

The England striker is set to return to action this month as his eight-month ban for multiple breaches of betting regulations comes to an end. Given their poor form of late, Brentford will undoubtedly welcome the striker back with open arms and he has said he is keen to repay the club for their support during his suspension. However, his value remains high and with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea both looking for goalscorers, potentially head-turning approaches are more than possible.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.